Category: Patternmaking Series 08 January 20

Every dress starts with an idea. You might see the perfect one in a magazine, on a young and fresh girl who just walked out of a high-end fashion boutique or you might get lightened with inspiration in a fabric store when you see that silk organza with velvet dots.

Usually, when I get this sudden idea of a dress which “I-do-want-right-now-but-I-don’t-know-why”,I wait for a couple of days—and that’s a challenging process—and if this dress still sits somewhere in the back of my head, that’s it, I’m going to sew it.

But one cannot sew a dress without a pattern, right? At least, I cannot, because I’m not that skilled at draping to cut and sew it directly on the dress form. I am a flat patternmaking adept. That means I love calculations and drafting.

The Pattern

Wait, what is the pattern?

A pattern is a template, the blueprint, from which the parts of a garment—like sleeves, front and back bodice, collar, etc.—are placed and traced onto fabric before being cut out and assembled. One can draft patterns manually or digitally. They are usually made of paper, cardboard or even plastic if used often.

The process of making these blueprints is called patternmaking, or pattern cutting.

To get the pattern one can: order it from a professional pattern maker—which will be pricy—or scroll through many pattern shops—it’ll take time, and you might not find THAT dress or even something similar. So instead of wasting money and time on a pattern that might be too expensive or will need plenty of alteration, you can draft the exact pattern for the actual dress yourself.

Yes, learning pattern making will take time and effort, but it is no rocket science, and this is an excellent investment in yourself and your closet. You can imagine the dress and make the pattern, without any boundaries that are limiting you. And it fits you so well.

The Misconception

“But I don’t want to make a new pattern for every new dress—it takes too much time and calculation."

That was the most popular misconception I heard from my students. That’s not how patternmaking works.

It’s true, at first, you’ll need some time and numbers to draft a basic block pattern that fits you perfectly. Let say it’s a cast of your body, a universal pattern with minimum detail. But then you’ll modify that basic pattern into a pattern for the exact dress—A-line, trapeze, long, short—any dress you like.

So, most of the time you don’t need to start with creating a basic block, as you already have one, you go straight to flat patternmaking, or in other words, pattern manipulation. The more patterns you make, the less likely you are to start manipulating the basic one. The more patterns you create and save, the less time you spend on future designs. Sounds reasonable.

To help you step on this scene or at least look behind the curtain, I’m going to share some of my knowledge, experience and tips on pattern manipulation in the following posts. Maybe, there will be a quiz even.

Our next stop will be The Block Patterns.

#patternmaking #series #story #block #flat patternmaking

See you soon,