Drafting binge

I’m being impulsive and adjusting my basic block patterns for the next two Outlander dresses. 

These are my no dart blocks


Drafting  class notes from the community college course

As soon as the weather cools down I’ll be making trousers again so I really have to get these dresses out of my system.

Adjusted bodice

One of my makes has a contrasting piece that runs from the bodice to the skirt, hence I’ve been redrafting the bodice and developed it to suit. 

First test bodice using polycotton non-stretch fabric

Once I was happy with the dimensions of this bodice it was simple to do the same treatment to the skirt, after I drafted out the skirt darts. You’ll see this dress next week. Promise.

Then the final make is a corset and skirt combo. This time I decided to adjust a similar styled vest and convert it to a corset. I just couldn’t find the right corset and decided to grab a Simplicity costume pattern as the base. 

Original vest tested for size

This pattern has the boning placement on the side bodice pieces so I’m using polyester boning as corset making isn’t my forte, but I wanted to give this garment a go.

Practicing with polyester boning. Will soon try using steel boning as a comparison.

This time I decided to treat the skirt fabric for a long line skirt to see if it works on my shape and height. On each test version I’m using polycotton fabric with no stretch.

I don’t know as yet if any of these design ideas will work but I’m having a ball trying. 


So I’m hoping that by the time I get these two dresses finished, the second part of Series 1 will be on tv and I can sit back and enjoy the costumes again.

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 😦

Trousers – from scratch

What’s another challenge amongst friends?

SarahLiz is a keen sewer and blogs her sewing development as she goes. She shares her journey and I’ve picked up a lot of lessons from her blog posts. Making toiles is one of them.

This year I’ve drafted an A-line dress and a pencil skirt, so this month it’s time to draft trousers. After studying for a few months, I’ve realised I learn well on my own and as most of you know, pictures don’t lie.

Made in 2011

I’ve read mix reviews about Metric pattern cutting for women’s wear by Winifred Aldrich and it took me a good 6 months to get a trouser pattern to fit me in 2011, but my curves are back. So while this is purely a selfish endevour, I know I’ll have to make loose-fitting trousers for Mum, so it’s worth practising. I know Mum’s fitting points.

I have other resources on hand if I get stuck. And patience.

My skinny jeans still fit nicely, the Jalie jeans do as do the pull-on trousers I use for hot humid weather using fine cotton fabrics, but it’s time to learn how to draft this pattern from scratch.

Made this year.

And I have a Craftsy course up my sleeves too.

Meetup with Anita McAdam
If you haven’t already let Anita know you’ll be joining us at the Powerhouse Museum on Sunday 27th October, go to the facebook page she has specifically created for this meet up page so you can let her know you’ll be there. You don’t have to have a blog to attend.

Veronica wiggle skirt

Do you know Anne from Mercury handmade? She has a Veronica wiggle skirt pattern drafting tutorial for free on her blog and I’ve enjoyed using it to make these two work skirts. I’m getting more comfortable with this new skill.

I used my pencil skirt pattern and made the drafting changes Anne suggested. I’ve used satin bias on the pocket to show the pocket lines without being too loud.

After taking a deep breath, the pocket drafting changes were easy to do and I’ve now worn this skirt  and the skirt below to work weekly. I’m a sucker for wearing new clothes when I have the time to make them.

And the tops are both Kwik Sew 3790. More about my now favourite winter top pattern shortly. I just wanted to make sure Anne got to see how I was able to replicate her Veronica Wiggle skirts. Anne shares her instructions free on her blog. The girls at work love this skirt too.

Have a look at Anne’s Rock chick version. The vintage inspired Veronica is the style that sold me on this pattern. The Barbara skirt is really versatile.

Modern Love Bendigo meetup question
On the weekend I had a good question about this meetup.
Q: Do you have to be a blogger to come?
A: Any sewer who is interested in seeing fashion from fashion houses can join in. 
Go to TJ’s blog and let us know you’re joining in. Having a blog is a nice to have, not a must have.

Studying is just about over and sewing is now peeking over the horizon.