Many people have asked recently how to modify the solo dress pattern to make a single-panel skirt. [Edit: The second edition pattern includes a single-panel skirt, so no adaptation is needed. This post is for customers using the first edition.] This style of skirt is becoming increasingly popular, perhaps because of it’s sleek silhouette or because of the opportunity to design large sections of skirt embroidery without having to break it up into different panels.
1. Find your Skirt Block pieces. These pieces represent the shape of the skirt without the pleats and gathers of the Skirt Views I-VII, so they are basically a single-panel skirt already.
2. Because there are no pleats, gathers, or extra fullness in the skirt if it just flat across, you’ll want to make the side pleat deeper so there is more room built in for high kicks. An extra inch is a good guideline…maybe a bit more if you are making a dress on the larger end of the spectrum. Extend the bottom of the pleat out one inch, and use your ruler to connect that point to the top seam line.
3. Add your side notch back on. Don’t worry about getting it exactly X inches from the top. The only other piece that uses it is the back, and you’ll copy that over.
4. Repeat Step 2 with the Skirt Block Back. Copy the side notch from the front to the back so that the side-pleat seams line up.
5. The skirt front should be quite stiff. I’d recommend two layers of your average stiffener. Because the skirt front is one flat piece, you could get away without it but it’s a good idea to keep it in. However, you don’t need two layers of stiffener in the under-skirt and two layers in the main skirt; just use one in the underskirt.
For the back, you have some options. The whole back piece does not need to be stiff. You certainly can make it that way, and if you do, use only one layer of heavy stiffener. If you’re looking for a softer back, you may still want a thin layer of something in the back skirt, like a medium-weight non-fusible interfacing. This will keep the skirt smooth and not too flimsy that it can’t retain shape. Pick your interfacing based on your fabric choice. Something lighter with a heavy velvet; something a bit beefier for a thin satin.
[Edit: Some people have found that they did need the under-skirt in the front and back, and some have said that they didn’t. It really comes down to your stiffener. If you’re unsure, try it both ways. Remember that if the dress is too big around at the dropped waist, the stiffener has to work extra hard to keep the shape. The dress shouldn’t measure more than 1.5-2″ larger than the dancer at the dropped waist (1.5″ for kids, 2″ for teens, adults).]
6. Find your under-skirt pattern pieces (7-8). Lay them over the top of the skirt block front and back so that the top edge of the block lines up with the dashed seam line on the under-skirt. Add the excess in the side pleat so that the two line up at the bottom edge of the Under-skirt (you will be adding less than the original inch).
[I colored the block light grey, and made the under-skirt slightly transparent so you can see how they line up. Despite the changes in color, we are still dealing with the paper pattern pieces.]
Fabric & Cutting
Cut 1 on fold of fabric
Cut 2 on fold of stiffener
Cut 1 on fold of lining
Cut 2 of fabric
Cut 2 of stiffener or non-fusible interfacing (depending on desired stiffness)
Cut 2 of lining
1. Build the skirt front and backs following steps 26-28 of the pattern instructions. You’ll skip step 29 because you only have one piece for each front and back.
2. Baste the skirts onto their under-skirts (step 30).
From here, you can follow the directions as per usual, stitching the fronts to backs and creating the side pleat, and continue to finish the dress as per usual. Cheers!