This video was uploaded on 23 May 2024.

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Video Transcript

00:00:05:06 – 00:00:15:08

Hi. In this video I’m going to show you how I drafted this dress pattern. This is my Jasnah dress pattern. And I’m going to show you how I drafted it step-by-step. But first a quick introduction.

00:00:15:08 – 00:00:34:11

Hi, I’m Maria from and I draft my own sewing patterns. I also write detailed step-by-step tutorials covering patternmaking theory and practice. I have devised my own unique system for drafting the bodice block that includes the upper-bust measurement and the pants block that includes the thigh measurement. This means a better outcome for non-standard figures.

00:00:34:16 – 00:00:43:06

From now on, I’ll be focusing on drafting patterns, starting with dresses and then moving on to jackets, tops, pants, etc.. So welcome to my channel!

00:00:43:20 – 00:00:48:08

Firstly, I’ll quickly cover the dress details and go over the design lines and finishes.

00:00:48:08 – 00:00:55:09

On the left hand side are the flat drawings, front and back, and on the right hand side are the pattern pieces I’m going to end up with at the end of this video.

00:00:55:09 – 00:01:14:00

The dress has an Empire Line. Now the Empire Line is often just under the bust mound, but I have drafted mine a little lower. The neckline is cut out towards the shoulders with a V-neck front and a high back. There are buttons to the Empire line – at the front, of course. There are shoulder princess lines on both the front and the back, and there is a pleat in the center back.

00:01:14:05 – 00:01:32:11

It has short sleeves with a flounce. Now the skirt has a slight A-line with pleats. The front has a relatively small pleat placed to meet the bodice princess lines, and the back also has a pleat to meet the bodice Princess lines. That pleat amount is bigger than the front. The back also has an additional pleat in the center back.

00:01:32:13 – 00:01:50:18

Now the front bodice is finished off with the facing and button placket, and the back bodice is finished off with a strip of bias. I will cover drafting the dress with buttons all the way down the front, and I have an example here with the skirt a bit shorter. The hem is finished off with bias strips, and the sleeve flounce is also finished off with bias strips.

00:01:50:18 – 00:02:10:03

Now just a note on the bodice front facing. In the original image I showed you at the beginning, with the pattern pieces, there are actually two facing pieces, one superimposed on the other. The smaller facing is just to the neckline, not continuing up to the shoulder, is the facing that I drafted originally, and I used in this orange viscose fabric dress.

00:02:10:05 – 00:02:28:17

However, when I have made this pattern again or similar patterns, at least with this bodice, I have used the larger facing that continues up to the shoulder, and that’s the one I prefer. And I think it’s better and the one that I’ll be covering in the instructions. So even though I’ve used the smaller facing in this dress, I’m going to cover in the instructions the larger facing.

00:02:28:19 – 00:02:34:00

So the one up to the shoulder provides more stability and it is the better option in my opinion.

00:02:34:00 – 00:02:36:21

So I’ll start with drafting my bodice pattern pieces.

00:02:37:00 – 00:02:52:16

First, I’ll trace my block, making sure my center front line is at right angles to the waistline and transfer the markings I need, such as all the dart legs, the bust point on the bodice front, the dart points in the bodice back and across-chest lines. So this is what I end up with. And this is my starting point for drafting the bodice pattern pieces.

00:02:52:18 – 00:03:03:17

I want to point out that I’m using my sleeveless block, and I always use my sleeveless block, even when I’m drafting a garment with sleeves. That’s because the ease that’s been removed will be added back in, in the form of a center back pleat.

00:03:03:17 – 00:03:27:06

So drafting the bodice pattern pieces and I’m starting with my bodice block already traced off in preparation. I’ll measure up from the waist line at right angles to the waistline for six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch, and I’ll draw a straight line across both blocks. So these lines should be at right angles to the center front and center back lines. So that six centimeters or two and three eighth of an inch is the placement I like.

00:03:27:06 – 00:03:45:05

It’s about 2.5cm or one inch below my bust mound. On the dress, it may look lower than the 2.5cm or one inch, and if you’re interested in why that is, I cover that in my Contouring Video. I will cut along that line and throw away the bottom section, because the skirt will be drafted from the Empire line down.

00:03:45:11 – 00:04:01:22

So this is what I have now. So I’m going to check the measurements here at the Empire Line, excluding the darts of course, and then compare that to the measurement I want and make the necessary adjustment. So I’m going to add these up and multiply by two, since these are the half blocks and the full body is double this amount.

00:04:01:24 – 00:04:27:09

Currently the Empire line measurement on this pattern is 88.5cm, or 34 and 13/16ths of an inch. My body measurement is 80cm or 31.5in. I want two inches ease because I don’t like very tight clothing. So to summarize, currently the measurement is 88.5cm or 34 and 13/16 of an inch. The desired measurement is 85cm or 33 and seven 16th of an inch.

00:04:27:10 – 00:04:47:10

The difference between the two measurements is 3.5cm, or one and 5/8 of an inch. Now I’ll have to divide that by two for the half block and whatever that is, 1.75cm, which is how many inches I’m going to have to increase the darts to make it smaller at the Empire line. Now I’m covering this very quickly because these are my measurements.

00:04:47:10 – 00:05:03:03

You don’t need to do these calculations with my measurements. You just need to understand the concept. And the concept is when you cut off some of your block to draft an Empire Line you need to check the measurements at that Empire Line and compare it to your body measurement. And then you need to make the darts a bit bigger if you want it more fitting.

00:05:03:05 – 00:05:21:07

The basic block is not drafted to fit you like a glove. It’s not drafted to return under the bust and be close fitting there. It is drafted to fall from the bust to the waistline. So when you draft an Empire line, some fitting is required. So here I have increased the darts. The dart indicated by pink arrows are my new darts.

