Garment Elements


The concepts covered in the Principles menu are the basics of patternmaking, but generally, for a beginner, that isn’t enough to create a complete pattern. This is especially the case when you start adding add details such as pockets and sleeves, plackets, etc.  Creating the pattern pieces for some of these garment elements does consist of applying a principle; e.g. creating a puff sleeve is achieved by adding fullness, but sometimes it isn’t obvious.   Sometimes those basic principles don’t really assist much; for example, in the case of creating a shawl collar, (and we are talking about beginners here) you need to be shown how to do it first. Sometimes it might just be obvious how to make the pattern piece for a certain detail/element; you could probably figure out how to make the pattern pieces for a basic square pocket yourself.  However, when you are starting, the problem is that you don’t know what you don’t know... so it’s best the first time you go to make a pattern piece for a certain detail or element, that you check the Garment Elements pages to get some guidance.


In the image below is an example of something you could might out for yourself, but you might not.  You may think that to create this collar you put the front and back bodice together at the shoulder seam lines and trace out the collar piece, but in actual fact you should overlap the bodice blocks at the shoulder.  If you don’t overlap them, the collar won’t sit correctly.  These are the kind of things that Someone Else Has Figured Out, and this saves you having to reinvent the wheel yourself for every Element like this. (Note that I may have exaggerated the overlap in this image, to make the point, but even an overlap of 1/8″ will can make a difference to how the collar sits.  Different collars will have different amounts of overlap, depending on the effect wanted). So these Element pages will eventually contain most of the Elements that will assist you in creating your own patterns.  However, as at the time this website went live, it does not contain all the main Elements.  They will be added on an ongoing basis.

Garment Element Pages Planned For This Website

Below is a list of all the Garment Elements I plan on adding to these pages over time; the ones in black are the ones that have been done and are available in the menu on the right.  Those that are in red font are pages that have not yet been created, but is on my list to be done.  As I create those pages, this list will be updated. Those elements in the list below in black font have been created, those in red are on the list and will be (eventually) created.  I am working through the Skirts section in May 2019.
  • Button Stand
  • Collars
    • Eton Collar
    • Frilled Collar
    • Mandarin Collar
    • Stand Collar
    • Peter Pan Collar
    • Rever Collar
    • (Classic) Roll Collar
    • Sailor Collar
    • Shawl Collar
    • (Two-piece) Shirt Collar
    • Stand Collar
    • Turnover Collar
  • Facings
    • (Separate) Neck and Armhole
    • All in one
    • Neckline facing with Button Stand
    • Grown on Facing (Button Stand)
  • Necklines
    • Built Up
    • Cowl
    • Low Necklines
    • Square
  • Misc
    • Curing the Waist
    • Finishing Darts
    • Frills
    • Godets
  • Pants
  • Plackets
  • Pleats & Tucks
    • Kick Pleats
    • Box Pleats
    • Pleats
    • Pin Tucks
  • Pockets
  • Sleeves
    • Sleeve Cuffs
    • Bishop Sleeve
    • Cap Sleeve
    • Dolman Sleeve
    • Drop Shoulders
    • Flared Sleeve
    • Gathered Head
    • Kimono Sleeve
    • Lantern Sleeve
    • Petal Sleeve
    • Puff Sleeve
    • Raglan Sleeve
    • Sleeve with Mock Cuff
  • Skirts
    • A-Line & Flare Intro Page
      • A-line Skirt from 1-Dart Block
      • A-line Skirt from 2-Dart Block
      • Flared Skirt 1
      • Flared Skirt 2
      • Skirt with Bias Flare
      • Slinky Skirt
    • Circle Skirt Intro Page
      • Full Circle Skirt
      • Three-Quarter Circle Skirt
      • Half Circle Skirt
    • Gore Skirts Intro Page
      • 4_gore Skirt
      • 6-Gore Skirt
      • 8-Gore Skirt
      • 12-Gore Skirt
    • Other Skirts Intro Page
      • Skirt with Lowered Waist
      • Yoked Skirt
      • Dirndl Skirt
      • Wrap Skirt
    • Pleated Skirts
      • Skirt with Inverted Box Pleat
      • Skirt with Knife Pleat
      • Skirt with Accordion Pleat
    • Skirt Elements
      • Straight Waistband
      • Contoured Waistband
      • Skirt Flounce
      • Skirt Lining
      • Godets
      • Skirt Pocket
  • Shirt
  • Style-lines (Bodice/Dress)
    • Princess Line Shoulder
    • Princess Line Armhole
    • Empire Line

8 Responses

  1. Hello there Chloe

    Thanks for the positive feedback. I have a lot of plans, but it all takes time. I hope to finish all the Elements and Fitting Issues pages this year, as well as putting up a number of patterns of tops with different collars and sleeves, and redoing the pants instructions.

    If I get all that finished this year, next year I hope to move on to animating all the Block Making instructions. (As well as putting up a lot of different patterns).


  2. An absolutely fabulous pattern making resource in the one place. Thank you so much for your time and effort. It will help so many of us home sewers trying to figure things out! Looking forward to your new posts in time.

  3. Hello Julie,

    I am glad you are finding it useful.

    I will soon be putting up a ‘Sign Up for my Newsletter’ post on all the pages. The Newsletter will be sent to subscribers when I have added a new article. Just so it makes it easy for visitors to know when I’ve added something of interest to them.

    At this moment I’m working on instructions for Stretch/Knit (Torso) Block and some related articles on stretch/knit. Under Patterns/Dresses/Dress-03B are some photos of a dress I’ve made using my Stretch block. I have a number of tops I have made that I have to write instructions for – photos of the tops can be seen under Patterns/Tops/002 series. (And I’ve been meaning to finish re-writing the Pants Block Instructions for such a long time!)

    I would be interested to find out what my readers are most interested in, and see what they are making.

  4. Hi again, Maria. In response to your request for info re current sewing challenges – I’m trying to establish a reasonable fit in pants. What looks most promising for me so far are some steps I came across in a pattern fitting book that relate to horizontal balance lines and playing with crotch length and curve. I’m also working on a shirt involving forward shoulder, rounded back and sleeve fitting issues. I get the impression that a good majority of the sewing world is tackling these issues. Fitting certainly offers the opportunity of learning how to regulate frustration levels! 🙂

  5. Hello Julie, I’ve been meaning to respond for some time.

    Yes, fit is such a big issue, which is why I find it easier to draft my own pattern based on my personal blocks than make changes to commercial patterns.

    I did start rewriting the pants instructions on my websitte to get a better initial fit for more figures, and I hope to get back to that sometime soon. I also do intend to write instructions for fitting issues; i.e. making changes to commercial patterns for a better fit. It’s a case of finding the time, and priorities seem to change on a daily basis. At the moment I’ve taken a detour to make my own undies, because for most of my life I’ve found undies (panties) an instrument of torture.

    Good luck with your fitting and I hope you have worked out the changes you need to make to get a good fit . If you don’t, please let me know what your actual issue is and what you have tried so far.

  6. So pleased to have found this site,have drafted my first ever block that fits and took apart a dress that didn’t fit and used the block to put it right. Thank you so much!

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