Ladies' and Girl's Custom Drafted Skirt in Three, Five and Seven Gores, 1912-1914

The cutting of a skirt involves the following measurements - length, waist, hips, bottom width of skirt. If the skirt is to reach to near the ankle, the length should be measured at front, sides and back, since these may not be identical. The best way is to measure to the ground and deduct the number of inches it is desired to lift the skirt.

5-gored Skirt

The skirt consists of a front panel and four equal gores.

Basic Draft Diagram of Lady's Custom Drafted Skirt in 3, 5 and 7 Gores, 1912 - 1914

Fig. 1

AC = inch.
AB = 1/8 waist measure.
CD = Front length of skirt.
DE = About twice CB.
BE = Front length of skirt.
FG and LM = inch.
FH and LN = waist measure.
GI = Front length.
HK and MO = Side length.
NP = Back length.
IK and OP = To find IK and OP, divide by two what remains of half the bottom width of the skirt after deducting DE.

The skirt is curved in at the seams at the top, as shown, to make the waist fit. A skirt may have any number of gores, from three up to nine.

3-gored Skirt

In a three-gored skirt, the two side pieces would contain all the width that remains after deducting the front panel.

IK = Half bottom width of skirt minus DE.
FH = waist.
FG = 1 inches down.

There would be no back gores.

This pattern is often used as an underskirt, but is very apt to droop at the back, owing to the amount of slope.

7-gored Skirt

In a seven-gored skirt, in addition to the front panel, the first side gore is as follows:

FH = 1/6 waist.
IK = 1/3 of half bottom width minus DE

Two more gores similar to the first would be required.

Extra Notes for Cutting Out

The basic pattern is relatively simple to draft. The number of gores used is purely a question of style and is independent of the final width of the skirt. This width is decided before drafting begins. There are a few things that the drafting instructions omit, but which can be conjectured:

The Length of the Side Gores of the 3 Gored Skirt

GI = Front length.
HK = Back length.
Mark point L halfway along GH.
Mark point M halfway along IK.
LM = Side Length.

The Length of the Gores of the 7-Gored Skirt

The three gores of the pattern (2 side gores and one back gore) are all similar in width but of varying lengths.

For the first side gore:
GI = Front length.
HK = Side length.

For the second side gore:
GI = Side length.
HK = Side length or Back length.

For the back gore:
GI = Side length or Back length.
HK = Back length.

The Hip Measurement

The hip measurement was required at the beginning of the pattern but not used in the actual drafting. This is probably the most important measurement in terms of fit. Check that the pattern fits across the hips as follows:

Take the wearer's hip measurement at the widest part (usually about 7-8 inches below the waist). Set aside the front panel, as its hip width will provide the minimum wearing ease. Measure the remaining pattern pieces at the same level (7-8 inches below the waist) to get the patterns hip measure. This must at least equal the wearer's measure plus any additional wearing ease required above that provided by the front panel. If the pattern is greatly insufficient, divide the total lacking, by the number of gores and add to the gore pieces at hip level on the right hand, sloping sides of the draft. On each gore, draw a line connecting the waist to the new hip and extend towards the hem in a straight line, giving a new, wider bottom width. Likewise, if the pattern is far too loose at the hips, subtract the excess from each gore piece at hip level and reduce the bottom width accordingly. (Either way, keep the waist the same).

Making up the Skirt


Girls at school [and dressmaking beginners] could only make an unlined skirt. Any of the cotton dress materials might be used, so that the skirt could be made to match the blouse. If woollen material is preferred it should be fairly stout tweed or serge, so that it may be made without lining. Substantial material is also more easily handled and fitted than light stuffs.

Cutting Layout for Lady's Custom Drafted Gored Skirt, on 3 yards of 40-inch material, 1912 - 1914



[Cut out the skirt, adding extra for seam and hem allowances]. Seams should be tacked, darts arranged and the skirt tried on before any stitching is done.

On cotton stuff, French seams could be used, but on serge or tweed the seams should be stitched together once on the wrong side and ironed out flat. All raw edges should be cut even and overcast. The darts (which need not be cut, but only marked when the skirt is cut out), should also be stitched, cut open, flattened and overcast.

Bottom Hem

The hem should be about 3 or 4 inches deep, and should be tacked up, and the skirt tried on before stitching. The hem will require easing or pleating, since the bottom of the skirt is narrower than the edge of the hem allowed. The wider the skirt at the bottom, the more pleating will be necessary. If it is desired, a cross-way false hem may be put on and should be stretched at the edge which is attached to the edge of the skirt. This will avoid most of the fullness. On cotton material a wide cross-way false hem turned to the right side gives a pretty finish to the skirt.

On heavy materials the hem is laid up singly, that is, without a first narrow fold, the raw edge being covered with a piece of Prussian binding matching the skirt in colour. Two rows of machine-stitching, one at each edge of the binding, finish the hem. If it is not desirable to have any machine-stitching on the right side of the hem, the binding may be stitched to the edge of the hem only, and slip-stitched to the skirt.

The pleats made in folding the hem should be ironed down well and if necessary, hemmed lightly to keep them flat.


This is left open at one of the seams, usually the left-hand seam of the front. Prussian binding may be used instead of false hems and machine stitching must not be allowed to show on the right side in such a way as to spoil the appearance of the skirt. When the opening is made in a sloping back seam, a good method is to finish each edge with a projecting double fold, stitch these together at the bottom and let the right-hand one fall to the inside of the skirt, where it will be held in place by the waistband.


For cotton skirts a selvedge-way band of material, about inch wide when finished, is suitable. For woollen stuffs use a piece of double skirt binding. After the binding is tacked on, the skirt should be fitted once more and any necessary alterations made on the shape of the waist, or the size of the darts; then the band should be stitched on carefully.


Strong hooks and eyes should be sewn on the and to fasten the skirt. Two of each are required to keep the overlapping part in position. Hooks and loops, or dome fasteners may be used to close the placket and should be placed pretty closely.


The decoration of a plain skirt usually consists of good machine-stitching. Silk thread may be used on woollen material (silk should be used on fine woollen stuffs), but cotton threads with a glossy finish may be had in fast colours and good quality, to match any material and these should certainly be used with cotton materials. On some kinds of material, embroidery may be suitable, e.g. if a blouse has been made matching the skirt, the decoration of the blouse should be repeated on the hem of the skirt.

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