Pattern Making

Fitting Commercial Patterns is a very popular workshop for home sewers and textile teachers.  This week I've been going all-out to improve the workbook materials for this workshop in preparation for some professional development training I'm delivering in Melbourne next week to the Victorian VET textile teachers.  I've decided to share a section of that new workbook in this post, covering the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on an existing shirt pattern.

Did you ever think there'd be so many designs using Twist Drape?  I was totally captivated with the asymmetric aspect of this design and the layering effects that can be achieved using two different fabrics and my knit block.  Like the majority of previous twists you'll definitely need a two-way stretch knit for this to work well.  The elastane (Lycra/Spandex) in your knit fabric is the best tool for achieving a snug fit with this method of making twist patterns.  If you'd like to learn my method for creating Twist Drape Patterns I have a detailed worksheet for making Jersey Twist Patterns.  For just a few dollars you'll get the same training you'd get if you came to the workshop in my studio.

This entire post is inspired by my fascination with circular knits.  I've not had much experience with this particular cloth but have always been hooked by the possibilities.  I found this piece (slight grey marl cotton) at the back of one of the local fabric shops and grabbed a couple of meters to play with.  My first idea was to try the twist, especially with a fabric that's half-way to dressing you without any side seams.

Elegant and flattering, this is an interesting cut in a knit fabric.  By using my Knit Block or your favourite tee shirt patterns, you can self-draft the front pattern piece to drape while leaving the back and sleeve patterns exactly as they are.  It's a looser shape than many drape tops and is cut with a more gentle fitting rather than hugging tight to the body.  That slightly looser, non-grabby tee shirt is always flattering and much easier to wear.

I have made an info-graphic to show you all what I've been up to with the workshop line-up here at the studio.  Now I hear you say  'What's that to me?  I live on the other side of the world! :(  So to elaborate; the teaching materials I intend for the website (e-learning) are derived from the workbooks I make for each of the workshops I run here at the studio.  The content and integration of that content becomes even more important when considering its use as online teaching materials.  As a first step I've added my garment blocks to the website as PDF downloads.

For this week's #PatternPuzzle, my initial idea was to make a slim jersey skirt with a #CowlDrape on the Centre Back (CB) seam.  When I started the pattern development I found there was also an opportunity to work some draping magic with the waist shaping (side seam & back dart).  What I came up with is a number of options for this skirt pattern development that should suit everyone's taste and style.  NB These instructions use my skirt block and are for two-way stretch jersey and light weight ponti only.  If you don't fancy making your own pattern, I've just added this PDF pattern to the website for the Drape Tube Skirt in Sizes 6-22.

This weeks design follows a current trend for large cross-over tucks as seen in a couple of recent #PatternPuzzles.   I know that I am really pushing the envelope with this style.  To get the drape right in the front and make sure the tucks are holding everything in place will be quite a challenge. This is probably a good opportunity to remind everyone that these puzzles are ideas only, with guidelines for making the pattern. The proof is in the testing and that's a creative and technical journey from a well-fitted dress block through pattern making knowledge in the desire of beautiful creations. For industry product development, a dress of this complexity will take a minimum of two toiles (more likely 3-4) to get the balance right.  And it's not just the cutting but the choice of fabric that is crucial.  If the fit on the bust is too tight it will push the drape tucks open and  be potentially ugly.  If the fabric is too stiff, the front hem drape will stick out in a doll-like fashion.  So take a deep breath and be prepared to make at least two toiles, to finesse this pattern, before cutting into your valuable fabric.

About two years ago, in a Draped Dress Patterns workshop, this jersey style came into being.  A combination of Cowl and Twist Drape, it proved to be a fabulous idea for students dealing with their first ever drape pattern.  Using my knit block for these early drape patterns is always a plus.  There is never any question about... ' what to do with the darts!'.  If you'd like to learn my method for creating Twist Drape Patterns I have a detailed worksheet for making Jersey Twist Patterns.  For just a few dollars you'll get the same training you'd get if you came to the workshop in my studio.

What a week ! A brand new set of workshops for Personal Block Development, and an amazing group of students with some surprising things to say. Firstly the new workshops: they're an addition to the existing program at Studio Faro and extend the scope of the basic and advanced pattern making workshops.   They're focussed on allowing individuals the time and space needed to perfect their own block fit, before making the first fit toile. It's so disappointing and risky to attempt pattern making with an ill-fitting block.  For fans not able to come to these classes I've added all my garment blocks to the website as PDF downloads.

This week I've showcased #PatternInsights, where I share the light bulb moments in my pattern making career.  In this shirt pattern development, I'm sharing two pattern making moves that early in my career caused me some anxiety.  Anxiety caused by a lack of information and training.  Thank heaven for my hero Natalie Bray!  I am sharing the pattern moves needed to turn my basic fitted (dress) block into a loose-fit block and a basic set of moves to draft a gauntlet placket for a classic shirt sleeve.

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