European pattern making
Three weeks ago, a very unique opportunity opened up at the local college: it is the first time/place in North America that Le Grand Chic, the fashion school in Verona, Italy has offered their European pattern drafting course. After two sessions, we’ve already learned to draft patterns for 7 different types of skirts completely based on our own body measurements and the fit is wonderful! We’re working out of the school text which has been translated into English by our instructor and, by the end of the 10 week course, will know how to draft and sew skirts, trousers, simple dresses, jackets and shirts. The following sessions will eventually work us up to high end couture design. Though the classes are only once a week, they are very intense and homework is assigned. This week we are responsible for bringing in at least one completed skirt from the designs we have covered. I’ll be working on a low-rise skirt with a flared hemline and a skirt with a box pleat.
The best thing about this course is that I will no longer need commercial patterns. I have yet to find a pattern that I didn’t have to alter beyond recognition (which I usually tossed after hours of frustration) and I also have huge fitting problems with off the rack clothing. The dressmaker’s squares, measuring tape and collar/cuff/curve drafting tools are very different from the North American versions. Two classes in, and I’m hooked. Class three starts tonight. If anyone is interested, I’ll post the progress we’re making.
Hi Beebuzzled! I would love to know how the rest of your classes go and I'd also love to see pictures of your designs as well as the tools you are using that are different from what NA uses.
Sounds awesome, would like to see your designs too. It must be so freeing to be able to draft your own skirt and let your imagination fly and not be encapsulated in someone else's limits. Sometimes you need two or three patterns to get parts to make one. No you can just do it all as you think of it, great!
Where are you and how can I sign up for this class. It sounds great.
I would love to know more about the class and follow your progress. Thanks for keeping us updated. Do they plan on offering more classes in North America? Is there a website where we can find more info? Thanks. Cynthia
Here is some information on the course. It is run by Georgian College in Barrie, Ontario.
European Pattern-Making:Part 1 (GINT 0073)
Are you a victim of Fashion? No more! Learn tried and true pattern-making methods used in the European fashion industry. Create custom garments that fit properly and are comfortable. For the beginner and/or enthusiastic sewer. Access to sewing machine is required.
Barrie BA_A 201
This class is a trial run of the program, so I don't know if or when more courses will be offered in different areas.
Last night we threw two challenging techniques into one skirt. The project for the evening was a flared, bias-cut, plaid skirt. My eyes are still blurry. All of the drafting, cutting, tailor tacking and basting was done in class, but I'll be sewing it together at home as there are no machines in the classroom. Our other homework is to hand work a sample buttonhole using a blanket stitch. In three weeks, I don't think I've ever done as much hand sewing. I've been grinding my teeth because, though I can happily spend hours on an embroidery, I'm terribly impatient when it comes to sewing.
The instructor is trying to push a fashion design course at the college, which I think would be a huge bonus to this area as anyone wanting to enter that field needs to go to Toronto for their education. Fortunately, the college is progressively expanding and the director of part-time studies has hinted that depending on how the next few courses run, it has a good possibility of becoming a reality.
I'll give an update when I have the skirt sewn together.
I too would like to know where to take such a class!! Bought a European size blouse in Germany this last summer and the fit is very different than U.S. patterns and sizing. So, please let me know what you find in the European cut class; Vogue patterns have a similar European size.
Patterns that fit--no alterations--what a concept! :-) What an amazing opportunity for you. Please do post more about your classes. I dream of being able to draft my own patterns and design my own clothes.
Gores were the subject of last night. We learned how to draft a 6 gore skirt with the variations of a straight skirt with slits, an a-line and a mermaid look. It was interesting to see the pattern evolve from the front and back starting blocks to the four different pattern pieces we ended up with. Our homework this week is to sew one of the patterns into a skirt.
Last week's bias skirt turned out quite well, though I didn't do any finishing work on it (hem, topstitching) as I will never wear it. I do not wear bias-cut bottoms well. The hand-worked buttonhole, though time-consuming to finish with the materials we were given, also was not difficult. No hand-sewing homework this week. I am very relieved.
Next week we start the basics of drafting pants. YAY!!! This part of the course, alone, is what drove most of us to take it. I look forward to having pants that fit well and have some style to them without costing the week's grocery budget.
The six gore A-line skirt that was homework for this class fell beautifully and fit perfectly, yet again. I love this course!
Tonight we drafted a basic pant front with pockets. Though there were quite a few more steps here than with the skirts, the procedure was straight forward. Following the text book directions and with the guidance of the instructor, the whole class really took to this part of the program. Next week, we'll learn how to draft the back and how to put them together to make a simple pajama pant. I believe we'll also start on pattern adjustments for front zipper insertions and a classic pant pattern.
Homework this week is drafting: a capris front with cuffs and a low-rise pant.
I'm following your class notes with great interest. Oh how I wish I could take a class like this. I know you're loving it! :-)
I am also very interested in getting a copy of the book. I took a similar course with a French fashion designer but we had no text. But maybe my background will make the textbook understandable. How can I order the textbook? Enjoy the course. It sounds wonderful!Tzipi
See post 7478.13 above. I think tzipi meant to send the comment to you....
Thanks, VK. I usually use my email to check on messages.
