Tag Archives: pattern drafting

adventures in drafting – Christmas dress





I finally had a chance to take pictures of this year’s Christmas dress! This one was my final project for my pattern drafting class last semester and I’m completely smitten.

I had some trouble getting started because the twee small child in me wanted to take my newfound knowledge of collars and necklines and throw a Peter Pan collar on everything I own. I decided on a bateau neckline and then cut a deep V into it for funsies. It wasn’t in the book but it worked in muslin and I just drafted a facing-shaped piece for interfacing and it stands up just fine.

I started off playing around in quarter scale so all measurements on these guys are quarter-scale measurements. All of this stuff can be found in Principles of Flat Pattern Design. (We just started using the Armstrong book in the advanced class and so far I’m equal parts excited and overwhelmed. In a good way.)


I started with a combined waist dart sloper and did an adjustment for no sleeves, bateau neck adjustment, cut a midriff yoke, and then angled the dart slightly for aesthetics. The deep V is just cut straight from the new neckline edge straight down to the bust line.

Now that I’m looking at this again I’m realizing I never closed the neckline dart in the bateau. Whoops. No wonder it gapes just a tiny bit.


The skirt was pretty straightforward. I wanted something big but clean-looking (no gathers) at the waist, but not a circle skirt. I ended up doing a flared skirt (the pink additions) with extra flare (the green).

And then here’s what all the pieces looked like with seam allowances added! I did slightly tweak these after I took these photos though. I had forgotten to do the no-sleeves adjustment on the bodice back, and my hem allowance was too long so I changed it from 3/4″ to 1/2″. I also ended up drafting a pocket piece and added hidden pockets to the side seams of the skirt (as you can maybe see in photo #2 up there).

I also liked the idea of an invisible hemline so I used stitch witchery on the hem and then hand-stitched some gold bias tape (you can kind of see a tiny sliver of it in photo #3).




And here’s the first version sewn up in muslin! This was before I made the aforementioned tweaks to the pattern so you can see some slight armhole gaping in the back and definitely in the back neckline. (Although to be fair, this dress form is a bit smaller than the ones we use at school.) You might also be able to spot some of that annoying hem pulling that happens when your hem is too wide and sewing it causes drag lines. I spent WAY too long trying to iron it flat.

Sidenote: this assignment was to make a garment that fits the dressforms at school (which are size 8s from 1997) using a Butterick sloper size 8. It was sheer luck that I happen to fit my dress, so any slight fit issues are because it wasn’t actually meant to fit me!



And that’s it!

(I actually really like the way it looks in cream and might have to make another one of these in some sort of a cream linen or crepe!)

Adventures in drafting – sherpa vest



A few months ago my sister called me to FaceTime after a particularly successful shopping trip and showed me this adorable little sherpa vest she’d bought. I immediately fell in love with it and pestered her for the next two weeks to take photos of it from a multitude of angles so I could try to replicate it.

She sent me a whole bunch, the following being the most helpful, and I scampered to work.

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We had just covered necklines, including shawl collars, in class, so I had somewhat of an idea of how to go about doing this. I started with a quarter-scale torso front and back. The back was pretty straightforward. Princess lines from the armhole and then a seam at the waist.

The front was much harder. I wanted a shawl collar-y effect, but I wanted to top to be angled outward more and for the whole front center to extend out further than center front. I played around with it a lot (as evidenced by the several colors of paper) and finally ended up with something like this:

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Then I ran into a tiny problem. I’d picked up a gorgeous pale gray and white faux shearling fabric at Joann’s but it was only half a yard. Despite my best tetris-ing efforts there was always one piece I couldn’t fit on the fabric. In the end I had to crop the length by a few inches and be ok with the pattern pieces being cut out in whichever direction they fit, rather than all being in the same direction. It worked out though, I think! I’m calling this one a wearable muslin.

