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pattern design

khalliqa | Posted in Patterns on


I am a new member and sort of a beginner.  I wouldn’t consider myself intermediate but definitely more than a beginner.  I need help on how to pivot a pattern.  Don’t you need two sheets two pivot?  How do you create a fitted bodice out of a loose bodice pattern?  I drafted a bodice sloper from my measurements , but since my lower belly protrudes the design didn’t come out right.  Also can someone recommend a good book on pattern design.  A book with good graphics and instruction.  I am unable to take a class or pay someone.  Right now the books I’m using are Make Your Own Patterns by Rene Bergh and an old Fairchild book called Basic Pattern Skills For Fashion Design. 

Eventually, because I have such exacting tastes and bottled up creativity, my goal is to carve out for myself from home a good fashion design program.  I currently create lots of designs with no drawing instruction.  I’m not against instruction. I just need flexibility and control over my time and money.  I sew for myself, but I want to expand.  Does anyone know a good series of books to get me where I would like to go?

Also this will seem laughable to many, but I am EXTREMELY strapped for cash.  I would LOVE to buy an expensive machine.  I cannot at this time.  I currently have a $180.00 Singer. The bobbin died on me after about a month of furious sewing. I almost created  two full wardrobes.  Could someone recommend a decent new sewing machine that will last at least two years without collapsing(or even one year)and can withstand heavy use under $200.00 or really under $100.00?

I LOVE to sew, but I don’t like patterns.  I always find myself trying to piece together the looks.  There is always something I’m compromising in design.  Hence, I constantly feel I’m wasting time and energy trying to get someone else’s design to fit my desires and fit.

I’d appreciate any help that comes my way



  1. stitchmd | | #1

    Have you tried to get your machine repaired under the warranty? Even a low priced machine should have a year of coverage.

  2. SkiNsew | | #2

    Here are some free lessons on Pattern design.


    Hope that helps.  Mary

  3. mainestitcher | | #3

    Making a fitted bodice from a loose pattern: In my experience, it always goes the other way. A close-fitting sloper is used to create everything else.

    I would try your sloper again, throwing out the old one entirely. Start fresh. I've made almost every mistake in the book, too numerous to list here; 9 times out of ten if something "didn't work" I missed a step in the instructions. You can try draping and pinning for your sloper, but that's easier if you have a sewing friend to pin on you.

    Frugal tip: inter-library loan! Your library may or may not have this book, but can probably get it for you; Patternmaking for Fashion Design, Helen Joseph-Armstrong. ISBN 0-321-03423-6 It's expensive, that's why I suggest borrow instead of buy.

    Expensive machines are...expensive. I have a feeling the originality of your clothes is in the way you put the elements of design together, not digitizing a flower picture! So, look for a good used machine. I have many workable machines purchaced for $10, $20, $30 at yard sales and Salvation Army. What exactly, went wrong with the one you have? Maybe we can troubleshoot that.

  4. Elisabeth | | #4

    Welcome! I think I know what you are feeling about patterns since I am going through somewhat the same process. I want my thoughts sewn up, not someone else's. There are some really good patterns out there and sometimes it is a gift to be able to sew something by another designer, but in my return to sewing after many years I have gotten into pattern drafting to do my own thing. I'm not exactly swimming in money either so I have tried to find ways to learn at home.

    An amazing free resource is http://vintagesewing.info/ The site leenas.com mentioned in a previous post covers pattern drafting in a moulage type method which is really nice. I'm so glad to see it free online although I think the instructions can be a bit mind boggling unless you are familiar enough with pattern drafting. A reasonably priced way to learn the moulage is with Kenneth D. King's Moulage CD at around $25. I am really impressed with this method and KK breaks it down a lot so just about anyone can do it. There is a recent discussion about this here that you can find with the "search" feature, just look up KK moulage.

    You can definitely find a great machine for under $200. It is best if you are familiar with sewing machines, but then those people who are really familiar with a machine seldom need to buy one it seems! Anyway, try asking your local Viking, Bernina, and Pfaff dealers if they have used machines for sale and don't hesitate to look at an older one. Try those out to get an idea. Some of those older mechanical machines are superb, they last forever and the stitch quality is excellent. Repair persons for the above brands sometimes have a few project machines they have fixed up and would love to sell. Even a generic sewing vac repair place might have one stashed in the back somewhere and it might be worth asking. If warranty is important to you, stick with the dealers.

    What happened to your bobbin? If it is truly broken then there should be a warranty. Most machines have decent warranty on mechanical parts.

    Keep up the creating!

    1. FrancesC | | #5

      Before you do anything about a new sewing machine, take your current one in for inspection. It may be that the bobbin case merely needs adjustment. I just had the bobbin case of an elderly Elna adjusted and now it works fine. The repairman said something about timing screws. But be sure that you have a competent repairman. Also remember to oil your machine regularly, if it requires oiling. (Are there any models out there that don't?) If you haven't discovered the sewing machine oil bottles with the pullout tubes, go look! Such a simple but brilliant idea - I was even able to oil a fan blade through the safety screen that otherwise I couldn't reach.Frances C.

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