Archives for the month of: October, 2014

I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting lately.  Somehow I managed to get myself included in a charity fashion show happening on November 4 in Oshawa, Ontario.  I’ll be showing 8 knitted items. The goal is to show that knitting shouldn’t be scary.  With  few simple stitches – and some amazing yarns – anyone can make some really interesting pieces that add all kinds of style to outfits! All my knitted projects are documented on Ravelry.  Here’s what I’ll have in the show:  a girl can never have too many wraps, cowls or shawls!

SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA Outlander Cowl Evening Annis Lush cowl 2 SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA SAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERAStormy_AnnisSAMSUNG DIGITAL CAMERA

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At the beginning of 2014 I joined a Ready-to-Wear Fast, vowing to make all my clothes for the year.  I’ve been doing quite well, although my efforts have been hampered a bit by working away at my Fashion studies classes.  This year I took:

  • Pattern Drafting II, which had us manipulating bodice and sleeve blocks.  We designed and made a dress from woven fabrics, as well as a knit dress.
  • Corsetry and bra making.  This was a really fun class, although I spent a lot of time trying to get my head around shaping bra cups.  But between the course and the wonderful resources on Pinterest, it’s making enough sense that I’m comfortable drafting my own bra’s.  Just need the time…

What is pattern drafting?

At least at Seneca College in Toronto, pattern drafting courses work like this.  They offer three levels of pattern drafting, plus a custom block making course. Plus a draping course which I’ll do in the future.

Flat pattern drafting is about creating flat patterns for a 3-dimensional body.  It involves manipulating a standard size 10 block, using it to make various types of garments. Topics include use of traditional darted blocks, skirt and bodice, with special emphasis on dart control and manipulation, yokes, flaring techniques, fullness, facings and waistbands.

A block (aka sloper) is a flat pattern representation of standard garment pieces such as bodice, skirt, pants; with minimum ease added – if you were to use it to sew up a pair of pants for instance, you could stand, but definitely not sit! In flat pattern drafting, all garments start from a basic block – you then add ease, manipulate darts, and add other elements to create the pattern you want.  A custom block is one that’s been created based on your specific measurements.  Contrast this to “draping”, in which you drape fabric on to a body, pinching, draping and manipulating it into the design and fit you want.

I can’t begin to express how meaningful these pattern making courses have been to me.  For the last 20 years I have struggled with trying to get clothing to fit – it seems like there’s almost no part of me that corresponds to a standard size.  So instead of struggling with multiple fitting issues, now I start with a block that fits me, then draft a pattern for my garment of choice.  So far, I’ve made a vintage blouse, several tee-shirts, several tunic blouses, and some wonderful summer skirts.  My next project will be a Couture-style jacket – in that case I’ll take my block and use it to alter a commercial pattern, as I’m not ready to draft a jacket pattern quite yet.

What I really like about the pattern making courses is that they teach you to evaluate a design – whether a sketch, or a photo of a garment – and design a pattern to make that garment.  So no more looking around for the closest pattern:  if I like something, I can draft a pattern for it.

Even the bra making course had a large design element to it – we learned how to draft a bra and corset pattern from a set of measurements, as well as learning all the sewing techniques.  So going into that class without any pattern drafting experience would make it very challenging.

Think about it…

I know almost all of us have fitting challenges – why not consider pattern drafting instead of numerous “toiles” trying to get the right fit.  While pattern drafting won’t solve everything, when you start with a pattern based on your own measurements you’re bound to be ahead of the game. Here are a few resources:

College level courses – many colleges offer these types of courses in their Continuing Education school.

Craftsy now has several classes in pattern drafting.  I’ve taken a couple of them and they’re the next best thing to being in a classroom with the teacher.

There are quite a lot of online courses available:  Here’s a link to a Google search.

There are all kinds of books available on the subject. Topics might include pattern making, pattern drafting, or even pattern cutting.  But I’d be cautious – if you don’t have any experience with pattern drafting, you might find some of the information a bit challenging.  I bought a few books prior to taking classes – but couldn’t understand them.  Now, they are amazing resources.

If you have any questions,I’d be happy to answer them based on my experiences.  And if you have any suggestions, please chime in!  The more information, the better!

Happy sewing!

Melanie

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