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Developing A Design: Make Your Own Sewing Pattern Design

August 23, 2017Eve Tokens

How To Make Your Own Sewing Pattern Design - The Creative Curator

Make Your Own Sewing Pattern Design (Part 3)

Alright then.. We have covered Getting Started in this post, and the five techniques you can use to make a sewing pattern with in this post, but today we are going to focus on developing a sewing pattern design.

This is my favourite thing. I often sit and stare at people; on the tube, on buses, walking down the street. I’m not actually staring at them, I’m staring at the clothes they’re wearing, thinking about how I would recreate it as a sewing pattern design.

So, how do you take an idea and turn it into a sewing pattern design?

1. Choosing A Starting Design

First up, you’ll want to choose a starting design. For this example I am going to use this funky pair of trousers from Stella McCartney. 

How To Make Your Own Stella McCartney Trousers - SS2017 - The Creative Curator

Front View

Make Your Own Stella McCartney Trousers - SS2017 - The Creative Curator

Back View

The reason I have chosen these is that they’re easy to recreate and I myself made a similar pair inspired by the collection I showed at Brighton Fashion Week back in October 2015. I call them banana pants.

Banana Pants Jumpsuit - Brighton Fashion Week - GWEN&SYD - Eve Tokens - photo by Sarah Olivier

2. Analysing The Design

Your first step to make a sewing pattern design is to analyse the starting design.

In the photo above we can see that:

  • The trousers are a relaxed fit
  • The main fabric is a woven
  • They have an inseam gusset in a knit fabric
  • The woven fabric has had added fullness built into the pattern so that when gathered and added to the straight gusset edge, a draped gathered effect is created
  • There is a back yoke
  • There is a waistband
  • There are rather large front patch pockets
  • There are subtle jett pockets on the back legs
  • The trousers have a fly zip opening

Having taken the time to analyse the design, I can better recreate it as a sewing pattern design. (You can learn this process more thoroughly, and develop your own sewing pattern designs in my premium membership site – Creative Cutting Class – where you can work on a new project each month!!)

3. Choose The Right Starting Block

It is really important that you choose the correct starting block for your sewing pattern design. There is no point choosing a loose fit trouser for a close fit biker style, or a jersey knit block for a loose fit boyfriend shirt.

Based upon my analysis, I now know that the best starting block would be the easy fit trouser block. I can either draft one from scratch using my measurements or deconstruct or trace a pair of trousers that fit me and develop the pattern that way.

For this sewing pattern design I will use a traced jeans pattern I have from a few years back.

4. Create The Sewing Pattern Design

Now that you have your analysis complete, and have selected a starting block, you now need to break down the block to create a pattern.

You should note that you NEVER use the block as the development pattern. Always, ALWAYS trace the block off onto a new piece of pattern paper and create your development pattern on that. Read this post for more info on that.

  1. Start by dividing up the front and back trouser legs parallel to the inseam so that the gusset can be created.
  2. Divide up the outer leg sections so that unequal added fullness can be added in so that the gathers will be created when sewn to the gusset.
  3. Draft a trouser fly opening for the front trouser leg.
  4. Plot the pocket on the front leg pattern and create a pocket pattern.
  5. Create a back yoke on the back leg.
  6. Plot and create the pattern for back jett pockets.
  7. Develop a waistband for the trousers, being sure to incorporate the trouser fly opening.

Here are mini video of the process:

How To Make Your Own Sewing Pattern Design - The Creative Curator

That’s it. Pretty simple design recreated as a sewing pattern design. The final task is to…

5. Test The Fit

Yep… You cannot assess how accurate the fit is if you don’t toile it up.

I usually use calico, and create what is called a ‘shell’. This means no pockets or zippers are added, I simply pin the pockets on so that I can move them around for better design placement. I also pin the front opening closed so that I can assess the fit without the hassle of inserting a zipper or buttons.

Once you have tested the fit, you’ll need to make any changes needed to the pattern before you move on to the next stage.. which you’ll learn all about in part four – the final part – of the Make Your Own Sewing Patterns series. Pop back next week for the final part!

I’m making up my own pair, ready for an upcoming holiday. I’ll add the photo when they’re finished!

Make Your Own Sewing Patterns Series

That’s part three done in the four part series… the final post will be published on 30th August!

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