Video: How I Drafted My Waratah Dress Pattern

This video was uploaded to YouTube on 14 January 2024.

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Video Transcript

00:00:00:00 – 00:00:23:10

Hi, I’m Maria. And in this video, I’ll be showing you how I drafted this dress pattern. This is my Waratah dress pattern, and I’ll be showing you step by step how I drafted it. Now, I actually made this dress in 6 different fabrics. Now, I didn’t make it in 6 different fabrics for this particular video. I have a video planned – ‘Fabric Considerations

00:00:23:10 – 00:00:51:06

When You’re Drafting Your Own Sewing Patterns’, though, eventually the name will be a bit shorter and sweeter, I hope. But that’s the point of the video. And but I will use those dresses made in different fabrics as they relate to this particular pattern. Now, this one here is 100% linen. I’ve made a second one in a linen and cotton mix, a third one in a very soft, lightweight, sheer, lovely Egyptian cotton.

00:00:51:08 – 00:01:16:05

So that’s number three. Number four is another cotton, bit of a heavier weight cotton, but still quite soft and a very nice cotton. And number five is actually another cotton, but a quilting-weight cotton. It’s actually like paper has no drape at all and it rustles when I walk. And then the sixth and the final is rayon. Now, before we start with the instructions, here is a quick introduction.

00:01:16:07 – 00:01:37:05

Hi, I’m Maria from dresspatternmaking.com and I draft my own sewing patterns. I also write detailed step by step tutorials covering pattern making 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.

00:01:37:07 – 00:02:03:04

From now on, I’ll be writing more instructions for drafting garments, starting with dresses, then moving onto tops, jackets, pants, etc.. So welcome to my channel. So I’ll start with an overview of the pattern. Firstly, and this is very important, this is for woven fabric, not stretch – woven fabric and I can’t stress that enough. There are seven or nine pattern pieces in this pattern depending on whether or not the skirt needs a lining.

00:02:03:06 – 00:02:26:10

Three of the six dresses I showed you earlier needed a skirt lining. The other three did not. There are four bodice pattern pieces, two front two back, a sleeve and two or four skirt pattern pieces. The dress has an empire line, which is a design line above the natural waist and quite often just below the bust, but in my case, I preferred a few centimeters or an inch or so below my bust mound.

00:02:26:12 – 00:02:43:24

The dress is semi-fitted and has a fair amount of ease in the under-bust. I’ve drawn a red line on top of that empire line seam line to draw attention to it. There is a princess line in the bodice. This means the darts in the bodice block have been manipulated and moved into a design line – the princess design line.

00:02:44:04 – 00:03:05:24

In this case, it’s an armhole princess design line rather than, say, a shoulder princess line. So there are two pattern pieces for the front bodice. The center front bodice pattern piece is drafted as a crossover. And although the center front neckline isn’t terribly low, I needed some contouring to avoid gaping. Now, for me, I have to stitch this down, So it’s drafted as a crossover,

00:03:06:00 – 00:03:27:21

it’s finished with bias tape as a crossover and generally a crossover isn’t sewn down. In most cases, it doesn’t need to be sewn down. But I need to do so, and that’s because of my body shape. In a nutshell, when the neckline is lowered below a certain point for me, the weight of my breasts pulls the neckline apart and ends up really, really low. Much lower than I’m comfortable with, much lower than drafted.

00:03:28:02 – 00:03:44:10

The only way I can avoid sewing down a crossover is to draft a style that provides some tension, such as a wrap dress where all the ease is removed in the under bust and the straps pull the neckline close to the body. That’s a different style. That’s not what I’m drafting here. And that style for me contains its own set of problems.

00:03:44:16 – 00:04:01:03

If I have time at the end of this video and if not in another video, I’ll give a bit of an explanation for this. For those who have my kind of figure and don’t understand why they have the same problem. The sleeve has added fullness – that is extra ease – in the cap, which is shown by the gathers in the sleeve head.

00:04:01:05 – 00:04:22:15

Also extra ease in the bicep. So the sleeve is not close to the arm. It’s not following the line of the arm. It’s flaring out at the bicep. The skirt is a fairly basic A-line flared skirt. There is only one pattern piece for the skirt front. The skirt back has the same A-line shape as the skirt front. The angle of the side seams are the same.

00:04:22:17 – 00:04:41:00

There is one pattern piece for the skirt. The lining pattern pieces are different to the skirt pieces. They are not only shorter, but they are also just a tiny bit bigger in the waist, and then they gather down to match the skirt when sewn. Now the neckline, the hem and the sleeve hem have all been finished off with bias strips.

00:04:41:02 – 00:05:00:17

Now I don’t count bias strips as a pattern piece, even though I’m cutting it generally from the same fabric. But I don’t count it as a pattern piece because I don’t draft a pattern piece for it. They are just strips of fabric cut to a certain width. So I consider it a notion or an extra. So in most cases the bias is cut from the same fashion fabric.

00:05:00:17 – 00:05:17:13

But if I don’t have enough left over after cutting out the pattern, then I will cut it from other fabric. You may or may not have noticed that this dress has no openings or fastenings like zips or buttons that assist in getting the dress on and off. There is no zip in the back. There is actually a pleat in the center back.

00:05:17:18 – 00:05:36:05

So the only way of getting this dress on and off is through the neckline opening. So this pattern with the pattern pieces, as I have shown you, provide some bust shaping for me. Bust shaping means that the under-bust measurement is smaller and sometimes significantly smaller than the bust measurement, so that the bust is accentuated to some degree.

00:05:36:06 – 00:05:55:17

So the opposite of bust shaping would be loose fitting, and sometimes that might even mean shapeless. So, no difference or insignificant difference between the bust and the under-bust. On the other extreme is very fitting under the bust, where there is no ease at the Empire Line. But that would be impossible for me to achieve – to get that over my bust.

00:05:55:19 – 00:06:17:22

In my case, I drafted the Empire Line Measurement 13 centimeters or five inches less than my bust measurement, and I can get it over my bust and I get some bust shaping. So that begs the question, if I drafted the under-bust smaller than the bust, how do I get it over my head and in the process, over my bust, if my bust measurement is larger than the Empire line measurement. I will get that explanation,

00:06:17:22 – 00:06:36:23

but what I want to cover first and what I want to stress is that a lot of women will not be able to achieve both A and B within this pattern. A lot of women will have to choose either A or B, and what that means is this pattern won’t have the same look for them as it will for me, Uf they want to get it over their head,

00:06:36:24 – 00:06:56:08

and that is the instructions I’ll be giving, they will not get any bust shaping. It will be loose fitting under the bust. If they want some bust shaping they will need to make modifications to the pattern, which I will not be giving instructions for. What I would recommend but will not be covering, would be to put a zip in the back and change the pleat

00:06:56:08 – 00:07:19:06

to gathers. Those gathers would need to be moved away so that they no longer in the center back. So the pattern would be a little bit different to mine. So some people might question why have I created instructions for a pattern that’s not going to work for everybody? Well, firstly, and mainly I draft patterns for myself and I write instructions to show you how I’ve drafted the pattern and what I’ve learned.

00:07:19:08 – 00:07:38:23

I drafted this pattern for me, it’s a fairly basic or simple pattern with not many pattern pieces. I imagine not everyone likes this style, but there are people who are interested in just watching the process to learn something. This video is for them. Also, women with a similar figure to mine might find this useful. The next pattern I write instructions for will have

00:07:38:23 – 00:07:56:02

the more usual openings, such as the dress to the right that has buttons all the way down the front. Or the dress to the left, which has added fullness in the under bust. So my future patterns will be more standard in that regard. So just another note. I see a lot of YouTube channels saying ‘This pattern will work for everybody’,

00:07:56:07 – 00:08:13:09

and when I look at the instructions, I can see that’s not true. For example, I can see it wouldn’t work well for a large bust. I can see that the shoulder slope is a standard shoulder slope and no option is given for any other kind of shoulder slope. So I’m being upfront and saying this won’t necessarily work for everyone.

00:08:13:11 – 00:08:33:24

The disclaimer is this is for information purposes to learn some pattern making theory and practice – draft it for yourself at your own risk. So now I’m going to talk about the blocks that I used to draft this pattern. Now, this may seem contradictory and/or incompatible, but I am actually going to be using my sleeveless bodice block with my standard sleeve block.

