Monday, 18 January 2010

Pattern cutting fatigue...

I have pattern cutting fatigue. Normally the idea of a weekend where I cram every spare moment with sewing would be a heavenly prospect, but as you can see from the many screwed up pieces of paper above, this has not been the case.

Last week I posted a picture of the first draft of my dress. It was way too big and the flare of the dress took out any shaping on the top half that couldn't be pulled in by a belt in the way I had hoped. I drew up a new pattern which included a slightly lower neckline, lower armholes (as they were just a bit too high) and nipped it in at the waist going down to a much less flared skirt. It took me a long time to do this, drafting the pattern takes up space and needs concentration, both hard with 2 children around. I found my brain could only concentrate on what I was doing for an hour at a go before getting completely befuddled and I ended up drawing lines in the wrong place. When it came to making up the dress, sewing curved necklines is really hard, especially with a gather in, and it took ages.

The new dress was a much better fit, the top tighter, the belt gathered it in nicely around the waist, and the arms were more comfortable, but the top was also now too low and didn't look quite right.

So redraft number 3 and I think I am there. I think you need to be quite a perfectionist when drafting a pattern. Its too easy to have pieces not quite matching up at the arm, shoulder or hem. The result wouldn't be such a good fit, so I was extra careful this last time (and it will be the last time as I don't have the will to do another version) and measured up so that everything matched up (hopefully) perfectly.

Despite the many frustrations, in the back of my mind, I think this will be a really useful pattern, in addition to the dress, I am imagining a shorter version like a tunic, and I could add patch pockets to the front. I am hoping all my hard work will be worth it in the end, but for now it's a good feeling to pack it all away finished and take a breather...


  1. good luck with this! I start a pattern making course this week - am wondering whether it's a good idea as I'm not normally a perfectionist...

  2. Don't let me put you off! I love the course and have learnt so much. Perhaps it would be fairer to say that you need patience rather than being a perfectionist. Thus avoiding the confusion of finding one side of your dress an inch longer than the other and not really knowing why!

  3. I feel your pain. I've just found your blog and have read through all your pattern cutting posts - I think I'm doing the same course as you but I'm oop north. Although your course seems a lot more comprehensive than mine, as we have a pretty rubbish tutor and we haven't even finished our close fitting bodice block yet... do you get a BTEC at the end of it? And have you got the Winifred Aldrich books? I got two for Christmas and have just ordered a third. They are brilliant and are making up for the lack of progress on my course! I can't wait to see your finished dress :)

  4. Hi, I am fortunate to have a really good tutor, the course is certified, not BTEC but NCFE, really not sure what that is! I also got the Winifred Aldrich book for christmas! the pattern cutting bible. I might get the children's one too. I also bought a pattern master, it was quite expensive and I wasn't sure I'd use it, but it's been brilliant for doing neck and arm curves, and in addition to a tape measure round my neck gives me the feeling of being quite the pattern cutter even though the reality is slightly different!