December 7, 2011

How to: Draft a Vent Lining

Hey friends! Please note that as of 4/6/2012, this tutorial has been refashioned, just a bit. The instructions and photos have all been updated to produce a much more professional result. If this is your first time visiting this tutorial, read on, if this is your second or third time (or 4th or 5th) give a read through the material as some of it has changed a bit.

This is the next step in perfecting a pencil skirt, in my opinion. Giving it a lining. To line a skirt that has a vent, we need to take in special consideration for a few things. Adding a vent, in my opinion, is cake. It's this issue of the lining that's a beast! For clarification, I've actually done line drawings here (please don't judge my artwork too harshly) plus there are extra tips to make the sewing easier and the final result more professional. My artwork is nothing special, but I think it will do the trick. I think you'll agree, that once you've perfected a vented and lined pencil skirt, it's one of those "go-to" patterns that you will most likely revisit again and again. So, break out your pencil skirt pattern and let's draft a fabulous lining for a vented skirt. Here we go:

Step 1 First of all, you'll need a pencil skirt pattern that has a seam in the place where you want the vent and if your pattern doesn't come with a vent, you'll need to create one (that tutorial is located here). Here we are looking at the back pattern pieces. To get these, you'll need to trace off two of the back pattern piece, mirror imaging each other, just like I have here. Now, to clarify, I'm only going to show the skirt back sections here (because they are the devils that are hardest to understand), but you'll want to trace off the front skirt panel to create a full lining pattern too. There will be a few more instructions for the Front Lining, but no pictures. And yes, there will be a quiz at the end, just to make sure you read this and not just looked at the photos. Label the left "Left Side Back Lining" and the right "Right Side Back Lining." You also need to add 2 sets of notches. The first set of notches is at the zipper stop notch - just a notch indicating where the zipper ends) and a second set of notches where the vent stitching needs to end. This notch happens 5/8" from the edge of the vent extension.

Step 2 Now it's time to start cutting and slashing a little. These next few steps help the lining hang better giving a much more professional result than merely cutting a replica of the skirt pattern for the lining. Since we're dealing with a rather fitted style, we need just a bit more room for everything at certain points of strain, like the seat and the hips. There are two things that we need to do first to both the Front Lining and the Left & Right Back Lining panels. First, mark the darts and turn them into tucks. There is nothing really special about this alteration, just know that instead of sewing a dart you'll sew down from the dart legs about 2 inches, creating a tuck instead of a dart. Next you need to widen the hips. Below the seam allowance at the top of the skirt side edge, give yourself a 7 - 9 inch window and with the aid of a hip or french curve, widen the hipline by 1/8" of an inch. I know, seems like a silly amount, but remember you need to do these first two steps on the Front Lining panel as well. It will give you just a little more ease in your hips so that when you sit down or bend over, the lining doesn't strain, rip or distort.

OK, now for the part that only deals with the Left & Right Back panels. Since the lining is attached to the skirt at the back vent, there is a tendency, I've noticed, for the lining to hike the skirt section up in that area. To facilitate for this and the added strain of sitting down, you'll need to extend the back sections by 1/4". To do this, slash the pattern above the vent extension and in the middle of the skirt in a rectangular formation. Slide that section down 1/4" and tape in place. Be sure to blend the newly formed hemline once finished.

 Step 3 Alright. Not so bad, right? We're almost done here. Now for those of you who have added or sewn a vent in a skirt before, let me draw your attention to the fact that the extension is kind of rigid, right? I mean, its got some sharp angles - as it should.  To make the sewing of this 10,000 times easier all we need to do is round off the angle where the center back seam meets the vent extension seam and the end of the vent extension itself - Note: this is only for the lining pattern, not for the shell pattern. With your french curve in hand, just round out those two sharp edges. Make sure to keep the notches in place. That's a must. Keep track of those notches. One more thing here: the biggest concern here is that vent extension only extends from the edge of the seam by 1 1/4 inches (3.2 centimeters) and that the angle of the top edge of the vent extension is a true 45 degree angle. Both of these elements make for sewing this thing up alot easier.

Step 4 Last step! Yay! For the Right Side Back Lining piece, we've got to invert the vent extension now. Lay the Left Side Back Lining panel over the top of the Right Side Back Lining panel. Line up the center back seams and the hemline and trace the vent extension area onto the Right Side Back Lining panel. Don't join the panels along the center back seamline/allowance, just meet up the patterns along the center back so that you have a seam allowance for the inverted vent. Absolutely positively make sure that you've kept the notches in place. Okay? Sewing it is such a cinch with the notches. Way cinchier than trying to figure out where to start and stop the seam - yeah, I've already done that one. Now cut away the inverted extension from the Right Side Back Lining panel. And there you go!

Now, just a quick recap of what we've done. You will need to: Trace off two separate skirt back pieces for the lining (and one for the skirt front too!); transform darts to tucks; widen the hips; lengthen the vent extension; round off the sharp angles of the vent extension; and lastly invert the Right Side Back Lining vent extension.


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