00:08:34:02 – 00:08:51:16

Before I explain why I do that and how it’s not a problem, I need to cover some terminology and some background information. The basic or standard bodice block is drafted with a sleeve block. So there’s two parts to this. The bodice block is drafted with a certain amount of ease that allows it to be used with a fitted sleeve,

00:08:51:16 – 00:09:16:24

and I want to emphasize that it is a FITTED sleeve. The second part of it, the sleeve is drafted based on the armhole measurement of the bodice block. So it’s a set. The bodice is to be used with a sleeve, the sleeve is drafted to be used with the bodice. If you take the sleeve away and draft a garment without a sleeve, you need to make some adjustments to the bodice to take away the ease that has been included for the sleeve, or more correctly, for the movement of the arm

00:09:17:00 – 00:09:42:04

when you add a sleeve. So my blocks shaded in green are my standard blocks. That is – the bodice and sleeve set which are used together. So as I said, when you remove the sleeve, you can remove the part of the ease that was incorporated into the block to accommodate a full range of movement for the arm, when a sleeve is attached. If you want, you can remove extra ease every time you draft a sleeveless garment, or you can create a sleeveless block so you don’t have to repeat those steps each time.

00:09:42:05 – 00:10:03:07

So my pink shaded blocks are the sleeveless block, with less ease and a higher armhole. That high armhole is part of the ‘less ease’. I place the pink sleeveless block on top of the standard green shaded block so you can see the difference between them. The green shaded bits that are showing underneath is what has been removed from the standard block to create the sleeveless block.

00:10:03:12 – 00:10:21:22

So I use my sleeveless block, but then I replace the ease that I have taken out of the side seam by putting in an equivalent amount of ease, in the form of a pleat, in the center back when I draft my pattern. So my pattern ends up with the correct amount of ease for a garment with sleeves, but that ease is just in a different place.

00:10:21:24 – 00:10:43:01

I do this with most of my dresses, jackets and tops. It just works better for me. I personally find this more comfortable. Now, although I do use this for most of my garments, that ease in the center back is not always exactly the same. It’s not always a pleat from the top of the neck. Sometimes I use the back yoke with a pleat, or gathers instead of pleats, etc..

00:10:43:05 – 00:11:00:05

So both of these dresses have a yoke at the top. My Lina dress to the left has a pleat underneath the yoke and my Evelina dress to the right has gathers instead of a pleat. Now, some people might think that this sounds boring – most of my clothes having this same feature – but I’m not designing clothes for the Paris runway or any runway or for other people.

00:11:00:06 – 00:11:21:01

And I find the ease in the center back works best for me. I design clothes for me that are above all comfortable. I’m almost 60 years old and I am not ashamed to say that comfort is king. And despite my clothes being comfortable because I designed them for comfort and despite the repetitive feature of the pleat, I still get a lot of compliments on my clothes because they fit me so well.

00:11:21:02 – 00:11:43:15

Now, the second part of the changes to the sleeveless block, which may still seem confusing, is that the sleeveless block also has a raised armhole. Why am I using a raised armhole with the sleeve? The short answer is that although the smaller armhole won’t work too well with a FITTED sleeve with minimal ease, as the final pattern has plenty of ease in the bicep and plenty of ease in the sleeve head, it’s not an issue.

00:11:43:16 – 00:12:02:12

You can have a really high, small armhole that is comfortable and allows a full range of movement, as long as you have enough ease in the bicep and or the sleeve head. So I’m starting the instructions in just a minute. This is an outline of what I will be covering and I will be putting timestamps in the YouTube description box.

00:12:02:14 – 00:12:24:18

First, I’ll cover drafting the bodies front, finishing up the pieces by labeling and adding seam allowance. Then the skirt and the lining. Then the sleeve. Then the order of construction. This is more about the concept of the order of construction. But I will cover that order, how you sew it up. Very briefly, Then fabric choices – which fabrics are best for this pattern and general considerations, then cutting layout.

00:12:24:18 – 00:12:44:07

And finally, some important information about my future long format pattern videos. So I’m going to start by drafting the bodice pattern pieces. On the left is my sleeveless block and on the right are the four patterned pieces I will up with when I’m finished. First I will trace the outlines of front and back blocks onto paper. The tracing of the block outline is shown by the blue line.

00:12:44:08 – 00:13:04:22

Now, just a heads up that after I finished tracing the front block and transferring all the necessary markings to the paper underneath, I will need to flip the front block over, as shown, to trace the part I need for the crossover feature. So I’m just mentioning this because there needs to be enough paper for that. I will also mark the dart legs at the block edges as shown with the green arrows.

00:13:04:23 – 00:13:22:09

I’ll make the across-chest lines for both the front and back. These can be useful references for the armhole princess line placement. And finally, to finish transferring all the information that I need from the block to the paper below, I’ll mark the dart points for the back block, and for the front I only need the bust point, not the dart points.

00:13:22:11 – 00:13:39:16

Then I’ll flip over the bodice front and line it up on the center front line. I’m just going to trace the waistline up to the first dart – that’s all – as shown by the blue line. So that’s number one. Number two, I’m going to mark the waist dart legs at the block edge. And number three, I’m going to mark the bust point, that’s all.

00:13:39:20 – 00:13:56:20

So I can put the blocks away and I end up with this. I need to draw in all the lines. Of course, using a ruler. I’ll draw in the across chest lines front and back. These can be useful for the armhole princess line placement. Then I’ll draw in all the dart legs with a ruler to make sure all the lines are straight.

00:13:56:22 – 00:14:12:14

And I end up with this. So moving on to drafting the Empire Line. I’m going to measure up from the center front waist and the center back waist for six centimeters, or approximately two and 3/8 of an inch. Just a note here. I work in the metric system, then convert to inches. So sometimes I have to round up or down.

00:14:12:18 – 00:14:30:24

So at that point I’ve just marked, I’ll draw parallel lines right across the patterns at right angles to the center front and center back lines. This is the Empire Line, and I’ll be cutting off the bottom portion. So how did I come up with that measurement? Six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch. That is about one inch below my bust mound.

00:14:31:01 – 00:14:50:03

If you want more information on that, see my video on Contouring For Lowered Necklines And Cutaway Armholes. So as I said, I’m going to cut off the bottom portion and I end up with this. So I’m going to check what the measurement at the Empire Line is currently. So the outcome, after cutting off the bottom part of the bodice. When I measure, of course I exclude the dart values.

00:14:50:05 – 00:15:11:06

So I’ll be measuring sections one, two, three, four shown by the arrows and adding them up. Given this is the half block, I will then multiply that total by two to get the total measurement for the Empire Line. So I get 87 and a half centimeters or 34 and 7/16 of an inch. I’ll then compare that to my body measurement to see how much ease I have

00:15:11:06 – 00:15:32:11

currently. My body measurement at that level is 80 centimeters or 31 and a half inches. So I currently have 7 and a half centimeter or 3 inches ease, well as close enough to 3 inches as makes no difference. But the other really important factor is my upper-bust and bust measurements, as this has to go over my upper-bust and then bust.

00:15:32:13 – 00:15:53:09

So these are my body measurements. My upper-bust is 89 centimeters or 35 inches, and my bust is 98 centimeters or 38. And a half inches. The Empire Line on the pattern is 87 and a half centimeters or 37 and 7/16 of an inch. And that has to go over my upper-bust of 89 centimeters and my bust of 98 centimeters.

00:15:53:11 – 00:16:18:16

Now, first, let me stress that the upper-bust measurement in my case, anyway, is more important than the bust, because breast tissue is squishy. Well, maybe unless you have breast implants that don’t have the natural softness of breast tissue. But I’m talking about natural breasts. But the upper bust is not so squishy. There may be a bit of fat there, but we’re talking about the body frame and rib cage that cannot be compressed and or moved about like breast tissue can be.

00:16:18:18 – 00:16:44:10

Now, having said that, if you have a bust, that’s very, very, very much larger than the upper bust, then that’s another problem for the purposes of this exercise. But I am going through this for myself to show you how it works for me. So while the measurement of 87 and a half centimeters or 34 and 7/16 of an inch may seem to present a problem, I’m actually going to reduce that further and draft my pattern to 85 centimeters, or 33 and a half inches.

00:16:44:13 – 00:17:06:21

So if 87 and a half centimeters or 34 and 7/16 of an inch doesn’t seem possible, how can 85 centimeters or 33 and a half inches work? I will add in here that for a couple of patterns, a few years ago now, I drafted the Empire Line measurements even smaller. So these dresses were drafted to 83 centimeters or 32 and 5/8 of an inch at the Empire Line.

00:17:06:23 – 00:17:31:12

And they don’t have zips. But I did feel that the bust was emphasized too much and I felt uncomfortable with them. But I could get these dresses, drafted to 83 centimeters at the Empire Line, over my upper bust and bust. Nowadays, I stick to drafting the Empire Line to 85 centimeters or 33 and a half inches. All these dresses shown here are drafted to that measurement, and I can get them on and off without a problem.

00:17:31:14 – 00:17:54:01

And note that even though some of these have buttons, the buttons only go down to the Empire Line. They don’t open up at the Empire Line or further down. Therefore, I still have to get that Empire Line, drafted to 85 centimeters or 33 and a half inches, over my upper bust and bust to get the dress on. The reason I can do this is that I utilize the mechanical give in the crosswise grain of the fabric.

