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,