Tutorial 3. Calculating Gores for the Main Skirt Construction.

I put the mock-up petticoat on the half-scale dress-form.

It is merely a foundation though. The next thing I need to do is add gores to give the skirt its proper shape and volume and form beautiful folds.

I draw a gore piece on the writing board.

I can only calculate the length of its top edge at this stage.

When I was cutting the petticoat, I divided its front piece into five parts and marked one gore from the side seam of either back piece. The remaining area in the middle of the back is the train area. All gore guidelines are highlighted with stitches.

As the result, the folds of our skirt start from the train, go across the front, and stop near the opposite side of train on the other half of the back.

Right now my task is to design and calculate these folds.

I will do calculations for the actual skirt first and then divide the resulting values in half.

So the full-size skirt has a waist circumference of 66cm.

We are only interested in the front of the skirt for now, so we need to use a half of it − 33cm.

I divide the half waist circumference in five parts. As the result, the finished trapeze-shaped gore will have a width of 6.6cm at the top.

I add 1.2cm seam allowances to this width and get a total of 9cm.

The length of the gore is 120cm as was said before.

I divide these values in half for my mock-up. The gore will have a width of 4.5cm at the top and its length will be 60cm.

We have approached the key question: how wide should the gore be at the bottom to create the desired volume and fullness? This is another situation which shows how important mock-ups are.

First of all, let us determine the diameter of the petticoat with a 3-meter long bottom hoop.

The mock-up petticoat has a diameter of about 47cm. Therefore, it will be 94cm in the actual size. It is rather full, but not enough for the look we want to achieve.

In my opinion, our skirt should have a bottom diameter of at least 150cm.

It is great that we are working with a mock-up. I have prepared in advance a gore with a width of 40cm down the bottom.

Now I will pin it to the front of the petticoat following the guidelines, form one of the five folds, and see how it affects the fullness of the skirt.

The gore is pinned to the skirt. Frankly speaking, I think it needs to be made fuller than this.

Let us measure how much it adds to the bottom diameter of the skirt.

I measure the radius of the mock-up. It is 32cm. This means the bottom diameter of the mock-up skirt is 64cm, which makes about 130cm in the actual size. It is obviously not enough.

All things considered, I will cut gores with a bottom width of 50cm for the mock-up.

In this case, the mock-up will have a radius of about 40cm and a diameter of 80cm.

The bottom width of a full-size gore will be 100cm.

As the result, the bottom diameter of the skirt will be 160cm, and that is enough! The face layer will additionally increase the volume of the skirt.

By the way, there is a special trick which is often used during photo-shoots to make the skirt appear a little fuller visually: you make the skirt 10cm longer than needed so that its hem rests upon the floor. Of course, this is not very functional, but you will achieve the desired effect.

In conclusion, let me recommend you what materials to use for cutting the gores and for reinforcing the skirt and the petticoat.

I recommend you use corsetry mesh fabric for the gores of the actual garment.

My mock-up gores will be cut from regular hard mesh fabric typically used in petticoats. As you understand, you are likely to adjust the mock-up and apply some changes in the process.

And this is why I don’t want to waste expensive materials on it.

I must warn you in advance that a skirt like ours is not a budget garment either in terms of materials, or decoration, or efforts. Your skirt will only look good if you use high-quality materials including corsetry mesh fabric for the gores.

I return to the writing board and write down the length of the bottom edge of the gore – 100cm.

It is obvious that a gore with a width of 100cm down the bottom needs to be reinforced very well in order to hold its shape.