Patternmaking class #1

I marched in with my pencils, pins, and enthusiasm, and plonked down for the first of five three-hour sessions.

Our teacher turned out to be a softly-spoken, rather serious fashion industry type. He gave us a slim volume of photocopies from what we were told is the standard text for patternmaking students, Metric Pattern Cutting by Winifred Aldrich and instructed us to take measurements. Note he didn’t instruct us how to take measurments, just to refer to the handout and do them – while explaining that measuring is an art in itself. Add this to the awkwardness of needing to ask classmates for help (trying to measure yourself is difficult and often ends in trouble) and making complete strangers fumble about with measuring tape and bustlines. It was a little frustrating.

That done, we started drawing up our close-fitting bodice blocks following the standard instructions (see pages 14 – 15 here) – a pretty simple process with flashes back to year 7 geometry, except instead of protractors and compasses, we were using these:

By the end, I’d pretty much finished my first bash at the bodice block but it looked a bit screwy to me. I was keen to go home and test it out.

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3 thoughts on “Patternmaking class #1

  1. well this is probably a little too late since you’ve progressed fabulously with your block, but when I did a pattern making course we used Butterick 5764 Fitting shell dress as our blocks for the bodice and skirt patterns rather than draft them from scratch using scary looking tools! I found this great because after screwing it up a few times by over pinching here and there and darting like crazy I could easily go back to the original and start again

    • Hey Kristy, that’s interesting that a course would start with one of these fitting shells. I’ve heard these are really handy within a pattern company – ie the adjustments you make to your Butterick shell will work great on any Butterick pattern. I did think about giving it a try but I have so many adjustments to make with my human A-frame construction, plus I wanted to learn the basic principles, that starting from scratch looked the best option. Do you still use your fitted shell?

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