In Preparation of Pattern Making

Tuesday, May 10

I'm starttinig my first ever series on my blog, and its about pattern making. I shall at this point own up to the fact that I do not have any noteworthy pattern making skills, so bear with me if I get things wrong ( which I am sure I will do on many occasions.). The reason for starting this series is simple. I am getting tired of buying commercial patterns, that may or may not fit me, so I want to try my hand at making my own patterns.

Nothing too complicated for a start, but things which I may be able to use to make the patterns I have now more unique. If you have been reading my blog, you will know by now that I love to deviate from the pattern instructions, by adding little trims here and there. By starting this series, I will be able to document my foray into customising my commercial patterns with different necklines, or dart positions, or sleeves or collars. It won't be easy I know, but I think if I can sew, then I can do this as well. Plus there is alot of information on the blogoshpere for pattern making, so I know I will be okay. The road will be bumpy, but I will get there someday.

Last year I bought Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear by Winifred Aldrich, which can be bought from Amazon here. I found a bit complicated, probably because I did not have making knowledge. I still do, but it might work for someone else. So you can check it out if you want.

This year, I bought another book, Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Armstrong found here at amazon.  This book is not cheap (£46.29), but I think if you are serious about learning something, you should invest in it. Buying these books work out cheaper than paying for a beginner course in pattern drafting, which will only teach me things I can figure out myself. So my strategy is to start studying on my own, and then when I feel the need to, sign up for an intermediate course which will teach me more advanced things. I also like learning by experimenting, so there.

There are also many resources online to learn pattern drafting you are interested. I have been reading the Fashion Incubator lately, and there is a wealth of information there. I will also be uploading more pattern drafting themed sites as I go along.

While reading about pattern drafting, the recurring theme was investing in good tools, some of which are quite pricey. Some of them you already own, like an awl, or good rullers, and cello-tape.

I'm not going to go over the most important tools to use as a beginner, because lets face it, I am just begining myself so I do not know my left earlobe from my right index finger, but you can find a good article over at Burdastyle on the important tools you need for drafting your own pattern.

I have started buying the essentials I think I will need now, and which I can afford at the moment. I found this really cool thing called the Shoben Fashion Curve.

Shoben Fashion Curve
Apparently it is the industry standard here in the UK, same as the Fairgate rulers are in the US. I really want the Fairgate rulers, but getting them was not cost effective for me, as I can't find any supplier here in the UK, and I am not willing to pay for postage that is the same price as the product itself. So another thing to jot down on my christmas wish list.

Fairgate designer kit
After watching Martin Shoben ( the creator of the Shoben Sashion Curve) demonstrate how to use the fashion curve, I quickly ordered it. Apparently it combines 12 pattern making tools into one. You can use it to draw straight lines, curves , find your bias and seam allocwances from 0.5 cm to 5cm i think. You can watch the video here . The ordering is old fashioned. You fill out the order form, with your details, and card details, and send.  Then they "review" your order, taking into consideration your location, before sending you an email with the charges for posting. Sweet non? They send the email quickly though. I got my email 5 minutes after sending the order form, so hopefully my parcel will be with me tomorrow.
Is anyone else learning how to draft their own patterns?

have a nice day




  1. Good luck with your drafting, I've never tried, but am sure you could start with some simple garments and go from there.

  2. I have found a French curve very useful in my classes for adjusting pattern pieces. Some strange part of my brain resents forking out for one at home. God knows why. I really should buy one.

  3. hahahahaha. You should negotiate with that part of your brain.
    Thanks Kestrel.

  4. I love that you teaching yourself to make patterns! I *wish* I was that brave. One day...maybe.

    Looking forward to what you come up with.

  5. Your drafting supplies are looking good!

    I have Metric Pattern Drafting too, though haven't used it yet. First I need to measure myself in 100 places ;) Do have a fitted dress pattern that's good for making flat pattern alterations.