00:17:54:02 – 00:18:14:08

So although all these fabrics that I am showing you that I’ve made the dress of, that I’ve shown you in these images, although they’re all woven and there is no stretch, there is some mechanical give. That means that the woven strands relax when they are stressed or pulled. And generally the accepted wisdom is that, unlike stretch fabrics, they don’t recover.

00:18:14:10 – 00:18:37:03

That is true to an extent, but it’s not the whole story. And I’ll talk about permanent give an additional give later. So the accepted wisdom is that you don’t want this ‘give’ in places like a waist seam. So you generally stabilize the waist seam to stop the fabric relaxing and becoming bigger. Now I deliberately don’t stabilize the Empire Line waist seam and I use that mechanical give.

00:18:37:03 – 00:19:02:21

I take it into account when drafting the pattern and build that amount of ‘give’ into the final outcome. Now, I’m sure there’ll be some who immediately say, No, no, no, that’s too stressful for woven fabric. You’re breaking the rules. Well, I’ve not had problems, and I’ll explain it to you and I’ll show it to you in detail. But rules can be broken if you know the rules, if you know why the rules are there, if you know why you’re breaking them, and you know that by breaking them, you are achieving a desired outcome.

00:19:02:22 – 00:19:21:11

Well, that’s why there’s a saying that ‘Rules are made to be broken’. So let me just repeat some of that. I want to cover three points here. The accepted wisdom when working with woven fabrics is that you stabilize the way seem to avoid the fabric relaxing and becoming bigger. You want to avoid the ‘mechanical give’ that is inherent in most woven fabrics.

00:19:21:14 – 00:19:42:04

So if you draft the waist or the Empire Line to a certain measurement, you want it to stay that measurement. Conversely, and in defiance of that wisdom, I am utilizing that mechanical give and incorporating it into my pattern so that I get my desired measurement at the Empire Line, not from the drafted measurement, but the measurement after the fabric has relaxed.

00:19:42:06 – 00:20:03:01

Now, point three is the magic source that brings the recipe together. Without this, it would not work. Point two would be meaningless, really. Without point three, I would not be able to get both the shaping I want and get the dress on and off. Now the terminology I’m going to use as my terminology. These are terms I have coined to explain the concept that I was investigating.

00:20:03:03 – 00:20:22:06

I was trying to work out why I could get these dresses on, though common sense would suggest I should not be able to. So, the ‘mechanical give’ in woven fabric can usually be separated into two categories. And so this is from my experience working with cotton linen and viscose. This wouldn’t be the case with rubber, for example. That has no give at all.

00:20:22:12 – 00:20:47:17

So this is limited to the fabrics that I have stated. So there is ‘permanent give’. Once you have stressed the fabric by pulling on it, it does not recover again to the original measurement. So I drafted my patterns to the measurement at the Empire line that includes this ‘permanent give’. But then there is also ‘additional give’. So this is amount of give that is still available beyond the initial relaxation.

00:20:47:19 – 00:21:04:01

So I utilize this ‘additional give’ to get the dress on and off. Now, because I’m only using this ‘additional give’ for a couple of seconds at the beginning of the day to get the dress on and a couple of seconds at the end of the day to get the dress off, this ‘additional give’ doesn’t move over into the permanent give.

00:21:04:03 – 00:21:22:00

It doesn’t just keep growing. So this is my experience with quite a few dresses that I’ve made in linen, cotton and viscose. Now, before I give it that detail, I’m first going to give you a bit of a background on why I started doing this. Many, many years ago when I had started studying patternmaking but wasn’t yet making my own clothes,

00:21:22:02 – 00:21:42:24

I had a work top which I really liked. It was quite fitting under the bust and it did have buttons, but I noticed at some point that I could get it on and off without undoing the buttons. So I never did undo the buttons. I just pulled it on and off. And because I had started patternmaking, I was trying to understand this and I measured the under-bust and noticed that it was so much smaller than my bust.

00:21:43:05 – 00:22:03:10

And it puzzled me and I couldn’t figure out why I could get this on and off. But I started trying this on other clothes that had zips or buttons. So I tried to get it on without undoing the zip or buttons. So the dress in the middle was a ready-to-wear dress with a zip, but I could pull it on and off without undoing the zip, even though it is has a little bit of shaping.

00:22:03:12 – 00:22:28:13

So the first few dresses I made for myself, patterns I drafted, I think the ones on my website did had zips. But finally I took the plunge and I just left the zip out. So the dress to the right, so. And it worked. Now, having said that, more recently I have started adding buttons all the way down the front of most of my dresses so that any future pattern instructions I write will have the traditional closures to make it easier.

00:22:28:13 – 00:22:52:19

If people do want to draft the dress for themselves. Different fabrics have different amounts of ‘give’. So that amount of ‘mechanical give’ depends on the tightness of the weave. Now, generally speaking, cotton has a tighter weave than linen or viscose. And I’ve just realized I’ve been saying ‘viscose’ this whole video but rayon/viscose. However, within cotton there is a range of tightness and looseness in the weave.

00:22:52:21 – 00:23:16:20

So, for example, both of the dresses shown are cotton, but the denim cotton to the left has a tighter weave and the cotton lawn to the right. There are also cottons such as cotton gayze or cheesecloth that can have a very loose weave. But I wouldn’t use cotton gauze or cheesecloth for this pattern. So the amount of ‘mechanical give’ that I rely on or that I build into the pattern is based on a reasonably tight cotton.

00:23:16:20 – 00:23:39:07

So the worst case scenario as it is, then I stick to that across the board, stick to that amount for all fabrics, which mean my linen and viscose dresses tend to end up looser in the under bust. That is, have more ease than the cotton because they have relaxed more. So those linen and viscose dresses end up being less fitting than the cotton dresses.

00:23:39:09 – 00:24:03:07

Now, the fact that I end up with more ease with dresses made of linen and viscose/rayon is fine with me because those fabrics lend themselves more to semi-fitting and looser styles anyway. So I’m going to use this dress as my example. This is obviously not my Waratah dress, it is my Freyda dress. It has a different skirt, different sleeve, and even different bodice because it has a shoulder princess line rather than an armhole princess line.

00:24:03:12 – 00:24:29:13

But the Empire Line is still 85 centimeters or 33 and 7/16 of an inch. The same as my Waratah dress. And the fabric is a cotton corduroy. So it is a fairly tightly woven cotton. And the reason I’m referencing this dress is that I had some fabric left over enough to cut two rectangular pieces, 85 centimeters wide or 33 and 7/16 of an inch wide cut on the cross grain and sewn together.

00:24:29:19 – 00:24:49:11

So this is to replicate a waist same old empire line waist, same a proxy seam, to do some testing on. With this test strip, I can pull as hard as I want, really put some strength into it, which I don’t want to do on the actual dress. I’ll be pulling a lot harder than I do on the garment, so I’ll measure the amount of give and the amount of recovery.

00:24:49:17 – 00:25:09:18

And I’ll also compare the final measurements to the Empire Line of the Freyda dress. I know I drafted it to 85 centimetersm that’s 33 and 76 of an inch, but I actually haven’t measured it after the fact after wearing it a number of times last winter to see how much the measurement has grown, how much the ‘permanent gain’ is.

00:25:09:20 – 00:25:27:18

So I pulled as hard as I could a number of times and then let it rest for a couple of seconds and re measured it, Prior to pulling it was, of course, as I drafted it, 85 centimeters or 33 and 7/16 of an inch. I was doing this testing on the cutting mat that appears in the image and using the measurement guide on the edge of the cutting mat.

00:25:27:20 – 00:25:51:02

The maximum measurement I got was 92 centimeters or 35 and a quarter inches. After it recovered, it went down to 87 centimeters or 34 and a quarter inches. I actually went back a couple of days later and re-measured it and it was still 87 centimeters. So it did gain a permanent amount of two centimeters or three quarters of an inch.

00:25:51:04 – 00:26:09:24

And that matches what I get when I measure the Empire Line on this dress, I get 87 centimeters or 34 and a quarter inches. This dress was drafted to 85 centimeters or 33 and 7/16 at the Empire Line. But I had a ‘permanent gain’ of two centimeters or three quarters of an inch, but ONLY two centimeters or three quarters of an inch.

00:26:09:24 – 00:26:27:22

And I still have five centimeters or two inches ‘give’ that I can use to get it over my upper-bust and bust, and then it recovers back to 87 centimeters or 34 and a quarter inches when it’s on. Keeping in mind that the extra pulling, the extra stress, getting it on and off is only for a few seconds.

00:26:27:24 – 00:26:46:15

If I kept that stress on the fabric for hours, it might grow even more permanently. But I have worn this dress a number of times, which means I’ve taken it on and off a number of times and it hasn’t grown past that initial two centimeters, and it keeps recovering back to the 87 centimeters or 34 and a quarter inches.

