1930s Sew-Along: Trumpet Skirts and 6 Gore Skirts

As promised here are the drafting instructions for a gored skirt using the method I spoke about in previous postings. The patternmaking system was created at some time in the 1950s. This pattern represents some simplifications I made to the process as well as some additions. The original did not include any allowances for style ease. My first attempt at drafting a gored skirt turned out too tight.

Please, Please, Please make a muslin. You must test the method and adjust it to suit your own unique figure. Spending time to ensure a good fit will save you money and worry later. Nothing ever hides a poor fit so consider time spent on a muslin an educational process that will ensure a wonderful garment once your fashion fabric is cut.

Permissions to re-use

This pattern can be freely circulated and reused for whatever purpose you want. I’d love to see any photos of finished skirts you make.

Six Gore Skirt Drafting Instructions

Before drafting this skirt pattern please see How to Take Measurements.

The measurements used in this pattern are for a Misses Size 4. They are used to provide an example. You will substitute your own measurements to draft your custom pattern.

The Flattering Qualities of a Gored Skirt

Gored skirts are flattering to all figure types, especially when the pattern is drafted to your own measurements. This is because the pattern is drafted with a slight curve from waist to abdomen or waist to hipline. After the slight curve, the line becomes straight and ends however many inches from the center of the skirt that you want. The greater the width of the hemline the more flare and movement the gores will have.

The point at which the curve stops is best determined by your own hip and abdomen measurements. In general these are the guidelines:

—If your hips are larger than your abdomen let the flare start at the hipline. If this is your body type, then you will use the measurement Waist to Hip line for points A-C.

—If your abdomen is larger than your hip let the flare start at the abdomen. In this case you will use the measurement Waist to Abdomen for Point A-C.

The Front Skirt Length used is completely up to you. A length of 27-30” will give you a retro looking skirt reminiscent of the 1930s. To achieve such an effect use the diagram for creating a Trumpet Skirt with flare starting at the hip line.

Style Ease to add to measurements

For a gored skirt add 1-2” of ease for the abdomen or hipline. To the waist add about 1/2″ of ease.

Misses Size 4 Measurements (used for an example) for a Gored Skirt Pattern

Waist 24”+ 1/2″ ease=24 ½”

Abdomen Circumference 35”+1” ease=36”
Hip Circumference 36”+ 1” ease=37”

Waist to Abdomen 4”
Waist to Hip 8”

Front Skirt Length 28”

Continue reading


1930s Sew-along with Norma: At last, a reference book with photos!

I’ve decided to use the last of my Christmas money on a 1930s sewing reference book that has wonderful photos and detailed explanations. I consider it an investment because there are many techniques in it I’ve not seen or used before.

The book is entitled “Weldon’s Complete Encyclopedia of Needlework.” For a good overview of the book and scans of the photos you can check out the posting about it at BlackTulipSewing.

The reason why I’m going this far is because I just might go completely out of the security of the little sewing box of techniques and systems I know so well. What started all of this was that 6 gore skirt pattern from the French Fashion Academy book. The hip curve is curvy and the resulting gored skirt is so attractive and flattering. But I do not believe it will work well with a snap closure. That system was created in the 1950s when women went back to wearing long line girdles and waspies. Zippers were already coming into more common use than in the 1930s so the way in which patterns were made and sewed continued to evolve. I have to post a scan of what the French Fashion Academy gored skirt pattern looks like. I think when you see the hip curve you’ll understand my concern about using snaps on it. As soon as I have time I will do that.

Having a book on hand is so different than relying on the internet. There is something very satisfying of looking through the book at other entries and then getting further ideas. That’s not always possible even when the blog posting is as good as the one at BlackTulipSewing.

1930s Sew-along with Norma: Draping vs. Flat Patternmaking

For the 1930s Sew-along with Norma things continue to develop at my end. I hope my readers get a glimpse into just how fluid and changeable a project is when you decide to create your own patterns. I have located a very reasonably priced book at Amazon about 1930s draping techniques.

“Draping and Designing with Scissors and Cloth” by Sandra Ericson contains genuine 1930s draping techniques that will help when I create the pattern for the half slip. You can see scans and a description of the book at The Center for Pattern Design. I was delighted to find a used copy at Amazon for $19.95 and have just purchased it.

I want to study this book and the technique because the draping method does not look as complicated as the one I learned in school. If the process and illustrations work out well for the slip, I might try to drape the blouse and/or the skirt. One of the great things about draping is that you actually see how things look as you make the pattern in muslin. Flat patternmaking can be tricky because it’s not always easy to assess how much style ease to add or just how the design will look in the fashion fabric.

With this book I know I’ll be in a better place as far as getting closer to the spirit of the 1930s and learning something new! Stay tuned as this project continues to evolve.

1930s Sew-Along with Norma: Patternmaking methods

I think another educational aspect from this project is evolving.  Carol has been so kind and helpful providing me with many scans of patternmaking instructions for skirts and slips.  I always find a review of material like this helpful in learning how the finished shapes of the pattern should look.

I have to admit, though, that I will not be using an authentic 1930s pattern because the system I draft from was created in the 1950s.  It would be a great experience to use older patternmaking systems but to effectively do so requires more time than I have to invest.  I believe that to really know the basics of another system well it takes about 6 months to a year just working on the most basic patterns and sewing up their toiles.  The confidence gained from this is priceless and so is the ability to knowledgably discuss what one did in the process of transformation and fitting.

Since I don’t have the necessary time to delve into vintage patternmaking systems I’ll stick with the system I know.  The challenge comes in creating a pattern that will be close to a 1930s one. If the readers are interested I’ll share photos of my completed patterns so we can compare them to ones from the 1930s.  This would be a continuation of the learning experience.


1930’s plackets

Carol’s excellent research skills continue to provide us with the finer details of 1930s garment construction. For all participants and followers of Norma’s 1930s Sew-along, please take a look…


A few more plackets from the Clothing Construction book of 1934 I mentioned in last post.


View original post

Closures used on 1930s slips

Vintage Textile
Metallic brocaded chiffon evening dress, 1930s


The description of this dress and slip state that both close at the side seam with snaps and hooks and eyes.  This answers my question about the correct closure used for a 1930s slip.  I’ve seen a few 1940s half slips that had metal zippers in the side seam.  I’d have to see how that worked under a period garment.  But right now that doesn’t sound good to me.

1930s Sew-Along with Norma

I forgot to mention that I will be using the patternmaking system I learned at French Fashion Academy and possibly the draping technique taught at FIT. The French Fashion Academy method for creating a gored skirt is very simple and I think will make a good tutorial to share with others. I’ve simplified it even more since using it to make skirts for my Mom when she was alive. So there will be a nice takeaway for readers once that part of the project is underway.