How to Make a Pencil Skirt Pattern

    by River Lin

    About the Author

    River Lin is an independent writer and consultant. With a Master's degree in teaching English as a second language from Ball State University. She lived in Japan for 15 years teaching and editing. Now based in the US, she works for a variety of clients. Published work can be found in print and online at various websites and


    A pencil skirt is form-fitting to follow the shape of your waist, hips and legs. The length of a pencil skirt may vary, but it usually falls just below the knees. Most pencil skirts have a slit in the back to make it easier to move in them. The advantage of making your own pencil skirt pattern is that it will be a sure fit for your body. The key to making it a perfect fit is precise measuring.

    Things You'll Need

    • Tape measure
    • Pen/pencil
    • Notebook paper
    • Muslin fabric
    • Ruler or yardstick
    • Scissors

    show more

    Measure your waist, hips and thighs. Add 5 inches to each number. Write down the measurements on your notebook paper, and label them accordingly.

    Measure from your waistline to the desired length of the skirt. Add two inches to this number. Write it down on your paper under the heading, Length.

    Take the largest number from your waist, hip and thigh measurements—usually this is the hip measurement—and divide that number by two. This is the measurement for the width of each skirt pattern piece.

    Draw a rectangle on the muslin fabric using the width measurement you just determined and the length determined earlier. Use your ruler to ensure that your lines are perfectly straight.

    Draw another rectangle the same size. Cut both rectangles from the fabric. Mark, Skirt Front, on one rectangle, and Skirt Back, on the other. Also mark, Top, and Bottom, on each piece.

    On the skirt front, mark Place on Fold, along one long edge.

    On the skirt back, mark Center Skirt Back, along one long edge.

    Measure 7-1/2 inches down from the top of the center skirt back, and mark a short line, or dash, to indicate where the bottom of the zipper will be placed.

    Measure eight inches up from the center bottom of the skirt back, and mark another dash to indicate the location of the top of the back slit.

    Shape the sides of the skirt front pattern. Subtract your waist measurement from your hip measurement. Divide that number by two. Measure in from the side of the skirt front that is not marked, Place on Fold, according to that number, and make a mark. Draw a slightly curved line from one of the top marks to the widest part of the hip along one side of the pattern. Cut along your line.

    Shape the sides of the skirt back pattern in the same way. Shape only the outer side of the pattern piece, not the center.

    Label the dart on the skirt back pattern. Mark the center top of the skirt back pattern piece. Measure and mark half inch on each side of that mark. The center point is the center of the dart and the outer points are the outer edges of the dart. Measure and mark three inches below the center point. Use your ruler to draw connecting lines to each of the dart side points. Note that you only mark one dart on the pattern piece, but the finished skirt back will have two 3-inch darts, as you will be cutting two skirt back pieces.

    Label the dart on the skirt front pattern in the same way that you marked the dart on the skirt back pattern, starting with marking the center top of the skirt front pattern piece. However, measure and mark just two inches below the center point of the dart. Note that you only mark one dart on the skirt front pattern, but the finished skirt front will have two 2-inch darts, as you will be cutting the fabric on the fold.

    Make the skirt waistband/waist facing pattern. Cut a long rectangle that is 1-1/2 inches wide and the length of your waist measurement plus two inches. If you are going to make a pencil skirt with a waistband, you will use the full length. If you want to face the top of the skirt instead, you will cut your fabric 1-inch shorter.

    • When shaping the sides of the pattern, the skirt front pattern piece needs to be symmetrical, because there is no center seam; the back pattern piece should only be curved around the side, not along the center line.
    • When making the shape of the sides of the skirt pattern, use your ruler or yardstick to first make a straight line, which you can use as a guide to create a curved line to match the shape of your hips.
    • Note on all the pattern pieces that all seams should be a half inch, and the hem should be 1-inch.

    Photo Credits

    • business women rear view image by gajatz from