00:26:46:19 – 00:27:17:09

As I said, dresses made from linen or viscose / rayon will actually be more than 87 centimeters or 34 and a quarter inches. So they will have more permanent gain. But given my body shape, I still have enough difference between that 87 centimeters or 88 centimeters or 89 centimeters and my bust of 98 centimeters to get some bust shaping. As I’ve mentioned a number of times, getting the smaller measurement over my bust is possible because breast tissue is squishy and the breast tissue can press against the chest wall and change shape.

00:27:17:09 – 00:27:42:10

It can flatten and spread. If you think that’s because of my age, I am almost 60 years old and so my breast tissue is less dense. But as I explained earlier, I used to do this even when I was younger, when I did have very dense breast tissue, which actually created problems for mammograms. But even then I could get the 85 centimeters of the Empire Line over my 98 centimeter breast.

00:27:42:12 – 00:28:03:01

So even dense breast tissue would be fine. But there is a limit. So if you have solid breast implants, it may not be possible. And with very large breasts, a large difference between your upper bust and your bust, there will be a limit somewhere. Also, the Empire Line doesn’t go over the bust parallel to the floor. It goes down at the back first and then the front can be pulled down afterwards.

00:28:03:01 – 00:28:18:24

Getting it off is kind of doing it in reverse, pulling it up at the back and then pulling it over the bus. So here are two of the Waratah dresses being put on my body form, which is a fiberglass cast of my body. So in the middle image, the black linen/cotton dress, notice how the dress goes on.

00:28:19:03 – 00:28:39:08

So the angle of how it goes on is, as I showed you in the previous slide. This slide also shows you how these two fabrics differ in the tightness of their weaves. It is obvious how much easier the linen is to put on because the linen has a looser weave and had more permanent give. On the right, you can see how much harder it is to get this dress on

00:28:39:08 – 00:29:02:10

my body form. This quilting-weight cotton has a much tighter weight and given my body cast is made of fiberglass and so the breasts are not squishy. This dress is very hard, almost impossible to get on my body form. In contrast, the linen cotton blend in the middle has no resistance. It just slits on my body form. So here I want to show you that the stress put on the fabric to utilize the ‘additional give’

00:29:02:10 – 00:29:22:09

isn’t that detrimental to the fabric. These two dresses have been my favorites; at some point I’ve worn them probably more than any of my other dresses. The denim fabrics have probably the tightest weave of any of the fabric used in my dresses. Therefore the less ‘give’, therefore the hardest to put on and the more stress on that seam.

00:29:22:09 – 00:29:45:10

And I want to show you those seams close up. So here is a close up of the worst case scenario for me, utilizing the given the crosswise grain. By worst case scenario, I mean the tightest weave. Therefore the less ‘permanent give’, the less ‘additional give’, the harder to get on, the more stress on the fabric. So I’m showing you the Empire Line seam close up on the right hand side.

00:29:45:12 – 00:30:06:03

More stress seems to show in the vertical design line. From a distance it’s fine, annd since it’s denim anyway, it just looks like distressed denim. So while a little stress can be seen, it’s only obvious really close up. And if you’re wondering about the color difference, the right hand side image is in direct sunlight. I think the stress in this dress is mainly due to the ten kilograms,

00:30:06:03 – 00:30:27:24

That’s about 22 pounds, that I put on while on a certain medication. And I was that weight for quite some time. Since my upper-bust and bust were larger, the stress was more during that time. Again, on this dress, there is a little bit of stress showing. In my opinion, it is negligible. The image on the right was again taken in direct sunlight, so that’s why the color looks different.

00:30:28:01 – 00:30:51:03

I want to also point out that I’ve never had any stitches pop on any of my dresses. So if Didi were to draft this dress, the formula based on my experience is that she could draft her Empire line measurement four centimeters or one and 5/8 of an inch less than her upper bust. So her upper bust measurement is 96 centimeters, which is 37 and 13/16 of an inch.

00:30:51:05 – 00:31:18:13

So she could draft to empire line measurement to 92 centimeters or 36 and a quarter inches. She will, however, get a permanent gain of two centimeters that three quarters of an inch. So the Empire Line on her dress will end up being 94 centimeters or 37 inches. And that means she won’t get much bust shaping. She’ll have a lot of ease of the Empire Line and not much difference between the measurement of her bust and under-bust.

00:31:18:15 – 00:31:38:02

This is also based on a fairly tightly woven cotton. So if it came to linen, it might be a very shapeless dress for her. Now the problem will be those who have a small upper-bust, but really, really large bust, much larger than my proportion , because the squishiness of the breasts will only work to a point. At some point the difference will be too large.

00:31:38:07 – 00:31:58:02

So for those people, they will have to add a lot of these to the Empire Line so that they can get the Empire Line over their bust. And I haven’t got a formula for that. Those people may be better off putting in a zip. My final notes on this topic is: if you want to test the ‘give’ in the crosswise grain make sure you do this after you wash your fabric.

00:31:58:02 – 00:32:20:02

That’s number one. Number two, I’m not suggesting you do it. I’m just showing you what I’m doing. Number three, do it at your own risk. So back to the Empire Line Measurement and continuing from here. So currently, the total Empire Line measurement on the pattern is 87 and a half centimeters or 34 and 7/16 of an inch. And I’m going to reduce it at least drafting the pattern.

00:32:20:02 – 00:32:41:07

I’m going to reduce it to 85 centimeters or 33 and 7/16 of an inch. The best practice would be to reduce the front and back darts evenly, remembering that the two and a half centimeters or one inch is across the whole block and we’re dealing with the half blocks here. That means increasing both darts, by only .625 of a centimeter or about a quarter of an inch.

00:32:41:08 – 00:32:58:23

Now, I say that’s best practice, but that’s not what I’m going to do. Now, I just want to take a minute to explain here and apologize that my sibilants that is the sounds of S’s that I made when I speak and sound similar to S’s, are going to sound very sharp hissing and whistling through a lot of this video

00:32:58:23 – 00:33:17:20

and any video I make in the next nine months. That is because I have dental aligners on. That’s the modern alternative to braces and it does affect my speech. There’s nothing I can do about it. It annoys the hell out of me, but there’s nothing I can do about it. And I’m sorry about that. I’ve actually done my reductions unevenly.

00:33:17:20 – 00:33:35:19

More to the front, left to the back. And that’s purely because .625 of a centimeter is too fiddly to measure. So I’ve just redistributed it to make it easier to measure. If you know what you’re doing, if you are comfortable not following the rules, feel free to not do so. So the dashed gray lines of the original dart lines and the pink lines are my new darts.

00:33:35:22 – 00:33:54:10

From the next slide, only the new dart lines will be shown. The important thing is that my Empire line is now 85 centimeters or 33 and 7/16 of an inch. And just a note – any adjustments made to the front waist dart – needs to be repeated on the second chart for the crossover. So otherwise your crossover might not match up to the princess line.

00:33:54:10 – 00:34:11:23

I mean, it’s not a big deal, but this practice changes from one dart should be copied across to the other dart. So I’m going to start drawing in the crossover neckline, First on the front piece, I will measure in five centimeters or two inches from the shoulder’s edge and place a mark. I will call that point ‘A’. I’ll now draw a guideline.

00:34:11:23 – 00:34:30:01

So this is not the final neckline, but just a starting line, from point A on the shoulder to point B, which is the first dart leg on the other side of the center front line. So I’m just showing you that on the dress, the cross over goes to the armhole princess line at the waist. So I’ve ended up with a neckline depth of 15 centimeters or five and 7/8 of an inch.

00:34:30:02 – 00:34:49:16

Now, this is actually a good depth for me. It’s not too low. If this works out too low for you could make the shoulder strap a bit wider. So move point A over more towards the neck as shown with the red elements. This does make the strap wider and so changes the design a little, but there’s no other way to raise the neckline and keep the basic design.

00:34:49:17 – 00:35:07:02

So this is back to the original depth – my depth. If you want to lower neckline, the easiest way is to make the line curved. So the curve shown by the pink line will make my neck line two and a half centimeters or one inch lower than the dashed gray line, and that two and a half centimeters or one inch is too much for me.

00:35:07:02 – 00:35:26:00

But that’s the way to make it lower. And note that even though there is a curve, it will still look like a V-neck. And usually a V-neck is made at least slightly curved. So here’s how to draft a slightly curved neck line. First, at the point where the neck line crosses the center front line, measure in at right angles for a half centimeter or one eighth of an inch and make a mark.

00:35:26:01 – 00:35:46:11

Then, as shown, draw a curve from A to B, touching that mark. Before I cut along this neck line and discard the top section, I need to make a note of my contouring. Now, in real life, I don’t need to look at, refer to or transfer my contour markings from my block to this pattern because I know my contouring really well and I tend to use only a few neck line depths.

00:35:46:12 – 00:36:02:01

Now, what I would do, in real life, is draw a line from the bust point to the center front neck and then measure two centimeter or three quarter inch gape dart where that blue dashed line and the neck line intersect. I then I’ll draw the gape dart. But for the purpose of this video, I will go into a bit more detail.

