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Hey, I’ve started teaching pattern making and am using Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin . Would anyone like to read along as I build my curriculum, correct book mistakes, get the class room aids I’m developing? We are using a 1/2 size dress form because of limited class space and it’s a good way to practice your skills without using a lot of fabric. I’m developing the basic blocks for it as well. We’ve read chapter 1 and 2 so far.


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    Jan 7, 2010, 08.02 PMby chanelleaj

    I’d luv to take part in this I know the book your using as I bought it years back but lost it :(

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    Jan 7, 2010, 08.54 PMby mlssfshn

    I have the book as well and moved and haven’t been able to find it so I recently purchased a mono lazier printer and am printing the chapters that way from the website I listed above.

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    Jan 8, 2010, 05.09 PMby bushnellas

    I’d like to take part … in pattern making / Modern Pattern Design by Harriet Pepin, but I missed that web sight that you talked about…to print off the pages too. sounds like a good idear.. can you give us the web sight again ? thank you

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    Jan 24, 2010, 08.07 PMby mlssfshn

    We have finished chapter 1 and 2. Starting chapter 3 next week. We are using a half size mannequin in class would you like me to post the slopes here?

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    Jan 24, 2010, 10.09 PMby gedwoods

    I’m really intrigued by the use of a half-size mannequin – I read in a magazine recently how Madeleine Vionnet used such a tool for most of her design work. Do you know where one can obtain one – are they pretty standard or harder to find? I must admit I’ve never seen one in a store which carries regular dress forms, although if I wasn’t looking for one, I might miss it. Also, the Pepin book is very interesting, although I haven’t read it in detail. It would be useful to spend invest some time doing so. I am interested in “echoing” you on this, but I’m not sure I can commit to “keeping up” – I have a demanding, full-time “day job” and am spending much of my spare time advancing some sewing projects. But I will give it a go.

    As you know, I use Aldrich’s blocks, but am interested in exploring Pepin’s approaches in order to better understand blocks and slopers.

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    Jan 25, 2010, 02.14 AMby mlssfshn

    I love Pepin and have begin supplementing her with Rohr. I had difficulty finding a half size mannequin as well most range from $90-200, but finally found one through a wholesaler for $43 plus shipping but I have to order 2 at a time to get them to meet their $50 minimum or get some pattern making supplies to make up the deference and have a tax id http://www.ameriglobe.net/ . The best thing to google is “half scale dress form”.

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    Jan 25, 2010, 02.50 PMby ana555

    i will try to keep up.

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    Jan 26, 2010, 12.04 AMby gedwoods

    It will take me some time to get a half-size dress form in, so I guess I will work on a full-size one for the time being. I read Chapters 1 and 2 – there is an awful lot of material in Chapter 1, really amazing. I think it covers the entire scope of the Flat Pattern book I used to begin with (Pattern Making by the Flat-Pattern Method, by Norma R. Hollen and Carolyn J. Kundel). I particularly liked the discussion of “cowl” necklines, which was new material for me. Chapter 3 is very timely, as one of my spring projects is to develop a fitted hip-length jacket for my niece. I also find Pepin’s discussion of the “ideal figure” as shaped by corsets interesting, although obviously referring to an earlier epoque of dress-making. Fascinating reading, all told.

    You say you’ve read Chapters 1 and 2… how much of the experimenting proposed by Pepin are you actually planning to include in your course?

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      Jan 26, 2010, 01.56 AMby mlssfshn

      We started Back in November and meet for 3 hours a week. We took a 3 week break at Christmas. Last week we used a picture from style.com to recreate the bodice in fabric. Chapter 1 I think we covered in 2 classes, chapter 2 4 classes. I hope to get through chapter 3 and start 4 tomorrow night but we’ll see how it goes. Cowls are probably one of my favorite things to draft.

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    Jan 26, 2010, 12.20 AMby ana555

    i haven’t finished chapter one yet, but whoa. i also thought the cowl interesting. it is definatly not what i thought. generaly it seems common sence, i think. i’m not going to worry about the form. i traced the patterns on paper and worked them out. i hope to be caught up by tommorrow night, but there is alot of info. i wasn’t totally understanding dart tucks though. i will have to reread. patterns aren’t as fragile as i thought.

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      Jan 26, 2010, 01.59 AMby mlssfshn

      Pepin makes pattern making easy as baking a cake. Her explanations are well thought out and details are exceptional. This is my 3rd time reading and I’m still learning, it’s a well planned out text.

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    Jan 26, 2010, 08.45 AMby judeb

    OK I have just found this discussion, I dowloaded the whole book last June, love it and have been dipping into it every so often. I will work through and try to catch up, hopefully this will give me the push to get back into full pattern design/making, something I haven’t done for 20+years. Thankyou for this.

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    Jan 26, 2010, 06.02 PMby ana555

    i get the dart tucks, i don’t know why it didn’t register the first time. i finished chapter 2 and i love it. i don’t know how many things i have read to try to understand how to draft the block and no one wanted to give it up in it’s entirety. i think for the practices i might try to create a form. i’m excited about chapter 3!

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    Feb 7, 2010, 01.48 AMby vanghoul

    Ima join this :) Because I haven’t touched a pattern in forever… and I haven’t touched this book since before time!

    I like that everyone loves cowls so much…I actually HATE them…I loved the part on double-breasting but I was so exhausted from all the cowl talk I just couldn’t enjoy it :)

    I’m reading Chapter 3 tonite, so far SOOOOOOOOO good.

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    Feb 7, 2010, 05.33 PMby mlssfshn

    In class we finished chapter 3 and were starting sleeves on Tuesday. I’ve read that chapter twice and All the ABC 123 makes my head hurt.

