When an Oh Sew Kat! pattern uses a gathered skirt, it’s very difficult to please everyone by either including large, blank pages of pieces of paper to print and tape together to make a rectangle pattern piece, or to just put measurements and let everyone cut their fabric with a rotary cutter. As a pattern designer, I find it to be about a 50/50 split on what people prefer. Personally, I either rip my fabric, or I use my rotary cutter and quilting rulers (like these: AD: https://amzn.to/2XaHDeC) but if you don’t have one, or prefer to cut around a paper pattern, here is an easy tutorial to make a paper pattern for the gathered skirts if one is not included in the pattern.
Make a paper pattern for a doll skirt with just copy paper, a ruler, and a pencil.
First of all, no graph paper is needed. You can, of course, use graph paper to make an easy paper pattern. Most graph paper is 1/4 inch squares, so simply count and mark off your inches and tape them together. This technique does not use graph paper, but rather standard, 8 1/2 x 11 copy paper and a ruler.
It’s actually really easy to make your own pattern with regular printer paper. Start with the basics of the math. A piece of standard, US printer paper is 8 1/2 inches x 11 inches. If you fold it in half the long way, it’s now 4 1/4 inches wide on each half by 11 inches long. Use this basic concept to make your paper pattern.
Let’s start with an easy example, like a skirt that measures 4 x 20 inches.
- Fold your paper in half the long way (hot dog). Cut down the center fold, and then measure over and cut off 1/4th more from the long side of each piece. Each piece now measures 4 x 11 inches. (Use a scrapbooking type paper trimmer if it’s easier for you!)
- Tape the short sides together, so they overlap by one inch exactly. The piece will now measure 4 x 20 inches. Ta da! Wasn’t that easy?
To make a skirt that measures 5 inches by 20 inches, you will need two pieces of paper instead of one. Fold down the middle, and then measure over another 3/4th inch from the fold in either direction. Cut on that line (5 inches from one edge. You will not use the other part of that paper). Do the same for the second piece. Overlap the short edges by one inch, for a total of 20 inches by 5 inches.
Let’s try one that is a little harder this time. Let’s make a pattern for a doll skirt that measures 6 x 36 inches.
- Fold your paper in half the short way (hamburger). This fold will be at 5 1/2 inches. Measure one half inch from the fold in either direction and cut along this line. You will not need the smaller piece you cut off. Your piece now measures 6 by 8 1/2 inches. Do this 5 times, so you have a total of five pieces.
- Overlap each one by one inch and tape them together. The piece will now measure 36 1/2 inches. Measure 1/2 inch of one end and cut it off.
Use basic math to make a paper pattern piece to cut out your doll skirt.
This technique can work for ruffles as well, like in the Playtime Peasant Twirl Skirt Pattern.
If you like to have a pattern piece when you make a gathered doll skirt, these tips/ideas will work for any size that you need. Simply work with what you know. You know what your copy paper measures, so trim it down and overlap it to make it the desired size. Save it for next time with your other pattern pieces.
When you fold a standard piece of American copy paper in half the long way (hot dog), each side measures 4 1/4 x 11 inches.
When you fold a standard piece of American copy paper in half the short way (hamburger), each side measures 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 inches.
Now anytime you purchase a PDF pattern that does not include the pattern piece for the gathered skirt, you have an easy way to construct one yourself without having to run out to buy graph paper.