3. Basic Pencil Skirt Pattern

I wish I had more time to spend on making this page look more interesting with photos displayed differently but I just can’t figure it out so please forgive me for the boring layout.

If you know that the skirt block fits you then you can start creating various skirt designs by applying a few simple rules.  PLEASE TRACE YOUR SKIRT BLOCK (SLOPER) ONTO THIN CARD so it will make it easier to retrace it and create patterns.  I use a tracing wheel and carbon paper (large sheets from Burda, but you could use waxed sheets too, if they are easier to get hold of for you). In Australia, the Burda sheets are available at Lincraft for about $6 per pack of 2 sheets.


The things you need to consider are:

  1. ZIPPERS – will you use a standard zipper or an invisible zipper?… a standard zipper (or lapped zipper) will require you to add an extra 5mm (1/4″) seam allowance to the zipper area.  Will your zipper go at the centre back, or the side?  Maybe even the front!  The choice is yours but if you choose the front, then please remember to add on 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance to the entire centre front too!
  2. SPLITS, PLEATS, etc. – google various images of skirts to see what interesting ways people have added “movement ability” to pencil skirts.  I find the box pleats very easy and tidy to work with
  3. WAIST BANDS – how high do you want your waist band to come?  Maybe you don’t want a separate waist band… maybe you’d like to “face” it only, which is also very easy to do.
  4. HEM ALLOWANCE – generally a 5cm (2″) hem allowance is added. If you wish to make your skirt shorter or longer than your original block (sloper) is, then draw it up like that first and then add the 5cm (2″) hem allowance.
pencil skirt 043

This is the basic pencil skirt that I created using the method below:

Remember, that I blogged about the skirt here. Once you know what the outcome is that you’d like to achieve, you can start drafting.  Here are the photos of things I did to create my own basic pencil skirt pattern so just click on the images to enlarge them and read the instructions underneath each photo.:

Here are the changes I made to create the front of the skirt pattern (it’s easier than the back, unless you are being more creative):

Before we start changing the pattern and adding a waistband, etc. I wanted to show you some basic pattern altering tips with this pattern for a square cushion cover!

And now, when you cut out your three panels out of fabric, you can pin them together in the correct order (because you will have remembered to snip the notches into your fabric!) and stitch using the correct 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance to end up with the exact same size square as you started with, only it is more interesting with your contrasting fabric.  Are you with me so far?

Basically when you add or change things on pattern pieces you need to remember the above basic principles. To draft a FACING pattern piece we need to do the following:

So now you are ready to cut out your fabric on the fold and start sewing.  Remember to cut the facing out of fabric as well as iron-on interfacing and overlock (serge or zig-zag) the bottom edge of the facing before sewing it onto the skirt.  I wanted to get this out for now and will talk about separate waist bands very soon.  I might even make waist bands and facings as a separate heading under tutorials but was so excited that I had gotten this far and I wanted to share it with you.  Slowly but surely you’ll understand how to make the various changes so you can create any skirt you like!

Let me know how you’re going and feel free to ask any questions.

Happy drafting!


5 thoughts on “3. Basic Pencil Skirt Pattern

  1. Pingback: Basic Pencil Skirt Pattern instructions are up | Snazzy Sew 'n' Sew

    • Oh shucks, thanks Sarah! xx
      I must admit that I was a bit worried that it was too rushed and would confuse people. Let me know how you go and if you find any errors please don’t be shy in letting me know. I’m a Virgo and can’t stand to give wrong information! :)

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