Note: In the 4th Ed pattern (released July 2021), this skirt style is listed as View IV. It was View III in all previous versions. Some pattern piece numbers have changed as well since this post was written.
I’ve had a couple questions about modifying the pattern pieces for skirt view III (soft-pleated skirt). The two patterns (front and back) are drafted to have approximately 3x fullness at the top, and 2x fullness at the bottom. This makes for a really nice ratio for a gathered skirt, and is also similar to the ratio used by many dressmakers for soft, pleated skirts. What it also means is that you are not quite getting ‘full’ pleats at the hem edge, because you need 3x fullness for there to be no gaps.
So if you are looking to modify the pattern to get that 3x fullness, here is a quick tutorial on how to do it. It is pretty simple; all you’ll need is a ruler, tape, scissors, some large pieces of paper, and the patterns of course! (If you don’t have large paper at hand, you can tape together some printer paper, or use an old newspaper – just draw with a thin marker or something that will be easy to see over the printing.)
This general method can also work to add fullness to Skirt View IV (View III in the 4th Edition).
For simplicity’s sake, I’ll walk you through modifying just the skirt front, but you will do the exact same thing with the back.
1. First let’s get our numbers and math out of the way. Measure the hem edge of the Skirt Block Front (5) and Skirt II Front (10) from center front to side pleat (dashed line). For the size I am using, my measurements are:
Skirt Block hem: 15.0 inches
Skirt III hem: 30.55 inches
Multiply the block hem by 3. (I got 15.0 x 3 = 45.0 inches)
Subtract the skirt III hem from this new number. (I got 45.0 – 30.55 = 14.45)
Finally, divide this by 8. (I got 1.81 inches)
Call this number M and keep it for step 5.
(For newer versions, use the Single-Panel Skirt Front and Back for this step)
2. Start by tracing the pattern onto a different sheet of paper. We’re going to be cutting it into pieces, so best to leave the original intact.
3. Divide the skirt front into 8 equal sections. When dividing, ignore the side pleat, measuring only from the center front to the dashed line.
4. Cut up the center of each section. Starting at the bottom and stopping 1/8″ from the top; just far enough away to keep the pieces connected.
5. With a new sheet of paper underneath, spread the flaps apart one by one so the measurement between them at the hem is equal to the measurement M you figured out in step one. (Mine was 1.81 inches)
6. Smooth the lines of the pattern along the top and bottom edges.
7. You now have a pattern with 3x fullness at top and bottom. Repeat steps 1-6 with the backs.