Thursday, February 4, 2010

Pattern Drafting 101

I have received a lot of questions about how I make my patterns so I thought it would be fun to show you a little sneak peek from behind the scenes. Honestly, it's not glamorous in any way. I don't use any fancy software or clever tools. Just paper, ruler and pencil and a steady hand. I always start from my original pattern piece that I cut from a piece of "pattern paper" this is the one that I have tweaked to fit and lay perfectly on my model. Then from there I just painstakingly start sizing them up or down...depending. Not difficult, but extremely tedious to get everything just right and to make sure everything matches up perfectly. To be honest...this is my least favorite part in the process of making patterns. I would much prefer to be at my machine creating an actual garment instead of at my desk making the paper pieces required to re-create it in various sizes.

Yes, of course I wish there was a amazing machine that I could just pop my original pieces into and then suddenly it would all magically and perfectly happen. Maybe there is such a machine...but I am certainly not aware of it and I am sure it wouldn't be cheap! So for now, I continue to do it all by hand. Thankfully, no one seems to mind my homespun approach to my patterns. In fact, many people have commented that they really love knowing that I do it all by hand.

Then of course is the instructions.... I must admit this part has been a learning process for myself. Mainly due to the fact that I don't buy patterns! So the language that is used in them is somewhat foreign to me too. I have to admit, I have bought a few patterns just to see how other people do it and now I can see why so many people get confused and frustrated by sewing and patterns. My approach is a little different. I write my instructions in a fun and playful way that hopefully makes you laugh and takes the stress out of sewing. When I am writing, I like to think of us sitting together in my sewing room and me showing you personally how to do it. If only, that were really possible. I think it would be a hundred times easier! Because sometimes it's really tricky to explain how to do something that is super simple in words!

For example...last night I was writing out the instructions for making the crinoline for "Natalie's Dress" and I had a heck of a time trying to make it make sense. Even though, it is so simple!!! I am sure that when I send it out to my testers I will have several of them say...."What the heck is she talking about?" So, I continue to work on it and perfect my instructions so that it's easy and you don't get stressed. The last thing I want to do is discourage or confuse anyone.



Hayes said...

The low back on Natalie's dress, as well as the crinoline, make this my favorite of your patterns so far! I hope you will make it in bigger girl sizes too. Any plans on little boy patterns? My girls are 9 and 10, and I have LOTS of little boys, so patterns for them would be wonderful too!

Lil' Pickle Patch said...

I have just discovered your site and patterns... I am in LOVE! As the mama to 4 girls ages 17yrs through 10 months I would LOVE to be tester if you are looking for anyone!

Dawn said...

Hi Hayes!

Currently, I don't have any plans for designing for little boys or making patterns for bigger girls. But I think as Abby grows I will start exploring that more and more. As you know trying to find classic styles for older girls is challenging so I may try to address that.

Sam, I'm so glad that you discovered my blog and thank you so much for your sweet comments. I will keep you posted if I need any more testers.

Elizabeth said...

this was really interesting to read . . . i am thinking about taking apart a coat of my husband's and trying to make a pattern - in varying sizes from it. your sketch has helped my thought process a bit. thanks for sharing!


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