Today, we are going to look at making skirts.  In particular, we are going to look at making Circle Skirts using Marvelous Designer.  The actual "How To" will be in the next article after we dispense with a bit of information.  While this article is geared more towards beginner, I hope even those with experience might find something useful here.  Also, I have included a number of graphics in this article, be sure to check out the caption links to find out more information from the original source. Gotta love Pinterest!

Marvelous Designer (MD) is geared towards making 3D clothing, although it's base is in real world clothing design and construction.  MD is the little sister of the clothing industry's CLO software product. While it is not necessary, for me at least, I do feel at some point it becomes a little more important to know a bit about real world clothing design, construction, pattern making and sewing to help refine my creations from simple creations to better ones.   I am not a seamstress or even a hobbyist real life clothing creator.  What little actual sewing knowledge I do have was from way back when I took some Home Economics class in High School...back then it was a mandatory subject!   The knowledge is old yet, it still has some merits.  It helps me better understand a bit about the creation and sewing process helps me better understand what I am doing in Marvelous Designer.  

So in that vain, let's look at the various types of skirts that exist in the real world today. If you look at the photo below, you will find multiple variations of skirts types.

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As you can see, almost all of these skirt types pictured have some type of folding, gathering at the waist, or draping of the material.  Some skirts have soft, nearly-undefined, folds and gathers while others have some very deep and noticeable ones.  Each skirt is  reflective of patten cut, number of pattern pieces involved, weight of the material, and the amount of fabric used in the design.  The fuller the skirt the more fabric is required and the more prominent the folds and gathers tend to be.


So what's the difference between folds and draping?

Draping describes the way fabric moves and falls across and from the body.  Much depends on the fabric stiffness and the weight of it.  Folds on the other hand is how fabric folds into itself as it hangs; it is also meaningful of how fabric is purposefully folded together, such as in darts, smocking and gathers to create fit by removing excess fabric creatively. My descriptions and definitions of sewing terms are probably not the most precise nor, are they correct in meaning or proper definition at times but think you get what I am trying to say. 


For our purposes, we are going to be looking at a particular type of skirt generally known as a circle skirt.   It tends to be created out of a single or multiple circular panels.  

Look at the following illustration for some sample circular skirts, which are not showing waistbands.  See how the cut of the pattern piece(s) defines how your final skirt SHOULD look.  Also, notice the numbers beside each yellow pattern piece below?  This number represents the number of degrees (i.e. 0-360 degrees is a full circle) the pattern has been cut to form a circle when sewed together.  The number of arch or degrees will determine how full your folds will be.

Remember, this is only an illustration to give you some idea how particular pattern cuts will fold and drape in the final garment.  YOUR final skirt may look somewhat different than what you see here. It will depend on fabric, weight, and the propositions of the model you are using in Marvelous Designer.

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The above is another example of circular skirts how the pattern might be laid out on fabric for cutting.  Of course, there are a couple of ways you can cut pattern is to cut on a fold so you have a single continuous piece can cut two pieces and sew together.  You can even quarter some of the pieces as well and sew them together for a different look.  All depends on your pattern, amount of fabric you have, and your desire..same would go in Marvelous Designer, although in Marvelous Designer, we do not have to worry if our fabric is large enough because it is always large enough!


For those of you that sew in real life and even those of you who don't,  you might be interested in the following written tutorial I found on  Just follow the link to for a larger view of these instructions.  It's simple, quick, and provides general "how to" information.  If you Google circle skirts, you can find many more links with varying information.  

If nothing else, these instructions will give you an idea how basic circle skirts are made and how the proportions are calculated in RL. Also, it can be quite useful concept-wise when working with these types of skirts in Marvelous Designer as you make your patterns from scratch.

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I can't stress enough, USE EVERY POSSIBLE RESOURCE available to you when you set about making mesh clothing for Second Life.  DO NOT discount information that may geared to real life clothing design and/or sewing.  You can pick up some important tips and tricks that can be adjusted for use with creating clothing in Marvelous Designer.

Now that we have that out of the way, let's try our hand at making a Circle Skirt in Marvelous Designer!

Happy Creating!


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