For my next one, I want to try to find a sherpa fabric with more drape, since this one sits kind of stiffly. And a possibly foot that works better with the faux suede-y material on the outside. It’s SO comfy though and I’ve been wearing it a ton.


On perfect fabrics falling out of the sky (not literally)

Sometimes I’ll have a project in mind and will search high and low and not be able to find the right fabric for it. When I was making my Betty Draper dress for the Mad Men party I went to, I literally spent hours perusing eBay and fabric.com and went to the fabric store twice before giving up and picking a different dress to replicate. (I had originally wanted to do this one but ended up going with this one instead.)

Then there are times like this past week when perfect fabrics fall into your lap and beg to be taken home.

Fabric finds

A few days ago I went thrifting on a whim looking for spice jars and possibly some DIY-able men’s shirts. There was nothing remotely resembling a spice jar and I was completely distracted by shoes and forgot to look at men’s shirts, but I did stumble across a three yard hunk of gorgeous pink/taupe silky satiny fabric mixed in with the sheets and bedding. Here’s the extra-awesome part: a few months ago I was wandering aimlessly around the fabric store looking for exactly that fabric! Except the only thing remotely similar was 100% silk and about $290384 per yard (not an exact estimate). I ended up leaving with a satin that was too heavy and didn’t drape right and abandoned that project. Did I mention the thrift store charged me exactly $1.99 for that three yard piece??

The next day I stopped by the fabric store on the way to school to get some thread and decided it couldn’t hurt to just glance around. My bank account winced and I thought maybe just one tiny chunk of fabric couldn’t hurt. And then I found the same fabric I had found at the thrift store, in exactly the shade of navy I had needed to go with the taupey pink! *happy dance*

Double breasted peter pan

While I was at the fabric store, I had also wanted to look around for a navy cotton, something on the thicker side but still with drape. I was about to walk out of there with something not so amazing when the perfect fabric basically jumped out at me. I don’t even know what this fabric would be called so I couldn’t really ask for what I was looking for. I’m still amazed!

Anyway, sometimes it’s nice when the universe balances out the times when you just can’t for the life of you find what you’re looking for.

Yellow floral fabric

In other news, I’ve got some more exciting projects lined up this weekend. I bought a yellow floraly fabric a few weeks ago and I couldn’t decide what I wanted to do with it but I’m thinking of going with this pattern. I might add some sort of cute collar detail but I haven’t decided.

I have to say though, it’s a little depressing making summer dresses and not being able to wear them immediately. I feel like this yellow print is a little too sunshiney to be able to wear in the snow. I’ll have to experiment.

Literally all of yesterday I was sucked into this project and holy crap it’s been difficult! I’ve had absolutely no training in pattern drafting and I wouldn’t even know where to begin to do it the “right” way. I’ve tried the math thing and somehow my calculations always seem to be off (one time I swear I did all the math right and ended up with a waist line 14″ too wide). I’ve tried using my mannequin but it’s a cheapy one and we have entirely different body types (plus her boobs are oddly pointy –maybe she needs a bra?). I’ve even tried tracing existing garments, which usually works best (except for the time I stupidly used a knit dress to make a pattern for a cotton dress and didn’t account for the lack of stretch -headdesk-). Usually I’m able to cobble together something decent but I couldn’t begin to tell you how I did it.

Chelsea collar dress

Anyhoo, the point is I’m 99% done and it 99% fits! I just need to hem it and fray check the buttonholes and it’ll be good to go! Look for it on the blog on Monday ;]

Lastly, can I just say how much in love I am with my new camera? My one piece of advice for camera noobs is to go touch one. No joke. If I had actually gone to a store and picked up and played with each of the cameras I was looking into getting, I’m fairly certain I would have gone home with this one in the first place. (Although to be fair, the only reason I could afford this one now is because the d7100 just came out so prices on used d7000 dropped dramatically. But still! Touch all the cameras!)


And yes, I  do feel slightly blasphemous taking crappy picture of a d7000 with an iPhone.

Have a great weekend!