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anyone know about flat pattern class?

blingy | Posted in General Sewing Info on

Can anyone explain to me what a class called Flat Pattern is supposed to teach?  I have asked the instructor several times but she keeps saying the same things and since I don’t know what this is about I don’t know what kinds of questions to ask.  I guess we are supposed to make a cardboard figure one quarter real size.  How will that help me with fitting problems?  Is this only if you want to make your own designs/patterns or will it help me to adjust commercial patterns to fit me Before I waste time and fabric only to discover the pattern won’t fit?  I have no interest in making my own patterns but I do get frustrated in the way purchased patterns fit, even if you measure them before cutting out the fabric, things don’t always add up.  I guess my real question is what is the best way to get purchased patterns to fit?  Trial and error or will this flat pattern class do the trick?  I am unemployed and spending $195.00 right now on another class that promises a lot but doesn’t produce results is not too appealing.  I have taken classes with this instructor before and frankly, the classes have been a waste of time.  Any advice would be appreciated!  Thanks!


  1. tmorris1 | | #1

    Blingy;When I was first starting to sew, I had horrible issues with pattern alteration and fitting. The way that I initially solved this problem was to simply buy 2 of the pattern that I was going to make. This gave me one pattern that I could feel comfortable taping, cutting, pinning etc. Then I would fold out the seam allowances and tape the pattern together so that I could see where the fit needed to be changed. Once I had become happy with the pattern's fit, I could transfer all of my alterations to a clean pattern piece, and start sewing with confidence. You can save purchasing the second pattern by tracing your pieces on to tissue paper and taping from there. I liked having all of the marking lines on my tissue pieces, and I always buy patterns on sale anyway, so it really was not a big cost. The more that you do these alterations, the more you will develop a "feel" for what will fit and what will not. If you are sewing mainly for yourself, I would focus on spending the money on a couple of tools, like a clear ruler, chalk, whatever, and extra yards of fabric to play with. Also, remember that once you have fitted a pattern, use it again. There is no need to keep buying all sorts of patterns just because you are attracted to a pocket styling or fancy fabric. A buttoned down shirt pattern is a buttoned down shirt pattern. There is really no need to waste time and money doing the same thing over and over again. I like to get patterns that show many different views of the same basic shirt so that once I have a pattern fitted, I can simply change out the sleeves, or add different pockets to make a totally different garment.Take a look at the simplicity pattern #6732 (http://www.simplicity.com), I think that it will give you an idea of what I am talking about. The style may not necessarily be what you are looking for, but there are many patterns out there like this one.T.

  2. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #2

    I know I shouldn't assume, but I am assuming that the flat pattern class is pattern drafting?  I'm familiar with drafting and draping and both I learned from books.  The class should teach you how to take your measurements and draw a "sloper" or basic fitting shell with your own measurements.  It sounds like you will be doing this on 1/4" notebook paper?  Anyway,  my opinion (keep in mind I've never taken a class) is that a fitting shell should be made as a full size paper pattern, then sewn up in muslin to check the fit, any adjustments are made to the paper pattern and a master pattern on poster board is drawn and cut without seam allowances.  At least these are the steps the books take you through.  Yes, I actually have done all this.  Then the master is laid on top of your commercial pattern piece and shows you where your body differs from the commercial pattern.  Keep in mind it does not show you design ease, but you'll see immediately where the pattern doesn't fit right.

    A short cut, if your not interrested in pattern drafting, is to pick up Vogue 1004 and the book Fit for Real People.  Threads has a few back issues with articles on using your sloper to perfect the fit of commercial patterns.  I hope I've helped and not confused you.  Val

  3. marymary | | #3

    bingy, a Flat Pattern class will be a class for you to learn how to make a pattern.  It will involve drafting.  You will start with measurements, either yours or standard measurements, and use those to create the pattern.  A lot of times, pattern drafting is done at a scale so that you can create the pattern easily in scale before you make it to real size.  It is easier to correct mistakes and to see the finished pattern when it is a small scale.  This is so you can learn how to embellish and create a style, not for fitting issues.  Learning pattern drafting can help you with fitting issues,  But, if your desire is to use commercial patterns and fit them to you, this is not the quickest way to get there.

