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Pattern drafting

I’ve (finally) succumbed to the idea that I should try to make my own patterns. One of my Dutch commenters has asked a few times why I did not do that, as I was always so struggling with muslins, patterns etc. I did learn the basics of pattern drafting years ago but never got round to properly doing it for myself, did think it was too much work. Going to the sewing class with my fitting issues I was convinced that this was a good thing to do after all and I started drafting the bodice part, first on default measurements, after that on my own measurements. Surprise, surprise in my last lesson, the fit was actually rather good first time round. Combined with the fact that I sewed a wadder of a blouse this week which I tried to fit properly from a pattern and failed horribly in the armscye area, I will continue to work on pattern drafting.

My next lesson isn’t till next week, but I’m going fast forward and tried to draft a dress from BurdaStyle’s April issue and even made a muslin of the top part already.

It’s dress no. 117 which I discussed with Hilde and Joana on the day we ran together. We all had seen it in the previews and thought it might be nice to all sew this and wear it on or next get together. I got the magazine and to my disappointment, it was a petite sized pattern. As I’m already 6 cm taller than the normal length BurdaStyle is drafted for, petite sizes are definitely not for me.  So it was either de-petite the pattern and do the other alterations I do for most patterns anyway, or draft my own pattern.

First result, I thought I might need the extra space in the front to get the skirt hang properly, but have pinned the darts in the second photo, which is much better. I will transfer the changes to the pattern and the crossing part will not have the dart. For now I kept the normal bust dart. No FBA!

The neckline is too low to wear without a cami most of the time. Making it higher would make the lines very different. What do you think?

The zipper for the back was not long enough which makes it look a bit frumpy. Very clear is the difference in both shoulders, an area to change on the right side.

Though I messed up the first time drafting this, it was relatively easy. It took me two evenings to get here.


  1. How exciting! I think you nailed it! This looks very much like the line drawing. I've been considering drafting from my measurements and have even bought a few pattern drafting books and textbooks. I figure how much worse would my own drafting be than the ones from the companies?

    I think you should keep drafting.

  2. That looks good and I think for only 2 nights work it's pretty good. I don't think the neckline is too low; it looks like a very nice depth.

  3. that looks really god, like it fits you very well. I like the design of the pattern, too. Good Job!

  4. Wonderful! I want to do the same - pattern draft that is :) I have already drafted a skirt (that was easy for my shape) and am doing the Craftsy course for the bodice. I think you can go an inch higher at the neckline without upsetting the lines. No harm it trying it out. You can always take off again.

  5. I think it is to wide at the neck in comparison to the original but still looks good

  6. Ontzettend leuk!!

    Zou je de schouderlijn aan beide kanten niet een klein beetje korter maken? Aan de linkerkant zou dat ook wel eens mooier kunnen worden (of misschien denk ik dat alleen maar en komt dat door de stand op de foto, ik kan niet goed zien waar de schouder precies ophoudt)

  7. Looks great! How exciting that the fit actually is quite good already and you just have to do some tweaking. I'm going to trace the pattern today, I hope I can figure out the fba. I still haven't checked my back length (I think it's shorter than average), so I'll just go ahead and try the petite size in a muslin.
    But I'm going for a run first!
    By the way, in the photos the neckline doesn't look too low, I think. Must be moving around?

  8. If you want the neckline to be higher, you can make the neck narrower at the shoulder...this will bring UP the point of crossover (the 'V').
    Nice dress!

  9. Sigrid -

    Pattern drafting requires a whole lot of time, skill and patience. I applaud you for even trying. Keep at it. I'm sure in no time at all you will have an absolutely perfectly fitted garment.

    Happy stitching.

  10. I think it looks great.

    I wouldn't take the neckline up much, but I agree that narrowing the neckline slightly at the shoulder will do the trick.

    With your skills already in place, drafting your own patterns should be much easier than trying to alter commercial patterns IMO.

    Keep moving forward. You're almost there!

  11. There is so much involved in learning pattern drafting that I've felt the same way you have; that it's too much work to draft my own patterns. I took Kenneth Kings moulage class and never did anything with it. The pattern drafting classes on Craftsy based on the same moulage system(same teacher) are wonderful. She's clear and answers questions really thoughtfully. I still have yet to actually draft something! But, it's coming.
    This looks good! The more you do it of course the easier it will be and the faster it will be.

  12. Well done! I would also love to learn pattern drafting and reading your blog and your adventures is encouraging me to continue too! I can learn from you - Thank you!

  13. Hi there! Changing the darts to vertical darts, good thinking!
    I've finished my muslin for this dress today, it fits like a glove, and I love the sleeves (no extra ease, they just ... fit). Only problem, the neckline is LOW. I did raise the neckline but then it got all gapey. Now I'm thinking about sewing a triagle an call it a day. We'll see.

  14. I've been delving into pattern making and I think the starting point has to be a perfectly fitted block, then moving on to design elements. This dress is going to be great when your done.


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