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Alison Victoria School of Sewing: Pattern Drafting Course: Day Two

July 19, 2011

Ok, so today we started off by making muslins from the asymmetrical patterns we designed yesterday. I like quite simple lines on my clothing – not too much gathering or flounce, especially around my legs which I just can’t stand (no pun intended) – so I drew the following shape and transferred all the markings to my pattern. I diligently cut out the pieces, added my seam allowances, sewed it all together, clipped and notched the seams and pressed it to get…a skirt that looked like any other. Obviously if I’d made this in a striped or patterned fabric it would look much different. C’est la vie! It worked out well and I’ve learned a technique I can and will use again and again.

Once that was done, we moved onto drafting our bodices. This I definitely couldn’t talk you through online, but I would recommend getting “Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear” for good instructions on how to do it. Once we’d made our bodice block on dot and cross paper we traced off the pattern and made them up into muslins which Alison then helped to fit  to us. My bodice fitted well, apart from:

the neckline – which was too high (Alison just chopped a whole hum off whist I was standing there)

the shoulders – which were too short(she marked on how much I’d need to extend them by)

and the neck dart which was too narrow (And she marked on how much to increase the dart by)

After rectifying these issues we transferred our pattern onto cardboard – our new bodice block

– and the alterations we had made onto the master pattern on dot and cross paper (here shown in red)

From the bodice block we traced off three front bodices and a back bodice and learned how to move darts. This is so simple I can’t believe I didn’t know how to do it before! This is how you move a dart (here, I’m moving from the neckline to the armscye):

1. Draw a line from where you want your new dart to be to the bust point of the existing dart.

2. Cut down this line.

3. Fold out your existing dart.

4. folding out the existing dart will open up a new dart where you want it to be!

Really readers, this is so simple I can’t believe I’d never done it before!

After learning how to move our darts we then went on to make out bodices  into princess seamed bodices. Again, this was so simple I couldn’t believe we hadn’t done it before! Here is how to do it

1. Trace your bodice blocks – front and back

2. On the front, move your neckline dart to the shoulder using the method outlined above.

3.  Gently curve to join the two dart points as shown.

4. fold your darts to get corresponding points and mark these points with notch marks as shown.

5. Unfold your darts and remove them.

5. Cut right through bodice and smooth out any points. Remember to add what you’ve taken from one side of the bodice onto the corresponding side as shown.

6. On the back, curve between the two bust points. Cut and smooth the points as above.

You now have a princess seam bodice!

And that was it for today. We did quite a lot and I’m starting to get thumbache from using scissors all day long. It’s all worth it though, for sure!

Julia  x

  1. July 19, 2011 2:59 pm

    This sounds like a great class. I’ve done a skirt block but I really wanted to try to make a bodice block.

    • JuliaDBennett permalink
      July 19, 2011 4:27 pm

      I’d really recommend that “metric pattern cutting book” for that, Liza Jane. It’s really clear. Just make sure you have a pretty savvy friend who can measure you, and definitely time some twine around your waist (not too tight!) to get some accurate measurements. Don’t do what I did the first time I attempted it myself and really overestimate the measurements: you’ll basically end up wearing a sack with a hole in the top!

  2. July 20, 2011 8:36 pm

    i could have told you how to move the dart 😉 but sadly, that’s about all i really understood up there =( just my lack of english, well more about this special vocabular.. but i’m pretty sure it’s very interesting and i could learn a few things 😉 i’ll just have to go translate all the words i don’t know and maybe i’ll get what you were telling us… -.-
    and about the drawings… patience, patience, it comes with time and you just have to do it again and again.. i’ve improved a lot, but if i really want to make a sketch of a new dress i just take a figurine out of my book 😉

  3. tabathatweedie permalink*
    September 20, 2011 9:00 am

    That Winifred Aldrich book is the one recommended on my pattern cutting course too! So it must be good!

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