Episode 107: Knockout Knockoffs

Knockout Knockoffs by Steffani Lincecum

Steffani Lincecum teaches how to duplicate a favorite skirt using a paper rub-off technique.


  • Ready-made skirt
  • Butcher paper
  • Pencil
  • Clear ruler with grid
  • Acoustical tile or folding gridded cardboard cutting mat

Trace It

  1. Cut two butcher paper sheets that will accommodate the skirt front and back panels. Measure the skirt length; record. Beginning at the paper left edge, draw a straight vertical line longer than the skirt length. At the line end, draw a horizontal line that's perpendicular to the vertical line, creating an L-shape. The lines will ensure that the skirt remains on the straight of grain.
  2. Fold the skirt front in half lengthwise; pin together the side seams, aligning the edges. Position the skirt over the butcher paper, aligning the fold with the vertical line; pin along the fold. Continue pinning the skirt perimeter, smoothing any wrinkles. If wrinkles are created, the skirt pattern may be smaller than the ready-made skirt. Mark any features, such as darts, closures or junctures.
  3. Remove the pins and skirt; set aside the pattern piece. Repeat to create the skirt back panel.
  4. To trace a waistband, pin the waistband to a piece of butcher paper and trace the perimeter. If the waistband is a symmetrical rectangle, measure the length and width and use the measurements to draw a rectangle onto a piece of butcher paper.
  5. Using a ruler and pencil, connect the pinholes to draw each pattern piece. Use a curved tool to draw the hipline and skirt upper edge, if needed. Draw the lines lightly to easily add seam allowances and other details.
  6. Measure darts, kickpleats and other skirt features and transfer them to the pattern pieces.

Label It

  1. Label each pattern piece, such as Skirt Front, Skirt Back and Waistband, and any other features, such as zipper placement, darts and pockets. Make as many notations to the pattern pieces that are needed for clarity during construction.

Alter It

  1. Add length or width to the skirt pattern, if desired. If less than 1" is needed to add to the pattern width or length, then add the amount to the seam allowances. If more than 1" is needed, use the slash-and-spread technique to alter the panels. The slash-and-spread method adds width or length along the panel interior instead of along the panel exterior or seam allowances in order to maintain the integrity of style features, such as darts. For example, if an additional 2" is needed for the skirt width, then draw a lengthwise line along the center of each skirt front and back panel. Cut each panel along the lines. Place the skirt front halves on a new piece of butcher paper, spacing 1" between the halves. Tape the pieces to secure and draw a line to connect the panels. Repeat for the skirt back panel.
  2. Alter the pattern for style, such as creating new seamlines, dividing the pattern to create blocks of color or and more, to create visual interest, if desired.
  3. Using a ruler and pencil, add seam allowances to each pattern perimeter. Most commercial patterns use a 5/8" seam allowance; however, most seam allowances are trimmed during construction, so use 1/2" seam allowances instead, if desired.


Lincecum, Steffani. Patternmaking for a Perfect Fit: Using the Rub-off Technique to Re-create and Redesign Your Favorite Fashions. Watson-Guptill, 2010.


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