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I had post this in the wrong category earlier and this category seemed to be the best fit. I hope I got it right this time.

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 1, 2011, 08.12 PMby mixtlii

    Hi, I started drafting my own patterns recentely, using gedwoods method for the basic block and this website for all the modifications. The website really is great, it explains clearly everything, and I think with these basis you can play around. They also explain you how to draft slopers, and I think I’ll try those when I get the chance because the one I made isn’t perfect ^^

    About grabbing a tool and playing around, I don’t think this is real, you need to know the basics… And then you can follow your imagination, and that is fantastic!

    I’m not sure this is what you expected as an answer… Anyway, you should try the website it’s amazing! (PS I didn’t read everything yet, it’s a little long, but just looking at the drawings you get an idea of how it works!)

  • Photoge01_large

    Feb 2, 2011, 03.50 AMby gedwoods

    It’s a good question, missindependent! I started with a book (“Pattern Making by the Flat-Pattern Method, 8th ed.”, by Norma R. Hollen and Carolyn J. Kundel) that I think I ordered online. After several months, I stumbled across Winifred Aldritch’s books – I think I now have 5 of them. I’m the kind of fellow who likes learning something on my own – I taught myself to sew, and I actually found that more challenging than learning to manipulate patterns. Once you get the knack with patterns, it’s not all that difficult, but with sewing, there’s always something new to learn! I also use the Pepin book, which mixtlii refers to, I found several topics covered there that are not covered in Hollen and Kundel’s book.

    From there to developing the tutorials was but a short step. I’ve found throughout my career that I tend to “put myself into the shoes” of the person who is following me, and I try to lay out how I moved forward so they can too. In a sense, I “cheat”, because when I wrote my first tutorials, I was no more an expert than anyone else! By now, however, I’ve learned more than a thing or two, and can present myself as having a certain expertise, albeit one I’ve gained from the seat of my pants!

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    Feb 2, 2011, 02.14 PMby magdamagda

    I grew up having around me talented crafty relatives so I was helplessly attracted to stitching- I just plunged into it, sometimes with some help, but most of the times without as I was using supplies I wasn’t supposed to get my hands on etc:D by 4-5 I was knitting, sketching, stitching and I carried on for another 25 yrs … only now it’s the main thing I do, and I know that it’s my enthusiasm and curiosity that keep things going rather than “my knowledge” … I never took a pattern book seriously, I never made a muslin until 2 months ago- I still don’t always find patience for that … Internet is a great resource, I try different things n forget abt them the next day… I approach every new project with maximum shiness n the pressure valve is not released till I see it done- it’s always a wonder to see things coming into shape!

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    Feb 3, 2011, 01.54 PMby anajan

    I think the first garment I drafted myself was a summer wrap skirt. It was really simple – a rectangular block with few vertical darts to give it some shape. That was some 13 years ago. After that I had some simple, modest attempts at drafting – skirts and dresses. For example, my African dress pattern is based on the first dress pattern that I drafted (some 12 years ago). Later on I started playing with these patterns – making small alterations every time to get a new look. These are all variations of that pattern: - red stripes dress - spanish dress - blue asymmetric dress - rose dress - african dress - blue party dress I made many more dresses, but gave away most of them before taking pictures. Basically, I played around with the basic shape, experimented with the fabric and with details, necklines, lengths, etc. But I have to admit I never felt as if I was 100% sure I knew what I was doing. In the last few years I’ve been absorbing all the information I could find on internet regarding pattern drafting and pattern alterations. At some point, I think all the accumulated knowledge literally exploded out, and now I amaze myself with the garments I make. As if all the pieces are finally matched in my brain, and I feel I could make/sew anything I see or think of. It was definitely a process, it didn’t happen over night.

  • Profilesquare_large

    Mar 18, 2011, 04.10 PMby dixiediy

    I started by altering commercial flat patterns to fit the designs in my head. After awhile I had go-to pieces that fit me that I could use to build whatever garment I wanted (basically, pattern blocks, although I didn’t know they were called that at the time). Like I have a basic t-shirt pattern I made that I can change up to be long sleeve, short sleeve, dress, v-neck, button down sweater, etc). I took a simple pattern making class at a local sewing store and I learned better ways of doing what I was already doing. It was a basic transition for me from regular patterns to making my own.

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