A line skirt pattern tutorial: New and improved version.

I’ve been blogging over three years now and I have an old tutorial that has been pinned quite a few times. It’s my A line skirt tutorial and I was just looking at it and thought,” Wow this really looks bad!” You know how it is in those early blog posts! Not that I’ve improved that much but I could barely see the dark, blurry photos….
You can see the post from October 2010 here.

So I thought I would write a new improved version for my newer readers who may have never seen it. It’s a very simple and easy to understand method for drafting your own A line skirt. the A line skirt is a perfect pattern to have as you will be able to use it as the basis for so many different designs.

Creating the A line pattern: The skirt will be drafted on a quarter folded pattern for both front and back pieces, so all measurements will need to be divide in fourths.

Taking measurements:

  • Determine where on the waist the skirt should fall from. It can be either the natural waist or a bit lower on the abdomen, depending on preference. Use a tape measure to measure the circumference of the skirt waist then measure the circumference on the fullest part of the hip. Divide those two measurements in fourths to get the distance that will be drawn on the pattern.
  • Measure the distance between the hip and waist of the skirt. Then measure the desired length of the skirt, from the waist to either above, at, or below the knee, depending on personal preference.
  • Write down all four measurements, the quarter hip, the quarter waist, the length and the hip / waist difference.
  • Calculate the sweep desired for the A line skirt. The sweep determines how much the skirt flares out at the knee. To draft an A line skirt in this most basic method the sweep should be no wider than 3 inches on the quarter pattern, giving a total hem sweep of 12 inches.

Drawing the Pattern

  • Cut a  piece of paper 5 inches longer then desired skirt length and about 10 inches wider than the front and back of the skirt measurements. For instance, if the hip is 38 inches then the piece of paper will need to be 29 inches wide.(1/2 hip measurement plus 10 inches.) Fold the paper in half lengthwise.
  • Three inches from the top of the paper draw a perpendicular line from the length of the quarter waist measurement. This will become the waistline. Then measure down from the waistline the amount determined in the hip/ waist measurement and draw the hipline from the the fold.
  • From the waistline/ fold, draw the length measurement of the skirt. Make the distance from the fold the same as the hipline.
  • Connect the dots.A line-skirt-tutorial-one

Add the darts. In the middle of the waistline, draw a dart 3 inches long and one half inch wide. Since that 1/2 inch was added in the dart it needs to be added back to the pattern at the side seam. Add 1/2 inch to the side seam waist.



  • Add waist and hem curves. Raise the waistline 1/2 inch and blend to the original waistline halfway between the waistline and the side seam. Do the same at the hemline,
  • Add ease and seam allowance. Adding one inch of ease to the seam allowance will make the skirt fit a bit more comfortably. Add 1/4 inch at the side seam to create ease. Then add the seam allowances as follows: 5/8 inch at side seam and waits line and one inch at the hem.Alineskirt-tutorial-2

Make the back pattern: Trace the from pattern piece to another piece of paper folded with the same measurements. Make the dart 5 inches long instead of 3 inches long. The longer dart allows for more shaping in the rear.

Facings: You can either trace the skirt and measure down 3 inches from the top to create facings OR you can use some grosgrain ribbon or bias binding to finish the waistline.

Zipper: Insert a 7 inch zipper into the side seam.

Happy pattern making!

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  1. Sally says

    I love your blog….never miss or skip over it. One day it’s like having coffee with an old friend talking over a bad week and the next day it’s an incredible pattern making class! Thank you for all of it!!

  2. says

    Thank you so much for this, I hope I can make one, Have a Bless day, enjoy your blog very much. Thanks kay

  3. kahreen says

    thank you! i used to have a great book that explained this but i loaned it out and never got it back, and i couldn’t remember the proper method for adding the darts in. this was the perfect tutorial for what i was looking for- need to make some new A-lines for work. cheers!

  4. Amanda says

    I love this tutorial, thank you SO much! Since I’m a bigger gal, I always have to hand-make patterns for my things or find creative ways to blow them up in size and this works wonderfully.


  1. […] This is actually a really simple skirt, I used an a-line skirt pattern which I altered to how i wanted. I shortened it, and cut the front in two to create a paneled front. I also added a waistband which you cant actually see in any of the photos as the skirt is very high-waisted. If you don’t already have a skirt pattern  make your own pattern. […]