How to create your own clothes - Part 2 - The Creative Curator

How To Create Your Own Clothes For A Sensational New Look

September 12, 2016Eve Tokens

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Create your own clothes: DA1 - Tools Needed

We’re back with Week Two of the Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 – Jumper to Top project. This post is MEATY, filled with the written breakdown, and photos too, showing you the step by step process. I suggest grabbing a cuppa (or a glass of your favourite tipple if it’s late enough in the day) and getting comfy! 😉

If you missed DA1: Part One, check it out here as it’ll help make sense of this post!

Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 – Making the pattern

Now that we have taken apart all the pieces of the jumper, we can create pattern pieces for each section.

As we are modifying the design, from the long sleeved jumper shape into a sleeveless silk top, we will only need to draft pattern pieces for the front, the back and the neckline.

Design Considerations

Several things that we now need to consider:

  • Cutting into the raglan sleeve line made the fabric gape – this needs rectifying on the pattern!
  • The original jumper had a ribbed neckline – this means the pattern will need adjusting as I am making it in woven, which doesn’t stretch.
  • Because there is no stretch in the neckline, I need to consider HOW I get in and out of the garment. A centre back zipper? Small buttons and loops?
  • The original jumper had a rIbbed waistband. This is no longer necessary, so I must add a hem allowance to finish the hem neatly.

Equipment needed

To get started on drafting the working pattern, we will need some basic pattern making tools.

Today I will be using:

  • pattern paper (slightly translucent and super wide)
  • Hard pencil -3H works well for me
  • A pattern master (mine is broken -oops!)
  • An eraser
  • A pencil sharpener
  • Glue stick
  • Masking tape
  • Selection of marker pens
  • Pins
  • Paper weight (two cans of baked beans works well too!)
  • Scissors

Two items which are not on my basic tools list:

  • Dress stand
  • Curved ruler
  • Pattern notchers

These aren’t necessary, so don’t worry about getting them in! 🙂

Ideally I would also have used my tracing wheel, but it seems to have gone AWOL.. Note to self: track down ready for the next project!

Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 – Tracing the Pieces

Front panel

1: I started by laying the fabric front flat on the paper, with a good amount of white space all around.

Weighing Down Fabric


2: The weights were placed on top in strategic places in order to stop the front piece from slipping about.




3: Using my hard pencil, I carefully drew around the front piece, making sure to mark in the notches where necessary.



4: In order to find the centre front of the piece, I measured between the two pocket notches and marked the middle point. I then did the same on the neckline.



5: Using these two marked points, I made a line connecting the two – this is now acting as my centre front.




6: In order to better see the lines on my pattern, I mark them as follows:

  • Blue line – original traced line
  • Green line – notches
  • Pink line – new lines

This is a simple way for me to keep track of what is an old line and what is new.



7: Once I have marked in all the blue for the original traced line, I fold the piece of paper in half along the line I have marked as centre front.

Now it’s the moment of truth..! Putting the folded paper up against a light source – in this case my window – I can see that the two halves are not symmetrical at all. I’m not surprised – high street fashion is quite often cut off grain and so distorts after a few wears and washes. It merely adds to the challenge in recreating it though! 😉

Checking pattern with light source - The Creative Curator


8: I go ahead and measure in any remaining measurements in order to be in a better position to decide which side of the pattern I will move ahead with. This is me measuring one of the armholes. Notice how the tape measure is used standing it on one edge? This gives a much more accurate measurement as opposed to laying the tape measure flat on the paper.



9: Using my Centre Front line, I also square across the bottom of the line, to give myself an idea of the hemline. Looking at the photo, you can see that the hem is wonky on the original tracing – that is the dotted blue line around the pattern. With the hem squared off, I can see that the hem should be longer on the right hand side and shorter than the left side. For now, I quite like how the right side of the pattern is looking, so I shall focus on adapting that side of the pattern.

The traced and measured pattern - The Creative Curator


10: With that in  mind, I placed the front paper pattern onto my dress stand. My stand is a K&L size 12 – with a slightly curvier figure than their usual, but I still find it to be on the small side. The more accurate sizing would be a UK 10 in my opinion.

Immediately, I realise I much prefer the left side of the pattern, and pinch out the excess paper, into a dart from the armhole into the bust point.


