One of the most fun, most useful things I ever did when my interest in sewing revived after about a 20-year hiatus was to take a pattern-making course (from Linda Faiola at the Cambridge Center for Adult Ed.). There’s a lot to learn! But my course focused on one thing: getting a basic pants pattern to fit the student’s own body, and learning how to modify the styles.
For me, the big breakthrough was realizing that I was free to change what was on the pattern (I grew up learning to Follow The Rules Or Else!), or even to invent my own pattern, without disaster! The class taught me to understand better what I could change, and how, as well as why certain things needed to be a certain way for certain effects — such as grain, easing, seam allowances, the shape of front/back crotchlines.
The great “take-away” was a basic pants pattern in tagboard for pants that fit MY 46-year-old body, and some knowledge of how to make new patterns from it. In 3 years I’ve made flattering classic pleated trousers, drapey summer pull-on pants with no sideseams, and (most recently) traditional karate uniform pants in white cotton duck with crotch gusset (I incorporated the design features of a pair that didn’t fit any more — sewing wasn’t the ONLY thing in my life that took a long hiatus — and the new ones are SO comfortable I want to adapt the gusset feature for everyday pants!).
Anybody else learning to make their own patterns? What mental breakthroughs have you made, what useful lessons have you learned, what books have been most inspiring?