Tag Archives: pattern drafting

Pants class – skinny jeans






Jeansjeans: self-drafted // sweater: hand-knitted

These are the jeans I drafted for my pants drafting class!

I’m so so thrilled with these jeans. The only jeans pattern I’d tried before were the Jamie jeans by Named, which I adored, but only after I made tons of changes to the fit, by which point the legs were totally offgrain and the inseam would be pointing outward.  Plus, even though I now know how to fix the fit properly, it’s always nice to have a pattern for plain, simple jeans. They definitely worked, but not ideal. I now have a basic pant draft from which I made a basic jean draft (which has basically no ease because let’s be honest, I’m usually dressed like a sausage. Or a cupcake).

This is round 2 of tweaking this pattern and I’m pretty happy with the way these jeans turned out! I used the same book and same pants draft I used for my overalls: . Once I get everything properly tweaked, my plan is to make like three pairs of skinnies and then a pair or two of flares or bootcut jeans. So far for my wearable muslins I’ve been using a really shitty stretch denim I got at Sewfisticated in Boston. It’s just kind of crunchy-feeling and the recovery really doesn’t last that long. It’s only $2.50/yard though so it makes perfect muslins and then I can just wear them until they wear out a few months later.

For this nicer pair, I bought a scrumptious stretch denim at Stone Mountain and Daughter in Berkeley that took me like a week to build up the courage to cut into. It’s just so soft and buttery and makes me do a happy dance. I think I have enough for another pair of skinny jeans, or at least a pair of shorts, and I’m thinking I’ll need to go back and pick up some more for the flares.

All the jeans!

Adventures in drafting – overalls








I was sooo sad when my pants drafting class ended. Huge sad face.

The class was taught by Lynda Maynard (who also taught the Copying RTW class I took over the summer) and it was so much fun and I feel like a master of crotch fit now. That sounds dirty. But then again, so did most of the class. We used Suzy Furrer’s book* and drafted from our own measurements, and then it was just making muslins to tweak the fit. The rest of the class consisted of taking turns putting on our muslins and standing on a table while the entire class investigated our lower halves and volunteers pinned out corrections. Super hilarious and super fun. I used my draft to make a pair of skinny jeans (more on these later) and then just because I thought it was hilarious that she included it in the book, I also drafted the overalls as my final project for the class.

*It’s weirdly super expensive on Amazon so I would check elsewhere first. I snagged my copy from my school bookstore for like $60. (EDIT — A reader helpfully suggested this link, where you can get it for $65 plus shipping. Thanks Anastacia!)

These overalls are SOCOMFY. I started off following Suzy Furrer’s drafting instructions but like most drafting books I’ve worked with, there are no construction details so I got really confused about the button facings and why there needed to be front and back ones of the same shape. I ended up kind of deviating completely from the book and basically just drafted a copy of these Madewell overalls.  I tried something new with the pockets and basically added a muslin lining and then attached them as patch pockets. I also used two strands of gray thread instead of topstitching thread (someone in my class did that and it looked really cool).

I actually really love them in a lighter wash so I’m thinking I might need to make them someday when these wear out because I’m not sure I needed a pair of overalls, much less two pairs. The fit is mostly spot on, I think they’re just a bit baggier than the leggings/tights/skinny jeans I’m used to wearing. I do think the bib is a bit long and I had wanted to add a front pocket but didn’t get around to it before class started. Whoops.

**If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area and want to learn the ins and outs of fitting your crotchal region, Lynda teaches this class every fall at Cañada. (She also used to teach a pants construction class here that I’ve been unsuccessfully campaigning for them to bring back.)


Adventures in drafting // linen dragons




This top completely unintentionally reminds me of Daenerys from Game of Thrones. I originally set out to copycat this top from Urban Outfitters and decided to use the leftover linen from my Mystery Fabric Contest dress. Somehow I ended up with a cute summery top that totally looks like something Khaleesi would wear if she were summering in modern day California.

This top, along with my off-the-shoulder tops, has basically been my uniform this summer, and I’ve been experimenting with different fabrics. The problem is that I feel like this linen is a little too stiff and sort of sticks out awkwardly from certain angles. But then I tried a much drapier fabric and it was too lightweight to hold its shape. I’ll have to keep playing. I did have to make a special bra to wear underneath which is basically a nude halter the same shape as the front.

Drafting was pretty simple. I drew lines, then contoured. The one thing I did differently that helped with fit was before I added the bias binding and straps, I put it on the dress form and pinned the straps and pleats into shape rather than trusting the lines. It ended up fitting pretty much perfectly that way.

Now back to fabric experiments.

Adventures in patterndrafting // tent labeling

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress

Tent dress
dress: self-drafted // shoes: Seychelles

Dutch Label Shop sent me custom labels to try out free of charge, and all opinions, drafting errors, and leg injuries are my own.

I have a bit of a ridiculous obsession with tent dresses. I blame Lauren and 90% of Keiko Lynn‘s wardrobe. Anyway, when we reached the “dresses without waistline seam” part of my flat pattern class, I pounced on the tent dress draft for my homework garment.

My first idea was to go absolutely nuts and make something super flowy out of chiffon. But I decided to dial it back so I could see what the basic tent draft looks like, and so I could be responsible and use up some peachskin I had in my stash.

