Patternmaking Part II

Sunday, July 31, 2011

From my last post on patternmaking, you know that we were learning how to adjust commercial pattern sizes to fit our actual figure sizes. The end-goal was to be able to create your OWN block pattern on any fabric to create the design that you want, but right now we were still focusing on commercial patterns. I think I need to make adjustments to a few more commercial patterns before I'm confident enough to start building my own.

Homework from the second class was to now cut out our adjusted patterns in Muslin.  I actually didn't have to make that many adjustments to the patterns (or so I thought). Here are my pattern pieces layed out and pinned on the Muslin. Muslin is basically just sheet material. You can get it unbleached (and then it's beige) or bleached (white). I bought bleached because I wanted 45" fabric. For the particular pattern I'm making I only needed to use 5 of the 7 pattern pieces.

Then once the patterns are all layed out, you cut them into their individual pieces, making sure to cut or not cut on the fold depending on the pattern instructions.  Here are all 5 of my pieces cut out. 1 is the bodice front, 2 is the bodice back, 3 is the skirt back, 4 is the skirt front, and 5 are the spaghetti straps of the dress. Sometimes to have the most efficient use of your fabric, you have to turn the patterns over to cut them out. Make sure you pay attention to the layout of your pattern on the fabric.

Our instructor wanted us to hand-baste the pieces together into the final garment so that we would be able to "fit" into them.  Hand-basting is basically creating long, loose, temporary stitches that are only used to hold the garment together while you are putting in the final sewing stitches. One can hand-baste using a sewing machine, but she wanted us to hand-baste. But before you can hand-baste you have to transfer the markings from the pattern onto your fabric.  I had to trace the dart marks, circles for the straps, and notches onto the fabric.

Our instructor wanted us to do all main seams in black thread, and all secondary seams (darts, pleats, gathers, etc) in red thread.  Here are my darts on the bodice front. You almost always do your sewing on the wrong side of the fabric unless otherwise instructed. For this particular material front and back are the same. On real fabric one can easily tell the wrong side from the right side of the fabric. As you can see I did my darts in red. Darts help clothes "fit" and give them shape.

Here is the "right" side of the fabric after the darts were sewn. You also have to press (iron) the darts on the wrong side towards the center to help them lay flat. I took the below picture of the bodice front before pressing, so it's puckering a little bit.

I missed class Friday night due to a dizzy spell, but attended the final class yesterday. I had completed handbasting the entire garment together, and put it on so that they could help fit me (alter).  I thought I had the right pattern sizes and I did, but I forgot to account for the darts. When you make a dart, it pulls in about 1 inch of the fabric for each dart, so because I had darts on the front & back bodice pieces, and the front and back of the skirt, the dress was too tight. So in class yesterday the girls and the instructor showed me how to add fabric to the areas I needed to expand, and now I just have to cut out the patterns again extended. I will share those photos with you on my next post :-)


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  1. This is really cool.... and super interesting! I can't wait to see the next stage!

  2. I can't wait to see what this becomes! You much as I love fashion and art, Ive never tried making my own clothes before. I think I may try to dabble in this sometime soon.


  3. Coming along...i will definitely be waiting to see the end product. I love making my own dresses since I can never really find exactly what I am looking for in the stores.



  4. I can't wait to see the final product. I wish I had this kind of talent :(

  5. Teehee me too as far as seeing the next stage. I hope it comes out alright, or at least decent enough to wear in public! haha

  6. I felt the same way, and then I was like, how cool would it be to wear my OWN clothes. Well almost my own, I'm still using someone else's pattern, but one day I hope to make my own designs!

  7. Ooooh you have experience with this! Yay! Tell me, how do you get the bustline to fit accurately. I'm really struggling with that part of my patternmaking...

  8. Thanks Berty, no talent required, just taking classes. I'm sure you'd be able to do it too :-)

  9. FashionmakeuplifestyleAugust 2, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    Just like everyone else I can't wait for the final product!! I'm sure is going to be amazing and congrats doll on taking this new role as a designer under your belt...SO COOL.

    <3 Marina

  10. Thanks so much for all of the support!! It's really tedious and I'm a bit of a perfectionist so I think I've cut out pattern pieces for this dress about 3 times now! haha


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