00:36:02:03 – 00:36:19:06

So firstly I have an important note. The standard contour markings that I covered in my contouring video does actually have the neck line gape dart – that’s the gape dart for Lowered Necklines – going to the mid neck line. So if you look at the standard block markings on the left side in green number five, it goes to the mid neck.

00:36:19:08 – 00:36:35:19

For some reason when I was doing my contouring, I used the line to the center front neck as shown on my block. That’s fine, as long as that’s where I actually measured which it is, and as long as I stick to the same line each time I do my contouring. So my line goes to the center front neck, yours probably goes to the mid neck.

00:36:35:19 – 00:36:59:15

It’s not a problem. If you are drafting this pattern, you need to have either your own contouring worked out and marked, on your block or at least noted somewhere, or you can use the standard amounts but they might not be appropriate for you. The standard amounts are given in the contouring video and also that contouring video tells you how you can work out your own contouring. So you transfer the relevant information onto the pattern you’re drafting.

00:36:59:15 – 00:37:20:18

In this case, the information from number five, the neck line gape dart. You could also transfer number 4, the shoulder line, but I’m actually not going to bother with that. So as I said before, I know I need a two centimeter or three quarter inch gape dart as shown, but if you don’t know that, if all you have are your contour markings on your block, how does it work when they’re transferred to this pattern?

00:37:20:20 – 00:37:42:04

So here my neck line contour lines are being transferred to the pattern. Where the neck line crosses those pink lines – the value in between those two pink lines – is the width of the gape dart. On the right hand side here in graphic B, the neckline is lower and you can see that the gape dart is bigger. As I said, the gape dart is the value between the two pink lines.

00:37:42:06 – 00:38:04:11

So getting back to the original neckline that I actually want, not the low and revealing one. On the left – A – is the contouring information. You actually do need to do the next step of drawing in the actual dart, which will probably require you to erase the original lines as they may be confusing. So now I have the gape dart drawn in and I can cut along the pink neckline and discard the top portion.

00:38:04:13 – 00:38:21:20

There are various ways I could proceed. I could start by manipulating the darts and I could move the neckline dart into either the side seam dart or the waist dart. Basically, the end result will be the same. I mentioned this because when I’ve moved the neckline dart into the side seam dart in the past I’ve had people ask – “ Why not the waist dart?”

00:38:21:22 – 00:38:41:18

Bottom line is – it doesn’t matter. You’ll get the same result. But I’m actually going to start by drawing in the princess design line. So the armhole princess design line goes from the armhole, through the bust point to the waist, following one of the dart legs. It doesn’t really matter which dart leg because the dart will actually be removed, but I am using the leg closest to the center front.

00:38:41:20 – 00:39:02:16

So the question is now – “Where along the armhole do you start?” According to a couple of my textbooks, the usual placement is about mid-armhole, shown here, which is the placement I don’t use. But you could try this – draw a curve and see how it goes. Another place along the armhole you could start is the across chest line. My placement is actually much lower down along the armhole and that works for me.

00:39:02:20 – 00:39:23:23

There is no hard and fast rule. I suggest that either you look at any clothing you might have with a princess armhole and if you like the look of that measure where along the armhole it’s placed and use that placement. Or, use mid armhole, or use the across chest, whichever one for you gets a nice curve. Now I’m showing you an option which I’m not actually going to use.

00:39:24:03 – 00:39:44:21

You can draw the curves, so it’s a little bowed out from the dart legs. So from the bust point down to the waist, curved out. Using this kind of curve means that the dress will be more fitted under the bust. So provide a little bit more shaping, But as you will need the other side of the dart leg to have the same curve reflected, it can end up being fiddly and complicate things a bit, especially with really large busts.

00:39:45:02 – 00:40:00:19

So I’m not taking that option. I’m going to use the straight line of the dart leg, but it is an option for those who aren’t beginners and know what they’re doing. So here’s my final design line and I’m going to cut along that line to separate it into two pieces. Then I’ll cut along the second leg and I can chuck that piece away.

00:40:00:21 – 00:40:19:00

Is that Australian slang? Well, throw that piece away. Now I’ll cut along the top line of the contouring gape dart at the neckline, starting from neck on edge and keeping a little hinge at the bust point. Then I’ll close that gape dart at the neckline and stick it down with sticky tape – or for non Australian’s, sellotape – and then I’ll need to redraw the neck line.

00:40:19:02 – 00:40:34:18

I need to mark some notches, one at the bust point, one two and a half centimeters or one inch above the bust point and one two and a half centimeters or one inch below the bust point. These notches are to assist in the sewing process. So moving on to the bodice front side pattern piece, I’ll cut along the top dart leg.

00:40:34:19 – 00:40:54:09

Now, best practice does say to leave the hinge at the bust point, but I won’t because I want to open it up at the bust point later. You are theoretically supposed to just close that dart, that’s best practice. But I end up with this and I actually cut along both dart legs and throw away the dart value piece. So I remove the dart value, match up the legs and stick it down.

00:40:54:09 – 00:41:12:03

I’ve ended up with a really pointy bit at the bust point. I will draw a smoother curve, which will mean cutting off a little bit of the length of this seam line, which means I will have to make an adjustment to gain back the length that I have lost. So I’ll measure both of these adjoining seam lines, the seam line length on the center front piece – the Blue Arrow – is the correct length.

00:41:12:08 – 00:41:32:07

I need to make sure that the side front length, the Green Arrow, ends up the same. Now, some patternmakers do say that the seam line on the side piece can be a little shorter than the seam line on the center front, because you gain some bias stretch on the side piece. But I think it’s just safer to make them the same length and ease them together with the help of the notches and other sewing techniques.

00:41:32:10 – 00:41:53:22

You can get the extra length by either opening it up at the bust point, as shown in example A or adding it to the bottom of the seam line at the waist, which means you’ll need to redraw the waistline. They end up with a slightly different shape as shown here. Probably opening up at the bust point is better practice, but I’ve seen patternmakers and textbooks saying it’s fine to add it at the bottom too.

00:41:53:24 – 00:42:09:04

So I’ve opened mine up at the bust point to get the extra length I needed. I’m now going to walk the seam. This is to mark my notches in the corresponding places on the side piece, and at the same time I’ll get to double check that the seam length match, that is, that I added the correct amount to the length.

00:42:09:06 – 00:42:28:02

So I’ll start by matching it up at the armhole and I’ll walk the side piece down until I get to the first notch and I’ll mark the first notch on the side piece. I’ll continue walking the same and mark the bus point on the side pattern piece. Continue walking and mark the third notch and the last bit of walking will take me down to the Empire Line.

00:42:28:02 – 00:42:50:13

Same and my lengths match. So the front pieces are done. Moving on to the back pattern pieces. I’m going to redraw the shoulder line without the dart. The way I’m going to do that is by extending the line A to B so that A to C equals the shoulder length. You can either measure either side of the dart to get the shoulder length, or you can bring in your front block and use the shoulder line as a reference.

00:42:50:19 – 00:43:12:06

So the pink line is my new shoulder line and I can trace the shoulder dot. I then have to redraw the armhole as shown by the blue dashed line. I can erase the original shoulder line, but I won’t cut it yet because I may need to finesse that armhole curve. And for those of you who are wondering why we aren’t manipulating the back shoulder dart correctly, this is the basic equivalent of moving the shoulder dart into the armhole.

00:43:12:06 – 00:43:31:24

So this is what I have after I have redrawn the armhole and erased the shoulder dart and the original armhole. Now I’m going to use the center front pattern piece to get the shoulder width of the pattern and finesse the back armhole curve. For those who may not remember, the original neckline was drawn from the shoulder’s edge. So I’m going to match up the front and back at the shoulder edge.

00:43:32:01 – 00:43:53:05

That armhole curve isn’t right, and it needs to be redrawn. So I have redrawn the armhole for a better flow through from front to back. I drafted a back neckline depth of six centimeters or two and 3/8 of an inch shown by the pink downward arrow with the front pattern piece still matched up at the shoulder, I can also draw in the neckline curve that works, from front to back. Shown by the Green Arrow.

00:43:53:07 – 00:44:21:22

If I were to make this dress again though, I would draft the back neckline higher – as shown by the dashed blue line. Now I’ll add the center back pleat. I’ll measure out two centimeters or three quarters of an inch, at right angles from the center back neckline. So measuring out from point A and marking point B. Then I’ll do the same at the waistline, measuring out for two centimeters or three quarters of an inch and mark point D. Then I’ll draw a line from point B to D. I’ll draw the princess line from the across back line at the armhole through the dart point and down to the waist.

00:44:21:24 – 00:44:43:18

Again, there is an option of drawing that curve bowed out from the dart point to the waist. But I’m going to do a straight line following the dart leg. Note that for me and it might not be for you, the across chest line happens to be halfway on the armhole. Again, the placement on the armhole really is a matter of design choice and what looks good, but the across back placement is a suggestion.

