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birdlady1 | Posted in Patterns on


I have taken Pattern Making Level I and am thinking of taking Pattern Making Level II.  I spoke to some who has taken the three levels in Pattern Making and they think that taking a draping class first might help me get a better understanding of how pattern making works. I sometimes have an issue when looking at a picture of something that a pattern needs to be created and not knowing where I may have take away a dart from somewhere and placing it somewhere else.  They felt that doing the draping class may help me better understand how pattern making works. I just finished a course in doing a woman’s jacket and am going to start sewing a lot more than I have been doing.  I know that sewing more will also help but I thought that a draping course might be beneificial before going into Pattern Making Level II.  I have Helen Armstrong’s book but it does not always help.  Also, does anyone know if there is a video about pattern making around?


  1. starzoe | | #1

    In my opinion, a true grounding in pattern drafting is a prerequisite to taking a course in draping. There is more to be learned, also, by actually making garments. Also, draping requires an extensive knowledge of fabrics and this comes mainly by using different fabrics and so extensive experience in actually sewing is a way to acquire that knowledge as well.

    There are many videos and instructions on the internet on various aspects of pattern drafting, too many to list. Google for specific sites.

    1. birdlady1 | | #2

      thank you for your reply.

  2. jjgg | | #3

    I know you really don't want to hear from me, but what Starzoe said is very true. To do draping you must have a thorough understanding of what pattern pieces must look like. There are some subtle issues as well as overt issues with draping that need to be corrected after the pattern is draped. Draping is an art in understanding fabric, fabric drape, how the fashion fabric drape differs from the muslin usually used in draping, as well as pattern shapes, etc. Also, sleeves are usually not draped but done by flat pattern.

    1. birdlady1 | | #4

      Thank you for your reply.  I was not too sure if draping would help but I needed to ask.  I am going to try and start sewing some more with commercial patterns.  I get so busy with work and home that by the time I am finished making supper, etc, I am not really in the mood for sewing.  I will start doing it on the weekends.  I am reviewing Ms. Armstrong's book again.  Hopefully that will help also.

      1. jjgg | | #5

        Ya know, I was thinking about this last night, and maybe you should take a draping class. You'll never know if you can do it until you try, and maybe it will make more sense to you than flat pattern. It is more of an ART than the geometry of flat pattern. I can easily do flat pattern stuff and love it, but draping is hard for me. I don't have the eye and feel for it, so go ahead and try - you still need an understanding of flat pattern, but perhaps you will be better at the art.

      2. Ceeayche | | #6

        If you have a little girl who is still enjoying dolls, I found I learned a lot by making a wardrobe for a niece a couple of years ago.  The reason I suggest it, is that because of the size, they go together quickly.   I quickly whipped through the garments after work.  All the pattern pieces are the same shapes as the full sized counterparts.  She recently married, and told me she still remembers that gift.

  3. cat42 | | #7

    When I first started sewing for my dolls, around age 8, I had no patterns, and had never sewn a garment for a human. I just picked up some cloth, cut a hole in the middle to go over the head, and started shaping the fabric around the doll. I'll admit, it was a pretty crude garment when I finished (I sewed by hand - Mom said I wasn't old enough to use her Singer Featherweight machine), but I learned so much about how fabric drapes and how darts want to form naturally, and how to take advantage of that.

    When I was 12 or 13, I got my first Barbie Doll (the first year she was introduced). I tried draping a dress for her, and oh my! what massive darts she needed! but by then I was much better at sewing. I made a strapless dress for her, 50s style, out of some silk scraps Mom gave me. I'll admit, she helped me a bit with construction, but I did the draping myself. and I'd still never sewed with a real pattern. That came a year later, when Mom helped me translate the draped fabric to card-stock patterns that could be used over and over. We made clothes for Barbie, and sold them at the local drug store.

    So I think you can learn a lot by trying draping. Check out Kathleen Cheetham's Plus Size draping articles (a series) in threads magazine. Try her bodice draping (the first article), to see if you like doing this, and to see what you learn. Its in Issue # 130, April/May 2007. Her skirt draping article is online (https://www.threadsmagazine.com/item/4668/drape-a-skirt-sloper) but I can't find the complete article for the bodice online, only the preview of the article: http://www.taunton.com/threads/pages/th_130_050.asp

  4. birdlady1 | | #8

    Hi Everyone!

    Thank you for all you responses to my question.

    I was introduced to a teacher who teaches pattern making at a local high school. I spoke to him and he teaches pattern making and he does not require you to do homework or exams. Also, the course is not as much as the college courses. I am going to take his course for 12 weeks. For me it is more of a review of Pattern Making Level 1. He teaches his students how to do their own Bodices. He aslo provides you with written notes so the students can pay attention to what he is teaching and not worry about missing any information. He seems to be very understanding of his students. He seems to be very approachable. I am going to take his course and see what happens. If he feels I am okay with taking Pattern Making Level II, then I will enroll next year at Seneca College. Apparently he only teaches students how to make their bodices and pant patterns.

    1. Ceeayche | | #9

      Good luck!

      I have found the bodice pattern an invaluable tool! Enjoy!

    2. KharminJ | | #10

      Hurray for you - finding your teacher! (that's Mother Nature's way of telling you "you're ready for it!")

      Happy winter Holidays of YOUR Choice!

      and Bright Blessings to all!


  5. Ocrafty1 | | #11

    I've never taken a pattern
    I've never taken a pattern making class...there just aren't any available in my area. I am learning by trial and error. However, there is a great website where you can take a Charles Kleibacker course in draping. Here's a link. (not sure if you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser with the new format. http://www.fashionschool.kent.edu/kleibacker/techniques/AAINDEX.htm

    Maybe it will help. Good luck!


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