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We Sew Loli
ruffles & lace & frills oh my!
Tutorial - Pleated Pattern Drafting 
20th-Oct-2012 02:44 pm
Hi all,

To follow up tolrak's tutorial, here is a tutorial I made yesterday in response to this post. It shows you how to draft a pattern for a box pleated A-line skirt, using the method I learnt in my pattern drafting for fashion design class. I hope it helps someone! 

Box Pleated A-line Skirt

Maybe we could have a tutorial suggestions thread? Things you'd like to see tutorials on, but never have. I've discovered I quite enjoy making tutorials, and I'm sure others would be able to contribute. I'd like to see a tutorial explaining all the different sleeve types, what fabric they're suited for, and they kind of garments they're used on. I've seen a lot of sleeves, and could probably draft most of them, but I've no idea what most of them are called!

20th-Oct-2012 05:39 pm (UTC)
Why does the pattern you alter for pleats have to be full enough to fit the petticoat?
21st-Oct-2012 04:08 am (UTC)
Because otherwise the pleats will stretch out towards the bottom as they unfold to accomodate the petticoat, and it'll look like a normal gathered skirt. If you look at the VM skirt in the example. the pleats hold shape all the way to the hem, because the hem is actually waist x 9 not waist x 3. If you don't want it to look pleated all the way down, you need to start with a pencil skirt pattern, and make sure the final hem ends up waist x 3.
23rd-Oct-2012 02:30 pm (UTC)
So I took a look at the fabric I want to use. I only have two yards. If I want my skirt to be 20 inches long and I can cut each piece on the fold that means I have 3.6 yards of material. (my waist is 36 inches btw) So I'm thinking this particular skirt will have to be made from another material. But this brings up another question. I may not be able to have pleats as large as this particular VM skirt but would I still be able to have large enough box pleats so it has a classic silhouette? (I'm really trying to avoid it looking like anything sweet although that may just have to be)

I should think so? They're kind of like over glorified ruffles in some cases.
24th-Oct-2012 08:36 am (UTC)
The size of the pleats themselves don't matter; it's the base pattern you start from. So, if you were making a sweet skirt, you would start with just a rectangle and pleat it, which would give you a bell shape with box pleats, whereas if you start with an a-line pattern, you'll get an a-line shape with box pleats.

Does that make sense?
21st-Oct-2012 07:10 am (UTC)
Thank you, thank you for this!
21st-Oct-2012 04:57 pm (UTC)
That's quite alright! :)
23rd-Oct-2012 10:35 pm (UTC)
This is awesome, thanks!
24th-Oct-2012 08:37 am (UTC)
You're welcome!
24th-Oct-2012 05:45 am (UTC)
So... just thought I'd comment and say just how much I love you for this, lol. I had made some designs with this type of A-line box pleat, but the way I thought of drafting the pattern was nothing like this--and I'm sure my original idea wouldn't have produced the same result. Your pattern makes total sense, though. I didn't know that this is how you achieve the finished result found in the picture up there. Huh. Well, I learned something new today. Quite timely, too. Saved to my mems, for sure. Thank you!
24th-Oct-2012 08:40 am (UTC)
Aw, you're welcome. When I started learning pattern drafting, I was like "no way", and now I get it. xD Pattern drafting is usually quite logical, but sometimes the solution just doesn't occur to you straight away, haha. >.
24th-Oct-2012 02:39 pm (UTC)
Amazing, thank you! I've been wondering how to do one of those skirts for the longest time, and now you've shown me exactly how! About how much fabric do you think you'd need to make the pattern you made? I'm trying to get an rough idea for a fairly average dimension lolita skirt (56cm long, 68cm waist).
24th-Oct-2012 04:43 pm (UTC)
That's quite alright! I love this style of skirt, I just haven't made one yet. xD The hem of this skirt works out as the waist measurement x 9, so your pattern pieces will end up being just over six metres wide (when put together). If you have the unpleated a-line pattern, you'll use three times the amount of fabric you need for that. Roughly. It's a lot, at any rate.
25th-Oct-2012 02:03 pm (UTC)
O_O Whaaaaat. Holy crap, I'm just floored by that. To keep materials costs down when I'm making a skirt, I usually just take a 45" wide piece that's 1.5 yards long, and fold it in half, lengthwise, which gives me 2 (1.5 yard long) pieces that are 22.5" inches wide. Do you think I could get away with doing the same thing (but with 3 yards instead of 1.5), or is the curve of the skirt great for that?
25th-Oct-2012 07:13 pm (UTC)
You could try. I'm honestly not sure, since the fabric I tested it on was the free stuff from college that's like 70" wide or something. The pleats themselves don't add to the curve as far as I can remember, so that might work, but remember pleating reduces the width by 2/3 not 1/2, so you'd need 4.5 yards, just to be safe.
24th-Oct-2012 07:43 pm (UTC)
Thankyou very much!!
a note on your explanation above. That is a lot of fabric indeed ... (with a waist of 80 cm that's going to be a lot more :s)
24th-Oct-2012 08:57 pm (UTC)
It is o.o But worth it for the result, I think!
25th-Oct-2012 06:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot for this tutorial!
I've been drafting in paper my own pattern this way but I've got some problems xD

1. How do you do the hem and waist curves? because they should have the same angle, due to maintain the skirt lenght all along. I've been thinking in using a compass.
2. My waist is 64 cm and I would like to do a 55 cm lenght skirt. Then I suposse I need 5,76 meters of fabric (ouch!)
3. When I tried to draw the pattern and add the pleats, I noticed that they should be curved as the hem of the skirt, otherwise I can't fold the piece of paper properly.
4. Do you think this would work?

The red 1 is the total lenght line; the red 2 is the hem line; the red 3 is my waist line; the red 4 is a little help to join togheter my waist and hem lines (which it's the red 5).
Now imagine I draw some lines from the lenght one and the hem one until I find the shared point (white 1's) I suposse I can use a compass from that point to draw properly the waist and hem curves (white 2's). White 3 is the final waist-hem line, so my skirt pattern will be the red one.

I don't know if I've gone crazy with that amount of lines or this has some sense, help please! xD
25th-Oct-2012 07:44 pm (UTC)
I just typed out a really long reply, but LJ derped and it disappeared into cyberspace, so I'll answer you when I get back from my con on Monday. xD
25th-Oct-2012 09:41 pm (UTC)
Evil LJ! Have a nice time at your con, I'll wait until monday :)
31st-Oct-2012 07:49 pm (UTC)
Hello! Sorry I didn't get back to you yet; the last few days have been kind of a blur. xD Anyway.

1. The waist curve on your diagram is way too sharp. The curve is only to allow for the curve of the waist; if it's too deep, the waist will droop. A compass would work, but the best way would be to start with a pencil skirt pattern (pretty much just a rectangle that curves in at the top corner, no curves for the hem/waist) and flare it out.
2. Seems about right. It may be a little less than that if you can arrange the pattern pieces cleverly, but buy that much just in case. Test it on something cheap first.
3. If you fold the paper with the piece not cut out, and then cut it out whilst the pleats are closed, they'll have the right shape. They should mimic/mirror the curves of the waist/hem.
4. Looks fine. A little crazy with the numbers, but it should definitely work as long as you sort out the waist curve. xD

I hope that helped/made sense! :D
5th-Jun-2017 05:27 pm (UTC) - Thank You for Sharing
i am very interrested Sister.
if i give You my measurements would You make one for me ?
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