00:05:21:09 – 00:05:39:02

I now have an empire line with my desired measurement, and from here on, these waists shown are my new waist darts that have been increased to give me my desired Empire line measurement. So now I’m going to make a change to the back bodice. I want to remove the shoulder dot and I’m going to remove it the quick and easy way.

00:05:39:04 – 00:05:58:18

I’m going to take my ruler and draw a line from point (A) at the High Neck Point to point (B) as shown, and then continue that line for a while. This is a guideline. So when I remove the ruler, you’ll see that the line diverges from the block shoulder line. So now I’m going to bring in my front block and line it up so that the front and back shoulder lines match up as shown.

00:05:58:22 – 00:06:15:16

So I’m placing the front shoulder line on the guideline that I drew for the back shoulder line. I’ll use the front block for doing two things – for getting the back shoulder length – and drawing a new back armhole that has a nice flow through from the front. So the pink line shown is my new shoulder and armhole line for the back.

00:06:15:19 – 00:06:38:18

I will erase the shoulder dart lines and I’ll cut off the bits outside of my new outline. I’ve colored those green, so you can see what I’m cutting offf. Now removing the dart this way is the same as manipulating shoulder the shoulder dart by cutting and spreading and moving the shoulders dart into the armhole, then leaving it there as added fullness. But you get the same result without having to do the actual cutting and spreading.

00:06:38:20 – 00:06:57:15

So on this slide, the blue outline is the one done by the cutting and spreading, and the pink underneath is the original quicker and easier method that I used. Now I’ll move on to the neckline. I’m going to measure in on the front shoulder from the shoulders edge for 4.75cm, or one and 7/8 of an inch, and make a mark.

00:06:57:17 – 00:07:19:20

Then I’ll measure down on the center front line for 14cm or 5.5in. This is my preferred depth for a V-neck. Then I’ll draw a straight line to join those two points. However, I won’t leave it as a straight line. Generally, you dip inwards a little bit even if you want a straight V line, and that’s because when it’s completely straight line, it sometimes actually looks a bit convex.

00:07:19:20 – 00:07:35:20

So the dress on the top right is actually a V-neck with a fold back lapel. Therefore it’s a completely straight line because you can’t fold back on a curve. So if you look at it, you might notice that it actually looks a bit convex. So even if you want a straight line, you usually curve in just a slight amount.

00:07:35:22 – 00:07:54:08

But I actually prefer quite a rounded V-neck. So in the middle of that neckline I’m going to measure inwards for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch at right angles to that straight line and make a mark. Then draw a rounded v neck curve to touch that. Now, before I cut along that neckline, I’m going to draw a line from the bust point to the center front neck.

00:07:54:12 – 00:08:12:02

This is so I can draw my gape dart in the right place. This is where I measured my gape dart and so that’s where I place it. I know that I need a two centimeter gape dart placed there, so I’ll measure two centimeters at that point. The shape that looks like an H on its side that measures two centimeters or three quarters of an inch.

00:08:12:04 – 00:08:33:00

And I’ll draw dart legs to either side of that H shape. Now, one of those dart legs is longer than the other, but I won’t worry about that now. I’ll deal with that when I close the gape dart. Now, if you don’t understand gape darts or contouring, you will need to watch my video on Contouring. You can either use standard contouring amount or work out your individual contouring amounts.

00:08:33:00 – 00:08:54:05

But that information – I’m not going to cover that again here – you’ll have to look at my Contouring video. So then I’ll cut along that new neckline and throw away that top bit. So now the back neckline. I will measure in from the shoulders’ edge for the same amount as the front, obviously, because the shoulder lengths do need to match, they need to be the same and I’ll make a mark.

00:08:54:07 – 00:09:10:22

I’ll bring in the front pattern piece and if you’re drafting this for yourself, you’ll need to fold the paper along the shoulders edge to do this. So I’ll match them up at the shoulder and I’ll stick that down for the moment. So on the center back line I’ll measure down 3.5cm or one and 3/8 of an inch. And again this is just my preference.

00:09:10:22 – 00:09:25:01

This is what I tried and what I like. You could make, if you’re doing it you could make it higher or lower. So I’ll make a mark and then I’ll use a French curve to draw in the back neckline. And I can cut that top section off and discard it. So now I’m moving on to the Shoulder Princess design line,

00:09:25:03 – 00:09:44:01

starting with the front pattern pieces. I’ll mark the center of the front shoulder line and draw a line from that point to the bust point. Now it’s supposed to be a curved line, but I found that I got a better result with a straight line in this particular case with the narrow shoulder width. So then I will continue drawing that line down through a dart leg.

00:09:44:03 – 00:10:06:21

I will cut along that line so that it separates into two pattern pieces, the center front and the side front. Now I’ll cut off the dart value and discard it. Next I’ll cut along the top gape dart line, leaving a hinge at the bust point. I’ve colored the top section blue just so it’s more obvious what’s happening when I close the dart. I’ll rotate the top portion from the bust point to close the dart, and I end up with this.

00:10:06:23 – 00:10:25:15

Notice that there is a jagged edge now. That’s because, as I said before, the dart legs were different lengths, but I will now redraw the neckline to fix that up. So I need to secure those two pieces together with tape. And I also need to put some paper underneath to redraw the neckline curve. And I need to secure that all down with tape.

00:10:25:17 – 00:10:44:16

Now, if I was drafting this by hand, I would create a clean copy of this at the end, because some of the pieces that have been taped down a lot end up a bit messy along… So moving along, I will mark a notch at the bust point and then a second notch, one inch or 2.5cm above the first notch and a third notch,

00:10:44:16 – 00:11:11:03

ne inch or 2.5cm below the first notch. I’m also going to put a fourth notch up near the top. So onto the side front pattern piece. I’ll cut along the top dart leg, leaving a hinge – or not – at the bust point. Again, I’ll color the top part blue so it’s easier to see what’s going on. I will rotate the top portion on the bust point to close the dart and secure it together with tape, and then I’ll cut away the portion that’s showing underneath.

