Pattern drafting dreams

8 Mar

I am become more and more interested in drafting my own patterns. I’ve tended to be more interested in the construction and sewing than the actual drafting. But in the past few years, instead of buying yet another new pattern, I’ve thought “I could tweak that pattern I already have just a bit here and there.” I always did plenty of frankenpatterning and even tweaking but I’m doing more significant changes now – and succeeding in getting it to work too! (Always a bonus :-P)

My curiousity about drafting increased when I started teaching a plus-sized friend to sew. Her measurements are just a few inches toobig for the plus-sized patterns to fit. So I have had to teach her how to draft her patterns to be big enough to fit her, alongside teaching her the absolute basics like sewing a straight line. It really hasn’t helped that “Plus-sized” is usually “A bit bigger but still fitting within the shape and mindset towards bodies as “normal” patterns do. Which is woefully inadequate and inaccurate for most people I know with “plus-size” bodies. Crazy.

To add to the difficulty, she’s in Melbourne, I’m in Darwin, a whole continent between us. And don’t get me started on how slow my internet is. Regional Australia internet is CRAP. Skyping with video is almost impossible. Believe me, I’ve been thinking it might just be easier to draft a few basic patterns for her myself, and then work out how to tweak them to get different styles, than to do such big adjustments to existing patterns.

Then I started a pinterest account and through that I’ve found so many things about drafting, or tweaking patterns and I’m even more keen. The ones I’m drawn to the most are vintage and historical garments. Like this hat pattern I have from Mrs Depew  which consists of really simple instructions for drafting the ensemble. I haven’t made it yet but I’m really clear in my head how to make it. Although now I know how to do it, I’d probably just tweak another cloche pattern I have, to get the same effect.

Vintage Sewing Pattern French 1930's Cloche Hat, Clutch Bag and Scarf PDF Depew 1025 -INSTANT DOWNLOAD-


A step up from that is this 1889 chemise pattern from (This is about as big a picture as I can get.)

Front View, Lady's Old-fashioned Chemise, 1889 - 1893

The most complicated bit would be the yoke and sleeve. Here is the pattern draft. It is only one size but I’m pretty confident in resizing things to fit my own sweet self’s body. These diagrams make perfect sense to me – presuming they’re in inches. In cms they might be a nice draft for a chemise for my daughter’s dolly 😛

Front & Back Yokes, Sleeve & Sleeve Band, Old-fashioned Chemise, 1889 - 1893


The only real snag is that I’ll have to work from the computer screen because Stupid Printer is being Stupid aka it won’t print. I think the error message was saying the moon was in the wrong zodiac house for it to be able to work.

The next step up (As I see it) I’ve already done – drafting a straight skirt to fit myself. I think I’d be more inclined to try drafting my own version of something like these. I could do with a pair of “Step-ins” I’m sure

Pinned Image


Also regarding Pinterest, I did something really rash and created a board for my sewing list. It’s HUGE!!! And it is missing a few things like the above chemise and hat. I’m not sure if I feel overwhelmed and intimidated when looking at that board, or just excited 😀

2 Responses to “Pattern drafting dreams”

  1. Josie Brady March 9, 2013 at 6:24 am #

    How old is that pattern? It must be pre 2nd World War.


    • Tropical Threads March 9, 2013 at 12:25 pm #

      The pin just said it was a 1940’s pattern. It originally comes from Frillybits (the pattern links to there)


      and I couldn’t find anything more on it than was on pinterest.


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