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Subject: 4 Panel & 5 Panel Dresses

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Date Posted: 19:59:54 01/19/07 Fri
In reply to: K 's message, "Contruction Problems-Technique & Tips" on 15:45:15 03/10/01 Sat

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[> [> Subject: 4 Panel Skirts -- Jess

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Date Posted: 13:57:54 02/24/07 Sat

The front 4 panels are not one single piece. You would basically make 4 or 5 top panels, and 3 or 4 underneath panels (would traditionally be the pleated part).

I use the traditional 3 panel to trace off an outline of a whole skirt with no pleats, then split it by the relevant number, draw up the whole design etc. So I then have one piece of tracing paper that is a template for the entire skirt.

Then trace off the relevant panels as separate pieces. The lower ones (i.e., the ones that would usually be the "pleat" need to extend underneath the upper panels so take this into account when drawing up the single panels. The outer panels will also incorporate the side pleat of the skirt (if you use one).

Use more stiffening than usual; I use an extra layer in each of the 7 or 9 panels to go across the front. This stops the panels being able to twist as easily.

Once embroidered, cut all panels to shape, stiffen, and line, and use satin stitch to edge all the side and bottom edges of these panels.

Using the original template of the entire skirt I then start from the center and work outwards lining up the panels, pining in place then sew the top panel to the one underneath it with straight stitch, along the satin stitched edging to a few inches down.

Back skirt I do as normal though I have seen a couple of Gavin's where he's used the same panels all the way round the back and the back isn't pleated or folded either.

-you describe how you construct your multiple panel skirt fronts. A "4 panel" is 4 upper pieces and 5 lower pieces you lay on a solid front skirt template to correctly space them then stitch through the overlapping layers for the first several inches. My question is what a bout the remaining 3/4 of each panels vertical edge? Is there a folded under section from each of the upper four panels that stitches to the lower panel to form sides of a pleat? Or do they not attach to each other at all and work together like petals of a tulip? Again, hoping this is not rude, referencing the gorgeous peach and navy dress on your website, how do the peach panels connect to the navy panels?
--Stitch down top couple of inches - roughly a 1/4. But absolutely no pleats in front except for the side seam pleat to keep the skirt flat. The three back panels which would normally be part of the pleats (or four if you have five upper petals as in the dress on my homepage) are open - like petals of a tulip as you say (mum and I dubbed them petal skirts at worlds). So on the homepage - the peach petals are sewn onto the purple for the top 1/4 or so, then below that - open. Jess

-Jess, so if the panels are open, kind of like what some dressmakers call a "carwash hemline", then that would leave loads of kick room. Don't even think you would need deep side pleats for kicking, just for the skirt "sitting" correctly. Would this show too much skin when the dancer moves?
--Yes - easy to dance in. Side pleats are for the skirt to sit better rather than extra space. As far as skin--the ones that I have seen - no. Each panel needs more stiffening that usual - I use three layers, one of which is a very stiff iron on. That way they don't flip around as much. When my own was finished (the first I tried) I only used my standard two layers so it flips more - had to sew the panels down further in the name of decency ;) Jess

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[> [> Subject: Other 4 Panel drafting

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Date Posted: 13:59:02 02/24/07 Sat

The basics for drafting the pattern would be:
- take the front waist measurement from side seam to side seam, then subtract 2" (1" from each side so that the skirt sits forward of the side seam) this measurement will be the width of the skirt at the top, then add seam allow. above that
- divide top width by 4 for your four panels - the panels will meet at the top of the seam allow, but will be spaced just a bit at the actual seam line
-draw the side seam out a 45 degree angle and then shape the bottom curve of the skirt.
-divide bottom width into equal sections of panels and pleats and then draw panel lines up to top line.

After drawing this out you can then make pattern pieces for the individual panels and pleats adding the fold-back parts, seam allow, hem shape, etc.

The outside panels will actually be shorter than the 2 center ones, so you have to adjust your design size to fit.

All of the pleats on the front are regular pleats (not faux). They are about 1" at the top and 2.5" at the bottom. There is boning at the bottom of all of the pleats (the black parts on my dress), but not on panels (yellow parts). The yellow panels have 2 layers of stiffener in the center, but the part that folds back is only one layer. The black pleats are 2 layers. The front panels are stitched down about halfway (from the inside so it doesn't show) and the others are stitched down about 3-4". The space at the bottom between the panels is about 3", but I think I will do it a little smaller in the future ( 2 - 2.5")to make the side panels sit better (so the panels will actually be a little wider at the bottom and the pleat will show less). It is by no means the only way to make a 4 panel, but it worked for me - Alison T.

Additional clarification: On the panels, it is the "fold-back" part that is 1" at the top and 2.5" at the bottom. This skirt was a 29" waist and that amount worked - however, on a smaller waist you would probably need the fold-back smaller at the top so that none of them overlap.

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[> [> Subject: Multiple Panel Technique March 2007

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Date Posted: 20:32:57 03/12/07 Mon

1. Regular pleats inside, connected all the way down {29} 31.52%
2. Faux/flat pleats sewn all the way down {8} 8.70%
3. Loose "panels/petals" all the way down {11} 11.96%
4. Loose panels at the bottom w/faux pleats (car wash hem) {3} 3.26%
5. Loose panels at the bottom w/petticoat underneath (soft skirt) {2} 2.17%
6. I haven't sewn a 4/5 panel yet. {39} 42.39%

Total Votes: 92
{number of votes}

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