Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Drafting patterns and European cut

Lorna123 | Posted in General Discussion on


I’m wondering if anyone has comments on the merits of using patterndrafting software versus, say, using the Kenneth King moulage, to create the best results.  I have Wildginger’s PMB3 which is OK, but although my efforts so far have been a fairly good fit they seem to lack something in style.  It’s hard to say exactly what, and it may be that I haven’t made the best choice of fabric or I haven’t enough experience, but I’m not entirely satisfied (bit of a perfectionist, I’m afraid).  Also, although I live in the UK, I’m mystified by the term ‘European cut’ – it would be great if someone could explain this to me.





  1. Tatsy | | #1


    I've never used software but have experimented with lots of pattern drafting books and am currently using the Lutterloh system, which is German.  I really prefer pattern drafting to pattern alteration because my body is shaped so differently than standard American patterns.  While I can't give you an exact definition of European cut, it generally seems to me that they are curvier.  The garment fits closer to the actually body.  As for style, it helps me to check what's available in readymade and try to incorporate those details in my garments.


    1. Lorna123 | | #2

      Thanks Tatsy.  Your explanation of the European cut would certainly explain why I'm not entirely satisfied with my PMB3.  I haven't heard of the Lutterloh system before but I'll certainly look into it.  I just checked out their website but I couldn't get any sound on my laptop.  I'll try it on another pc later.

      1. User avater
        CostumerVal | | #3

        I haven't found an exact definition of "European cut" but in the pattern drafting techniques I've read about, the American method is to draft the upper body separate from the lower body.  So the bodice would be drafted to the waist and the skirt drafted separately.  The European method is to draft  a one peice shift.  The difference here is that the hip requires more fabric to get over the hipbone then the front.   So the american waistband is curved on the skirt section.  The European method rolls it all in, assuming that the extra fabric needed for the bust will be balanced by the extra fabric needed for the buttocks and hip, so in the end, the hem is even.  I actually need a drafting book for the European method.  How do you like Kings?  I've read Leena's, can't get around the bust dart being moved to the shoulder.  I haven't tried it in muslin, but the math is telling me that my AA dart would be the same as a petite D.  Does this make sense?  I am tall, so maybe it would work out?

        There may be more to it than that, but like I say, I haven't found a definition.  European patterns typically have more room, but their "standard measurements" are different.  If anyone out there has more on this, please add, I'ld like to learn more.

  2. User avater
    DonMcCunn | | #4


    I would be careful of the moulage. The moulage is based on using a one piece garment from neck to hem. In my opinion, this style is only appropriate for a limited number of body shapes. I have Kenneth King's CD and as soon as I saw that he relies on a double ended dart, I did not proceed further.

    For an accurate sloper fit the double ended dart relies on a body shape where the hips protrude the same amount as the shoulder blades in back. And the tummy protrudes as much as the bust in front.

    If you can back up to a wall standing with your normal posture and both your hip and shoulder blades touch the wall, you can use a double ended dart. For the front if you stand against the wall and both your bust and tummy touch the wall, you can use the double ended dart. From my understanding of Kenneth's system, if either of these is not true, then you will probably have trouble fitting a moulage.

    The other factor to consider with the moulage is that it might work well for a one piece garment but as soon as you break it down and use it for a separate skirt or top, the pattern may not give you an accurate fit. Once again do your hips curve to the side at exactly the same location as your shoulder blades? If your hips are wide in back, skirt darts should be place closer to the side of the body.

    Of course with designs you can cheat where your shaping devices occur. But for an accurate sloper, it really should reflect the shape of your body or it's usefulness will be limited.

    Disclaimer -- Like I said I gave up of Kenneth King's CD as soon as I encountered the double ended dart. If at some later point he talks about converting the moulage for fitting problems into a princess seam, then that will provide a better way of determining an accurate shape of the body.

    Don McCunn

    1. User avater
      CostumerVal | | #5

      Well, in that case, I wont bother with the moulage.  I'm familiar with the American approach and have successfully made 1 piece dresses from it.  Thanks for the info.  I'll stick to what's been working for me.

      1. ShannonG4d | | #6

        A "European" cut is generally closer to the body, with a higher, tighter armhole and a slimmer sleeve on bodices.  In pants, the crotch hook is deeper in the back, the depth of the crotch point is higher on the body, and the entire pant is slimmer in fit.  The moulage is King's method based on what he learned from a European instructor, but it is not the only way to acheive this type of garment silhouette.

        Don McCunn's book (referenced above) is a good visual of how pattern drafting works.  I'd also recommend Elisabeth Allemong's "European Cut" (http://www.vestisbooks.com) as a reference for the specifics to this type of garment cut.  Both are valuable resources. 

        Incidentally, Mr. McCunn also has an ebook available on drafting custom bras.  It's excellent!


        1. Lorna123 | | #8

          Hi Shannon

          Thanks for your description of the European cut and the info on books.  Is there any merit in using the European cut over the alternative, in your opinion?

