Simple Gored Skirt

A "gore" is simply a triangular panel of fabric. For a skirt the tip of the triangle is nipped off, resulting in a sort of long trapezoid. This eliminates excess fabric at the waist while still providing fullness at the hem. Just a bit trickier than a basic gathered skirt, gored skirts are a good choice when the fabric you wish to use is too bulky to gather easily (or flatteringly) at the waist.

(Note: If the skirt is for a growing girl, I recommend using the easy gathered skirt instead. If she really must have a gored skirt and you wish to add more length and let it down as she grows, add the necessary length but be aware it will take a bit more work to hem.)

Gored skirts may also use less fabric to produce the same hem circumference, nice if you've chosen a more pricey piece of material. Like the gathered skirt, the gored skirt needs no pattern and very few measurements, just around the waist, the fullest part of the hip, and waist to desired length. (I measure to the floor and subtract a 1/2 inch.) If you will be wearing a bum roll, measure over it for the length.

Once you have the desired finished length, add an inch and a half for the top casing and about 3/4 to one inch for the hem. This measurement is the length of your skirt panel.  As with the gathered skirt, if your resulting length is less than the width of your material you can cut across the width of the fabric.

To figure out the width of your panels, you will need to first determine how full you wish the bottom hem to be. (I like at least 100 inches, myself, but no less than 70 or it will hamper your stride.) Divide this number by 4 and add 1 inch. This will be the bottom width of your gore. Take the full hip measure, divide by 4 and add two inches. This is the top width of your panel.

If your length measurement is longer than your fabric is wide, you will need to cut the skirt panels along the length of the fabric. See the alternate gored skirt instructions if this is the case.

For the across width layout, yardage can be estimated by adding the top panel width to the bottom panel width and doubling it. Divide this number by 36 for yardage. If the length measurement is a lot (more than 2 or 3 inches) less than the width of the fabric, you will need less yardage. If you really need to know the minimum amount of fabric you can get by with (maybe it's $29.99 a yard and you don't want to buy any extra!) I suggest creating two paper (use taped together newspapers) panels. Lay them side by side, top to bottom. Now move them until they would fit on the width of your chosen fabric. If you haven't yet decided on the fabric, jot down the different results for common fabric widths: 45, 55 and 60 inches are standard widths.

You will also need 1 inch non roll elastic, cut to your waist measurement plus one inch or cord/ ribbon for drawstring cut to full hip plus at least 12 inches for tying.

Pre-shrink your fabric (If it's washable...some woolens are not, check the bolt end to see if it is a dry clean only fabric. I try to avoid them, as they add to the cost of the garment...and I NEVER use dry clean fabric for kid's garb. Remember to make a note of any special care requirements you find on the bolt of fabric!)

Make sure both ends are straight (on the grain)...either snip the selvage and tear straight across, or pull a thread and cut along it. Press entire length of fabric. Fold in half crosswise.

Measure from selvage (bottom) along the folded edge to the length required. Mark or pin. From this mark measure parallel to the selvage ONE HALF the top panel width. Mark or pin. From the bottom corner of the fold measure along selvage ONE HALF the bottom panel width. Mark or pin. If you have a good eye, you can cut from point to point...otherwise, connect the pins or marks and cut along the guidelines. (I use a yard stick to help keep my lines straight.) Now you have your first gore or panel. Open it up, flip it over and use it as a pattern to cut the next gore (you'll be cutting two at a time this time.) Next, fold it in half again and use it to to cut the final two half gore pieces. Now you have three gores and two half gores.

Finish the straight edges with an overcast zig-zag. Matching top and straight edges, sew right sides together, pressing seam open. (This will be the center back seam.) Now you have four gores or panels. Matching top and side edges, right sides together, sew starting one inch BELOW the top (you'll see why me on this). Back tack (sew forward a few stitches, reverse for a few stitches, then continue forward) at the start to reinforce the beginning of the seam. Press seams open. Finish top raw edge. Now turn down 1 1/2 inches to form casing for elastic/drawstring. The open bits at the top will spread to make it possible. Press and sew a 1 1/4 inch casing. (told you you'd see why <G>) Insert elastic and adjust to fit snugly. If using a drawstring, knot ends together.

You may have noticed that the hem is uneven. Don't worry, it is supposed to be that way at this point. Since the fabric of the side seams was cut at an angle to the grain, it has stretched. You can wet and tumble dry the skirt (fabric permitting) or spray mist the seams good and wet, then press to shrink up as much fullness as possible. Now let the skirt hang for a while, overnight is best, to let the fabric relax. (This is a good idea whenever hemming anything, by the way.)

After hanging, put the skirt on over whatever underpinnings you plan to wear with it. If you have someone to help, have them pin or mark the desired hemline at each seam, in the middle of each panel and then halfway between these pins/marks. If you are by yourself (as I often am when I sew) you can still even out the hem. This is how you do it. Stand next to a table or chair back that hits you at hip height. Carefully pin/mark at the same intervals (seams, centers and halfway between) using the table top as a height guide. Take off the skirt. Measure from the table top to the floor and subtract a 1/2 inch. Using this measurement, mark the hemline that distance from the pins, measuring along the seams, centers and midway points. Cut 1/2 below the marked line. (Or more if you are adding growing room.) Finish raw edge or fold the raw edge under 1/8, press and stitch close to fold. Turn rest of hem under, press and stitch at 3/8 to 1/4 to hem. You're done!

Questions or suggestions about these directions?  Just contact me.

[Gathered Skirt] [Bodice Pattern]