Patternmaking isn’t for the faint of heart

I’m in course number 2 of a  fashion studies certificate program in the apparel construction track at Moore College of Art & Design. The curriculum covers most of what I think I’ll need to become a part-time fashion designer and full time bad ass fashion creator.

  • Fundamental Sewing Technique (done)
  • Fashion Studies Foundations (next)
  • Photoshop & Illustrator for Fashion
  • Fashion Textiles
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking I (in progress)
  • Advanced Sewing Techniques
  • Construction & Flat Patternmaking II
  • Fashion Studies: Advanced Projects

Flat Patternmaking  is NOTHING to play with. I skipped taking Advanced Sewing Techniques to take this and I really wish I hadn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I’m learning so much it’s mind numbing. I had no idea what a croqui, sloper, block, half-scale, dart manipulation, slash & spread or pivot meant in relation to sewing, but trust and believe, I know what they mean now, but there are some techniques that I’m not 100% comfortable with and it can be very stressful when you don’t have a frame of reference to draw from.

One upside is that I’ve made more half-scale patterns, moved more darts and used more scotch tape than I’d ever thought possible. Yet, I feel a little unfulfilled. I want to SEW SOMETHING NOW!

7 Weeks of classes and not one stitch sewn, one patter cut, or one garment made. I’m jonzin’ to make and wear something new. I mean, it’s the only reason I got in to this, to design and make hot gear for myself!  (Vain, right!)  Well, I don’t plan on quitting my day job anytime soon and the impetus for learning to sew was to be able to see something (think FLOTUS)  and make it or think of something cool to wear and make it, for ME!

After 7 weeks, the patterns were all 1/2 scale.

1/2 scale pattern of final project dress
1/2 scale pattern of final project dress


I still don’t know how to size patterns up yet, but I guess that part is coming. However, this past week we were giving the task of starting our final project……. Drum Roll!


We are to design a dress (however we want), draft the pattern (facings and all), make a muslin, then make a finished garment for the dress form in class.


I’ve only been sewing since October and since I’m not Anya from season 9 on Project Runway with her luck and awesome haircut, I really struggle sometimes. I’m so slow (SLOW).

So, my final project is a dress. Nothing fancy, just a dress with pleats. As Michael Kors or Zac Posen would say, “It’s so banal!”

Here is an example of what the finished product should (might) look like:



Nice, huh?! Classy and elegant just like I like my dresses.

If I had more time and skill, I’d be making an Emily Blunt inspired design. I love her style to pieces! She loves flowers (I love flowers) she loves a classic silhouette (I love a classic silhouette). Although, my design choice is close, I wish I could find a similar pattern like the one on the left.  Perfect for this time of year.


2014-05-30 23.42.40

So where were we, oh yes, MY DESIGN! I have the muslin done, just issues with the bust darts and how they translated from the pattern. I pinned and made it work, but I’ll have my teacher give it  the once-over to be sure.

I’ve since added the facing and that turned out OK. After the instructor reviews the muslin and makes any edits, I’ll be well on my way to creating an actual garment. I’m going to add inseam pockets like Emily has in the the muslin before I move on to the real deal. The only down side is that’s it’s for the dress form and not for me, but this is such a wonderfully scary project, I’m just enjoying what I’ve learned with each and every mistake.

As I previously stated, pattern making is not for the faint of heart. There is a lot of technical details that cannot be omitted and there has to be a firm understanding of many garment construction techniques. I’m learning as I go and I’m enjoying the journey.  I’ll be sure to post her critique as well as my journey to my 1st finished garment that I drafted from scratch.


Wish me LUCK!











4 thoughts on “Patternmaking isn’t for the faint of heart

  1. Hi there Scooter,

    Your muslin tryout looks great! Darts always look wonky in muslin! I absolutely love the silhouette you chose for your dress. You will be so happy you went through all these lessons later on; you’ll be a sew-pro! It’s fun getting your updates, keep ’em coming!


    1. I can’t wait to show you! I hope (fingers crossed) to grade the final pattern up to my size and make the same dress for an event I’m going to this month. I’m so excited with the possibilities.

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