00:44:43:20 – 00:45:05:01

I’ll put a notch mark at the dart point and mark it on both sides of the design line, so it will be on both pattern pieces, and another notch up towards the armhole. And then I’ll cut along that line. I’ll also cut along the other waist dart leg and discard the dart value. Now I’ll a bit of truing – that is making sure that the side seam lengths match – before finalizing the pattern pieces and adding seam allowance.

00:45:05:03 – 00:45:23:13

So I’ll place the front side pattern piece against the back at the side seams and check the lengths match, which they do for me. Now best practice also, which I actually don’t do or didn’t do in this case. So my pattern is to make a smooth curve for the waist. So if you look down the bottom at the waist level, the pink shaded piece is what you could add to the side pieces.

00:45:23:13 – 00:45:39:21

So there is a smoother curve for the waist rather than an angular point where they meet. I actually didn’t do that for my pattern, as I said, but feel free to follow best practice and add in those bits to the pattern. So these are the final bodice pattern pieces that need to be labeled, have a grainline placed on them, and seam allowance added.

00:45:40:02 – 00:45:58:06

If you do want to make adjustments to this pattern to put a zip in the back, instead of marking the pleat, you can mark gathers over towards the armhole. So then I’ll add seam allowance. I almost always add only one centimeter or 3/8 of an inch seam allowance on all seams. And I will also add cutting instructions and the name of the pattern.

00:45:58:11 – 00:46:16:18

Now I hope this isn’t too confusing, but I’m marking the bodice name on this pattern, not the dress name. That’s my system. This bodice I can use with other dresses, different skirts and different sleeves. So yes, this is my Waratah dress, but I have marked the bodice pieces as my Amaranth bodice. I know that in my Waratah dress, I use the Amaranth bodice.

00:46:16:18 – 00:46:41:04

I never, ever, ever cut anything on fold. I may draft half pattern pieces to print out on paper, but I always make my final patterns out of Vilene or Trace ‘N Toile. So when I transfer my patterns to the trace and toile, I make full pattern pieces to place on one layer of fabric. So I’m showing you the cut on fold, because many people do cut on fold and also it saves screen real estate and less paper to print the half pattern.

00:46:41:10 – 00:47:01:14

But in the end, the final pattern pieces which I lay out on my fabric are always full pattern pieces. This matters when I cover Layout For Cutting. There’s an important point I need to make regarding seam allowance. When adding the same allowance below the waistline, the seam line, you need to square down from the seam line. So let me get up closer to show you what I mean.

00:47:01:19 – 00:47:19:05

Rather than follow the angle of the side seam below the waist, as shown by the incorrect gray lines, you should square down at right angles from the waist as shown by the red and blue arrows. So this is what it should look like. This is so that the measurement at the cutting line is not less than the measurement at the seam line.

00:47:19:05 – 00:47:40:09

The grainline needs to be marked on the pattern pieces. I’m cutting them all on the straight grain, though I could put the side pieces on the bias, If I wanted, if I was using stripes, for example, but I’m not, so I’m sticking to the straight grain. For the center front I’ll mark the grainline on the center front line, the center back I’ll mark it as shown, parallel to the center back cut-on-fold line and for the side pieces I’ll mark it in the middle of the pattern.

00:47:40:09 – 00:48:04:09

So measure the waist line and draw a line up in the middle of that waistline. So the grain line is drawn up at right angles to the waist. So here are the final bodice pattern pieces with the grain line marked, labeled and with cutting instructions. Now, as I said before, I put one centimeter seam allowance on everything, and if I were to put a zip in the back, I’d still add only one centimeter because the invisible zips I have used are one centimeter in width.

00:48:04:11 – 00:48:21:06

If you are drafting your own patterns, you add the seam allowance you prefer, I might add, one and a half centimeters to the waist if I’m not sure about adding a lining to the skirt. And I want to make that decision later after the seam is sewn and overlooked or serged. Having that extra little bit helps in that case.

00:48:21:12 – 00:48:43:11

So when I say one centimeter that is 3/8 of an inch. So before moving on to the skirt, I need the measurement of the waist for the skirt front and the measurement of the waist for the skirt back. That is, the half block measurements. So at the front, adding the center front and the side front waist measurements together and for the back adding the center back and the side back waist seam line measurements together.

00:48:43:13 – 00:49:05:18

These measurements already have the ease built in. I’m drafting the skirt to match these bodice measurements. So, as given the front, I have a 22 centimeter waist or eight and 5/8 of an inch, and for the back I have 20 and a half centimeters for the waist or eight inches. I’m going to start with a skirt that has the smallest waist measurement, and for me that’s the skirt back. To draft the skirt

00:49:05:18 – 00:49:24:08

I’m going to start with a piece of paper and draw a rectangle. The height of the rectangle is the Empire-Line-to-hip measurement shown by the blue arrow, and the width of that rectangle is the body measurement times 130%, divided by four. You should use the patternmaking ruler and make sure that all corners are at right angles.

00:49:24:10 – 00:49:39:21

Now just a note for those of you who may be drafting your front skirt rather than your back skirt because it has a smaller waist measurement, it is standard practice to have the front and back blocks, which are half blocks, for the same side of the body. And this follows through to the pattern pieces when you use that block to draft patterns.

00:49:39:21 – 00:50:01:05

So looking at these blocks, my blocks, they are for my right side as I’m wearing the garment. So the skirt pattern pieces should be for the same side of the body. Therefore the skirt pattern pieces should face the same way as the bodice pattern pieces. What this means is for those of you who are drafting the skirt front, because that’s the smallest waist measurement and you are following my directions

00:50:01:05 – 00:50:29:21

exactly, you will end up with the skirt center front of the skirt on the left hand side of the body. But this is not a problem. In the end, you just flip your pattern over and consider that the right side up. So here’s my rectangle to the dimensions given before. Before I continue with the instructions though, here is a five second overview of where I’m going with this rectangle and how it’s going to turn into my skirt.

00:50:29:23 – 00:50:50:16

So I’m going to do some calculations, cut it up into sections, overlap it at the top and in the process, get a curve for the waist, then make it the length I want it. So the width of my rectangle, which is the outcome of the calculation I did earlier to draw the rectangle, is 35.1 centimeters or ten and 5/8 of an inch. I’’m going to divide that amount by four to make four sections.

00:50:50:21 – 00:51:13:08

If you have a much larger difference between your hips and waist. So you have really large hips and really small waist, divide it by five instead of four. So then measure out for that measurement and draw a vertical line and repeat two more times. As always, make sure that the vertical lines are at right angles to the waistline. I’ll cut along those lines from the waist down, leaving small hinges at the bottom or tiny little hinges at the bottom.

00:51:13:10 – 00:51:39:07

So I’ve covered those sections, different colors, just for reference. Now I need to do another calculation. I need to calculate the difference between the hip measurement – that is the rectangle width – and my pattern Empire line waist measurement and the difference between those, of course, is the amount that I need to reduce the top of the rectangle. So the resulting measurement is the total that I have to reduce the top rectangle, and then I’ll divide that by three because it will be spread between the three designated sections.

00:51:39:09 – 00:52:03:19

So for example, in metric, my hip minus my waist is 35.1 centimeters, -20.5 centimeters. I have a total of 14.6 centimeters, but that has to be spread over the three sections. Now, given that’s kind of like a difficult measurement to work with in centimeters, I split it up a little unevenly. Feel free to do that. It doesn’t have to be exactly the same over those three sections, a little bit out is fine.

00:52:03:21 – 00:52:27:04

So in looking at the inches – hip minus waist, 13 and 13/16 of an inch, minus eight inch waist is five and 13/16. Divide that by three. Each section needs to be reduced by one and 15/16 of an inch. So using that final measurement of 4.75 centimeters or one and 15/16 of an inch, I will measure from the Empire Line Point one.

00:52:27:06 – 00:52:44:24

This is the pink arrow. If you look at the pink arrow. From the Empire Line Point one inwards to the center back, and then I’ll mark a point, and name it point A. I’ll then draw a guideline from the hip line point one to point A, and that’s shown by the dashed pink line. I will keep the center back panel,

00:52:44:24 – 00:53:04:05

the green one, in the same place, then pivot the other three panels together as one so that the line number one aligns with the pink guideline I drew on the green panel. So that has to be taped down with sticky tape or Sellotape or Scotch tape. So the tape is sticking down the orange panel to the green panel.

00:53:04:05 – 00:53:34:00

I’ll then measure from point two at the top towards point 1 for 4.75 centimeters or one and 15/16 of an inch, shown by the pink arrow and mark point B. Then draw a guideline from point two at the hip line to point B indicated by the pink dashed line. I will then pivot the blue and yellow panels together, turning them so that the blue panel line number two matches up with a pink dashed guideline drawn on the orange panel and stick it down with tape. Rinse and repeat. Measure from point three at the Empire Line,

00:53:34:00 – 00:53:53:06

this time five centimeters because it was distributed unevenly, but still one and 15/16 of an inch and mark point C, shown by the pink arrow. Then draw a guideline from point three at the hem to point C shown by the pink dashed guideline. And finally pivot the yellow panel lines up with the guideline previously drawn and tape it down.

