Learning to draft clothing patterns can be very intimidating at first. There are pages and pages of instructions to read, such as with Devere’s manual, or it can be full of points to draft out, such as with a coat pattern. It might be a good idea to start learning to draft by creating a woman’s skirt draft. They have fewer points to draft, and fewer things can go wrong. I came across an article featuring three different methods of drafting a skirt by A. H. Scriven, from the Sartorial Gazette, August 1915. I like the part where the author states, “A school child, with a little knowledge of geometry, can both draft them and understand how the result is arrived at.”

In the article, Scriven discusses three methods of drafting these skirts — The “Conical” Skirt System, The “Ashbourne”, and The “Dovedale”.

The Systems

Ladies' Skirt Cutting - Conical System

Ladies' Skirt Cutting - Conical System

The Conical System is pretty straightforward. It’s only downside is that it takes a lot of room to be able to draw it out fully. Although when the bottom edge is made longer, the conical part at the top shortens, which is handy.

The Ashbourne System was developed to get rid of the elbow room required in the conical system. So perhaps that makes this draft a tad easier, at least for beginners.

Ladies' Skirt Cutting - Ashbourne and Dovedale Systems

Ladies' Skirt Cutting - Ashbourne and Dovedale Systems

The final draft, the Dovedale System, is a method where the correct run of the waistline is arrived at. The run of waistline in this case is the waist’s relation to the width of the skirt at bottom and the size of hips.

By completing these drafts, you’ll get a taste of what pattern drafting is like. The next step would be to move on to trousers, then waistcoats, and coats.  Click on the images to get a full sized version.