Simple Drafting How-To: 4-Gore Skirt

If you have a basic pencil skirt pattern you like to work with, the kind that has just a front and a back dart, you can make this draft.  I’m drafting a 4-gore middy skirt with a scalloped hem for the aqua blue voile in my summer wardrobe (it needs a good name).  Today I’m working with Harriet Pepin. 

Start with the front.  Trace your basic pattern or your block.

Draw a straight line through the dart to the hem.  Be sure the line is parallel to the CF line.  Cut out the dart.  Slice along the line you just drew.  Bring the two edges of the dart together, which opens up the bottom with a flare.  At this point, I use a little tape to hold everything down.

Put another piece of paper or polytrace on top.  Trace the new shape.  At the hem, I drew a straight line across the area I spread.  The hem is neither straight nor curved.  Add seam allowances.

I straightened out the sides for no reason other than I misread the diagram.  It made sense at the time.  At any rate, this is a breezy summer skirt so I think it will work out fine to have extra ease in that area.  I plan to bind the top edge, double-layered like a quilter.  It will be lined with cream colored cotton, which I’ll edge with lace.

I used a squashed roll of tape to help me draw my scallops.  The plan is for the lace to work as a layer behind the scallops.  If it’s all a little tragic, I can cut it off.

The plan is to stitch this up over the weekend, though I’ve been quite sick and it’s taken me two days to write this post.  So perhaps I’ll lie around in bed.


  1. Sometimes a quilter will maker her scalloped border separately and then attach it to the quilt. Would that work as a way to make the somewhat risky scalloped hem a bit less risky? Like the idea of lace behind as an accent too.

  2. ha i would not have described it as a 4 gore skirt but closing the dart and opening up through the skirt is exactly how i drafted pattern for last skirt i made, i guess "gore" got lost in translation and i understand it to be something different :-)

  3. Eek dare I say this but wouldn't you want to check the fit first? Waists being what they are, and the old 'pin a tape around your waist over the skirt then pull and poke and pin it til it fits ya right" trick can seriously derail your hem. And then all the beautiful scallops would go up and down like a bride's nightie (actually, these often have pretty scalloped hems too…) Get well and prosper xo

  4. Sewista- I can just wait and do scalloping the last thing. Less risky. If I screw up the sewing on a scallop, I can use my trusty unpicker. No bigs.View-What did you think gore meant??Mrs C- I don't think I'll do that trick. I'll just sew it up, if it doesn't work tweak it in slightly (instinct and hubris says it will work) and then do my scallops after I trim the hem to make it parallel to the floor. (Big fan of the "up-and-down like a bride's nightie" phrasing. hehe.)

  5. Aha, so you will mark the scallops after checking the hemline. Cool! :) It's going to be soooo pretty! In a funky and cool way, ahem, that is. :) I think gore is a funny word – we have a town called Gore and I have visions of zombies wandering the streets…. hehehehe

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