Pattern drafting basics

For 6 weeks on Thursday nights after work I attended a pattern-making workshop and loved it. Yep. Local community colleges are gems for learning from industry experts.
Can you tell that I’ve finished my work studies yet? Got the certificates in their frames.

Below is a simple cowl neckline top drafted using a basic block bodice. I drafted every aspect of this top. Bodice, cap sleeves and peplum.

Dear niece #1 took these photos for me (big hug). The fabric was bought in Vanuatu a few years ago and it’s pure cotton so it’s a bit stiff. Inside the cowl neckline I’ve sewn in a big button so the cowl neck fold nicely to form a V. Littlest niece #2 was gobsmacked when I told her about the button inside the top. She refers to as the creative Aunty. And she gave me her Christmas make wish – make her a toy puppy. Who could say No to her? Not me.

The shorts are RTW but I now have a trouser block and the knowledge to draft shorts. Any shorts. Summer is here too so I’ll plunge into the stash and find an appropriate piece of fabric soon enough to test out a me-made shorts pattern (she says breathing deeply).

This is my second test top placing the front piece on bias. This time I sewed the cowl to the centre front seam.

The cowl forms a soft v-neckline and it’s cool to wear. Kirsty, I’m wearing RTW jeans too:)
Scary side view above. This pattern works well with an invisible zip down the centre back seam, so I have the self-drafted cowl top with the shaping I wanted. I wore it at our Melbourne meet up and didn’t catch any food crumbs.

I love commercial pattern as much as Peter of MPB. Confession: I caved and bought Grainline’s Maritime shorts pattern at Jen’s recent sale 🙂

What I am finding is more confidence to use any pattern knowing I can redraft pattern parts if I need to make it fit better. That’s what it’s all about for me. If I can make a pattern fit me, I can do the same for my family.

A much better trouser drafting write up
Cation Designs recently did a much more extensive trouser pattern drafting and a trouser fitting workshop at Canada’s College Fashion department. Go and read about her full-on learning experience. Her posts are extensive and worth reading if you’re in the midst of your own trouser making journey.

Thank you
… for continuing reading my blog posts.
I know there’s a problem with blogger comments on mobile phone. I’ve tested a few blogger blog comments and experienced the same problem.
The solution on blogger hasn’t worked and I’ve failed twice to install disqus. I’m planning to move across to wordpress – when I have done plenty more research and get enough courage and patience to press the ‘go’ button. Fingers crossed!
 I would have said ‘wish me luck but … oh blogger 😦


  1. I'm so impressed by how quickly you master new things!

    Re WP vs Blogger:
    My personal blog is on Blogger but I also write for my quilt guild's blog on WP. The Blogger spam comment filter works so much better than WP's. You'll either spend so much time manually deleting spam on WP or need to set restrictive user registration and comment approval policies.


  2. Lovely tops. I agree with you that learning pattern drafting helps with changing patterns to your liking. I've learned some pattern making in the past but mostly find it too time consuming to start from scratch. Lack of experience too probably. Your tops came out with a perfect fit!


  3. Absolutely gorgeous and you drafted it yourself too! Love the first top (the meetup top was lovely too). Nothing wrong with the side or back views.

    Re the migration to WP a couple of points I'd like to make:
    1. If you're worried about security issues (and you'd be right to worry) and/or the learning curve for migrating to self hosted wordpress I'd suggest just starting a blog on (it's free like blogger) and linking the last post you've made to that blog (and having a distinct link from your new WP blog to the old one for archive posts). That way you can move everything (if you want to) when you're ready, meanwhile you're familiarising yourself with the WP format/layout without putting anything on the line and without having to pay someone for a domain and server space for all your old posts and images.

    2. In response to bmgm's comment-I disagree. WP's inbuilt anti-spam is actually excellent. It's the same thing used in Disqus and it's the most widely used because it works. I've only ever had 2 comments go to the spam folder that didn't actually belong there and I've been blogging for 3+years now. The spam ends up in the spam folder and gets deleted after a set number of days-that's that.

    3. I moderate comments (for previously stated legal reasons, not for spam monitoring) and it's really not a big deal. When you're on any WP blog or on your blog in the dashboard-it shows you all the comments and who made them. You can then click approve, approve and reply or spam. It's all very simple and it all just works.

    4. WP just has nicer themes and layouts and way better search engine optimisation than blogger. None of it is complicated so please don't let people freak you out by telling you otherwise.

    5. We can all avoid recapchas.XD

    If you'd like we can skype/talk on the phone and I can walk you through the setup etc and each step of the dashboard live. Shouldn't take too long, we can do it this weekend or one of these days after work it you like.


  4. Lovely tops, especially the black one.
    I love the idea of learning to draft my own patterns. Have started with a pencil skirt and turned it into an A-line. Next I think I'll try a bodice block.


  5. I love your top, and I do envy you for your drafting lessons! As for wp, well, I'm also seriously thinking about it, because, even if my blog is small, a) I'd really hate loosing my work if ever Google decided they wanted to cancel my account (it seems they often do that, and with no previous warning); b) my blog isn't mine, but it belong to Google! I didn't know that, so I hated it when I discovered this.
    Mary @


  6. Your tops turned out great. I've taken a pattern drafting course too and found it invaluable for addressing fit issues on commercial patterns.
    As for WP, I just wanted to echo what Theperfectnose said – for me, the WP spam filter has worked really well. Good luck with your migration!


  7. The drafted top certainly fits you beautifully. There is something to be said for slowing down and enjoying the process of getting a good fit.

    WordPress and Blogger are similar but quite different. I have learnt how to use WordPress (and Weebly) and there are pluses and minuses, as you can imagine, with all of them.


  8. Maria, you get so much done. I think it is wonderful how you can take what you learn from the drafting and use it in so many ways. I am with you, I love patterns.


  9. Pretty tops! I especially like the floral print one — such vibrant colors! I'm taking pattern drafting classes now and absolutely love it. It is time consuming but I am enjoying the process and the end result of a well-fitting garment!


  10. So productive – I always think “I should try drafting that” but never do – time alludes me – congratulations on a great job!


  11. Are you sure you didn't make those pants too!! Love the top.. it really does suit you. Congrats on finishing up your studies this year. I must get into some courses next year.


  12. What wonderful tops! Yes, they fit you beautifully but more importantly your pattern drafting prowess gives you so much confidence and freedom. I doubt I'll get to that stage but love seeing others create at new levels.


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