    You did say something very telling, "I have taken classes with this instructor before and frankly, the classes have been a waste of time." If you have not learned anything from this instructor before, you probably won't in this class.  If she has been unable to explain the class to you, she is not an instructor you want to pay to teach you. JMHO

  4. jjgg | | #4

    Flat pattern is pattern drafting (the pattern is flat on the table, not 3 dimensional on a person). Contrary to waht someone else said, you will probably start the class by learning to move darts by both the pivot method and slash and spread. It will then go into drafting basic pattern pieces from a standard set of measurements (everyone in the class uses the same measurements - that way the teacher can easily check to see that you do the work right). then you will learn how to draft designs from these basic pieces.This will initially not help you with fitting, but it will give you a much better understanding of how to alter patterns. How to check and make sure the pattern will go together right. Then after the class, you can draft a fitting shell from your own measurements, and understand how to use it to help adjust a commercial pattern.That being said. you will still need to make a muslin and do some fitting in the muslin. A fitting shell (sloper) that has for instance a jewel neckline (that's how they are drafted) will not help fit the neckline of a low cut dress, esp. if you have a small bust and "hallow" chest. and, different fabrics will respond in different ways even for the same pattern.If you can afford to take the class, I would, it will give you a fantastic background of information. Pattern drafting is a lot of fun and it will let your creativity out. Sometimes I f ind it easier to draft my own than to alter a commercial pattern.

  5. sewanista | | #5

    I don't think this sounds like the right class for you. Aside from the fact that the content doesn't sound right, you don't seem to be impressed with the teacher, so you won't go in with the right mindset and it will be a waste of time again. Is that class the only option where you live? As to content, altering to fit and pattern drafting are really two different things. Related, but different. I second the notion that you get a basic fitting shell from one of the pattern companies, and learn to alter it, especially because you want to alter bought patterns. A draft you do yourself may fit like a dream, but if it's a different starting point to the bought pattern, it's a more complicated process to work out how to change it. Are there any other sewers near you who may want to share the process and fit each other? Once you understand the changes to the basic shell, if you make those changes to any pattern from that company, in the same size, it will fit you the same way the original sample fitted the fit model. This doesn't always mean that it will be the fit you want or expected, because pictures can be deceptive, but it's a good starting point.

  6. thehat | | #6

    do you have a real problem fitting ?I would say get a twin fit or have some one mesure you .or buy a peice of card board and hang it up and you stand by it and have a friend go from the side of your neck with pins or marker and do this all the way down  if you do it right you should have the size and then take a sidelook and start adding demension. T o make a top look right is to make the shoulders fit and the bust and we are not a size 00 we do have curves and to look beautiful is our goal to take another class is to have someone else thinking for you

  7. midnitesewer | | #7

    I agree with Sewanista. You are probably better off altering a basic fitting shell, if what you really want is to make a garment that fits well relatively quickly. Pattern drafting will open up a new world of design possibliities and help you understand how the flat pattern relates to your 3-D body. But if you aren't interested in that or don't have the time, just concentate on fitting a ready made pattern.

    I also agree that  you may be able to find an experienced sewer to help. Many local chapters of the ASG (American Sewing Guild) have groups that focus on fitting and garment construction. Check their website for the chapter closest to you and contact the chapter president. You can join the guild or find a teacher.  You'll probably make some new sewing friends. Good luck.

  8. DONNAKAYE | | #8

    I think I may have posted something about this topic before, but let me just pitch this in:  It doesn't sound like something I feel I would gain a lot from.  I think others' advice is sound.

    1. SewistKitty | | #9

      I used to be a classroom teacher that sewed as a hobby. I now teach beginning sewing classes. I took a few beforehand to see what was out there. What I found is that many people can sew but few can teach sewing well. Ditch the teacher. She has failed you once and she won't improve the second time.

  9. Tatsy | | #10

    I agree with Las Vegas Kitty.  Ditch the teacher.  I still teach for a living and I don't expect to reach every student. Teaching is all about communication.  She could be the best teacher on the planet, but if she can't make you understand what she means and make you feel inspired and confident, she's the wrong teacher for you. 

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