Ooooh, my noggin. Today we learned how to draft the back of the same pants we were working on last week. This I'll have to practise. Though they begin the same way as the front, the whole thing swings into an entirely new direction when drafting the crotch and waist lines. As I was digesting that bit of information, I found that I had to greatly lengthen my pattern in the crotch seam to accommodate my very long waist. Though I was a bit confused, the instructor showed me, one on one, how to do the alteration and explained until I got it. The small class size is so wonderful, as she was able to spend enough time with each of us. After we completed the pattern back, we learned how to place it, together with the pattern front, on fabric to produce a pajama pant. The pattern pieces were pinned to the fabric, then traced around, with a seam allowance added, and small adjustments made until the two became one pattern piece with no side seams. I'll be making a pair of track pants out of this pattern. If all goes well, they will be the first such pants that will sit high enough on my waist and be long enough in the leg.
Hi Beebuzzled! I really appreciate your weekly updates from your class. I wish I were in there with you - it all sounds so fascinating. Will you post any pictures of your garments?
The camera focus has been causing problems lately, but I will post when I can.
I'm drooling over the classes you're describing. What a joy to have someone who knows how walk you through the necessary adjustments to get pants to fit! I'm thinking it might be faster to go to Europe to take the classes than to wait for them to come to California.
Apart from everyone's brain seemingly stuck in the mud last night, the class went very well. We learned how to draft the classic pant: the leg is straight, it has a fly, two front pockets, two welt pockets on the back, and two front pleats. It took the whole 3 hours for each of us to walk out with a finished pattern from which we are to sew a muslin for next class. For various reasons, half of the class was unable to attend, which made it a dream session for the four of us who were there last night. One of the things that caused the most trouble for us was constructing the fly. Here, the text diagram was off, so the instructor walked us through the procedure. Of course, once it was explained, it was perfectly obvious what we had to do. There was a lot of information to absorb, but we're moving along well.
Last week's homework, a pair of pajama or track pants went well except for one thing: I forgot to sew the darts in the back. I'll be ripping the waist out today and sewing them in. No wonder the waist was a bit baggy, even though the rest of it fit well. I have to admit that it was because the work was rushed. I didn't use my time wisely last week and ended up drafting the pattern and sewing them yesterday before class. Ah well, lesson learned. Hopefully it sticks this time. :)
Track pant update: I sewed in the darts. When I showed DH, the first thing out of his mouth was "Wow! They fit your bum!". So, it looks like the drafting method works. I think I see track pants in this family's Christmas future. Hopefully we get to doing tops before the holidays. A nice, comfy set of fleece tops and bottoms would be just the ticket. Actually, even better, is if the dress pants turn out well. I don't believe I have ever had a pair of dress pants that fit well - even from the "tall" fit boutique.
Hi Beebuzzled! Is your class finished or is there more still to come? And how did the track pants come out? Just curious as to whether this class will become part of the regular curriculum or is the jury still out?
I'll have to post a photo of the drafting tools we use. If you don't have those, there is no point in having the text as it uses the tools for all of the patterns. I'll post as soon as I can.
Is there any chance that the instructor would sell copies of the translated book? Since I live in California, taking the class isn't a possibility at the moment!
I know some patternmaking, but the books I have are American, and European craftsmanship ranks higher with me, especially in the field of making clothing. The most skilled and reputable tailors I know are European trained, as well as patternmakers and seamstresses.
She could possibly sell you the book, but you really need to see the drafting carried out step by step for it to make sense. It is not clear enough on its own. After going through a class, the pattern steps are obvious, but leaf ahead a few pages, and you're left scratching your head as the written detail is insufficient for someone who is new to this method. I have already made a number of notes in the text to jog my memory.
Though the class has been incredibly interesting and well-taught, the text would benefit from a step-by-step, detailed list of instructions. It's somewhat like being handed a crochet pattern done in symbols. If you have done it before, the instructions are crystal clear, if not, they may as well be heiroglyphics.
Not only do you need the text with instruction, you also need the drafting tools, which are very different from those used here. The various triangles and curves need to be explained in order to get full and proper use from them.
I'm sure that once we have completed the first instruction text, it may be possible to forge ahead with the other books, but that will also have to wait as they haven't been translated yet.
Just remember, we are the North American testing ground for this course. If all goes well, and so far it is going extremely well, the school will expand here. All of us in this course (there are 8 of us, so the student/instructor ratio is what dreams are made of) are committed to taking the next level. With our enthusiastic support, the college will be encouraged to also support this course, so the school in Italy will see that it will be profitable to continue on this side of the pond.
Le Grand Chic pattern making sounds very exciting (clothes that fit in Europen sizes?) Let me know where to find such a class....(I'm in west Michigan)
Pat's Curios Sewing and Alterations
If anyone knows of this or any pattern drafting class in the Northeast, I'd love to hear about it.
pattern drafting courses
Hello I am the instructor with this program and want to thank the student for this post! We are still going strong and I have students that come from far and wide for this course. I now have students in book 2 working towards their Italian fashion arts diploma they are amazing. The confidence they show is outstanding, this was brought to my attention by someone who was looking for some tailors to do some work for photo shoots. In her words "The self-confidence these young women have is outstanding, not in an arrogant way but in a quiet knowledgable, self assured way".
I could not have been more proud! So if anyone out there is still looking to draft patterns by all means look into the Le Grand Chic School of Fashion either privately or through Georgian's intensive program if you have to travel. I have had a student fly in from Louisiana for the one week bodice intensive with great success. I have also had a student from Ontario who used her holidays to take the course with great satisfaction I have her quote on my website.
Hopefully the student will reply I would love to catch up with her!
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