Monday, September 24, 2012

Pattern Grading Experiment For Pattern Cutting Skill Development

The results for yesterday's pattern grading experiment for expanding my pattern cutting skills.  The red bodice pattern and sleeve blocks are the 'Internet' grade I did.  This is where a pattern is simply scaled down or up to whatever size it needs to be.  For example if you need to grade a size 6 up to a size 8,  you've got to increase bust,  waist and hip measurements by 1" and this is what I was doing.

Because I'm working with half the front and back bodice sections,  you've got to change each using a 1/4 of the over all grade,  in this case I had to add on 1/4" to the front and back sections and do almost the same for the vertical measurements as well.

The green bodice pattern and sleeve blocks however,  were graded according to Connie Amaden Crawford's book on grading.  First you've got to section the blocks in certain horizontal and vertical areas,  then you've got to figure the amounts to spread them outward or inward to enlarge them or decrease the block's size,  respectively.  (A little bit needs to be reserved  for the hip measurement so it's left out when the bodice section  is being vertically graded). A detail totally neglected in the 'Internet' method.

Click to see the actual difference between the aligned patterns.

Here,  I've aligned the green version over the red version and it turns out that the red version is a bit bigger then it's supposed to be and a bit longer as well.  You'll have to click on the link to really see the difference,  but it's a bit too much of a difference.  On a lazy day,  I might grade a pattern using the 'Internet' method if I was working on a pattern I'd be sewing for myself,  like to wear right... maybe.   However,  seeing as how Kathleen Fasanella said that when pattern cutting professionally,  your patterns can't have as much as 1/32 of a error,  I think I'd better stick to Connie Amaden Crawford's grading technique when I'm doing client work.   No questions or doubts about that in my mind.

So now, I've got to check the armscye balance,  that's the armhole measurement,  adjust the curves,  check and possibly adjust the sleeve cap curve and ease,  place the notches in their correct places and give them their 1/2" seam allowances.   Then I'll take this size 8 (Butterick standard) and grade it up to a size 10 getting ready to do some work for a client.

For all those aspiring designers and those who want to learn pattern cutting,  I'll be offering these additional sizes of blocks for only $5,  once I've got my pavment store set back up on my facebook page,  so stay tuned,  hopefully over the course of this coming month you'll see these new size 8 and size 10 bodice patterns available.

If you are interested in my discount digital pattern cutting or digitization service however,  or you have any questions,  please email me for more information at or visit my Facebook page to learn more.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

How To Make A Pattern For Fashion Design

Have you designed some clothes or a collection you want to get made and can't go forward because you don't know how to make a pattern and you can't afford to hire a patternmaker? Many aspiring designers and home sewers run into a bit of problem brining their own fashion designs to life because they lack pattern cutting skills and the field of pattern cutting is rather daunting for many. However, there is a very cheap short cut you can take to easily learn how to make a pattern for your fashion designs.

In pattern cutting you always start with a basic bodice pattern or the phase 2 sloper made from it, for example the blouse sloper would be used for a blouse design and a torso block would be used for dress pattern cutting.

(click image to see a larger version)

While its ideal to learn how to draft these basic pattern slopers / blocks from scratch either from a book like Connie Amaden Crawford's Patternmaking Made Easy” or from an online video draping lesson or an actual fashion design course that teaches pattern drafting, you can purchase the basic bodice blocks from companies like Butterick or from patternmakers such as myself (click to see my basic bodice block service on Fiverr). Or, if you have an existing fitted blouse or dress pattern with a bust or shoulder dart as well as a waist dart or fisheye dart, you can tweak it to your own measurements if needed (ease elimination) and bust point location (if it's not already accurate).

(click image to see a larger version)

If you have a bodice pattern or blouse or dress pattern with a waist / fish eye and bust dart you'll need to pivot the art to the center shoulder seam to create a true basic bodice pattern block, particularly if the garment you've designed is a princess seam style.

There should be only 3/4" ease in the armscye / armhole depth and 1/2” ease at the the armscye side seam corner. Also, there should be no ease in the waist for your basic bodice sloper. The neckline should lie just above the central collar bone at the front and it should just hit the bottom of the neck at the back.

