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Hello. I had a question to ask self-taught pattern drafters. How did you guys come about drafting patterns on your own? Like when you first started out, how did you know what to do or come about it without any instruction or demonstration? I just find this very fascinating and astonishing, like how some people just pick up an instrument and start playing it without ever having touched the instrument before. It’s just very intriguing. So if you’re a self-taught pattern drafters, please share briefly your experience on self pattern drafting. :)


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    Feb 27, 2011, 11.38 AMby kkatushka

    I started with simple things such as basic bodice or a skirt, you can find instructions on internet. You can also find basic drafting instructions in many sewing books (I love my readers digest guide to sewing 1970 edition) And then you will have a look at how to do basic alterations….have a look at this http://www.vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-toc-long.html

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    Feb 27, 2011, 04.28 PMby lynnevv

    I started by altering patterns. I am very petite and curvy, so I was spending more time altering commercial patterns than sewing them. Once I figured out how to manipulate a dart, it was the key to the door! Wow, almost instantly, anything was possible. The eye opener for me was realizing that side seams, shoulder seams, etc are actually all darts. After that, I started collecting vintage sewing books and pretty much gave up buying patterns.

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    Mar 10, 2011, 04.41 PMby Adam-Dean Bourne

    Start with something simple, deconstrust the item, taking notes as you go along, iron out pices and trace around the outline of the pattern onto paper. Make up in plain cotton fabric like bed sheets. Remember though to only undo half of the garment so you can still see how it goes together.

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    Mar 11, 2011, 04.34 PMby Adam-Dean Bourne

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    Mar 23, 2011, 10.26 PMby Barbara Ogden

    I am very short and commercial patterns never fit right and by the time I adjust patterns, I feel that I might as well draft my own pattern, using my own measurements. Initially I started with Asian pattern drafting books it took awhile for me to realize what they are talking about, but curiosity made me learn to reason with those instructions and I just drafted away. Meanwhile I purchased a quality dressform that truly depicts my measurements and the rest is history. I feel if someone has the desire to learn drafting and is able to reason why and how some measurements evolve, that someone is in for a lot of fun. It is a very rewarding accomplishment.

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    Apr 26, 2011, 06.46 PMby Jnettistitches

    I started making my own patterns with Dusan pattern design, You can find them on ebay for a fee. They are great pattern starters to teach you how to do a dress or pants pattern. And how to size them as well. They offer a wealth of information on pattern making. There are a few great books out there as well by Helen Joseph Armstrong on pattern draping and flat pattern making. You have half the battle won if you know how to sew. If not learn on patterns in your size in styles that you like found at the local fabric store. I also like the idea of using a dressform. .

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    Oct 3, 2011, 12.26 PMby mickeygirl

    You need a book that will tell you how to draft a “sloper”. That is a basic sewing pattern that is made to your own measurements. It can be for bodices, sleeve, pants or skirt. Then you can get instructions on how to make changes to the styles such as moving darts, adding fullness, different styles of sleeves and making collars and facings.

    There are a few computer programmes available that are helpful and faster.

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    Oct 21, 2011, 11.25 AMby xxyyzz

    I usually draft the pattern straight on the fabric i’ll be sewing with whatever measurements. However the easiest way to figure things out is to undo an outfit which fits you well; trace out the pattern and put the pieces back together like it was while you were taking it apart. As you keep practicing, you’d be able to figure out how the shapes work together; then you wouldn’t need to undo already sewn clothes for tracing. All the best!!!!

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    Dec 15, 2011, 08.56 PMby Robert Carter

    I had a mispent youth doing Renisance fairs. Back in the late 80’s, their were few patterns available so I found an old sewing book that had sloper directions. I still do better with my own paterns than I do with purchased ones.

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    Dec 19, 2011, 11.33 PMby tracylou

    I started drafting patterns because it’s hard for me to find RTW or commercial patterns that really fit me — pearshaped and short back-waist measurement. I had a pattern drafting book and learned about altering from different websites. Took an evening class in pattern drafting where I got help from the teacher to do a personal sloper that really fits me. After that, my patternmaking really took off. For me the key was to have a basic sloper that fits and that I can alter by dart manipulation. Mrs Stylebook is a Japanese sewing magazine that has lots of good patterns and they show you how to achieve them by altering your basic sloper. The pictures give enough info to draft even if you don’t know Japanese — as long as you’re not a total novice. Figuring out the drafting from their drawings is kind of like puzzle-therapy.

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    Jan 3, 2012, 09.53 PMby jilleah

    I decided to learn how to make my own patterns because I could never find anything ‘just right’ or the right size, etc. I bought a book on pattern drafting and learned step by step how to draft a pattern from scratch – when you are reading instructions you need to have an imagination to be able to see what is being explained(most people to love sewing and creating have this). I then bought another book which explained a much simpler method of pattern drafting (“Easy Pattern making”). Now I seldom draft a pattern from scratch. There is so much ready-made that I take a pattern in an approximate size – with the basic shape that I want ( sometimes I combine two patterns) and build from there, changing the pattern as need be. Once you understand the basics of how a pattern is created, you can do this very easily. In fact, I’d rather make a pattern from something than sew it – its that much fun.

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    Feb 24, 2012, 10.31 PMby Tara Fleming

    I love this place. I consider myself a novice but I’ve been sewing most of my life with my great aunties. I decided to join last week for this very reason I suddenly found myself wanting to understand flat pattern drafting. I can make most anything from draping but no matter what I do to a paper pattern something turns out horribly horribly wrong. So far, I’ve found the best instructions here, vintagesewing.info and seamlyne.com. Most of these are dedicated to costuming but have tons a useful info. Seamlyne appeared to have the simplest to follow instructions and so far that’s produced the most accurate sloper. Pattenn magic 2 just arrived and hopefully the Bunka pattern drafting fundementals arrives soon but I’ll admit to having math anxiety and the anglesin the Bunka instructions make me totally nervous. Hope you find something useful and I’ll share anything else I find. Good luck to everyone on the same quest

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    Feb 27, 2012, 08.09 AMby Marjan BG

    hi! at the first time, I used my imagination! since I couldnt find any english / persian issues of burda so I had to figure it out my self! I check the figures mentioned in the instruction part of the burda pattern and tried to figure out what is what. although I did use an online dictionary for the pattern pieces, but these translations werent always accurate. since I had studied Engineering and knew some stuff about drawings and etc, it was quiet easy to take the first steps… although, I do get confused some times with eccentric patterns like this bubble dress in burda’s recently published magazine. but it still has the same excitement as the first time!1 good luck for everyone,

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    Feb 27, 2012, 08.18 PMby tzyg0nka

    My mother couldn’t sew a stitch, but we had an old sewing machine. I always wanted to design clothes, so I taught myself to sew from books in the public library. I learned how to draft patterns the same way because I couldn’t afford the patterns I liked so I copied them always with a few changes I preferred. I learned to always make a proper pattern (and a muslin) first after one wildly successful suit I made without either that I couldn’t duplicate when my sister wanted the pattern. I have also been helped by tv shows like Sewing With Nancy and The Sewing Connection. It helped that I need very few fitting adjustments.

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