On the stand


11: This is the side view of the right side – you can see WHY I decided to continue with the right side of the pattern. The armhole sits much higher this side, and would need more work to make it comfortable to wear. You can also see just how much ‘gape’ there was in the original fabric piece.

Side view on the stand


12: Now with the pattern piece carefully pinned at the centre front neckline and the centre front hem, we can see the shape appearing. I have also pinned down the dart on the left side so that the fabric is suppressed going into the bust point.

Bust dart


13: It is now SUPER important that we mark in the new lines. I use my night bright pink highlighter for this purpose, so that the new lines stand out clearly. First up is marking in the bust dart. Adding in the dart has now disturbed the raglan armhole line, so I also add in the new line, continuing from the one dart leg up towards the neckline. onthestand-4


14: We also have to think about the hem. Im not quite happy with the length on the left hand side of the pattern, so I make a note that the solid blue one is square, so that I know that I am safe to add more length when the pattern is flat.



15: I then take the pattern off the stand, and lay it flat. I have to take out the pins for the dart landmark it in correctly, with my nice pink marker.


16: The next stage is to trace off the working pattern onto a fresh piece of paper. Again, it needs to be weighed down properly so there is no paper slippage. I haven’t found my tracing wheel at this point, so I have placed the pattern underneath and am tracing it with a pencil.


17: Tracing the dart accurately is super important. I start by folding along one side of the dart. It should be the dart leg closest to the hem, but I did it wrong here. I’ll explain why soon!

You then take that folded edge and line it up with the top dart leg, carefully folding it into place as you go.



18: The next step is to even out the difference int he armhole line so that we dot have a ‘step’ in the pattern. We would then use a tracing wheel to follow the armhole edge and copy the dart edge to the underneath paper, which will give you an accurate pattern for when the fabric is sewn.



19: You then cut along this traced armhole edge, so that the dart is suitable shaped.




20: You can see from the image below that there is a sticking out section where the dart is – this is the extension of the dart, so that it sits nicely in line and will be caught in any facing or binding applied tot he armhole.

We also need to mark in a dart sewing point. This is 2.5cm in from the end point, which means our dart when sewn won’t go right to the bust point which would end up looking like Madonna’s pointed corset. 😮



21: Using a drill, we can make a hole on this point, so that we can mark the fabric easily later on.


(Where I went wrong on the dart – usually the excess dart fabric is folded down toward the waist. I have mine going up towards the shoulder. Not cool! I have to remedy this before I toile!)

22: The last step is to make notches in the dart legs, so we know where to sew when the fabric has been cut out. I am using my notchers, but you could also use a pair of scissors and mark triangles out of the paper, like on commercial patterns.




23: Our final pattern piece for the front. This is a development pattern and as such may require further adjustments. But for now, it’s looking good! 🙂

We must remember to writ some important information on the pattern piece.

  • Your name / company where relevant: Eve Tokens / The Creative Curator
  • The style number: This is DA#1: Jumper to Top
  • Which piece it is: Front
  • The size: UK10
  • How many to cut and how: 1 piece self.
  • You could also star whether seam allowance has been added – it is clear from this image that I have already done that but haven’t added it to the pattern instructions. Oops.



Wowsers… That was an epic 1500 words JUST for the front breakdown. I don’t want to cut it smaller, and risk having readers lose track of what I have done – the aim of this Create Your Own Clothes Series is to help people understand the pattern making and construction process, so cutting back on the text won’t be beneficial.

So, the next stage – Tracing the Back Panel and the Pattern modifications – will be added later on in the week. I’ll add the info here to this post on Wednesday evening, so pop back then to read more! 🙂

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EDIT: As of the 12th September, I have now completed and added the second stage of this part below – slightly faster than planned! Phew! A well deserved glass of wine might just be in order after this? 😉

Back panel

1: Just like I did with the front panel, I laid out the back panel on top of pattern paper, weighed it down and then traced around it with my hard pencil.




2: I then used my meter ruler to mark in the centre back line. I had cut slightly lower on the left neckline that I should have, hence the difference in the high point where it meets what should be the shoulder line.



3: Once I have traced the entire panel with my pencil, I again used my colourful markers to highlight the different lines.

