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Make Endless Pieces with One Base Pattern

Mar 27, 2013
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When author Patricia Keay sews, she finds herself repeatedly reaching for the same garment pattern. This doesn’t mean she makes the same old thing over and over-just the opposite. One simple, essential pattern provides the jumping-off point for multiple garments, each a far-from-redundant variation on the theme set by the original. This “base pattern” is neither a sloper nor a fitting shell. It’s based on her measurements, includes seam allowances, incorporates wearing ease, and has been tested so that she knows it fits perfectly. Its versatility lies in its simple, classic design. These qualities mean she can make a few adjustments for style, cut out the garment pieces, sew them together, and have a blouse, dress, or jacket that fits like a dream. Not only does using a base pattern make it easier to whip up garments, it also makes cutting into a precious piece of fabric less nerve-wracking. Developing your own base pattern is easy, and there are myriad ways to use it. Patricia will explain how to make one and suggest ways you can use and modify it in this article of Threads issue #160.

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  1. User avater cxissy April 15th

    I do this . I realised that what I made and what I actually wore were two different things . I looked at my wardrobe and found I wore 20% of it 80% of the time .I had a massive clearout and went back to basics to see what I actually wore . since then I have got rid of most of my patterns and kept the half dozen I use time and again . this applies to trousers and skirts as well .
    I have two go to dress patterns a princess line one and a fit and flare one . I think ive made half a dozen variations of each, all completely different
    I keep a file of embellishments / ideas / necklines etc that I see in mags or online so I have a mini book of alternative styles . it also means that I can buy fabric without having a particular pattern in mind because I know how much my standard dresses require .

  2. Anny March 30th

    Nice article. Easy to understand.

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