Monday, 6 July 2015

Pattern drafting class

I don't have any new makes to show today, so feel free to skip on if that's what you're here for - I won't be offended!  Today I want to talk about my pattern drafting class that I mentioned in my last two posts, because this has been all-consuming for me for the last three weeks!

First of all, I have to tell you how I came upon it.  You may remember that I had been doing the on-line pattern drafting classes on Craftsy (which are brilliant).  The fit on my bodice was great, but I was having a lot of trouble when I added sleeves.  The back would pull between my shoulder blades (cross back), and I was having a lot of trouble with the back shoulder darts.  Adding a collar turned it into a red hot mess.  I did a lot of work on the sleeves/collar issues over the bank holiday weekend at the start of May, and was pretty disappointed when it turned out to be a disaster.  Wearing sleeveless garments all year round is not an option in Northern Ireland, so in desperation I googled "pattern drafting Belfast".  All my sewing prayers were answered when I found The School Of Pattern Design And Sewing website.  I looked through the whole website, and had to check twice that it really was in Belfast in Northern Ireland!

Before I go any further, I just want to say that I paid for my class myself, and I didn't even mention my blog to my teacher as I was so busy soaking up all the pattern drafting knowledge!  The lady who runs it is called Pat, she teaches fashion design at Belfast Met College and is a complete superstar!  I had initially emailed her about one-to-one classes, and she suggested the pattern drafting class that isn't on the workshop list.  It was over three Mondays from 15th June, cost £280, and was completely brilliant.  I haven't looked forward to a Monday morning so much in my life!

The maximum number of people on the class would be four, but there was only me and another lady.  Pat provided our text books, which was "Metric Pattern Cutting For Women's Wear" by Winifred Aldrich, metal right-angle metric rulers and loads of dots and crosses pattern making paper.  



In the first class we did our measurements, which is were I realised where I was going wrong on my own because I had my shoulder measurement too short, which affected the cross back.  Then we drafted our blocks.  If you've done the Craftsy class, then you'll know that you need a lot of measurements; we didn't need so many for this method.  The book explains how to do the draft, but there would have been a lot of head scratching without Pat's help.  For example, she took one look at me and knew my bust was larger than average for my frame.  She was then able to add some height to the front shoulder on my draft to lengthen the bodice front.  That wasn't in the book, and because I like to ask all the questions, I wanted to know how I would have fixed it if the extra hadn't been added, and the answer was a full bust adjustment.  Also, both of our armsyces looked a bit different that in the book, but Pat said they were ok, and she was right!  Then we sewed our toiles, and both only had to pinch in a little bit from the bust to the armhole.

  

Here's my toile.  You can see the diagonal darts going up from the bust point to the armsyce.  This is the bit that got pinched out, and was only about a centimetre at the armsyce.  Below is the finished bodice block.  The front is on the left, and the back on the right.  Hopefully you can see the fish-eye darts in the middle, and on the front there is one large dart extending up to the neckline.  On the back there is a small shoulder dart.  To draft a bodice with a separate skirt, you cut along the waistline in the middle of the fish-eye darts, and just work on the top half.


In the second class we drafted and sewed our sleeves.  Mine ended up needing a bit of work, but we got it sorted out.  I still need to trace it onto some card though.


Then we did some dart manipulation.  

 

On the left is an underarm/horizontal bust dart, and on the right is an armhole dart.  These were made by firstly drawing a line where the new dart should be, and then cutting along one leg of the large dart going into the neckline.  The neckline dart gets closed up, revealing the new dart.  So in these examples, the waist dart would also be sewn.

Then we drafted some collars.  This was a revelation for me because I've only ever sewn a flat Peter Pan collar as I never knew how to alter a collar with a stand to fit me.  The weekend after that class I fell down a collar-drafting rabbit hole!  Here's what I made:

 

First of all is a convertable collar, and horizontal bust darts.  This is the collar we drafted in class.  Please excuse the scrappy facings and lack of removing tailor tacks in these photos!  I was so excited about my collars, that I didn't want to waste any precious collar sewing time! 

Then there is a shirt collar, with diagonal darts coming up from the side seam corner.  I was beside myself with how well this turned out, and I found a brilliantly easy explanation on how to sew it in my Granny's Simplicity Sewing Book.
 

After all this success, I was dreaming of all the lovely collared garments I could make, and remembered about the new Sew Over It Vintage Shirt dress pattern.  Thank goodness for the instant gratification of PDF patterns, because it was the work of a few moments to click on buy, and start printing!  Then I'm not really sure what came over me, but I decided it would be no problem to draft it from my block.  And it flipping well worked!!


I sewn one pleated dart as on the pattern, and one waist dart to see which I liked best.  The pattern instructions for sewing the collar were really easy to follow.  I'm going to add a toile of the skirt to see how it looks, and then I can't wait to sew it up properly.

Pat asked us to think of a garment that we would like to draft, so we could do it in our last class.  I wanted to do the Colette Hawthorn Dress, as that is what I'd had all the trouble with myself.  To be a bit different, I wanted to use princess seams on the bodice, so we ended up drafting princess seam blocks from our original blocks.

The front is on the left, the back on the right.
Then Pat showed me how to change the bottom half of my block to make a wider skirt.  It was really simple.  We cut a straight line from the bottom to the base of the dart, then divided between the side seam and dart in two, and cut up to the waist.  The dart got closed up, and then the three strips were be widen by however much I wanted, and the spaces filled in.  I hope that makes sense, because it was so easy, and is the basis of any skirt shape. 