    2. Lorna123 | | #7

      Hi Don

      Thanks so much for the info, which is really useful and makes a lot of sense.  I  was very excited to find that you may be doing an on-line patternmarking course; in the UK it is very difficult to find any useful classes or even books on dressmaking/tailoring and making your own clothes is a dying art. I know that drafting your own patterns really enhances your understanding of the relationship of the paper pattern to the body, etc. but would value your opinion, if you have one, on patternmaking software.



      1. User avater
        DonMcCunn | | #9

        Lorna,Actually back in the year 2000 I started creating a program based on my approach to patternmaking. I actually worked on it for several years. I wanted to keep it simple and yet capable of dealing with the concept of custom patternmaking and design.As I was developing my approach, I noticed it was taking me longer to accurately assemble a full size pattern from sheets of letterhead paper, A4 as I believe you call it in the UK, than it was to draft an original pattern by hand on regular patternmaking paper that was a convenient width. I think that the computer has the capability of being a wonderful time saving tool. But I also believe it can be an incredible time waster. I came to the conclusion that custom patternmaking was better done by hand than by computer.I have watched the progression of patternmaking software. The problem is that every body is different. The more I teach people in my patternmaking workshops how to get a custom fit with slopers, the more I am wary of any system that relies on measurements to create custom patterns. There are way too many variables. I can understand how CAD software for the Ready-to-Wear industry and commercial patterns is becoming the de facto standard. But that is because they are using one body shape to create all the patterns for different sizes. So automated pattern grading, laser cutting of multiple layers of garments, printing patterns on paper the width of bolts of fabric, etc. all makes sense.But for the "custom patternmaker/sewer" aka "home sewer," I would question the usefulness of patternmaking software. Especially as most of the ones I have seen require a very long learning curve and are constantly being updated and therefore require constant retraining.As to my online classes, my wife has a new novel coming out this Fall so I will be going with her on her author tour. This means I will not be teaching any more online patternmaking classes until January of next year. But I am very excited by the possibilities they offer. My first online class "How to Make Custom-Fit Bras" was a very rewarding experience. If you'd like to receive up to date information about these classes, you should put your name on my emailing list.http://www.deofsf.com/Classes.phpThanks for asking my opinion! But it is just my opinion and may or may not be appropriate for your own specific interests and needs.Best,
        Don McCunn

        1. sewingkmulkey | | #10

          Hi Don,

          As a professional dressmaker for many, many years I have never found 2 people with the same body and pattern fitting issues even though they may have identical measurements.  IMHO, yes, you are exactly correct in your opinion about computer software systems as there are way too many variables for them to be effective for all.  I believe a custom-fitted sloper is the only way to go.

          I value your comments to this gathering and look forward to your wife's new book to be released this fall.





        2. Gloriasews | | #11

          We do value your opinions, Don! 

          BTW, what is your wife's name & the name of the novel?  (As you can tell, I'm an avid reader of almost everything).  Good luck on the book tour - how exciting (& no doubt tiring, too)!

          1. User avater
            DonMcCunn | | #12

            Hi,You can find information about my wife's book on her website http://www.McCunn.com.Thanks for your interest.Best,

          2. Gloriasews | | #13

            Thanks so much for the good website - you have just broadened my reading interest & authors list.  (I read about 100 novels per year & am always looking for new authors, so thanks, again).  Much more success for Ruthanne!

        3. Tatsy | | #14


          I found your book last year and loved it.  Your method for making pants gave me the first pairs that ever fit.  Thank you.


          1. User avater
            DonMcCunn | | #15

            Tatsy,Thanks for your comment. I actually hear that comment about my pants pattern a lot and every single time I hear it I get a big smile. So thanks so much.Best,

          2. Cathie | | #16

            I was very interested to read you all talking about drafting patterns/European cut! And even Don M.! I have another suggestion. Taking my cue from Sandra Betzina and Barbara Deckert, I began trying to alter patterns. Now, this is a job, as I have so many fitting issues. Somewhere along the line I heard someone say - re-draft, and this is more what I do. I am on a budget, and have found this works for me. I buy lovely patterns at charity shops, generally unused, for 25 cents, and I modify. I am always on the lookout for help, at this site, and elsewhere. Of late, Hubby borrowed a very old library book for me, in French (I live in Quebec, in an almost 100% French area), and this book is on pattern drafting, but is actually not too intimidating. Perhaps you ladies could find similar books too. Kathleen Fasanella, from Fashion Incubator (site), herself a pattern maker par excellence, suggests looking at the pattern pieces (shapes), and learning to recognize where changes should be made. I also have a huge stash of Burda mags, very helpful also for similar "analysis". Being curvy, and not thin, but wanting excellent fit, and some funky to classical style, I have been on this "search" for some time. Love to share too. Thanks!!!!!!

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All


Shop the Store

View All
View More