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A Journey to Digital Patternmaking

Two years ago, I made a gorgeous dress for my daughter. It was a simple pattern with some unique pieces. I told her to pick three linen colors in my fabric stash that I would mix together to make this dress for a wedding we were attending. She looked at me with her big 4-year-old eyes and said, “Are we going to match?” That question set me on a path that took two years to come to fruition.

As a self-taught sewist, I had made considerable progress over the years with knowledge gleaned from books, blogs, and YouTube tutorials. But there was one design that continued to elude me—a unique A-line shift dress without the usual side seams. I simply lacked the expertise to re-create it.

Dark-haired little girl standing in front of a turquoise-colored building wearing a colorful multi-paneled sleeveless dress and colorful sneakers.

Giving Digital Patternmaking a Try

Then late last year a friend was telling me how she’d learned to draft patterns online. Our meandering conversation piqued my interest in this drafting method. It led me to a course developed to take a schlub (me) at any skill level and teach them to use Adobe Illustrator to make their own patterns based on their own pattern block. The online-only course by Confident Patternmaking (on Instagram at #confidentpatternmaking) took me through preparing my own block, drafting a standard garment from said block, and then offered further support to create my own projects. There were also videos, a Facebook group chat, and two expert instructors.

Sewing has always been a tactile experience for me. I rely on physical patterns and tracing paper, so the prospect of transitioning to a digital platform seemed daunting, especially since I had no prior experience with Adobe Illustrator. When it came time to create my project, my mind went straight to that elusive shift dress. Only this time, I had the…

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  1. KMYoung | | #1

    I love this - both the journey and the outcome! Is there a way to buy this cool pattern (adult)?

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