The front is on the left, the back is on the right.
I finished drafting my pattern, spent last weekend making a toile, and here it is!  Not too shabby, even if I say so myself!  It fits perfectly, and I can move my arms (which is always helpful!).


I'm delighted with the collar though, as it is sitting perfectly.   Unlike the complete and utter dogs dinner of a collar that I had drafted myself.  It turns out I had been messing with the back darts when I shouldn't have!

What the beep?!

I'm thinking of lowering the curve on the princess seams, and also making the collar a bit smaller.  It serves me right for not measuring the collar on the pattern first!  I like the bigger collar though, and think it would look nice on a winter dress.  So if anybody wants me, I shall be surrounded in paper and sellotape in true Blue Peter style - and if you got to the end of this post, I congratulate you because I didn't realise that I had so much to say!!

Have a great week,

Lynne

30 comments:

  1. Wow, this looks amazing. I would love to be able to to draft my own patterns, I am jealous thinking of all the perfectly fitting garments you will be making.

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    1. It really was. Pattern drafting is a lot easier that it looks. Once you get your eye in, you start to see all kinds of possibilities!

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  2. Wow, this looks amazing. I would love to be able to to draft my own patterns, I am jealous thinking of all the perfectly fitting garments you will be making.

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  3. Great post! Your collars look amazing, they're next in my to-draft list :)

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    1. Thank you! I am so pleased with my collars, and now will make collars on all the things!!

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  4. yes, the collars all look great! How will you decide what to make next??!!

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    1. Thank you! I have a list of what I want to make; a long list... ;)

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  5. Wow Lynne, I'm with you, I luuurve pattern drafting! I start a shop bought pattern and then wonder why I bothered- because I'm not clever enough at drafting yet that's why I suppose. But really lived this post, I too have been making blocks and have a shoulder princess to toile as soon as I stop fretting over this ill fitting shirt pattern I bought!

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    1. Thank you! Isn't pattern drafting fun?! I say step away from the shirt pattern and work on the princess seam toile. Then you can make your own shirt pattern from it!

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  6. how briliant, can wait to see the dresses and what you make next!

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    1. Thank you! I can't wait to get started on my dresses!

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  7. Oh I loved every word of this post... because we're so similarly shaped, I feel like our blocks would be so similar... I hope one of my French teachers can set up a workshop like this! Totally saving! Well done you - what a revelation and especially having other people measure you to get it right!

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    1. Thank you! You would love pattern drafting class, it would be right up your street. Hope you can get to do a class. It definitely helps to have an expert on hand to help with the measurements. And hopefully I won't have to do full bust adjustments any more; it's not that they are difficult, just time consuming. I could probably do them in my sleep - I bet you're to same!

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  8. I've had Suzy Furrer's bodice class for a while and really need to get around to making the sloper! Although I'm procrastinating a bit because I know how long it's going to take. But I did the skirt sloper class last week and straight away my mind started racing for all the skirts I could now make that FIT properly!

    I look forward to seeing your finished garments!

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    1. Thank you! The Craftsy class does take some time, but is worth it! I did the skirt class too, and have lots of skirt ideas - just need the time to make them!

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  9. Really interesting post. Thanks. Like Sophe-Lee above, it will be really good to see the clothes you make.

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad so many people have been interested in this.

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  10. What a fantastic class Lynne. It will be so interesting to see how you use what you have learnt when making more clothes.

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    1. It really was amazing, and it was great even to be able to go to a real class instead of trying to work stuff out from the internet!

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  11. This is fascinating - I have been struggling with shoulder fitting and I really want to understand pattern drafting better - I have the Craftsy class but haven't gone through it properly and I have no one to help with measurements!

    Louise

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    1. My problem was the too short shoulder seam which then effected the cross back. It's worth taking your own measurements, as the Craftsy class has a good section on taking measurements. And I saw in the questions sections that some folks had mentioned taking their own measurements too.

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  12. wow! i love posts about pattern drafting! This class sounds amazing - tempted to hot foot it to Belfast and sign up :) Enjoy all your new knowledge - doing classes is good for the soul :)

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    1. Doing classes really is good for soul! It was very disappointing to have to actually go to work last Monday morning!!

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  13. I wish I had this kind of classes in my town...!

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    1. Keeping googling, and something might turn up eventually! I would never in a million years have thought that something like this would ever be available in Belfast.

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  14. What an amazing class to go to! It looks like you covered so much in the time you had. I love pattern drafting and really need to find more time to do it before I forget everything that I learnt.

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    1. I was amazed at how much we covered in class. Yey to pattern drafting!

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  15. Hooray. It sounds like you've been having so much fun doing pattern drafting. I found that it's really insightful for fitting a garment too. I've got Metric Pattern Cutting For Women's Wear as well and I've always wondered how best to add room for a full bust. Now I know - add to the shoulder height. :)
    Looking forward to seeing your creatiions

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    1. Thank you! To get the right amount to add to the shoulder, my instructor measured from my shoulder seam, over the bust and to the waist. The difference between it and the back length was added in height to the shoulder. Hope that makes sense!

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Thank you for reading my blog! I love reading your comments, so please feel free to leave a comment if you have the time :) Lynne.