00:11:11:03 – 00:11:30:14

That’s just the extra bulky side seam dart that’s showing underneath. And I’ll discard those bits of paper. I’m going to remove the sharp point at the side front bust point and throw that away also. Now I need to measure these two seams. They are adjoining seams, they need to be sewn together, so they should be the same length. When I measure them,

00:11:30:14 – 00:11:50:07

the side piece is a little shorter because I cut off that pointy bit of the dart. So I’ll open it up at the bust point to get the extra length I need. The bit shaded in blue is what I’m adding in, so that goes to nothing at the side seam. Now I’ll walk that side piece down the center front piece to check the length match, and to transfer the notch points.

00:11:50:08 – 00:12:10:01

So lining it up first at the shoulder, marking the top notch point on the side piece, marking the second notch, then rotating that side piece and walking it down the front. I’ll transfer notch number three. I’ll keep walking it and transfer notch number four. Keep walking it to see if the length match. In my case, the length match.

00:12:10:01 – 00:12:32:04

I don’t need to do a further adjustment. If you ever do need to make an adjustment, you can split the difference. So add half the difference to one and minus half the difference to the other. So now I’ll finish off the side front pattern piece. First I’ll check that the side seam length matches the back side seam length as they are adjoining pattern pieces.

00:12:32:06 – 00:12:53:19

Let me point out that my side seam of my side front is not a straight line, and I’m pointing that out because when I check the seam lengths, it won’t be done in one pass. I’ll have to match up the top part, then pivot and match up the bottom part, and in the process I’ll add a notch. I do end up a little bit short, and after telling you that it’s best to split the difference, I’m actually going to add it all to the side front and leave the side back as it is.

00:12:53:21 – 00:13:17:00

So sometimes I will suggest that you do as I say rather than as I do, because I don’t always follow the rules. So continuing with the side front pattern piece, I’m going to draw the grainline. I’ll measure to determine the halfway point on the waistline, and draw a line upwards at right angles to the waistline. I could draw that grainline on the bias if my fabric had stripes, but in this case I’m working with the straight grain.

00:13:17:03 – 00:13:38:04

The pattern piece name that is Bodice Side Front and the cutting instructions are marked. So that piece is finished except for seam allowance, and I can move on to the next piece. Next the center front pattern piece and the button extension. Now the rule for the button extension is that it should be the width of the button or the width of the button, plus one eighth of an inch that plus a quarter of a centimeter.

00:13:38:06 – 00:13:56:13

My button is going to be 1.5cm that 5/8 of an inch. So I’m going to add 1.5cm or 5/8 of an inch for my button extension. I’ll measure from the center line at right angles to the center front line for 1.5cm, or 5/8 of an inch at the top and the bottom. Then draw a vertical line to join those two points.

00:13:56:15 – 00:14:16:05

Then I’ll draw my grainline on the center front line. Now, as I only make patterns myself, I can break rules as I wish. I don’t mark my buttons and buttonholes onto the pattern pieces. To me, that’s doubling up the work because if I lay it out here, I then have to transfer those markings to my fabric, and I just prefer to work it out all directly on the fabric.

00:14:16:05 – 00:14:35:13

So I’m not going to mark the buttons and buttonholes on my pattern piece. So onto the back. I’ll mark the center of the back shoulder line, and this time I will draw a curved line from that point down to the waist dart and I will draw that in two passes. Then I will cut along that line and down through one of the dart legs.

00:14:35:18 – 00:14:53:05

That will separate it into two pieces. Now, but before I separate them, I’ll mark a notch at the dart point on both sides and mark a second notch near the shoulder on both pieces. Then I’ll separate those pieces and cut off and discard the waist dart value. I will measure these adjoining seam lines to make sure that they match in length.

00:14:53:09 – 00:15:15:00

And they do. And I’ll finish off the side back piece by marking the mid-waistline, drawing the grainline, and writing the name of the pattern piece – that is, the bodice side back, as well as cutting instructions. Next, the center back pattern piece starting off with a pleat. I’ll measure out from the center back neck for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch at right angles to the center back line.

00:15:15:02 – 00:15:34:11

Then I’ll use that same measurement at the waist. Mark a point, and then draw a line to join the two points. I will draw my grainline on what was the center back line, and will be the center back line when the pleat is closed. Now that is useful for me when I’m laying the pattern on the pattern of the fabric to see where that center back line is going to be.

00:15:34:13 – 00:15:50:22

So now I’ll mark how far the pleats are sewn. I’ll measure down from the neckline for six centimeters, that’s two and 3/8 of an inch, and draw an arrow to show that it’s going to be sewn down to there. And then I’ll measure up from the waistline and do the same. Six centimeters, or two and 3/8 of an inch and draw that arrow.

00:15:50:24 – 00:16:12:09

So here are my final four pieces, though there is still the facing to come, but here are the four pieces. And I will create clean copies of the ones that are a bit messy. Then I’m going to add seam allowance. I use one centimeter or 3/8 of an inch on all seams. Unless I’m going to add a lining to the skirt, and then I’ll add 1.5cm or five eighths of an inch to the waist seam.

00:16:12:11 – 00:16:39:14

When I add seam allowance, I make sure that below the waist, the seam allowance is squared down, not following the angle of the curve. So below the waist it is squared down. That makes it easier when joining the bodice waist to the skirt waist. When you’re sewing them together. For the final bodice pattern piece that needs to be drafted is the front facing. I will first trace off the center front bodice just from the shoulder to the waistline, as shown by the pink arrow. At the waistline,

00:16:39:14 – 00:16:56:07

I will measure six centimeters, or two and 3/8 of an inch and draw the width of the facing. The facing is actually 2in or 5cm, but there is already seam allowance added, so I’ve got to account for that. So that’s a total of six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch. I’ll measure out again for that same measurement.

