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Tutorial 1. Where to start?

Tutorial 1. Where to start?

I have chosen the popular wedding model of a Mermaid skirt for this course and I would like to demonstrate the calculations and the mock-up for this skirt.


(in the picture design by Mori Lee)

I liked this model as the skirt consists of ruffles of complex shape. The ruffles are attached in an unusual way, which we will analyze during our course. Besides, we will clarify the shape of the ruffles and the sewing sequence, as well as the fabric consumption for the ruffles and the skirt. The sewing sequence of the ruffles is very important for the convenience of our work as the skirt will become heavier with every attached ruffle.


(in the picture design by Mori Lee)

Moreover, it is obvious from the photo that the soft Rigilene boning is attached continuously to every ruffle.  This should be taken into consideration in the shape of the ruffles, so that there is a possibility to round the soft Rigilene tape along the ruffle.

In other words, we need to find such shape of our ruffle, so that it falls like in the photo and it I possible to attach the soft Rigilene to it.

As usual we start our work from the calculations.

The calculations are the most important preliminary stage for further cutting and for entire garment making. The speed of the skirt sewing will depend on the correct calculations of the cutting patterns.

Certainly, I have already chosen the necessary automatic calculation tables, prepared the preliminary calculation and the printouts. I will try to comment on them in detail.

Two types of tables are attached to this course.

The table «Calculation using the bottom length with the fixed parameters” will be used from the very beginning to make the initial general calculation.

The table “Calculation using the bottom length” will be used to clarify and add the elements of the skirt. You can enter the measurements and all parameters separately in each sheet, i.e. for each element of the skirt. Besides, this table can be used if your skirt is different from ours.

Thus, the main table for our calculation is the table “Calculation using the bottom length with the fixed parameters”.

Why do we use the fixed parameters? What does that mean? As soon as we enter all main measurements, the preliminary calculation for our skirt will be done. So, when you go to the other sheets you will see that the main measurements entered in the first sheet are automatically filled in the other sheets, so that you won’t waste your time to enter them anew. You will need to add one or two parameters to get the final calculations for the certain element of the skirt, for instance, for gores, hoops of petticoat or ruffles. It expedites the calculation a lot.

I also want to answer to the question: What is the calculation using the bottom length? It means that you have already decided about the volume along the bottom and the petticoat you will use. It can be a ready petticoat you have or you have an idea which petticoat you will sew. I would like to note that sometimes it is faster to sew the necessary petticoat than to look for the suitable one.

There is no need for a specific petticoat for our skirt. I will use the standard petticoat with 3 hoops and the length of the bottom hoop comprises 280 cm. This petticoat is of middle size and comfortable.

Now, let’s discuss about the ruffles on the petticoat.

I will use the petticoat without the ruffles in this course! However, it is not the general rule!  

Firstly, sometimes you have to deal with the models, where the petticoat without ruffles is not enough to make the required volume. You can simply add volume by adding ruffles to the petticoat.  

Secondly, now many brides think: “I don’t want to use hoops! I don’t want to have hoops under my skirt! I just want to have many ruffles inside the skirt!” But we know that it is a misconception! The girls do not understand that without the base, which is formed with the hoops, we cannot have a beautiful shape of the skirt! You as a professional have to convince the bride anyway and explain that the minimal petticoat with hoops is needed for a full skirt! What is the customer afraid of? She is scared that the hoops will be seen through. You need to explain that you will attach ruffles to the hoops and there will be an illusion of many ruffles without hoops under the skirt. Even during the dance nobody will see the hoops as they will be covered with the ruffles. Explain to the bride that the endless ruffles will keep getting in her way and touching her legs and it will be hot, so that there is no way without the hoops!

There is an additional sheet “Calculation of petticoat ruffles” to calculate the ruffles and the fabric consumption for such ruffles. By the way, according to this table you can calculate the ruffles for the face part of the skirt. Such system of the ruffle sewing suits perfectly the petticoats and the main skirts.

I hope you understand that these tables can be used to calculate the full-size skirt, as well as the mock-up of your future skirt. I would like to remind once again that the structured skirts with complicated configurations are risky to sew without the mock-up! It is necessary to make the preliminary mock-up! Use the tables to make the mock-up fast and easily. You can even make the preliminary conclusion on the fabric consumption for the full-size skirt on the stage of the calculation of the mock-up.

What to start the calculations from?

The skirt always consists of several parts. Only in rare cases there is a need to calculate the main skirt. As a rule, besides the main skirt, it is necessary to calculate the pieces of the lining and the petticoat including the crinoline with hoops and the cover, if you want to sew your own petticoat. It does not matter if you want to make the cover with the ruffles or just the ruffles, which you attach to the crinoline with the hoops.

Regardless of the variety of options and the model or shape chosen, the calculation algorithm is almost the same: we start from the inner layers of the skirt and gradually move to the calculation of the upper layers.

For example, you want to make some alterations to the finished crinoline like to add some ruffles, so firstly, you calculate the ruffles and only after you start calculating the skirt. If you make your crinoline from scratch, you will start from the crinoline (this is the most inner layer) and then you move to the next layer of the skirt: ruffles or cover, ruffles on the cover, lining and the main skirt. So, the ruffles on the main skirt will be calculated the last!

I think it is clear and logical: the size of your future skirt will depend on your crinoline and the volume of the ruffles!

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