Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Crossover Pleat Skirt Draft Along 5: Drafting the Back

I hope you had a happy halloween, readers. Sorry I haven't offered you any spine-chilling stories on the occasion (children kept me busy throughout the entire last week), but I enjoyed reading about Oonaballoona's post-drink? spooky encounter with a ghost.  Oona, keep it coming, pls.

... but back to the nerdy business our draft-along, readers. It takes me longer than anticipated to produce those pattern illustrations (but skills are improving, yay), and even longer to explain them properly. So, bear with me please.

In this post, I wanted to show how I drafted the back with pleats. Usually, the pleats on circular skirt are drafted as a circle segment (or a cone insert), including the entire pleat depth. In this skirt - I will stay more or less true to the original design/pattern - the visible part of the pleats is drafted as a circle segment, while the pleat depth is a simple rectangle. Those rectangles overlap creating five layers of fabric at the waistline - something to consider when choosing the skirt fabric (!)


In the back, the skirt has two box pleats which meet at center back. Each pleat is appr. one third of the back waistline circumference. It seems to be a good proportion, so I will do the same on my skirt.

The waist circumference is divided equally between the back and the front, or 35.5 cm for each in my case. There is no need to be very precise here, so I am just rounding up the result.

Pleat width = 35.5 cm / 3 ≈ 12 cm

I am drawing on my master pattern, which I drafted in my previous post. On the waistline, measure 12cm to the left from the center back. Mark as point L

Draw a line from A through L to the hemline, marking point M. Mark the line LM as outside foldline.

Repeat the same with the right fold for the line NO. Mark as outside foldline.

Since the pleats meet at center back, mark this line as outside foldlines.

I removed those additional letters from the illustration since they were overcrowding it. But the lines are marked and you can easily see how the pattern is drafted. If you notice any typos, however, let me know in a comment please.


The pleat depth in this skirt is a rectangle, not a cone as I mentioned before. In addition, each pleat depth is almost as wide as the pleat itself, so the pleats overlap.

For this step I am taking the pleat width of 11cm, leaving 1cm of the remaining pleat width for the seam allowance on one of the two inside fold lines for each pleat. Phew, I hope you can still follow me )

Working on the left pleat (to start with), on the waistline measure 11cm from I (center back) and from L, marking points I' and L'.

On the hemline measure 11cm from K (center back) and from M, marking points K' and M'.

Connect L' with M', marking the line as inside foldline/seamline.

Connect I' with K', marking the line as inside foldline.

Repeat the same with the right pleat, marking the inside fold points as I", K", N' and M'.


Trace the pattern onto a new sheet of pattern paper. Mark the inside foldlines with dashed lines.

Cut the traced pattern along the outside foldlines and center back line (five cutting lines).

Using a piece of folded tracing paper, trace each inside fold/rectangle - the fold of the tracing paper aligned should be aligned with the inside foldline. The lines at the waist and the hem will be slightly curved. Unfold tracing paper, mark the folding line as inside foldline and insert into the respective outside foldline guide, which was previously cut apart.

Cut along two inside foldlines (L'M' and N'O'), which are also seamlines that connect center back and side back pieces. These lines are marked as inside foldline/seam on the illustration.  Mark accordingly.

You will end up with four pattern pieces for the back. Mark as left center back, right center back, left side back, right side back. With so many pattern pieces it is easier to cut them on one layer of fabric, and precise labeling of pattern pieces is helpful in order to avoid mistakes.


Let's start with the grainline on the two center back pieces. Placing pleats on grain will give them some stability, so center the grainline on the pleat by drawing the line from A through mid-point between the two outside foldlines on each pleat.

On the finished side back pieces, center the grainlines using the above method as well.

I hope you can follow these instructions. If you have any questions we can discuss this part in the Couture Collective thread, or leave a comment here, and I will also copy it there.


  1. thank you so much for all your hard work in creating these tutorials :-), I can't imagine how you manage to do all this on top of working, children, husband, life etc....I can't even keep up my own blog lol. Thanks again!

    1. Thanks, Helena! It's a learning process for me as well, so it is a gain for everyone )



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...