RetroGlam Winter Break: Vintage Sheath Skirt Drafting Instructions

Here is another classroom handout I got from the friend who attended Traphagen School of Design. I do not know whether this was an instruction sheet created by the school or if it came from an older book. Based on the appearance, it looks like the instructions were done on an old manual typewriter and then reproduced for the classroom. The instructions in this handout are for the drafting of a sheath skirt sloper. I have not used these instructions since I do not work with slopers. The system I learned at French Fashion Academy is much different than this one. Since I’ve always been very pleased with the fit of the skirts I make from that system I’ve never ventured too far into drafting patterns based on other systems.

I’m providing these instructions because there might be a few readers adventurous enough to want to give this a try. There are sample measurements given at the start of the handout but I’ve no idea what size they are for. There is 2” added to the hipline for ease but no mention of any ease added to the waistline.

If I were to draft this pattern I’d use 2-3” ease at the hipline and at least 3/4″ ease at the waistline and then stitch up a toile to check the fit.

The instructions given use the same measurement for Center Back and Center Front Skirt Lengths. The system I use has a slightly shorter Center Back Skirt Length which allows for a slightly lower curve at the waistline.

In the instructions There is a “Back Waist Measure” and “Front Waist Measure”. This might be a different way of measuring the waistline. In the sample measurements given the Front Waist Measure is 13 3/4″ while the Back Waist Measure is 12 3/4″. It seems to me that the Front Waist Measure, being 1” more than the back, might be derived as follows:

1. Take total measure of waistline.
2. Divide in half.
3. Then take 1” off the back measurement and add to the front.

Or the measurement actually is taken in two parts. First the back waist is measured from the left to right. Then the front waistline is measured from left to right. This would be a little tricky to determine where the beginning and end of the measurement points are. The side seam placement would be affected by what measurements are used,

When the weather starts getting warmer and I feel better, I plan to finish the Donna Blouse. Then I will show how to create a pencil skirt pattern using the system I learned at French Fashion Academy.

If anyone does have success with these drafting instructions please let me know how you worked out the measurements and addition of style ease. I’d also love to see a photo of the finished skirt.

What follows are the instructions shown in the scan.

How To Draft Sheath Skirt Sloper Patterns

1. Center Back Length 24 1/4” Metric 61.6
2. Center Front Length 24 1/4” Metric 61.6
3. Back Waist Measure 12 ¾” Metric 32.4
4. Front Waist Measure 13 ¾” Metric 34.9(?) measurement not clear due to fading
5. Hip (8” below waist) (2” east included) 39 1/2″ Metric 100.3
6. Lower Edge of Skirt 39 1/2″ Metric 100.3

1. Draw a line from A to B equal to desired length of skirt measurement.

2. Square a line up from A and B equal to 1/2 hip measurement. Connect A (waistline) and B (lower edge) and mark center C.

3. A to D is 8 inches. This is hipline level. Connect D on Center back to D on Center Front. Mark Center E.

4. Measaure from Point A at Center Back to ½ of back waist measurement plus 1 1/2 inches for two waistline darts. Mark point F.

5. Measure from point A at Center Front to ½ of front waist measurement plus 1 1/2 inches for two waistline darts. Mark point F.

6. Square a line up ½ from point F to G on borth front and back. Mark point G.

7. Shape curve of hip from point E to G on back and front.

8. Shape front waistline from A to G. Shape back waistline from A to G.

9. Plan the position for a ¾ wide dart to correspond with the waistline dart position of the back bodice. Make dart 6 inches long.

10. Plan the position for the second dart 3/4″ wide and 5 inches long. This dart should be the center from the end of the first dart and the side seam at the waistline.

11. Plan the position for a ¾ wide dart to correspond with the waistline dart position of the front bodice. Make dart 4 ½” long.

12. Plan and position for the second dart 3/4′ wide and 4 inches long. This dart should be the center from the end of the first dart and the side seam at the front waistline.

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Please note:

*Traphagen School of Design is no longer in existence.
*Seam allowances would be added after tracing the skirt pattern from the sloper.

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