00:53:53:08 – 00:54:20:02

So now measure the waistline and compare it to the measurement that it’s supposed to be. If it’s not quite correct, you can make some adjustments by pulling off the tape of the final panel and closing it up or opening it up as required. When you have the waist measurement correct, draw the skirt length. So using the desired skirt length measurement, in my case it’s 63 centimeters or 24 and 13/16 of an inch, I’ll measure down from the Empire Line waist straight down the center back seam, and also down the side

00:54:20:02 – 00:54:39:02

seam for the same measurement. To draw the hem curve, it may help to draw a few more lines – so measure down from the waist along each of the dashed guidelines – using the same skirt length measurement and so then that will help you draw the curve. Place a notch in the waistline to match the placement of the princess line seam in the bodice.

00:54:39:02 – 00:54:56:12

So in my case, ten centimeters or four inches from the center back. So a measure along the waist line for four inches or ten centimeters and place a notch mark, Place a second notch in the side seam at the hipline. So this is what I’ve ended up with for my back skirt, and I’ll be starting my front skirt.

00:54:56:12 – 00:55:13:15

Some of you may have just finished your front skirt and you’ll now be working on your back skirt. On the right hand side is what I finished up with the skirt back and I will cut that shape out from the paper. To create the skirt front, I’m going to flip over the back skirt and trace it. I’m going to trace it from the center back waist.

00:55:13:15 – 00:55:36:21

So point A, along the waist line down the side seam and the hem to point B, but not trace the center back line. So I’m going to transfer the hip notch but not mark the waist notch. So the blue dashed line is what I’ve ended up with, and that’s the starting point for the front skirt pattern piece. First, I need to work out the difference between my waist measurement of the skirt front and back.

00:55:37:02 – 00:55:57:13

My front waist measurement is one and a half centimeters or 5/8 of an inch more than my back waist measurement. So using that, I will measure out from points A at the waist and B at the hem for that amount and mark points C and D. Then I’ll draw the center front line from point C to D, shown by the blue dashed line.

00:55:57:18 – 00:56:22:19

The reason that I’m adding it here is to keep the side seam angled the same as the back so both the front and back skirts will have the exact same side-seam angle. Referring to the front bodice pattern pieces, I will mark a notch on the waist to match the princess line of the bodice front. So for me I will measure in for 9.25 centimeters or three and 5/8 of an inch from the center front and mark the notch.

00:56:22:21 – 00:56:40:11

Now, regardless of how you drafted these patterned pieces, in the end the center front of the skirt front should be facing the same way as the center front bodice and likewise for the back. So if you’ve drafted them so they end up different, then just flip them over and make sure that you label and continue and that in the end they are the correct way up.

00:56:40:13 – 00:56:59:05

I’m going to label my pattern pieces. You can write any information that you know that you’ll find useful. I’ll write the information that I find useful. As I’ve explained before, although this is my Waratah dress, I am using my Gardenia skirt, which I use in the Waratah dress, but is also used in other dresses. So I’m going to label it my Gardenia skirt.

00:56:59:11 – 00:57:14:16

Now I’m going to line up the skirts at the side seam to do some truing to check that the lengths are the same and to check the flow through of the curves. If there are dips or points where they meet instead of a smooth curve, then those dips or points will need to be smoothed out. Because of the angle of the side seam

00:57:14:16 – 00:57:39:04

you will get some bias stretch when you sew this up, which will mean that the side seams will end up longer than you drafted. One way of dealing with it is to make a bias adjustment, but the problem is you don’t know exactly how much it will stretch. It will differ from fabric to fabric. Some people deal with this by hanging the skirt up for a few days before doing the hemming and then making an adjustment, Because I’m a bit lazy in this regard and in this area, I am NOT a perfectionist,

00:57:39:04 – 00:58:01:02

I tend to always make the same adjustment and I do it here when I put the side seams, together so I can find a curve that flows through. I tend to use an adjustment about two centimeters or three quarters of an inch. Always making sure, though, that the center front and center back hem area is squared off for about three or four centimeters or one and a half inches. As I said before with the bodice, I add one centimeter seam allowance to all seams.

00:58:01:02 – 00:58:21:18

Now, having said that, you should use the seam allowance that it’s good for you. If you’re adding a skirt lining and you’re adding it afterwards, you could add more to the waist seam allowance to make that a bit easier. Now the grainline. I don’t have zip in my dress, so when I trace my pattern onto the trace and toile fabric, I will put my grainline on the center front line and on the center back line.

00:58:21:20 – 00:58:44:03

If you are putting in a zip, you need to add seam allowance down the center, back seam and, the same amount that you use for the bodice. You’ll also need to add a notch for the end of your zip, and that will depend on your zip length. So you need to measure and place that notch. The grainline will be placed parallel to the center back seam and likewise, if you are cutting on the fold, you draw your grainline parallel to the center back and center front seams.

00:58:44:05 – 00:59:04:00

Now, again, to be clear this is what I draft and print, but when I actually go to cut the fabric, I always create a whole pattern piece because I never I never cut anything on the fold. I always have one layer of fabric and all pattern pieces are full. And so onto the skirt lining. In this slide, I’ve shaded the skirt pattern pieces pink.

00:59:04:00 – 00:59:26:19

They are underneath the skirt lining which is outlined by a dashed blue line. The skirt and lining are superimposed for comparison purposes. The lining is shorter and wider than the skirt. So to draft the lining pattern pieces, I can first trace the skirt pieces and cut off the bottom five centimeters or two inches. Then I’ll add two and a half centimeters or one inch down the center front and the center back.

00:59:26:21 – 00:59:51:12

This is for the half pattern. So that’s a total of five centimeters or two inches across the skirt front. And the same for the skirt back. The reason I add to the width is that my lining fabric is often a different type of fabric that the garment is made from and has a different amount of ‘mechanical give’. When I first made a skirt like this where I didn’t stabilize the waist because I WANTED some ‘mechanical give’ and added the lining later and I cut the lining to the exact same measurements as the skirt…..

00:59:51:14 – 01:00:16:07

It ended up being far too small because lining fabric didn’t have as much mechanical give as the fashion fabric did, and I couldn’t sew them together. So, for example, my linen dress is lined with a silk rayon lining, my black linen cotton blend dress is lined with a cotton voile. In this case, both fabrics are cotton, but nevertheless, even though they both cotton, the lining could be a different cotton weight with a different amount of mechanical give.

01:00:16:08 – 01:00:35:21

So with these three dresses, I sewed the dress at first, then added the lining afterwards and gathered the skirt waist down to match whatever the final measurement of the Empire Line Waist worked out to be. So the final pattern piece to be drafted is the sleeve. On the left is my fitted sleeve block, drafted to the measurements of the armhole on my standard block.

01:00:36:00 – 01:00:54:16

That block has the standard two inches ease in the bicep. A fitted sleeve means that the sleeve follows the curve of the arm and there’s no additional ease in the sleeve cap or the bicep. So there are no gathers in the sleeve cap and not a lot of ease in the bicep. The more ease you add in the bicep, in the sleeve cap, the less fitted it is.

01:00:54:18 – 01:01:17:05

However, I never, ever, ever, ever use that pink block to drop my patterns – that block with the minimum ease – because I never get a comfortable sleeve with just that amount of ease in the bicep. That’s just due to my figure. The block shaded in green to the right is the block I always use. It is not a fitted sleeve block, but I always use that one and I had added ease in that one.

01:01:17:07 – 01:01:34:16

So on the right now superimpose them so you can see the difference. So although I never use this block shown in pink in real life to draft out my patterns, I will use it for these instructions. Otherwise it would be too confusing and it wouldn’t work for most people who would be using a fitted sleeve block as their basic sleeve block.

01:01:34:18 – 01:01:55:17

So if anyone is concerned that I’m using the sleeve that was drafted for the block with sleeves and I’m using it with my sleeveless block, all I have to say is don’t be concerned. All it means is there is some extra ease in the sleeve, in the sleeve cap or the bicep. And given that the pattern will have extra ease, it’s a moot point.

01:01:55:17 – 01:02:20:03

It really just doesn’t matter in the slightest. If we went to the trouble of making the adjustments to make this sleeve match the sleeveless block, we would only be undoing all of those changes when we put in the fullness that is added in this pattern. So using that block, I’m going to trace the sleeve head curve and down the side seam for five centimeters or two inches.