  • Blue – original lines
  • Green – notches
  • Pink – new lines

I again marked in the hem line, as it should be, by squaring across from my centre back line.

I also took the time to take all the different measurements and write them in.



4: The most important part of this stage is in checking whether the back pattern trues up with the front pattern.

This required me to pin the back pattern to the stand at the centre back next and the centre back hem. Only be doing this, would I be able to see how accurate the pattern was.



5: I also made sure to pin the back pattern to the front development pattern, so that I had an accurate pattern for it to be trued with.



6: The first noticeable problem was the amount of excess at the back neck. It is safe to assume that this appeared when we cut into the sleeve line, just as it did on the front panel. Without a bust point to transfer this excess too, I decided I would have a neat little dart going into the neckline rather than the armhole.

If we wanted to, we could also distribute this excess as slight tucks or gathers, which would make the back more visually interesting. For this demonstration however we will keep it simple, and have a little dart.






7: The next thing of note is how the front and back panels do not match up.

  • The back armhole / side seam point sits much higher than on the front.
  • The side seams don’t quite fall in a vertical drop.
  • The back hem also sits higher up too.

These however are easy enough to remedy.

  • Armhole – using my pink marker, I highlight a new line.
  • Side seam – pinning the from and back together with the pins acting at the drop line, I then highlight this line punching through with pins. This is so that I will be able to see the new side seam line on the back panel which has been set under the front.
  • Hemline – I use the front hemline as a guide for the back, and extend it round towards the centre back.



8: Next up, I removed the pattern from the stand, being careful not to remove any of the pins yet, so that I could see the 3D shape of the pattern. I’m still not sure about the back neck dart at this point, but I will transfer it in and ponder it later when we toile.



9: With the pins removed from the darts, both the front and back patterns now lie flat.

I carefully adapt the side seam, so that the length is the same for both front and back. Now that this is set, I can also fix the hem. I have added 4cm overall, as I like tops to sit low on my tummy / bum area and another 1cm for the hem allowance.



10: Now that the notches are in, and all pattern modifications are made, I set about tracing the working pattern into a development pattern. Technically, this wouldn’t have seam allowance added, but as I intend to jump straight into toiling it up in calico, I’ll go ahead and add the seam allowance too.



Here are the working patterns laid out side by side. I love how colourful these patterns are!



And the development patterns too, ready to lay upon the calico and cut for the toile.




Being that the original neckline on the jumper was a piece of ribbing, tracing the rib section to make a pattern wasn’t really going to work.

Instead, I took a tape measure and placed it around the neckline of the dress stand.

This measurement – 44cm – is great for a closed neckline, but clearly won’t work for fitting over our heads.

I now have to decide what kind of opening I want, as this will affect the next stage. A front and back with no way to contain the neck sections is not something anyone can really wear right? 😉

Being that the top is loose fit at the hem, and so won’t need a zipper, I think turning the neckline into a tie will work well, provided it isn’t too wide.

This means I can cut one very long straight piece of fabric which will be used to enclose the left back, the front, and the right back, with the long tails being extended from each opening at the centre back.

Part of this decision is so that the tied tails will partially hide the back neck darts when tied in a bow. I’m not convinced the dart will look ok.

I therefore need a centre back seam, so that I can have the back open up slightly to allow more space for the head to fit through. I have gone ahead and added 1cm seam allowance on the centre back seam

One final consideration is the armhole. These are not typical armholes, as we have used the original raglan line.

  • One option is to bind the edge before attaching the neckline tie.
  • The second option is to make a facing of the entire opening before, sew them together, retain stitch and press wrong sides together. The edges of the facing can then also be caught into the neckline tie.

Check out the third post in this tutorial series here!

Til next week…

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Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 From Jumper to Top - Part Two
Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 From Jumper to Top - Part Two
Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 From Jumper to Top - Part Two
Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 From Jumper to Top - Part Two
Create Your Own Clothes: DA1 From Jumper to Top - Part Two

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Comments (2)

  • Lesley

    November 18, 2016 at 6:14 pm

    Really good instructions, thank you!

    1. Eve Tokens

      November 24, 2016 at 11:35 am

      So chuffed it was helpful for you Lesley! 🙂

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