00:16:56:07 – 00:17:16:21

Working up the center front line along the neckline and up to the shoulder line. Then I’ll draw a curve the closest I can get. It doesn’t have to touch all those points, and the final facing piece is shown here in yellow. Now these are all my final pattern pieces. But one other thing very, very important. I need to write my pattern name on these pattern pieces.

00:17:17:01 – 00:17:38:19

So this is my Serenity bodice. And I need to write that on all pattern pieces. And one final note – I never fold fabric to cut two layers at the same time. I never cut on the fold. So since I always cut on one layer, I always create all the pattern pieces needed to cut on that one layer. So these are my final pattern pieces that I lay out on the fabric.

00:17:38:19 – 00:17:57:01

Now, if this is the first time you have watched a pattern video of mine, you may be confused why I just labeled the bodice pattern pieces as my Serenity bodice. Given that this is my Jasnah dress pattern, that’s because the Jasnah dress is, for me, made up of my Serenity bodice, my Xera skirt, and my Tabitha sleeve.

00:17:57:03 – 00:18:11:00

It’s like these are building blocks. I reuse these elements in different dresses. This system works for me, and I know that if I want to make my Jasnah dress, I pull out my Serenity bodice, my Xera skirt, and my Tabitha sleeve. So as I said, this is my system. It works for me.

00:18:12:21 – 00:18:29:13

This is a flat sketch of the Xera skirt. I have used this skirt in a number of dresses in Jasnah dress and my Mina dress, it does not have any buttons down the skirt – the buttons stop at the Empire line. In other dresses with the shorter Xera skirt, I have drafted it with buttons in the skirt also.

00:18:29:17 – 00:18:47:20

So although the Jasnah dress does not have buttons to the hem, I will include instructions for the button extension and facing. And that’s for those who want to make the dress themselves, because I suggest that you draft buttons down the skirt. Otherwise you may not be able to get the dress on. Check out my Lina dress pattern video for an explanation of that.

00:18:47:22 – 00:19:04:24

This skirt is basically a rectangle that has been cut and spread, though that is not how I’m going to draft it in my step-by-step instructions, but it is basically the same thing though. The skirt that I’m drafting has one small pleat in the skirt front and two large pleats in the skirt back, and one of those is a center back pleat.

00:19:05:00 – 00:19:22:20

Now these pleat amount and placement are what suits me, and I will explain or show you why I think they suit me, given my body shape. Other people – perhaps you – may prefer a more standard distribution that’s shown here – one pleat in the front, one plate in the back and both of them the same amount. So two things I want you to understand.

00:19:22:20 – 00:19:41:03

Number one, your pleat amounts and placement are something you need to think about yourself what suits your body. And number two in my instructions I’m using my pleat amounts and my placements. So you would need to swap out and use your pleat amounts and your placement. I will be showing you how to work out your total pleats amount.

00:19:41:07 – 00:20:06:00

How you distribute it is your decision. This is my body shape taken from my body cast, so it’s very close to a true representation of my body. Although I have changed a little in the last 16 years since it was cast, but the basic shape has remained the same. It is very different to Didi’s body shape. Didi is my dressmaker’s dummy. Even though I do have large breasts, my shoulders are much smaller than my hips.

00:20:06:02 – 00:20:24:00

And compare that to Didi. Didi is considered pretty standard, and when I say standard, the type of figure that ready to wear clothing and sewing patterns are made for. With the skirt falling from the Empire line, you can see that I would need more ease in the Empire line for a squarish skirt, for a dress to fit me in the hips,

00:20:24:03 – 00:20:49:04

compared to Didi. When I first started drafting this skirt, I had in mind what I wanted and I had to experiment a bit. So for example, my first attempt did not have the center back pleat. But first I’ll tell you where I did start. I know from my past experience with ready-to-wear clothing that I’m not a fan of large pleats in the front of the skirt, particularly pleats between the center front and where the waist dart is.

00:20:49:06 – 00:21:07:10

So around the very front of the skirt. Those pleats tend to swing out at the front and make me look like I have a large stomach. I find that kind the skirt really unflattering on me. Although I do have a stomach, it’s a high small stomach. Smaller pleats in the front and pleats out towards the side seam rather than close to the center front,

00:21:07:16 – 00:21:28:19

make my stomach look flatter and that’s what I prefer. I also had a ready-to-wear dress that I loved that had a really rectangular look, and I loved the front of the skirt. It made my stomach look flatter. That skirt had very small pleats in the front. However, the back of the skirt had problems as it bunched up around my bottom, particularly when I walked, and the back pleats in that dress were only a little larger than the front pleats.

00:21:28:21 – 00:21:48:16

So when I made this era skirt, I was aiming for a rectangular look similar to this dress, with smaller pleats in the front to make my stomach look flatter, and larger pleats in the back for my bottom. And also, since I wanted it to be ankle length, I needed to make it a bit A-line rather than really rectangular, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to walk in it.

00:21:48:18 – 00:22:14:14

So, moving on to the measurements and the calculations I need to draft the skirt. In order to work out the total pleat amount in the skirt, I first need to work out the hip measurement and that is the body measurement plus ease of the base rectangular skirt. If you watched my first dress video, the Wartah dress, I covered the amount of ease that I recommend for an A-line skirt, and that is an A-line that has no darts or no dart equivalents in the waist.

00:22:14:17 – 00:22:33:14

In those kind of skirts, you need about 25 to 30% of your hip measurement as ease. So add it on top of your hip measurement in order to get a good fit from the waist to the hip in this skirt, because there are pleats in the empire waist, there is added ease. There is design ease on top of wearing ease.

00:22:33:17 – 00:22:57:20

The shaping from the empire waist to the hip isn’t the issue. This rectangular shape skirt that has only a slight A-line means that the issue here is getting enough hem circumference to be able to walk in the skirt. So the 12% is enough for both ending up with a hand circumference that allows walking, and also allowing enough difference between the hip and the Empire line to have some pleats.

