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kuecker3 | Posted in General Discussion on

I am interested in learning to draft my own patterns.  The classes in my area are only held during the day.  Has anyone taken online classes?  What books are good for teaching yourself?  My local school only has classes during the day and I can’t get there.


  1. user-51823 | | #1

    i don't have advice, but are we talking about a college that does have night classes in other subjects? if so, ask them if you can start a list of people who might be interested in taking an evening class, or approach a fabric store if they would post a sign-up sheet and host one when enough folks sign up.

    1. kuecker3 | | #2

      We had a big student uprising over the lack of any night classes in this area.  Met with the department head and others to no avail. 

      1. user-51823 | | #3

        that doesn't make sense, does it? the school is there for the students, and lots of kids have to work to pay for school. they need to keep after the admin until some night classes come through.
        not soon enough for you it sounds like though-
        good luck with your search here. i'm sure you'll get the advice you need soon.

        1. kuecker3 | | #4

          No, the local school is a community college, but they really seem to only be interested in serving the junior college kids (just out of HS, living with the parents).  They don't have concern for the adult education needs.  The department head seems to be more interested in marketing, fashion buying type classes than those of us who want to learn to sew or increase their skill set.  I can't get away during the middle of the day 2 times a week to go to day classes. 

  2. GailAnn | | #5

    Is there a Theater Department?  I taught Costume Design in a college Theater Department..............(I'm not really qualified to teach on a college level, I was subbing for one semister while the regular instructor was on maternity leave.)........We ended up doing a lot of pattern making work.  Gail

    1. user-51823 | | #6

      theater is an excellent suggestion (tho i can't see them having one if they don't like being around after business hours).but-- if there is a local theater, maybe you could approach them to host a class, or at least approach the costumer on a freelance basis.

  3. Fruzzle | | #7

    Vintage Sewing has an excellent collection of public domain patternmaking books online. As the name suggests, they do skew vintage, but there is a lot of stuff that hasn't changed over time.

    There is a lot there, though, and it can be overwhelming! Here's a basic guide to drafting a skirt sloper and here is the table of contents to the entire book.

    Edited 10/1/2007 4:37 pm ET by Fruzzle

  4. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #8

    The best book on the subject is Helen Joseph Armstrong's "Patternmaking for Fashion Design", which is used as a standard text in many design schools. It's probably available in the bookstore at your local community college. Usually though you can get a better price at Amazon. I believe it is currently in it's 4th edition.

  5. Tatsy | | #9

    There are three that I use all the time.  So, of course, I can't lay my hands on two of them right now.  Rusty Bensussen has a very good introduction to the concept of making patterns and designing.  Don McCunn has an excellent book on drafting patterns that fit you.  His directions produced the first pants I've had in years that actually fit. Make Your Own Patterns by Rene Bergh has excellent, detailed directions on how to alter a basic sloper to make lots of beautiful designs.

    Good luck.  I'm sure you'll find the process worthwhile.

  6. Maggy | | #10

    Kenneth D. King has some wonderful e-books (The Moulage). I believe these books are used for teaching fashion students at a design school in Victoria,British Columbia.


  7. Gloriasews | | #11

    Check your local library for the books that other posters have listed.  It's usually a good resource.


  8. gowngirl | | #12

    Reading books is great, but it's a lot for one person to get through on their own without eyeball to eyeball instruction. I have many of the books that have been suggested, and use them for reference often. One thing no one has suggested yet is approaching one of the design teachers to do a night class, either for non-credit, or at an independent fabric store. Maybe a local designer who has been through the program would be more willing to teach a non-credit class. I'd teach a class if someone approached me. I'd give individual lessons even. Laura

  9. Cathie | | #13

    Great subject. We really share a passion for sewing, and share, and learn together. But, I too really need a fitting/pattern alteration teacher. Classes may be very far away, and/or expensive. and maybe inappropriate (as suggested, all about marketing, etc.). I have heard try quilt groups. Now these are accomplished sewers. The group I visit, near me, has people who make art clothes. I also have heard of sewing guilds. But, what I do is approach anyone wearing beautifully made and fitted clothing, and compliment them. Doing this (at churches) I have discovered several resource people (even had a fitting critique done in the sacristy). These ladies are eager to share their amazing skills, which they even fear is part of a dying art. I now have a fitting/pattern alteration mentor, to visit and learn with. Good luck with this!!!!!!!!!! One last thought, a friend of mine also visits nuns at the cathedral, who are sewing quilts for ill children, and asked them for technical help. Their skills were very high, and they were eager to help. Nuns I see near me also wear well fitting, beautifully made clothing, in general. One even had a quilted silk jacket, all floral.

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