It’s a pretty basic draft. I started with a torso sloper (drafted using the method in Nora MacDonald’s Principles of Flat Pattern Design book). For the front, I left the waist darts alone but transferred the side bust dart to the waist as flare. Then I added a bit more flare by going out at the side seam. I did the same thing on the back except by transferring the shoulder dart to flare. Then you mark the point halfway between the armhole and waist line and blend a line about 1/2″ inward there. Lastly, I put the front and back pieces on top of each other to make sure the side curves matched up.

What you don’t want to do at this point is mistake your new indent that’s halfway up from the waist as the actual waist, and measure your skirt length from there. I didn’t realize I’d done this until I’d already cut the fabric and therefore ended up with a dress that ended mid-vagina. Not attractive. I thought about making it into a tunic but it just didn’t quite look right in this fabric. I ended up drafting a 3″ panel at the bottom which I think looks kind of cool. Another thing you probably don’t want to do is forget that you meant to have an upper back yoke and therefore don’t need a center back seam on the bottom piece. For the next one I will definitely cut that lower back piece on the fold.

Dutch Label Shop

Andd the best part is that inside the neckline is a lovely professional looking garment label! My Bernina does letters so I’d tried my hand at making my own labels on twill tape before. They turned out pretty cute actually, but a bit too rustic for fancier clothes. These labels from the Dutch Label Shop are much more polished and will go on absolutely everything, especially since I ordered them in both black and white. These ones are the basic woven labels. You pick from a few fonts and colors, and they even have some themed clip art you can add. They also offer a “double white” option for white labels with dark lettering, to prevent the black from being too visible. It doesn’t make it completely opaque though, so you can still kind of see the shadow/outline of the black threads behind it.

They also have another option where you can send them an image of your logo/graphic and they’ll do custom woven labels in all kinds of shapes/sizes with it. It’s a bit more pricey but their example labels look really cool! I don’t actually have a logo for my blog so I just went with the simpler option.

Shipping was a bit tricky; my first order was actually misplaced in the mail. But once they discovered it had gone missing they immediately sent out a replacement and I received it within a few days. And now I can’t wait to put these guys on everything! If you want to order your own custom labels, Dutch Label Shop is offering Peneloping readers a 15% discount on your order from now until July 21st with the code PENELOPING. — CODE IS WORKING AGAIN – yay!

Anyway, no joke guys, this is officially my Indian lunch buffet/all-you-can-eat-sushi/Thanksgiving dress. Next I want to make one out of something a little drapier with no sleeves and cutaway armholes. And one out of linen. And one with double the amount of flare and made in chiffon, possibly with three layers. (Imightbecrazy.)

*Ignore the weird attempt at photoshopping out the giant bruise on my leg. I was mauled by two adorable puppies who were very excited to see me.

**I still haven’t heard from Leigh-Anne about receiving the Mood giveaway prize! If you could shoot me an email by Sunday, that’d be great! After that I’ll be randomly selecting an alternate winner.  Thanks! :]


adventures in drafting // self-striping

Striped dress

Striped dress

Striped dress

Striped dressdress: self-drafted // shoes: Seychelles

**Photos should hopefully be fixed now!

No, not like sock yarn. Like when you go crazy and decide to make your own striped fabric.

2016-03-24 16.16.06

In my defense I really tried to find navy and white striped fabric and just couldn’t. At the beginning of this semester we were assigned a storyboard of a five garment mini-collection, with the stipulation that one of our three garments due this semester had to be from the board. Now, a normal person would’ve drawn garments in a solid, or easier-to-find kind of print. I decided I just had to have my wide navy/white stripes.

So I sewed my own. I bought peachskin fabric from Joann’s in navy and ivory, cut them into 4″ strips, and sewed them together with a 1/2″ seam allowance so each stripe ended up being 3″ wide. Perffffection.

2016-03-24 16.16.42

Drafting this was a bit of an adventure. Basically I wanted to re-make the Arrow dress from Dear Creatures (looove), but with a bodice that would actually fit me (I think they draft for an A or B cup and I’m a D –my bewbs are definitely not the happiest in that dress), and with a slightly more modern silhouette.

2016-03-24 16.20.39

I started off with the same bodice sloper we use for class. For the front I did a sleeveless adjustment, made a cut-away armhole, and lowered the neckline a bit. Then I drew in a princess line variation from the center front neck diagonally down to the side seam, and moved the side bust dart to the neckline, and transferred the waist dart (with a new apex 3/4″ over like Armstrong says) to ease. (You can kind of see it in the photo right above.)

The back was a little more tricky because my pivot points happened to be right where I wanted the back cut out. I ended up basically just doing a lot of contouring and it seemed to work out. It took a few tries though. The first attempt had a strange lump where most people lack a body bulge, and another attempt was slightly sideways.

The skirt is the same skirt pattern from my Christmas dress. And lastly, I drafted a flat roll Peter Pan collar because why not. :]

In terms of construction, I lined the whole thing with muslin because I have a crap ton of it for school, I needed something light in color because of the white stripes, and I was on a roll and didn’t want to have to stop and drive to Joanns for actual lining fabric.

The verdict: it fits a million times better than the Arrow dress! The only thing I’m a bit sad about is that the bottom edge of the bodice seems to have stretched out a bit, possibly when I was sewing the stripes, and there’s a weird wrinkle in the tummy area of the bodice. Oh well. Also I don’t love what’s happening with the stripes in the back. It’s like my bum ate most of the white stripe.

Anyway, other than those two tiny details, I adore this dress. I’ve already worn it to a party and it was the perfect mix of twee and fancy.