Monday, July 28, 2014

SSDA 11: Drafting a straight skirt sloper

  • Alphanumeric or plotted paper, or a large sheet of plain paper. (Plotted paper makes drafting easier, and the weight makes it more durable)
  • Lead pencil
  • Eraser
  • Long and short rulers. If you are not using alphanumeric or plotted drafting paper, get a wider acrylic ruler, or an L-shaped ruler to help you square a line.
  • Compass that can draw up to 25cm (10) (for a homemade compass read this article)

Before you start drafting:

Take a sheet of drafting paper 10cm larger than your measured skirt length, and 10cm wider than half your hip measurement.

On the top of your paper put the name of the project, your name, and the date. Copy your measurements  and calculations to the drafting paper, or staple your measurements and calculations sheet to it - it will help you to draft faster and reference the pattern sheet in future.

Note: Please check out the edited Measurements & Calculations post, which now also includes Front and Back  waistline calculations.


Hemline and Widths (points A, B, C)

10cm (4") from the bottom edge, starting on the left from the point A draft a horizontal line. Mark as hem line.

From the point A on the hem line measure the FW (Front width) and mark point B.

From the point B measure the BW (Back width) and mark point C.

Side seam, Center front, Center back (points D, E, F)

From the point B draw a perpendicular line equal to GLLS (Garment Length Left Side). Mark point D. Mark the line BD as side seam.

From point A draw a perpendicular line to mark point E, equal to your GLF (Garment Length Front). Mark the line AE as center front.

From point C draw a perpendicular line to mark point F, equal to your GLB (Garment Length Back). Mark the line CF as center back.

Side Dart (points G, H, I)

From the point D (on the side seam), mark down the length of your side dart LL (Left Side Dart Length) and mark point G.

With the compass on G, set it to the side dart length (LL)  and draw an arc on each side of D.

From the point E measure the calculated front waistline (FWL) to meet with the nearest arc from the point D. Mark the intersection point as the point H. Mark the line EH as front waistline

From the point F measure the calculated back waistline (BWL) to meet with the other arc. Mark the intersection point as the point I. Mark the line FI as back waistline

Draw lines from points H and I to the point G to create the side dart.

Back Dart

Mark the center of the back waist line as point J, and measure half the back dart intake (BI) on each side of J. Mark as points K and L.

Note: I am using center back here as an example, you can move the dart later to reflect your body structure. Generally, dart placement here is far less important than the correct dart intake and length.

Perpendicular to the back waist line, measure Back Dart Length (BL) from the point J and mark point M.

Draw lines from points K and L to the point M to create the back dart.

Front Dart

To determine the front dart placement, we can use proportions derived from Golden Ratio (0.62  and 0.38), to make the placement of the dart more pleasing for the eye.

(FWL* : 4) x 0.38
*refer to FWL (Front Waistline) calculation on your calculation sheet

Measure the above value from the point H. Mark point and measure half the front dart intake (FI) on each side of N. Mark as points O and P.

Perpendicular to the front waist line, measure Front Dart Length (FL) from the point N and mark point Q.

Draw lines from points O and P to the point Q to create the front dart.

That's it. Your skirt sloper is drafted. Sew up your muslin and let's test it together. If you'd like to post your images and discuss it, please go to a newly created couture discussion forum and post in this thread.


  1. Thanks. I'm ready to start drafting.



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