00:22:57:22 – 00:23:19:11

Now the reason why the shapes of the skirt look so different, even though the ease at the hip is similar, is that the basic A-line skirt does not have pleats, so the empire line measurement is much smaller than the Xera skirt measurement at the Empire line. Therefore, the side seam angle is much greater. So I recommend using 12% of your hip measurement as is in the hip.

00:23:19:13 – 00:23:34:14

If you are attempting this at the end of the instructions, I will tell you how to check if the hem circumference is enough for you to walk in, and if it isn’t, I’ll show you how to add some more fullness into the hem so that you can walk. The other end of the issue is that you might end up with very small pleats at the Empire line.

00:23:34:19 – 00:23:50:16

You can always cut and spread and make the pleats bigger if you wish, or even add more pleats if you wish. But look, the bottom line is that I draft clothing for myself in styles I like, and things suit me. And I show you what I do and why I do it. My patterns aren’t going to work for everyone.

00:23:50:18 – 00:24:08:22

You can’t always assume that my patterns will work for you in a paint by numbers type of way. You may have to do some problem solving yourself. That’s just the way it is. So the measurements and calculations for the hip and pleat amounts are. Body hip measurement times 112% equals (A). And I’ve given you an example of what (A) is

00:24:08:22 – 00:24:30:20

for me. Total empire line measurement equals (B). And that’s from the bodice pattern pieces. And I’ve giving you what (B) is for me. Then you take (A) minus (B) and you have the total pleat amount. That’s the whole body. You need to divide by two as we’re drafting only half the pattern. Then that’s distributed as you wish. You could put half of that amount in a pleat in the front and half in the back, or otherwise.

00:24:31:00 – 00:24:51:02

As you wish. So now starting to draft the skirt front. When I drafted the bodice, I drafted it at 33% of the full size. But in order to get the whole skirt on screen, I have to reduce the scale to 20%. So my instruction images will be smaller in this section. Now first I need to refer to the front bodice pattern pieces and get the Centre Front-to-

00:24:51:05 – 00:25:09:02

Princess line measurement, because that’s where the pleat will be on the skirt. For me, that’s 9.25cm or three and 5/8 of an inch. I’ll draw a horizontal line that length. So 9.25cm or three and five eighth of an inch from point (A) to point (B). So (A) is the center front line and (B) is the placement of my pleat.

00:25:09:02 – 00:25:27:09

Then I’ll draw a vertical line, the center front line at right angles to the empire waistline. And that center front line is the length of the skirt. To me that’s 98cm, or 38 and 5/8 of an inch. And I’ll mark point (C) remembering that the length I’m referring to is the Empire line to ankle, not the natural waist ankle.

00:25:27:11 – 00:25:49:19

So if you’ve taken a measurement from the natural waist to ankle, you need to add the Empire line to waist measurement to get the length of the skirt. I’ll mark the center front. Now I’m going to draw a line down from point (B) at right angles to the Empire waistline, and so that’s also parallel to the center front line, but making sure it is at right angles to the waistline for the length of the skirt and mark point (D).

00:25:49:21 – 00:26:10:13

Now I’ll measure out the width of my pleat. And for me that’s 4.5cm or one and three quarter of an inch. So from point (B) I’ll measure out and mark point (E). Now I want to draw a guideline above the Empire waistline. And this guideline will be for helping to create the A-line angle. So I’ll measure up from the Empire waistline at point (A) for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch.

00:26:10:15 – 00:26:30:08

And I’ll mark point (F). I’ll measure out from point (A) for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch and mark point (G), and then draw a line from point (F) to point (G) and continue it on for some distance. Now just a reminder that from point (B) to point (E) is the pleat width. Now I’m going to refer to the bodice pattern pieces again for the bodice side waist measurement.

00:26:30:08 – 00:26:55:15

That is the measurement from the Princess line to the side seam. My measurement is 12.75cm or 5in. I’ll measure from point (E) towards the guideline I just drew, and rotate the ruler until I get that measurement. Now I’m going to explain this in detail and labour the point here. And the reason that I’m doing this is because in the bodice instructions video, when I give similar instructions to take a measurement, then measure towards another line till you reach that line.

00:26:55:17 – 00:27:17:19

I often get questions from people who don’t understand the concept, and they ask me things like: “Do I guess the length?” or “The length I get it smaller”, or “How do I get the length I want?” or something like that. So I’m making sure that everyone understands how this works. If I were to measure from point (E) with a ruler at this angle, as shown by the pink arrow, the length of the line from point (E) to touch the guideline is a very long line.

00:27:17:19 – 00:27:37:20

It does not measure 12.75cm or 5in. It is much longer. Likewise, if I rotated ruler more like shown here, and I measured from point (E) to touch the guideline, the length of the line shown by the pink arrow is not 12.75cm or 5in. It is much shorter. So what you need to do is rotate the ruler and check the measurement.

00:27:37:24 – 00:28:02:10

If it’s too long, rotate it more. If you end up with a measurement that’s too small, rotate it back until you get the measurement you need. Then draw a line. So this line here shown by the pink arrow, is the measurement I need, and where the arrow point touches the guideline, I will mark point (I). Keeping the square ruler where it is, so lined up with the (E) to (I) line, I will draw a line from point (E) at right angles to the (E) to (I)

00:28:02:10 – 00:28:07:10

line for the length of the skirt and mark point J.

00:28:07:12 – 00:28:29:20

Now I’m going to flip the ruler over because I want to draw another line, again atright angles to the (E) to (I) line, this time down from point (I) for the length of the skirt and mark point (K). I’m going to draw in the hem line now, starting from point (C) at the center front ankle, drawing a straight line from point (C) to point (D), then getting a French curve to draw a line from point (D) to point (J) and continue to point (K).

00:28:29:22 – 00:28:52:24

I’ll also draw a waist curve with the French ruler. So from point (B) to (I) at the waist. Now place twp notches on the side seam to help match up the back and front skirt when sewing. So I will measure down on the side seam line for my empire waist to hip measurement and place a notch. Given that it’s a long skirt, to the ankle, I’m going to place a second notch somewhere in the vicinity of two thirds of the way down the skirt.