01:02:20:08 – 01:02:37:08

I will also transfer the front and back notches and the shoulder point in the process. So this is what I’ve got when I remove the block and I’ll use a ruler to draw in the bicep line. So using a ruler, I’ll square up from the bicep line and draw a line up to the shoulder point, which I marked when I was tracing the block, Ysing a ruler

01:02:37:08 – 01:02:55:24

again, I’ll draw in the sleeve edge. So A shows the final shape that I traced from the block, B shows I’m going to cut on the line from the shoulder point down and cut it into two separate pieces. In C, I’m showing that I’ll spread the pieces out. So there’s seven centimeters or two and a half inches added in the middle.

01:02:56:01 – 01:03:15:02

So the best way to do the cut and spread is to draw a horizontal line for the bicep and a vertical line for the shoulder line. Place the cut pieces on the bicep line, matching up the bicep lines. Measure up from the vertical line with half of the added fullness on either side of the vertical line. So the sleeve had curve will need to be redrawn.

01:03:15:02 – 01:03:34:16

And this is just a guide. You’ll need to cut off some of that top bit. The shoulder area as shown, Cutting off about a centimeter of the back and about half of that at the front. I’m going to mark the notches as shown where the cut and spread has been done. So that area that has been added in, I’m going to notch that because I’m going to keep the gathering within those notches.

01:03:34:18 – 01:03:52:20

So I’m going to have a bit of a curve to the sleeve edge shown by the pink curved arrow. First I’ll measure up about two centimeters or three quarters of an inch from the straight sleeve edge and mark a point. Then I’ll draw a curve. But that curve finishes at least two centimeters or three quarters of an inch before the underarm join.

01:03:52:22 – 01:04:09:22

So the green lines, which are marked B, show that the last two centimeters or three quarters of an inch need to be squared off from the underarm. Otherwise, if you don’t square off at the underarms, there will be a funny point when the underarm seams are joined together. So to the left is what I ended up with in the last slide.

01:04:09:22 – 01:04:45:21

To the right is the sleep with seam allowance, adding the usual one centimeter for me. A grainline is added and cutting instructions. I’ve marked it as my Celeste sleeve, even though it’s my Waratah dress pattern. I know my Waratah dress pattern is made up of the Amaranth bodice, the Gardenia skirt and the Celeste sleeve. I don’t actually mark the dress name on my pieces. Given that in real life I never use my fitted sleeve block and I’m only using it for these instructions, these two slides, this one and the one following, is just to show you how I would have ended up with the same sleeve shape. On the right is what I would have ended

01:04:45:21 – 01:05:03:19

up with if I traced the block that I usually use, that has extra ease in the bicep. What I would have done is add most of the fullness to the sleeve head only, not the bicep. So at the bottom, right when I cut and spread, I add the fullness unevenly rather than evenly, adding more to the sleeve head and only a little to the bicep.

01:05:04:00 – 01:05:26:09

And here’s a comparison they are superimposed. The blue outline is the shape of the sleeve tiy saw me drafting. The green colored shape is the one that I used in the dress. It is very slightly different. And here are the final pattern pieces. As I showed you early on in the video. So thinking about and working out the order of construction of the garment is an integral part of drafting your own pattern.

01:05:26:09 – 01:05:45:24

Somewhere between the design and starting drafting the pattern, you need to think about this. It could affect the pattern pieces you need to draft, and then when you start sewing, you need to know ahead of time the order of construction. Otherwise you might get into problems. You might find that you can’t sew the garment properly or you might need to spend time unpicking (a.k.a. ripping) stitches.

01:05:46:01 – 01:06:07:18

This is something you will need to at some point think about and figure out for yourself. So the way I constructed this dress was firstly, stabilize the neckline. I use fusible bias type, not stay stitching. Then the center back pleat is sewn down from the neck and up from the waist, about five centimeters or two inches. And I realized I didn’t actually mark that clearly on the pattern, but that’s what I do.

01:06:07:18 – 01:06:22:23

And I actually don’t even mark it on the pattern. I just know that’s what I do. I use a tape measure when I’m doing the sewing. Then the princess seams I’m only showing two here, but of course, the other side. Then the shoulder seams and then I put the bias on the neckline. I put the sleeves on flat, not in the round,

01:06:22:23 – 01:06:40:03

then the side seams. So of course the sleeves will be on, but I’m not going to the trouble of creating graphics for that, as I said, I’m just giving you a quick guide….. Skirt side seams, both of them of course. So in the end it’s a round. The waist seam, which is sewn in the round of course, and then the hem of the sleeve and the hem of the skirt.

01:06:40:05 – 01:07:03:20

If you were to draft this pattern, then I would recommend that you use cotton linen or viscose or rayon. The really important issue is the weave, especially since you will be relying to some extent on the looseness of the weave to get the dress on. So I would recommend not using a really, really tight cotton. You will generally get a less fitting dress if it’s made out of linen or viscose compared to cotton, but that really does depend on the weave of the particular fabric you are using.

01:07:04:00 – 01:07:22:08

I did mean to go into a bit more detail with fabric choices, talking about the weight of fabric, for example. I actually much prefer heavier weight viscose rather than the lighter weight one that I used for this dress. But anyway, I just don’t have time because the video is already over an hour. But I will just make a couple of comments regarding fabric print.

01:07:22:14 – 01:07:40:23

Now this isn’t my Waratah dress pattern, it’s my Zarine dress pattern, but it has a similar A-line skirt but with more flair. A-line skirts with no design lines, so in this case, one piece for the front and one for the back, can look boring with one block color. And in that case, having design lines might work better – it gives it a bit more interest.

01:07:40:23 – 01:08:01:05

But conversely, with this kind of busy print, the one piece A-line skirt works well. You can see the whole print of the fabric. It isn’t disrupted by design lines that chop it up. So in my opinion, this kind of print would work well for the Waratah dress. Now I have actually found that I am not a fan of prints that have a mixture of small and large and really large motifs all together.

01:08:01:09 – 01:08:19:20

So the top of the bottom right, you can see that the big motifs are broken up and somehow I find that it’s hard not to break them up, you know, either at the hem or the neckline or at the shoulder, at the side seams. It’s hard to get them placed right. Those really big bits. So I stay away from them now completely.

01:08:19:22 – 01:08:53:15

Generally, I don’t even like the print that’s on the orange and pink Waratah dress, but that one’s not too bad because it has a very even repeat with only two sizes, a large and a small that’s not got the really large, really small and everything in between. But I tend to keep away from fabrics like these because I’ve found that smaller prints suit me better and it is really important to work out what size print works best for you, As a home patternmaker, you will have to figure out how much fabric you need for the pattern that you are drafting, and that means you need to make a fabric layout plan and a system for

01:08:53:15 – 01:09:10:14

doing that. Of course, if you already have fabric, you can lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric to see if you have enough. But sometimes you don’t have the fabric and you want to work out how much to buy. Now this example here, it’s not my Waratah dress, it’s my Barbie dress. Now I have two suggestions. One is always one layer of fabric, not on the fold.

01:09:10:14 – 01:09:32:14

So that does mean FULL pattern pieces and that does mean creating two copies for a lot of the pattern pieces. The second suggestion is planning the layout in sections rather than a whole length of fabric. So in this example, I have three sections and the reason I do this, which may mean slightly more fabric in the end is because I can then cut the fabric up into those sections and I only have a manageable piece of fabric on my cutting table.

01:09:32:14 – 01:09:55:18

I’m not trying to do with two and a half or three meters all at once. Of course, when cutting these sections, I must make sure the cottage is at right angles to the selvedge. But I almost never work with a huge piece of fabric on my table. I work with sections. Not sure how useful you find this, but it made my life so much easier and I would never go back to trying to manhandle long lengths of fabric and, laying out all pattern pieces at once.

01:09:55:20 – 01:10:14:23

So that’s the end of this pattern video. If you find my content useful, please consider supporting me by buying me a cup of coffee in my Ko-Fi shop. So you can find a link in my channel header and also a link in the description box. Now I have an important piece of information. I’m planning on putting out my videos on my website for month or so before putting them on YouTube.

01:10:15:00 – 01:10:33:13

This is because once I have uploaded something to YouTube there is no way of adding or changing the content. So I can’t change a video. If delete the video, I lose the likes, the comments, the watch hours, which matters a lot. If I put a second copy up with 95% of the content exactly the same, that’s also no good for lots of reasons that I’m not going into.

01:10:33:16 – 01:10:53:07

So YouTube’s not good if you’re wanting to refine a video. So what I’m going to do from now on is put the videos hosted by Vimeo on my website and that gives me a chance over a month to correct mistakes, add a little bit, make changes if people bring mistakes to my attention, and then once I’m sure it’s okay and finished, I will uploaded to YouTube that goes for these longer videos.

01:10:53:09 – 01:11:35:16

Not if I decide to start posting shorter snippets of theory. They won’t be quite so important. That won’t matter quite so much. For those with these longer videos. It definitely matters. So if you follow me on Ko-Fi, you’ll be advised if I do put up a video on my website. So thanks and Chao from me.

 

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