Pattern drafting

Work continues to be crazy and my time and energy for doing something creative this week has been sapped. Luckily I started a pattern drafting course last night named Vintage Frocks run by Pinworks, the learning arm of Darn It and Stitch. I walked away from it feeling more energised, having completely forgotten about work because my brain had to work in ways it has not for a long time!

The course takes place every Wednesday evening for six weeks for three hours. The idea is that we will have a fully finished dress at the end of it of our own design that fits us perfectly. I have a dress in mind, one by Zac Posen, but it is far too complicated for a first attempt and the time scale that we have. I'll be working on the design this week for homework - yes, we have homework! This is the first time that I have seen a REALLY expensive dress and thought that I could make a version of it. 

Last night we began by taking a series of measurements, more measurements than I have ever taken before. What struck me at this point is just how much my shape can change in a few days. The measurements I sent across before the class were accurate except for my waist, which has always been my problem area. I tend to fluctuate a lot but didn't realise just how much until it is put into numbers. I don't dwell on it but I do find it interesting to get items to fit at times. 


From the measurements we chose our standard size basic block and tailored it to our individual measurements. I had a few minor tweaks across the shoulder. If you squint at the pictures you can just see that I graded out a bit. I also needed to extend the shoulder dart meaning the front contort dart moved down slightly. So far, so good. And then I got to the waist measurement and that completely confused me! Against the size chart I had to add a good deal in this area but when it came to drawing in the dart on the block I had to take away. Can you see the confusion for someone who has not done this before? What I didn't realise is that the chart measurements are without the width of the dart. Once I figured that out, with Adam's help once I got home, I got it. For me, the darts at the back are narrower than the ones at the front as this is, and I quote, "where you need more fabric". I love the frankness that was delivered with!  


Once we had our basic blocks tailored we learnt to pivot the dart on the front. I had never moved a dart before and the thought of it conjured up all sorts of thoughts about it being a complicated process. Turns out it isn't. As long as you remember where to stop tracing before pivoting you're fine! You can see on the photo above where I redrew the line to move the dart to be under the bust. You need to mark where the top right line is on the shoulder dart on to the paper you are tracing, hold a pencil at the point near the bust and then pivot the paper to the right until the left line of the dart reaches the mark of the right. You can then draw in the dart under the bust and draw the outline of the pattern by finding the middle. Does that make sense? It is actually harder to write than to demonstrate. 


So this is where we left it. As I said at the beginning, I'm now off to finalise the design so I can I can begin to create the pattern next week.