00:28:53:01 – 00:29:13:03

Now from point (E) on the waist. I’m going to measure down for my pleat depth. I sew the pleat down six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch, which is the measurement from my empire line to natural waist. So that’s the measurement I’m going to use. And then I’m going to do the same from point (B). Then I’ll finish off marking them as pleats by drawing line inwards to mark the pleat closure.

00:29:13:07 – 00:29:33:22

I’m also going to draw in another line just to show you the amount of fullness that has been added into the skirt from the basic rectangle. So I’ll draw a line from point (E) at right angles to the (A) to (E) line down to the hem. And now I’m going to trace the section here. It’s now shaded in pink to show you this is a fullness that’s been added into the hem that allows me to walk in the skirt.

00:29:33:24 – 00:29:57:02

What also has been achieved in adding this section in is adding a curve to the waist. Now at the end, after drafting the skirt back, I’ll talk about how to add in more fullness at the hem if necessary, and how to work out if it is necessary before cutting fabric. I’ll also cover how to add an extra value for the pleat if you want it, or add in additional pleats, but I’ll cover that after finishing the back because of course the back measurements are necessary.

00:29:57:02 – 00:30:17:07

You need to have all the information before you know if you need to make any adjustments. So if I’m not putting buttons down the skirt, then this is my actual finished front skirt pattern which only needs seam allowance, labels, etc. but I’ll do that later. Okay, so from here I’ll continue drafting the skirt to add the button extension and also draft the facing. The buttons

00:30:17:07 – 00:30:37:19

I’ll be using a 1.5cm or 5/8 of an inch. So I’ll add a button extension for the same width as the button. I’ll measure out from point (A) for that amount, at right angles to the center front line, and mark out at the hem for 1.5cm or five eighths of an inch, at right angles to the center front line, and draw a line to join those two points.

00:30:37:23 – 00:30:55:22

So that is it for the button extension. I’ll add a seam allowance of one centimeters around both of these front pattern pieces. The pink one does not have any buttons on its cut-on-fold. I’ll add the grainline, shown by the double headed arrows, and I’ll label the pattern pieces with the skirt name and any other information I want on there.

00:30:55:22 – 00:31:15:12

The buttons and buttonholes are usually marked at regular intervals, and the intervals are really your preference. You can check garments that you have and use those intervals if you want, or you can have them closer together or further apart if you wish. I tend to have my buttons closer together a little less than two inches apart that 4.5cm apart.

00:31:15:12 – 00:31:31:15

That’s just my preference. Some people might think that’s too close. Again, your preference. The buttons and buttonholes are usually marked on the pattern. Feel free to do so for yourself. I draft patterns for me, and I don’t like marking them on the pattern and then transferring that information onto the garment. I prefer just to mark it directly onto the garment.

00:31:31:15 – 00:31:51:04

Once it’s all sewn up. For me, marking it on the pattern, then transferring that onto the garment is just doubling up the work. So now the skirt facing, I’ll bring in the bodice facing pattern piece for reference, and I’ll line the pattern pieces up at the waist to get the width of the facing. I will just trace around the skirt pattern piece at the waist line down the center front and along the hem for that width.

00:31:51:06 – 00:32:12:03

Then I’ll draw a line joining the open edge. So this is the facing which also needs interfacing. And I’ve just realized I’d probably forgotten to put that on the bodice front. But at the end when I look at all the pattern pieces at the end of the video, then I’ll cover which pieces need interfacing. So now moving on to the skirt back, I’ll get the back bodice pattern pieces out and measure from the center back to the Princess line.

00:32:12:03 – 00:32:42:00

Of course, the center back pleat measurement is not included as the pleat will be closed. So my measurement is ten centimeters or three and 15/16 of an inch. I’ll draw a line this time from left to right, as the skirt back faces the opposite direction to the skirt front. I will draw a line ten centimeters long, or three and 15/16 of an inch long from point (A) to point (B) then from point (A), I’ll draw a vertical line at right angles to the empire waistline for the length of the skirt and mark point (C), I’ll also label the center back line.

00:32:42:02 – 00:33:16:04

From point (B), I’ll draw a vertical guideline the length of the skirt and mark point (D). I’ll then measure out from point (D) for my back pleat value, which is nine centimeters or 2.5in, and mark point (E). I’ll draw the same guideline that I drew for the front skirt, that is two centimeters or three quarters of an inch above the Empire waistline. Then measuring up from points (A) and (E) for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch, I’ll mark points (F) and (G). Then I’ll draw a horizontal line touching those points (F) and (G), and extending that line out.

00:33:16:06 – 00:33:38:22

Now just a reminder that from point (B) to point (E) is my pleat value. Referring again to the bodice pattern pieces, I’ll get the next measurement, which is the princess line to side seam measurement. I’m going to place a ruler at point (E) and rotate the ruler on point (E) until I get the measurement 10.5cm, or four and one eighth of an inch to touch the guideline above.

00:33:38:24 – 00:34:06:21

Now I’ll flip the ruler over, lining the ruler up against the (E) to (I) line that I just drew. I’ll draw the side seam line using the same skirt length measurement that I used for the skirt front. Now, this pink shaded shape that I’ve brought in is the front skirt. I’ve made it a bit transparent for the moment so that you can see it’s the front skirt flipped over. I’ve lined it up at the waist and the front waist side point is touching point (I). The center front and center back lines should be parallel.

00:34:06:23 – 00:34:24:04

What I want to point out is these two side seam lines have different angles. And that’s because the front and back measurements, the one that we used to measure from the Empire line up to the guideline – they were different. Therefore they created different side seam angles. So I’m going to choose one of them because I prefer the side seam angles to be the same.

