The Making Of: Yule Ball Skirt pt. one

Hello everyone,

I’ve gotten amazing responses from my blue yule ball dress so I though it was about time that I broke down how I made it. I have some detailed pictures, but I was in a little bit of a rush (I had to re-do almost all of it 2 days before the con!), I will have to explain some things with just text. But I got high English marks, so there should be no problems. 😉

Today I’ll get into the skirt, mostly dealing with the drafting and mockup process.

 Skirt Drafting pt. 1  


Untitled picture

Now Hermione’s skirt is a flared a line. At least from what I can see, the shape is a bit lost because of the ruffles. It is also separated by a center front seam and horizontal seams for attaching the ruffles. Drafting this skirt as the easiest portion of the entire cosplay.

I used my dress form. I hung panels of fabric that fit the waist and flared on the bottom until the floor. In most reference images I looked at there were about 8-10 ruffles on the skirt. I made 8 mockup ruffles that were 11″ in length and at different widths to fit around half of the skirt. I placed these ruffles where they looked best.

DSC_0476 DSC_0478

Drafting the Ruffles 

All of the ruffles on this skirt were circular ruffles. To those who don’t know circular ruffles are literally circles that you cut open and place where you like them. They add more subtle and graceful ruffles than gathering everything. They require a little math, but it’s really easy.

I did all of my math by hand. But I definitely would use this website if I knew about it before. Basically the waist size is the length of where the ruffle will go. The Hem length and Seam allowance is the length of the ruffle plus whatever seam allowance you want.
Then the website will calculate your radius (the purple line). The yellow measurement is the inner circle aka, the part you cut away. The green measurement is your ruffle.

Then you can draw your circle on your fabric, like I did here:

measurement lines

The pink lines are where you cut to open up the ruffle:

cutting lines for circle ruffles

For my mockup I did ruffles for one side of the skirt. One thing to remember, when you do them for both sides of the skirt, the ruffle will be less dense.

I spent sometime playing around with where the ruffles will go.

As you can see from the reference images, the first ruffle is where the bodice meets the skirt. So it goes straight across the waist. The ruffle is shorter in the front and longer in the back. Finally, this ruffle doesn’t go all around the skirt. It starts and ends about 4 inches from the center front line on my body frame.

All the ruffles below that descend the side of the skirt diagonally from the center front.


The trick to making this skirt look like the original is to make the space between the ruffle slowly become less. For instance, in the first panel there’s a 4 inch space on each side of the center front line. By the end of the skirt, there’s only a half inch space on each front of the center front line. It’s shows obviously in the pictures of the original and my version.
The red marks on the mockup show where the ruffles begin. 


I trimmed the ruffles to give each layer a different length. Then, I took the ruffles off and the skirt off of the dress form. I cut each pattern piece a part and  put it to paper and made all of the lines clean. Finally, I added an inch hem allowance to the bottom and half and inch around every single piece. I did not make pattern pieces for the ruffles.

Then I made my mockup without the ruffles to check the skirt fit.

Skirt Base Mockup 

The mockup went brilliantly. I used some spare lining fabric, so I had to mix up the colours. This was originally going to be a lining for the skirt, but I didn’t have time before the con to put it in.

The only adjustment I had to make was reduce the waist measurement by a couple of inches which was easy to adjust in the first panel.

DSC_0470 DSC_0471


That’s basically all I did to draft the skirt. The construction is very easy if a bit time consuming, which is what I’ll be talking about next. If you have any questions, please ask! I’d love to help. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s