Notes from My First Pattern-Making Class

comments (2) May 13th, 2008     

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Shannon_Dennis Shannon Dennis, contributor
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This is my teacher, Megan (on right, I am in the middle.) Megan majored
in fashion design and is a designer. She also runs my favorite
crafting place in Cleveland—Stitch—with
author Shannon Okey, who is on my left.
Once you have made a bodice sloper, you can use it to create any type of
bodice imaginable, but you have to have the foundation (sloper)
specifications from the start.
Heres a picture of my first bodice and skirt slopers.
This is my teacher, Megan (on right, I am in the middle.) Megan majored
in fashion design and is a designer. She also runs my favorite
crafting place in Cleveland—Stitch—with
author Shannon Okey, who is on my left.

This is my teacher, Megan (on right, I am in the middle.) Megan majored in fashion design and is a designer. She also runs my favorite crafting place in Cleveland—Stitch—with author Shannon Okey, who is on my left.

Photo: Shannon Dennis

This past week took me to a million places: an ad shoot, a promo taping, cleaning up my front yard, and prepping my flowerbeds for spring planting. We also got a brand-new storm door for our house to add to the curb appeal and placed an official “For Sale By Owner” sign in the front yard. But my favorite part of the week was the weekend when I took my first pattern-drafting class! I’ve made up patterns before: a zillion purses, pillows, bags ,and some quilts, but I’ve never learned how to correctly draft a garment pattern. Honestly, now that I think about it, I’ve never drafted a garment pattern ever!

Garment-pattern drafting is so different from the pattern drafting for purses, bags, pillows,and quilts. Garments have to fit a person once you’ve constructed them into a three-dimensional form. In a way, garment sewing is a lot like putting a puzzle together. I’ve always enjoyed sewing immensely, and now, I hope to learn in this class how exactly one takes a garment design and makes it into the actual garment.


I decided to take my class at my favorite store in all of Cleveland, Stitch. Every time I'm in that place, I love the feeling of creativity that tickles my eyeballs and rolls my mind into an imaginative mess. Now that I am a student there I can hardly keep from jumping up and down! My pattern teacher Megan is a design graduate of Kent State University. Megan runs Stitch with author Shannon Okey. Megan is an incredible teacher, and Shannon’s awesome books on knitting are very inspirational.

In my first class, I learned some really cool stuff about pattern drafting. Not only did I begin to understand how to make the individual pieces of the garment puzzle, but I also realized that to do so, you need some handy tools: a clear ruler, some drafting paper, a “clicky” pencil, a French curve,and a curved ruler. Within the first hour, it became clear that if you don’t like the fraction "1/16-inch," you might want to rethink starting to draft a pattern!

In pattern drafting, accuracy is extremely important ,and making even the smallest miscalculation can throw your whole garment off kilter, perhaps sending your neckline into your sleeve! In my first two-hour class, Megan helped me to make a bodice sloper and a skirt sloper. A sloper is the “ground floor” of your pattern. A bodice sloper includes a simple curved neckline, shoulder seam, and armhole and dart placement. A skirt sloper is the same concept but for a skirt with simple dart placement, a waistline, and side seams.

My next step is to create a muslin using my slopers. A muslin is a mock-up of the garment sewn out of fabric, usually a cotton muslin, before you make the actual finished garment out of your fabulous fabric. This step is an essential part of pattern drafting,as it will tell you exactly how the garment is going to fit—or not fit—and gives you the opportunity to make any changes to the pattern before you cut into your fabric. Creating a muslin as a draft for your pattern will indicate if you need a different size and can serve as a guide to what the skill level is.

I’m going to try to find some time to sew up my muslins this week, and then, I’ll post some pictures of them. I can’t wait for my next pattern-drafting class!

posted in: muslin, sloper

Comments (2)

Snikwas writes: A sloper (I've never heard the word before either)is what I think we'd call a basic block - either skirt, bodice, sleeve or trouser, and from which you draft any future pattern from so they need to be updated as you change/grow.
Posted: 7:24 am on October 5th
gina68 writes: Hi, I live in cincinnati, no one here even knows what a sloper is, I want to make pants, bodice, and skirt. Any ideas for me to get some help with this. Also are you using these for your patterns now? Are they helpful?

Thanks,
Gina
Posted: 10:30 pm on July 27th
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