00:34:24:09 – 00:34:41:01

And that’s because of the fabric, different angles on the fabric I have different amounts of mechanical give. I prefer where possible to keep the side seam angles the same. So if I choose this back side seam angle, I’ll have more flare. If I choose the front side seam angle, I’ll have less flare. So I’m deciding to go with the front angle.

00:34:41:03 – 00:35:02:02

I’m going to erase the line I just drew – for the back side seam – and trace the front side same angle. I’ll also transfer the notch points and I’ll trace the hem and the waist while I’m at it. So now I’ll add the center back pleat to the skirt. The bodice has a pleat in the center back, but my skirt pleat is not the same value as the bodice piece.

00:35:02:02 – 00:35:21:19

It is bigger. Again, the pleat values in the skirt were determined by the total amount worked out earlier, and I distributed that value as per my preference, and that included a center back pleat of four centimeters, or one and five eighth of an inch. Remembering that this is a half pattern, so the total pleat value here in the center back of the skirt will be double that.

00:35:21:21 – 00:35:41:17

I’ll measure out from point (A) for that amount and mark point (J). I’ll measure out from point (C) at the hem and mark point (K). I might need to make another mark in the middle. If my ruler isn’t long enough to join those points up. ‘ll then draw a vertical line, joining points (J) and (K). Moving on. Measuring down from point (F) I’ll

00:35:41:17 – 00:36:00:07

mark my pleat depth. The pleat will be the same as the pleat on the front, so that’s six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch. I’ll draw inward arrows to mark it as a pleat. Then doing the same for the other pleat, I’ll measure down from point (B) to the same amoun – six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch – and down from point (G}.

00:36:00:07 – 00:36:22:23

Now when I measure down from point (G), I’ll line the ruler up on the waistline, then finish off that plate by marking those inward arrows. So this is my back skirt. I’m going to add one centimeter or five eighth of an inch seam allowance. Mark the grain line, label the pattern and write down the cutting instructions. Here are my final skirt pattern pieces.

00:36:23:00 – 00:36:45:18

Now having said that, I don’t cut on the fold, so these would actually be my final pattern pieces that I lay on the fabric or these if I was using the front without buttons. Now a couple more things. The A-line amount that I used for my original Xera skirt, the one that’s shown here in the orange dress, is actually not exactly the A-line amount I drafted in these instructions.

00:36:45:20 – 00:37:06:14

The amount I used in these instructions is shown in the dress on the right. My Liadan dress, which has different sleeves. My original Jasmine dress doesn’t have quite enough ease in the A-line, because if I take a really big step on it, the biggest step I can, it is a bit constrictive. I mean, it’s fine, but I just decided that I would prefer to have it so there’s no constriction.

00:37:06:16 – 00:37:25:04

So I’ll mention two things as far as this goes. One way to get more flare or less flare is to change the height of the guideline. So here’s what I did in these instructions. This is the side same angle that I got with a guideline two centimeters or three quarters of an inch above the Empire waistline. So here is the side seam angle.

00:37:25:04 – 00:37:47:13

With that guideline lowered to 1.5cm or 5/8 of an inch. So lowering the guideline will reduce the A-line flare. Going the other way – raising the guideline to two and a half cm or 1in increases the flare. And here it is raised to three centimeters or one and 3/16 of an inch. So the higher the guideline, the greater the A-line.

00:37:47:15 – 00:38:08:22

But, but but if you don’t have enough circumference in the hem, it is not necessary to go back and redraft it with a higher guideline. That’s not necessary. You can just cut and spread your skirt as shown on the right hand side to add more ease in the hem. You could also if you want to add another pleat as shown on the left hand side to add fullness down the whole length.

00:38:08:24 – 00:38:26:22

The question then is: “How do you know if you need more ease in the hem?” Well, the first thing to do is measure your hem so not including the button extension or your seam allowance. Multiply that measurement by two as this is the half pattern. Then you need to compare that to your stride. That is the largest step that you can take.

00:38:26:24 – 00:38:47:23

In order to check that, you need to take something like a very long tape measure. If you don’t have a very long tape measure, I’ll leave it up to you to use your imagination or problem solving skills to find something similar that will work. Close that tape measure into a loop for the measurement of your pattern hem, and put your feet into that loop and take the largest step you can.

00:38:48:00 – 00:39:02:08

If it’s constrictive, you’ll need to make the loop bigger and try again until you get the measurement that you need for your largest stride. Then come back to the pattern and add in the amount that you need by cutting and spreading as shown here.

00:39:02:08 – 00:39:19:09

So onto drafting the sleeve, I will use my fitted sleeve block and trace just the sleeve head curve and mark the back notches, the front notches and the shoulder point. I’ll also use an awl to punch a little hole through the bicep line, and use a pencil to make a mark there. This will help me draw the shoulder line.

00:39:19:09 – 00:39:36:22

When I remove my sleeve block, I will draw in that shoulder line as well as the bicep line, and mark the notches on the inside of the pattern – that is the back and the front notches on the inside. Then I’ll draw in an underarm line at right angles to the bicep line. My sleeve length, not including the flounce, is six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch.

00:39:37:00 – 00:39:56:06

I’ll draw a line the same length for the other underarm line at right angles to the bicep again. Then draw a line closing that open edge. I’m then going to measure in from the underarm edge for 2.75cm, or one and one eighth of an inch. Make a mark and do the same thing on the other side, because I’m going to draw in new angled underarm lines.

00:39:56:11 – 00:40:14:20

If you are now thinking that given this is a fitted sleeve, this bicep edge is going to be too small, it’s okay because I will be cutting and spreading to add some extra ease. So these yellow shaded sections will be gone. Now I’m going to cut along the shoulder line and spread to add some ease evenly throughout the sleeve. And to help align the sleeve,

00:40:14:20 – 00:40:38:09

while I’m doing the cutting and spreading, I’ll draw a horizontal guideline. I’ll make sure that the sleeve bicep line stays aligned with that guideline. I’ll spread those sleeve pieces apart, keeping the bicep line straight on the guideline, and I’ll spread it apart so that there is 5.75cm, or 2.25in in between those pieces, making sure that it’s spread the same amount throughout that whole sleeve.