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    Feb 9, 2010, 08.12 AMby vanghoul

    I LOVE sleeves. I don’t like to wear them but I love to look at them…if that makes any sense.

    As much as I hated the cowls before….I really liked the cowl sleeve, especially the variartion. This is definetly going into my next design.

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      Feb 9, 2010, 12.37 PMby ana555

      sleeves can definetly add interest. i don’t like the cowl in front. i think it looks better in the back of some pieces and like you, definatly in sleeves. i think it is interesting because i thought it to be more than what it actually is. i’m slowly starting to draft my own patterns and things that were, i thought, above my comprehension really aren’t.

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    Feb 10, 2010, 07.15 PMby mlssfshn

    Draft the sleeve there is a mistake. Letter J placement is half of line FG not twice line FG. I also want to mention this method, as all patternmaking method, is not perfect, it’s a starting point. Almost everthing I’ve drafted, once the muslin was made, I had to make corrections.

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    Feb 17, 2010, 06.09 PMby vanghoul

    Is anybody still reading this? :) I have a LAZY week so I’m full of time! I pretty much devoured Chapter 6, I’m all about embellishments that surraound my neck.

    Right now I’m on Chapter 7 and I’m taking it pretty slow…sooooo much information!

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      Feb 18, 2010, 04.48 AMby judeb

      wow, how do you get so much time to read, I have 2 dd’s that take up so much time and energy that I am just starting chapter 2. I will get there in the end.

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    Feb 18, 2010, 07.49 AMby mlssfshn

    My students didn’t show this week. We’re still in chapter 4 we drafted a sleeve, next we’ll practice altering a sleeve and then we’ll take something current and draft it in half size. I haven’t been on in a while because my computer crashed.

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    Feb 21, 2010, 11.29 PMby mlssfshn

    One of my students had to go out of town till March 7th, this will give me time to review the first 4 chapters. If you have any questions now is the time to ask on those chapter.

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    Apr 10, 2010, 03.37 PMby mlssfshn

    All my students want to sew right now instead of perusing the book further at this time. I’m still working on drafting the perfect sleeve myself before I move on to chapter 5. I’ve looked at at least 3 methods and think I’ve wrapped my brain around it the bicep measurement is the most important followed by the arm length, in my opinion.

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    Apr 12, 2010, 10.51 PMby gedwoods

    I’m afraid I haven’t kept up with the reading – I find there is way too much to take in and digest quickly. I did look at the material on sleeves. I noticed that Ms. Pepin promotes the use of the elbow dart, but none of the other references I use say much about the elbow dart. I’m wondering where to fit this in, in relation to Alrich’s sleeve block, for example. Of course, if I had lots of time, I could make up muslins of both and see how they work in practice, but time always seems to be at a premium. Any thoughts or comments about this?

    I do expect to get more into Chapter 3 soon, as one of my projects this year is to develop a bespoke jacket, and I skipped ahead to reach Chapter 10, as I have a thing about lingerie. Chapter 5 on Adapting patterns would also be really useful to master, as I have a lot of difficulty with appropriate adaptations for body types. So I am still trying, but just can’t assimilate the material faster than I am doing!

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      Apr 13, 2010, 01.52 AMby mlssfshn

      I understand it is time consuming and we all have busy lives. I’ll try to keep the post alive as long as I’m progressing. Most sleeve patterns have moved the elbow dart into the wrist as ease, that’s why you rarely see it. I’m not familiar with Alrich’s method so I can’t say how his is different. I did want to look at your sleeve block tute but you can’t print the whole tute off like you use to.

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    Apr 13, 2010, 01.57 AMby gedwoods

    Hmmmm… Maybe I could prepare it as a PDF, and make it also available in that format…

    I looked up my techniques, and it looks like from the trouser block through all the more recent posts, the PDF is available, but not for the older posts. I shall ask the BurdaStyle management team about this.

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    Apr 27, 2010, 08.28 PMby badkitty-1

    I know that I am probably a bit of a late starter but this sounds great. I will try to catch up. K xx

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    Apr 27, 2010, 09.39 PMby mlssfshn

    I’m still on chapter 4

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    Feb 28, 2012, 07.17 PMby sarkars2


    I am new in patternmaking and trying to find a good book. I have tried Helen Joseph Armstrong’s book. It is full of errors and a lot of instructions do not make sense. While trying to find another book, I came across this thread and would very much like to try Pepin’s book. The link posted here is showing error upon clicking. Could you please repost the link?


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    Mar 19, 2012, 08.09 PMby harrietbazley

    The vintagesewing.info site is no longer available.

    There is an archived copy of the online version of Modern Pattern Design from this site on the Wayback Machine:http://web.archive.org/web/20090205061556/http://vintagesewing.info/1940s/42-mpd/mpd-toc-long.html

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    Mar 19, 2012, 08.19 PMby harrietbazley

    I’ve also discovered a PDF version downloadable from a Spanish-language blog (it’s the English version of the book!) under the translated title Diseno de Patrones .

    I don’t know how long it will stay up there of course if we all rush to download it….

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    Apr 19, 2012, 07.39 PMby missfields

    I’ve just joined this group – is anyone still conducting the patternmaking class. I am very much interested if it is still available.

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    Apr 22, 2012, 12.18 PMby pinkflamingo84

    Greetings from Australia! I have just discovered this forum (and indeed, the whole BurdaStyle website, even though I signed up years ago). I have owned Ms Pepin’s book for a couple of years – I just love the vintage designs and techniques, but haven’t been game to sit down and draft any from scratch. Has anyone drafted a bodice block from her directions? I was curious, as, reading through her instructions, it doesn’t seem like she allows any ease in her block, unlike other drafting instructors such as Aldrich …does anyone out there have any advice?

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