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hello, all.

i’ve been really excited with my new found love and interest in sewing and making my own clothes. my biggest problem though is making a pattern that i am truly happy with. i can not get the fit just right. something always seems to be to big or far to small. and i am using my own measurements and following the directions down the key, but somewhere along the way, something goes wrong and the garment starts turning into a hot mess! any advice here on the mechanisms of the pattern and how i can make the fit better?

thanks guys!!!


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    Feb 19, 2011, 10.09 PMby halokitty087

    I have only just started drafting patterns, and have not taken any classes or had a chance to read any books, but I have found muslin (basic unbleached cotton) to be invaluable! I can lay it out on my dressform to see if the pattern will fit, and see where I need to adjust it. You can also practice construction techniques, figuring out which seams to sew first, etc. The main thing, I guess, is just to do fittings as often as you can. I’ll go through three muslin versions sometimes before I finally cut out my good fabric. It’s taken me three weeks to finally cut out the satin for the corset I’m making!

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    Feb 20, 2011, 03.16 AMby mlssfshn

    Today’s patterns have alot of ease built into them. You’ll need to check your finished measurment, unfortunately they’re printed on the actual pattern and they frown upon you opening them in the store. Also, when selecting patterns it’s best to go with an actual picture of the garment made up and not a drawing, they only have tested the pattern if it is actually had a pic. the drawing and the actual garment usually don’t turn out the same.

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    Feb 21, 2011, 06.35 AMby Emeraldstar

    what are your opinions on making your own patterns? is it something that should be tackled by anyone, no matter the skill level, or wait till you’ve made a few successful pieces before you take on that beast?

    1 Reply
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      Mar 15, 2011, 04.06 AMby misslivia

      I would highly recommend working your way through pre-made patterns for a while before tackling drafting. you learn all sorts of techniques along the way that make drafting much easier, knowing how the pieces will fit together in the end. I honestly don’t know how some of the girls in my fashion design program make it through our drafting class having only sewn one purse and a skirt beforehand! It’s espically good if you want to make intricate or difficult designs. I’ve drafted 12-15 patterns in the last two years and still won’t draft a jacket pattern, I’m using a Vogue pattern. But, if you want to go for it, use this book:


      it is really good for beginners. Start with making your sloper and the use that as the basis and everything should at least start from fitting your measurements!
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    Feb 21, 2011, 06.53 PMby alicerain

    I think it just depends on your own style of sewing. I started off by using patterns, but I found it to be tedious and disappointing when the garment didn’t turn out right. So I started making my own patterns – very simple skirts and dresses. I figured out what worked for me.

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    Mar 14, 2011, 02.53 PMby mickeygirl

    You need someone who knows what they are doing to take your measurements. Measuring yourself is not always accurate. I got my husband to do it but that was no good. Also wear your best fitting bra when you get measured.

    Measuring back waist and shoulder width etc is difficult. Also measuring the hip depth is really difficult if you have a round stomach. I do look up these measurements on standard size charts but I find that I vary. You could also not have perfect symmetry in your body. You need to look for that: one shoulder or one hip higher could make a difference and you might have to draft a different pattern for right and left sides.

    My husband even got me a computer programme that draws the patterns and different styles but the success of that really went back to the original accurate measurements of my own figure.

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    Mar 16, 2011, 08.13 AMby katexxxxxx

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    Mar 16, 2011, 09.41 AMby EricaMarguerite

    I have drafted my own patterns at home without tuition, there are some really good books, take time measuring and drawing the basic block (this can really take time and patience don’t lose or gain weight otherwise your work is wasted!) then anything is possible, keep it very simple, basic slips are good to start. Good luck and let us know how you go xxx

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    Mar 18, 2011, 03.49 PMby dixiediy

    Have you tried working with a sloper pattern like Butterick 5746? I know McCalls has one too but I couldn’t find it right now. It is basically a fitted dress pattern made specifically for you to alter to fit your body exactly. You could make a finished dress or skirt or shirt out of it but it is mainly to work on fit. The great thing is once you fix it to fit you perfectly you can use the pieces to alter and make other things from it like jackets or tops. You can learn to widen the darts for a bigger bust or slope the shoulders if you need to. Things like that. And then you can use what you learned to alter regular patterns to fit better.

    Also pay attention to the final garment measurements on patterns. Commercial patterns often add so much ease that I always make a size smaller than what the package tells me.

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