00:40:38:11 – 00:40:56:18

So I’ll measure that on the bicep line and shoulder line the 5.75cm or 2.25in. I will draw in a new shoulder line in the middle of that, so that the front and back sections are spread equidistant from the shoulder line. Now, what I want to do is measure the sleeve head and compare the measurements to the total armhole measurement.

00:40:56:20 – 00:41:16:02

So now that I’ve cut and spread, I have 8.5cm or three and 3/8 inch difference between the armholes and the sleeve head measurements. Now this is fine, I could leave it as such and have extra gathers in the sleeve, but I actually only want a few gathers and this is more than I want. So I’m going to reduce the cap height to reduce the total measurement of the sleeve head curve.

00:41:16:04 – 00:41:42:00

So this is my final sleeve head curve and the blue shaded section is my new sleeve shape. Notice that if I draw straight lines from the new cap height to the bicep edges, the curve crosses near the original front and back notches. So this is just a guide of how to draw that curve. If you. And if you don’t know how to do that, you can also refer to my sleeve block tutorial, because that might help you understand the sleeve curve.

00:41:42:04 – 00:42:01:09

So when we drawing the curve, if you measure and break the line into the curve goes under at approximately two thirds of the way on that straight line. So this is what I end up with for my sleeve. I’ll measure from the underarm point to the back notch on the sleeve, and using that measurement, I’ll mark the notch on the back bodice armhole.

00:42:01:14 – 00:42:19:06

And then I’ll repeat that for the front. So now the flounce. I will draw a rectangle the length the same as the sleeve edge, and the height will be six centimeters, or two and 3/8 of an inch. I’m going to divide that into eight equal sections and draw seven vertical lines. Now I’m not going to do those calculations here.

00:42:19:06 – 00:42:35:14

That is just basic maths. I’ll be cutting and spreading to create the flounce. And I’m showing you here at the top right hand side what I will be doing. If you are doing this, you’d need to stick this down with tape as you go along. I will start by drawing a vertical line, and I’ll be sticking the pieces of paper to this vertical line in a minute.

00:42:35:15 – 00:42:58:24

So going back to the flounce rectangle, I’m going to cut up along the lines that I drew from the bottom up, leaving small hinges at the top. I’m going to place that flounce piece on the vertical line, so that the middle line of the rectangle is lined up on the vertical line. Then I will spread as shown. Adding 2.75cm, or one and one eighth of an inch in between each of those sections.

00:42:59:02 – 00:43:16:22

As I separate those pieces, I will of course have to stick that down with tape, and when I’m finished, I will need to draw that inner curve. And I’m going to have to double check that the measurement of that inner curve is the same as the sleeve edge measurement, because they are adjoining things. Now the flounce will get some bias stretch.

00:43:16:22 – 00:43:36:05

So it doesn’t have to be exactly right. But the circle measurement should not be longer than the sleeve edge. Given that it’s going to get some bias stretch. So then I’ll draw the outer edge of that semicircle. It’s not quite a circle, using the outer edge of the cut pieces as a guide. Where the original vertical line was drawn, shown here by the dashed red line.

00:43:36:05 – 00:43:55:00

That’s going to be my grainline. I will also draw the grainline on the sleeve on the shoulder line, so these are my sleeve pieces. They need to be labeled with the sleeve name and cutting instructions. So these are my almost final pieces because as usual, I always cut on one layer of fabric, not on the fold.

00:43:55:04 – 00:44:00:23

So these are my actual final pattern pieces that I’ll be placing on the fabric.

00:44:00:23 – 00:44:22:23

These are my final pattern pieces that I will lay out on my fabric. Now the one shaded in the yellowy green are the facing pieces that also need interfacing. Now I usually don’t write on my pattern pieces where interfacing is needed. I only draft patterns for myself and I know when interfacing is needed. The problem is, of course, when I’m showing you how to draft patterns, I should remember to tell you that.

00:44:22:23 – 00:44:45:15

So I’m telling you now. I also always do a cutting layout plan. Firstly to find out how much fabric I need, and also as a reference for when I lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric. I tick them off from the plan as I go. I tend to, whenever I can. lay out the pattern pieces in sections, so I can cut out those small sections and just be working with smaller sections on my table.

00:44:45:15 – 00:45:03:03

I don’t have to wrangle in three meters, which is about 3.2 yards of fabric all at the same time. So yes, I do end up using more fabric, but then I save some fabric cutting on one layer and I prefer to be safe than sorry. I also prefer to save myself the headache, the backache of wrangling long pieces of fabric.

00:45:03:03 – 00:45:19:05

I prefer to use a drapey fabric for this pattern, particularly with the flounce on the sleeve. I prefer viscose and rayon. Without flounce, I love it in a linen, but then linen, viscose and particularly a linen and viscose blend are my favorite all time fabrics.

00:45:19:05 – 00:45:38:09

In my other videos I have covered the order of construction, but I won’t be covering that in this video. So the final thing is my next pattern. I’m going to be doing three more dress patterns, one a month before I move on to a couple of jackets. So June, July, August will be dresses, September and October jackets and November December jeans and or another pant.

00:45:38:10 – 00:45:52:14

So the next three dresses, I’m not sure which dresses I’m going to be doing yet. It may be one of these three that I’m showing you, or it may be one of another three that I’m not showing you. I have six dresses in total that I’ll be choosing from the other three I have not yet taken photos of.

00:45:52:15 – 00:46:09:22

So one of those other three has a built up neckline and a skirt with built in godets. The second has a collar and the third has pockets. I actually have one person at the moment who supports me monthly on Ko-Fi. She has set up a monthly donation. I’ll be giving her the choice of which pattern I’ll be drafting next out of the six options that I have.

00:46:10:02 – 00:46:12:22

So that’s it for this video. Chao till next time…


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