Basic Skirt Back Drafting Instructions

The measurements given are for a Misses Size 4. Please substitute your own measurements

The skirt length is for a retro styled basic skirt circa late 1940s through 1950s. The skirt would be mid-calf length about 26″- 27″ long at Center Front for a woman 5′ 5″ to 5′ 6″ tall.

The instructions which follow do not have additional style ease added. The ease will be given for individual styles when new RetroGlam projects are presented. What follows are the instructions for the basic fitting shell. Add only as much ease as needed so that the skirt fits closely and can be pinned at center back for fit evaluation.

When a pattern is drafted for a particular style ease is added to the Waist and Hip measurements. The length from the floor is also adjusted for the finished skirt length.

See the page “How to Take Measurements” for instructions on how to take your own measurements. Included are examples of the taking of skirt measurements.

Pattern draft is shown without seam allowances. You may add 1/2″ seam allowances after drafting. Alternately, you can lay the pattern onto the fabric and measure out 1/2″ using a clear plastic ruler. Tailor’s Chalk is used to mark the cutting lines (non-wax kind). Dressmaker’s Tracing paper and a serrated tracing wheel are used to mark darts and grain lines.

Measurements Needed

Note: Sample Measurements are Misses Size 4. Please use your own measurements and perform the calculations using them.

Waist-to-Hip Length**….. 8″
Front Skirt Length……..43 1/2″-17 1/2″=26″
Side Skirt Length………44″ – 17 1/2″=26 1/2″
Back Skirt Length………43″-17 1/2″=25 1/2″

17 1/2″ is the height from the floor.

*Some women’s Abdomen measurement is larger than their Hip Measurement. If this is the case substitute the Abdomen Measurement for the Hip Measurement

**If you are using your Abdomen Measurement substitute the waist-to-Abdomen measurement for the Waist-to-Hip Length.

The reason for this is to allow for the maximum circumference of the rectangle to accommodate the largest part of the torso below the waistline.

For retro inspired styles, the height from the floor is usually 16″ – 18″ for a woman 5′ 5″ to 5′ 6″.

Adjust to your own height. Measurement is taken in high heels or shoes with a heel height that will be suitable for your vintage inspired outfit.

Basic Skirt Back.

Basic Skirt Back Pattern. Broken lines at the side seams indicate tapering. There is an extension at the back for a kick-pleat in this diagram. Both will be covered in future projects.


Make a rectangle applying as horizontal one-fourth of the Hip Measurement less 1/2″. (example, 9″-1/2″=8 1/2″). Label Points A and B. As vertical use the Front Skirt Length (example, 26″). Label Points A and D.

For C-D use the same measurment as A-B. For D-A use same measurement as B-C.

1. From A to D, apply to measurement Waist-To-Hip Length. (example, 8″). Label Point #.

2. From Point E, draw a horizontal line to vertical B-C to indicate the Hipline. Label Point F.

3. From Point B to A, mark the same distance as on the side shapeing of the Front Pattern Distance A-G. On back pattern label Point G. (example, 1 1/2″)

4. Join points f-G by a curve to form the Side Seam Line.

5. From C, going over Pooints F and G, following the curved outline of the Side Seam Line, apply the measurement Side Skirt Length (example, 26 1/2″) and label Point H.

6. From D to A, apply the measurement Back Skirt Length (example) and label Point I.

7. Join Point I with H to form the waistline.

8. To place the first dart, mark the center between Points I and H. Label Point J.

9. From Point J, draw a vertical line down 5 1/2″. Label Point K.

10. From Point J, to either side, mark the same distance as applied for the First Dart in the Front Skirt Pattern. (example 1″, using 1/2″ each side). Label Points L and M.

11. Join Point K to Points L and M to obtain the first dart.

12. From Point J to H mark 1 1/2″. Label Point N.

13. From Point N, draw a vertical line down 4 1/2″. Label Point O.

14. From Point N to both sides mark the same distance as applied for the second dart on the Front Skirt pattern (example, 1/2″ for size 4, using 1/4″ each side). Label Points P and Q.

15. Joint Point O with Points P and Q to obtain the second dart.

16. Points I to E represent the Center Back opening for a zipper. When sewing the toile, leave this part open and pin in place when fitting.

17. The I-D line is the lengthwise grain for back of skirt.