Pattern making is a fun activity for anyone who likes to make their own clothes, but it can be daunting to start with if you’ve never learned about the pattern making process before.
This article is more of a pattern making for beginners guide, to help sewing lovers better understand the methods of pattern making, and to be inspired to start learning the skills for themselves!
Later on in the article I’ve rounded up the various pattern making tutorials that I have created so that you can get started with your learning for free.
Note: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase at no further cost to you.
Is Pattern Making Hard?
In all honesty, for some people, it will feel really hard. It’s quite a technical skill, but anyone can learn it.
You’ll need to be ok with numbers – either in your head, on paper or using a calculator – because making patterns includes a bit of math.
What Are The Methods Of Pattern Making?
There are five methods for making your own patterns:
- Pattern drafting with measurements
- Clone existing clothes from your closet by tracing them
- Deconstructing ready made clothes
- Developing a block from a commercial sewing pattern
- Draping on the stand
You can learn more about the ways to make your own sewing patterns here.
If you’re interested in learning draping, I have an online draping course for beginners that you can join anytime!
What Is 2D Pattern Making?
This technique is also known as flat pattern making, so without the use of a dress form or draping.
When you take a basic block and develop it into a pattern, you’re actively 2D pattern making!
What Is A Working Pattern
A working pattern is one that is used to create clothes. There are four stages to creating a pattern:
- Line drawing
- Working pattern
- Development pattern
- Production pattern
This is a simple line drawing of a garment design. This is the often the starting point for a creative pattern cutter when developing a pattern.
You’ll use the line drawing to decide which block to start with.
This is a pattern that stays intact, so that you can refer back to it. You’ll include style lines, pivoting, transfers, flaring, goddess etc!
This is the finalised version of your working pattern, and you trace this off to create your final pattern.
This is the pattern which includes seam allowance and is ready for production!
The production pattern that you create as part of the pattern making process should include:
- Balance points
- CF and CB info
- Design name
- Design code
- Number of pieces to be cut
What Is Creative Pattern Making?
Creative pattern making is the technique of developing both flat patterns and draped patterns in a more creative way.
Rather than following step by step instructions, a creative pattern cutter will experiment with flat pattern cutting and draping to create a unique and creative pattern.
How Do You Make A Pattern From Scratch?
To make a sewing pattern from scratch you have several options.
1. Pattern Drafting
You can learn learn how to draft patterns using measurements. This is a great way to understand the basics!
2. Pattern Development
You can also use a commercial clothing pattern and develop it to fit the vision you have.
3. Tracing Your Clothes
Finally, you can create a pattern from scratch by tracing existing clothes. This is a favourite method for both home sewers and fashion designers!
What Is The Best Software For Pattern Making?
I personally use Adobe Illustrator to make my sewing patterns, but there are many that you can use. Here are just a few:
- Affinity Designer
- Adobe Illustrator
I’ll be covering full reviews for each in due course!
Pattern Making Essentials
Let’s start with some of the essentials! These articles and tutorials are perfect for anyone completely new to making your own patterns, and will help you put together a toolkit, understand the different ways to make patterns as well as the various pattern symbols and more!
If you’re not completely new to pattern making, scroll down for more advanced tutorials!
Pattern Making Tools
There are many tools available for pattern making – and I’ve covered many in my pattern making tools article – but here are several articles that are specific to individual tools so that you can better learn who they work and how to use them:
- How to use a tracing wheel
- French curve rulers for pattern making
- Measuring tools for patternmaking and sewing
Understanding Sewing Patterns
In order to make your own patterns you first need to understand them. These articles will help:
- How to read sewing patterns
- How to print patterns
- How to assemble patterns
- How to add seam allowance to a pattern
- What is pattern ease
- How to true a pattern
Drafting Basic Blocks & Slopers
Pattern drafting is the process of taking measurements and creating blocks from them. these could be your basic bodice block (mine is in the image above) or they can be drafted with additional ease such as a jacket block. Here are some of the pattern drafting tutorials available to you:
- How to draft a female bodice block
- How to draft a straight skirt pattern
- How to draft the straight pant pattern
- Drafting a basic sleeve block
- How to use a commercial clothing pattern to make a block / sloper
Dart Manipulation Techniques
Darts are an integral way of suppressing fabric, and learning how to manipulate darts is an important skill. These articles will help:
Beginner / Intermediate Pattern Making Tutorials
Now that you have your basic blocks and an understanding of dart manipulation you’re ready to move onto more beginner / intermediate pattern making tutorials.
Making Skirt Patterns
You should have drafted a straight skirt block from the tutorial further up but you can also draft a full circle skirt pattern using your measurements too!
Sleeve Pattern Making Tutorials
Sleeves can be a great way to modify an existing pattern and make it more unique. As well as the basic straight sleeve block / sloper mentioned further up, these sleeve pattern making tutorials will help you be a little more creative with your sleeves:
Collar Pattern Making Tutorials
As well as sleeves, adding new collars can also work well to change up an existing sewing pattern. These collar pattern making tutorials will help you do just that:
- How to draft a mandarin collar pattern
- How to draft a Peter Pan collar pattern
- How to make a sailor collar pattern
Advanced Pattern Making Tutorials
I will be adding advanced pattern making tutorials in the final quarter of 2022, so do let me know in the comments if there are any specific tutorials you would like to see. In the meantime, you can also register for the waiting list for my pattern making and design membership.