Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Drafting a dress

In case you wonder if I’m not doing any pattern drafting any more, making patterns from my magazines more, the answer is that I’m definitely doing more pattern drafting too. Sometimes it’s just easy to take a pattern from a magazine. I usually take my sloper to compare the pattern draft, which already helps to get a better fit from these magazine patterns.

But I love to draft myself too.
There are a lot of styles and ideas that I want to try in drafting. Some are ideas from pictures that I have found on the internet. Those I usually pin on Pinterest (I have inspiration boards per category of garments). Other ideas come from the many books I have collected on drafting and there are a lot of things to try. I want to try things that won’t be a garment for myself, just for the technique. So if you’re more interested in posts on drafting, there will be posts on that too.
My next project is a dress inspired by a picture from the internet. It’s a Ralph Lauren design.
To be very honest, I’ve already drafted this pattern two years ago. Then life got in the way and I never came round to making it and I forgot about it untill I was clearing out a box of patterns recently.
My observations on this dress:
  • It has a funnel/opera neckline (as Suzy Furrer describes this style in her class), not standing away from the neck but hugging it. This I assume from the picture, I don’t have a picture of this dress worn by someone.
  • There are pleats on the right side waist area, a separate waist piece on the left side. Plaids in the waist matching to the skirt. Not sure whether that will work with my fabric, so I might cut it different on purpose.
  • The straight of grain in the top is the same on both the left and right side in the bust/shoulder area (plaids match)
  • In the center back a zipper is inserted. I think I will add a zipper to the side seam
  • I’m assuming the back has no special features and I don’t want to add anything special
  • I’ll probably make 3/4 or long sleeves
The draft
Disclaimer: this is a work in process and the dress is not yet made, just want to show you my process. It’s not a course in drafting.
A design like this (asymmetrical) needs a full pattern. In this first picture I’m trying to show you how the pattern pieces are drafted in the sloper, still having all darts (shoulder, bust and waist darts). I’ve used different colors for the different pieces to make it clear.
For illustration I’ve done the draft in a quarter scale for a default size (the scale version is in one of my books)
The full sloper without design lines. Just the darts
The design lines drawn into it (should have drafted the lines with the same end at the hipline)
The pattern piece for the left, I’ve inserted lines where to open the pattern piece.
The pattern piece with closed shoulder and bust dart. The waist darts still have to be removed and the pleats more evenly distributed.
For the pattern of the right side I’ve rotated out the shoulder dart but kept a bust and waist dart. The waist dart will be hidden by the left panel and I can’t do without a bust dart. I did not make a sample of that.
What do you think of a post like this. Do you like to see so many details? Is it clear/helpful?


  1. This is a great project and thank you for sharing these details of the draft in progress. Your growing proficiency with pattern drafting is inspiring.

  2. Wow, I am in awe of your ongoing pattern drafting, Sigrid. I'm taking the tiniest of baby steps so your posts are encouraging and helpful since they show how to get those lovely detailed lines and seams. And I love that neckline so much.

  3. I'd certainly like to see more posts like this. I've got that dress pinned as well, but couldn't imagine how to draft the bodice. Thanks so much for posting it.

  4. This dress is a serious challenge! I stared at the picture for 5 min straight, and came to the conclusion, that there is really no telling where the draping ends and the darts begin in the fabric. The lines are perfectly matched, from sleeve to sleeve, and from neckline to hem. This very much looks like a version of this dress that's made 'for this dress size only'. I wouldn't even know how to begin adapting it to a different size, and still line up the plaids. I am very impressed with your start on the pattern draft! Good luck!

  5. I enjoy posts like this and look forward to seeing your progress.

  6. I would love to see more posts like this! This is fascinating.

  7. I am very impressed with your ability to draft this complex pattern! I love a funnel/opera neckline, so I would certainly be interested in seeing how that is drafted. I can't picture it from the pattern pieces. Sigrid, you are amazing!

  8. I enjoy your posts on drafting, I love drafting -although I am fairly new to it- and to see posts like this is very inspiring.

  9. A lovely dress and I'm very interested in seeing more posts about drafting it - and anything else!

  10. I love to see posts like this, especially since I have gotten as far as using a ready made pattern as my base for drafting changes. It's easier and faster than starting from scratch, at least with my current skills. I have not figured out how to use my sloper for fit in a pattern. Perhaps you could show how you do it?
    I have really learned a lot from Suzy Furrer's classes and I am loving her book. She really is clearer than Kenneth King, thought that may sound like sacrilege! I have several of his cd books and could not draft my notched collar with it. She makes it much, much simpler.

  11. your posts on sewing and drafting are extremely helpful. Thank you so much for taking the time to do them, for me, they are inspiring.
    Thank you

  12. I love seeing this. I've drafted only one dress from the class and it was really the same style at the moulage with some changes. The dress is gorgeous and if it works out well, I might just copy :)

  13. You have done a great job with this post! I loved it. Thanks for sharing. I know it is a lot of work to put it all together.

  14. I love seeing these posts as it gets you thinking and one day I will be working on my Suzy Furrer's classes.