Once you've got your bodice pattern complete you're ready to start drafting the second block which usually involves adding a bit more ease (typically at the waist/hips or armholes) or pivoting the darts from the bust point into different locations (this is done by drawing and slashing a new dart placement line, then cutting out the original dart take up and closing it to allow the new dart to open so it can be filled in with paper and the new bodice or torso block can be made) or converting this dart ease to gathering or pleats. Note: This is called dart manipulation. Darts should always be pivoted from the bust point because if they aren't your resulting patterns and garments won't hang or sit correctly.

(click image to see a larger version)

(click image to see a larger version)

If ease was eliminated from the armscye seam the sleeve pattern may also need to be adjusted if there is more than 1 1/2" ease in the sleeve cap. Leaving at least 1" ease in the sleeve cap,  determine the amount of ease to be eliminated.  This amount will need to be divided into three equal portions. Then half the length of one portion is how much you'll overlap the sleeve sections once you have the sleeve pattern cut out and slashed correctly.

To correctly slash the sleeve, first cut away all the sleeve seam allowances then fold the sleeve in half, matching underarm seams. Then fold again matching the centre fold line to the underarm seams. Each of these fold lines should then then be slashed to just before the wrist then overlapped by the previously determined amount.

If the sleeve pattern is for a fitted sleeve, the alterations method is simple an you most likely won't need to adjust the wrist ease or just a bit.

However, if the sleeve has excess wrist ease and the pattern you want to make is more fitted, reduce the ease by measuring your elbow circumference (if you're a size 14 or over,  add 1 1/2" ease). Draw half the length of the the new elbow circumference line from the centre of the sleeve outward along the sleeve's original elbow line. Then draw a line from the the armscye / side seam point to the wrist and cut away the excess ease.

On a new sheet of paper draw a new sleeve cap line then measure it to make sure it matches the combined front an back armscye measurements plus at least 1" and no more then 1 1/2" and that the shoulder seam notch at the top of the sleeve is offset only 1/4" toward the front, past the true sleeve center.   Should your sleeve have inadequate ease (less then 1") then reverse the above ease reduction process,  to instead slash and spread to add ease. 

Correct all your front and back matching notch positions on your sleeve and bodice pattern blocks and you're done.

Now, if you happen to have a scanner and also use a vector program like Adobe Illustrator or Corel Draw, you can scan your completed bodice patterns into the computer and re-create them as vector files and then actually conduct dart manipulations in these software applications (the technique I use in my pattern cutting work).

With these basics on how to make a pattern you can easily go from there and start developing your own clothing design patterns or you can conduct further research online or at your library for additional patternmaking tips on style elements such as collars, sleeve types and more as well as other learn other pattern cutting secrets.

If you are interested in my pattern cutting or digitization service however,  or you have any questions,  please email me for more information at or visit my Facebook page to learn more.

Monday, September 10, 2012

In Need Of A Discount Digital Pattern Cutting Service?

If you are looking for a pattern cutting services as in an individual who can provide you with pattern drafting / pattern making skills to provide you with finished garment patterns, and you're also looking for a discount, then you've come to the right place.

Unlike other pattern makers I don't charge the high fees for my discount digital pattern making services. As a beginner in the industry, I will draft your clothing patterns for only $35 per garment item, and include free alterations should your pattern(s) need any adjustments.

The first step in my pattern cutting service will include a free drafting of a basic bodice pattern called a sloper, in the size or sizes you require, ( according to the Butterick standard size chart). Then the appropriate blocks which are also completed free of charge will be constructed for the given garment design and the pattern cutting process for your design(s) will begin.

Depending on the complexity of your garment design your pattern may take 1 - 3 days to be completed and delivered as a full size printable jpeg file via email.

Information I will need in order to start the pattern making process for your designs will include the following:

- fabric weight and type
- required seam width
- desire hem width
- desired garment fit
- intended garment closures if applicable
- size (as compliant with Butterick standard size charts)

I will also require an illustration, photo or drawing of the garment(s) for which you need patterns drafted for as well as a similar visual reference for the back of the garment and details regarding any unseen elements to be included in the pattern.

Once complete, I will email your pattern to you via the email address you've provided. You'll then be able to take your digital pattern file to your local print shop or print services to have them print out your garment pattern(s).

Aside from pattern cutting / drafting, I also provide pattern digitization and can convert your flat paper or fabric pattern to digital jpeg format so it can be converted into an accurate digitally reproduction with clean, consistent seam widths and identical, correctly placed notches.

If you are interested in this pattern cutting or digitization service or you have any questions please email me for more information at