[Module 6] Creating the Flexible Pattern | 3. Introduction

"I don't design clothes. I design dreams."

Ralph Lauren

Having drafted the Base Template and potentially a number of Working Templates you can now move on to drafting your Flexible Patterns.


You may already have an idea of what you want to draft based on your sewing priority list and the designs you have drawn. But if you are still not sure why not start with something similar to a garment that you have in your wardrobe that is a favourite that you know that you are going to like to wear. An advantage of doing this is that you know before you start that there is a good chance that you are going to like it. Be aware of doing this for a client though it's not good practice to take an exact copy of someone else's design to sell on commercially, try to make the design and pattern your own.


If you are still not sure or feel that you need some help you can always draft a pattern for one of the sample 'Sew Along's', each one indicates the complexity of the design and sewing skills required from basic to intermediate and advanced.


This Module is really split into the following Units;

  • Drafting a Bodice Pattern to allow you to make Tops and Dresses. For both Tops and Dresses you will need know how to extend the length from the Lower Hip Line, how to manipulate Darts, how to draw your Neckline (a variety of samples have been detailed).

  • Drafting Sleeves for a Flexible Pattern.

  • Drafting Skirts. Skirts will cover how to create a Working Template for Skirts. How to draft various types of Skirt Styles and some of this information will overlap with dresses in that you can use the same techniques to alter the skirt part of a dress so you will need to refer to this Unit for either an independent Skirt or a Dress.

  • Drafting Trousers – this Unit is still under construction.

  • Drafting Other Flexible Patterns for miscellaneous pieces such as Pockets or Ruffles etc.

  • And Pattern Organisation.

There are also other Module and Auxiliary Reference Documents Online that go hand in hand with these Units and will help you finalise a Flexible Pattern and these are;

You will need to cherry pick your Units according to your own design requirements, however it is recommended to review at least Bindings, Facings and Linings and Hems and Seam Allowances as these will no doubt be required in one way or another and we have not looked at these Units up to this point.


To start working on your Flexible Pattern for a Bodice you will need to draw around your required Working Template, just as you did when creating the Working Template you drew around the Base Template. If you are not sure which Working Template to use the one you created earlier with 2” of ease.


To do this simply place your preserved card copy for your Working Template on paper and draw around it with your pencil, around the whole outline taking the pencil into each Notch space and then into each Awl mark to assist with the internal lines.


Remove the card copy and firm up all of the internal lines with a ruler, you can leave joining your Darts up and review this in the Manipulating Darts Unit where you will determine which Darts you will use.


For Sleeves you never have a Working Template as I always think it is better to draft up a sleeve to exactly fit the garment that you are working on therefore you will go straight into drafting and work through this Unit after the Bodice has been drafted Front and Back.


For Skirts you will need to have made your Skirt Working Template from the previous Module and you will need to trace off a copy of this in order to modify it to create a Flexible Pattern.


In order to create any Flexible Pattern there are choices to make directed by your design, and what you would like to replicate. The clearer a view of what you are drafting the easier the drafting process will be so make sure that you have an idea of what Darts you want to use, what Neckline, the overall silhouette, any Style Lines, if you need to use Pleats or Gathers or any other design feature. Or you could go totally the other way and just experiment with your ideas and try out something new.


For a great Flexible Pattern you will have multiple drawings for your design to show all the different angles and options that you could draft and to determine what to try out when creating a Test Garment. This way you are going to get the best out of your Flexible Pattern.


Once you have completed a Flexible Pattern you should always true up your draft create a Test Garment, Fit and Alter it then finally if you have not done so up to that point, add in Seam Allowances and Hems, that will also need to be trued.


Once you have used your Flexible Pattern and made it a couple of times using Fashion Fabric then you will become more familiar with it. If it is a pattern you feel that you would like to continue using then it is well worth preserving the pattern.


For all Flexible Patterns you will need to organise your pieces and this Module will explain how to do this with your Pattern Record Card.


All current and available instructions for Style Sheet variations that have been covered in the system so far are marked on the Style Sheet Download with a green dot so that you can check off what is currently available to make.


Once you have got your Flexible Pattern Drafted and ready to go you can move onto Module 8 to look at the order of construction and concentrate on cutting and sewing your garment.


If you still are not sure what you would like to make you can follow a Sew Along Sample to make a specific garment although you will need to draft the Flexible Pattern for it but the choices for that will be detailed in Module 8 based on explanations from this Module and the Auxiliary documents listed above.


You are now extending on some of the skills you have already learned so the terminology and flow of Units should be starting to settle in now. As always take your time and I hope you enjoy your drafting.


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