Experiments with Silver Scissors: Single Seam Skirt

      5 Comments on Experiments with Silver Scissors: Single Seam Skirt

Back in July I devoted a post to the Silver Scissors pattern system. So far, I have made muslins for a fitted bodice and a skirt and hopefully I will soon be able to create a real wearable item using this system. Today’s post documents my recent experience with drafting a simple skirt based on one of the miniature patterns in my little red binder.


The skirt I made is pictured to the right as part of a dress. I would love to try out the draped bodice of the dress as well and the draped skirt to the left too!

As I did not want to invest too much time in this experiment I chose a skirt pattern that basically consists of one large pattern piece forming the front and the back panels of the skirt. In addition there is a pattern piece for the front pocket/hip with markings for the pocket lining. Many Silver Scissors dresses have a waistseam, so the skirts are interchangeable and can easily be made up as separates.


The main pattern piece is pictured in the top right corner. The hip/pocket piece is found on a different page.

Initially, I understood this to be a single seam skirt, such as Simplicity 3983. After all, the double lines that mark the division between the front and back skirt do not extend to the hip and seem to provide little shaping. The dress in the fashion drawing, however, clearly has side seams, although they are not shown where they should be according to the pattern piece. The arrows indicating the straight grain also suggest that the front and back could be cut seperately. As Silver Scissors does not provide instructions, I decided that the side seams are optional and took Handmade Jane’s post in which she explains the construction of a one seam skirt as my point of reference.


The enlarged main pattern piece with added seam allowances. the miniature pattern – which I copied on tracing paper – is seen in the top center. At first the dart in the back was all skewed, due to a mistake I made while drafting.

The drafting process seemed mysterious at first, but all it comes down to is using the special tape measure to put dots in the right places and then connecting them with a ruler or French curve. This process was remarkably fast and surprisingly enjoyable. It was only slightly more time consuming than tracing a Burdastyle or Knipmode pattern, but I did feel much cooler while doing it. Because it is easy to be a bit off at times, I made sure to double-check the placement of the dots.


The crosslet that forms the “compass” for the hip/pocket is placed outside the miniature pattern piece instead of in its center as with the main pattern piece. Therefore, the miniature and drafted hip/pocket piece are located so far from each other .

The following photographs show my muslin. For documentation purposes I sewed it up without any alterations. The length of the darts, placement of the vent, hemline etc. are all a result of drafting the pattern based on my hip measurment (102cm). I used a mystery fabric from the thrift store that does not drape well, wrinkles badly and clings to my tights. Surely, the skirt would already have looked much better in a wool blend!


I cut off the hem allowances to make a very flimsy waistband. On my 175cm tall self, the hemline reaches just below the knee.

Besides the fact that my Silver Scissors pattern book offers many vintage patterns that would be difficult and pricy to collect seperately, one of its selling points is the promise that the patterns are drafted to your personal measurments and should, thus, provide a good fit. While I was sceptical about the accuracy of the fit, I was pleasantly surprised by how it came out. Of course, it is not perfect, but the overall dimensions are not too far off and with some tweaking here and there I think I could end up with something I would be satisfied with.


The seam at the hip is wonky and should be taken in. I guess only have myself to blame, as I drew it with too much of a curve.

My main concern was that the waist seam would be too tight on me. Like many garments from the 50’s, the pattern book gives the impression that skirts and dresses are very nipped in at the waist. As it turns out, the waist fits me comfortably and I could even do with a tighter waist band.


The back need some adjusting.

I am least happy with the back and think that the fit will benefit from splitting the darts in two to create four darts in total. This was also the first time I inserted an invisible zipper with a special presser foot and I wonder if some of the drag lines are a result from my inexperience with invisible zippers. It was really easy and looks great when the skirt is lying flat, though!


Functional back vent that allows for climbing stairs two steps at the time.

While this is not the most exciting skirt pattern, I can imagine using it for shorter lenghts of fabric with large-scale prints, such as this 70 x 140cm piece of plaid wool blend in my stash. The main pattern piece including the vent fits easily on fabric with a width of 140cm.


Overall, I am quite pleased with the result and I think this definitely bodes well for future Silver Scissors projects. In the meantime I managed to get my hands on another version, so now I have even more patterns to choose from (not like that is necessarily a positive thing).


My recently acquired Danish version of Silver Scissors whose patterns partly overlap with the somewhat later Swedish version I have.



5 thoughts on “Experiments with Silver Scissors: Single Seam Skirt

  1. PinhouseP

    Yay! This is so exciting 🙂 I have version of Silver Scissors, but I have not yet tried it out. There are so many wonderful fashion drawing in there, though. I would love to find more of these binder books, but I have not seen any around. (I have come across some Lutterloh ones, but they are quite pricey.) You are lucky to own two! The skirt looks really promising, and you did really well with the drafting.

    1. iris Post author

      It would be great to see you make something from your Silver Scissors book someday and compare experiences! The new, Danish Silver Scissors book I found on Tradera (the Swedish equivalent to Ebay), where I’ve seen Silver Scissors books and supplements a couple of times since I became interested in them, which was in April. This one was much cheaper than my Swedish binder, probably because the tape measure wasn’t included, but the condition is at least as good. I should probably write a post about that one too!

  2. Pingback: More Silver Scissors! – IrisArctica

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