If you are the type that already sews your clothes yourself, there is a good chance that you have used a sewing pattern at some point. Most fashion designers and students in fashion are now taught how to draft the pattern.

Hence, if you are a student or already a fashion designer in Nigeria, there is a good chance that you already know how to draft your pattern from the scratch with any measurement or yours. With this knowledge, you do not have to stress yourself by wondering if the sewing pattern suits your measurement. You can also draft a new one or manipulate it to your desired design.

However, not everyone knows how to draft from the scratch and if you are that person, then this article is for you. Well, even if you know how to draft your dress, bodice, sleeve, shirt, trousers block from the scratch, you could still learn some tricks that might help you in case you have added or reduced some weight, instead of always drafting from the scratch.

Like ready to wear clothing, clothes patterns are sized – and, just like ready-made garments, those sizes tend toward the majority which means, if you are extraordinarily tall, short, extra plus-sized or too slim, you may have trouble finding a pattern to fit you. Speaking from experience, you’re really in trouble if you have both extra height and extra padding.

Still, there is no good reason why everyone cannot have stylish clothes that fit well, that they are comfortable wearing. Just wait, You do not have to discard the pattern or return just yet! Let us give you some ways at Superprof on how you can adjust any pattern to fit your particular body type.

Remember if you want to learn the how of patterns, just contact any of our pattern making tutors on www.Superprof.ng. Amazing tutors with vast experience are waiting on you over there.

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Critically Analyzing Dress Patterns

Well, this section is for you if you are only just learning how to sew. The probability is high that you may not have any experience working with any patterns for sewing. If free-hand sewing is something you have been trying now and then, dress patterns might look a bit strange to you but not to worry, we will give you some tips on how to study and understand sewing patterns.

There are many patterns out there you could get, buy or download from the internet that just might suit your next design. You might be lucky that the size and measurements suit you but if it doesn't then well you could do some little adjustments to make it fit.

adjust your sewing patterns in Lagos state.
You can decide to download some free dress patterns from the internet and adjust them to fit your measurements. Source: Unsplash

Once you settle on the pattern of your choice, maybe a pencil skirt, peplum top, or gore dress – take a great look at the pattern to study the length and the design of the pattern.

Lay the pattern of your choice on your sewing table. For example, a dress pattern and begin to study it carefully. The length of the dress, the sleeve, the type of neckline, the type of dart manipulation and the bodice of the pattern.

Your first task is to get familiar with the symbols, lines, dots and drawings you will find on every pattern.

Some patterns already have on them, the seam allowances used and even have labellings on them to distinguish the front from the back, waist from the hip, bust and the likes. This would give you an idea of what you are looking at and how the fitting might most likely be on you.

Some already have labelling on them for their size grading. for instance, it would be a size S meaning for a size 6 and8.

You might think that, because patterns are already sized, you have no hope of fitting that lovely pencil dress pattern you fell in love with to your unique measurements. No need to get worked up, just get all your pattern making tools and let us get to work. Not everyone wants to draft patterns from scratch so a bit of pattern grading comes to mind now.

Getting Your Right Measurements

The first step to drafting patterns or sewing is measurements. If you have ever been to a tailors place to sew a dress or any outfit of your choice, am sure you may have noticed that the first thing they do after the negotiation is to take your measurements.

Without the right measurement, you can really never get the desired outcome and fitting. The question now is, how do I measure myself to adjust the pattern?

how can i measure myself for my next sewing project
You can substitute by taking measuring your clothes for your next sewing project. Source: Unsplash

Instead of taking your measurements yourself which will most likely be 99.9% inaccurate, why don't you just measure the garments that sit well on you, fits your body type and proportion? Measuring yourself is a pure disaster waiting to happen. There are some measurements you can never take accurately talkless taking them yourself for example your back length to the waist?

To make things easier for you, just lay out the pieces of the dress, bodice, shirt, sleeve, skirt or trouser pattern you just bought or have. Next, use your pencil to sketch each piece in a notebook so that you can enter your values into that sketch rather than marking up the original pattern.

Okay, let us give you a practical example of maybe you want to make a skirt and use that perfect fitting skirt as your measurement.

  • First, lay flat your skirt on the table and measure the waist or the waistband, depending on the style of the skirt you are using and want to sew. Ensure the measurement is accurate by double-checking
  • Next, take the measurement of the hip region of the skirt which will be the widest part of the skirt in between the waist and the length
  • If you want the exact length of the skirt, take the measurement of the length of the skirt and add or deduct as you want to your desired length
  • Ensure you are greatly aware of the type of skirt fabric you are using. The texture whether it is stretchy or not will give you an idea of what you are going to use on the new fabric you are sewing on.
  • To get the hip depth of your skirt, lay your skirt flat on the table and measure from the waist to the hip region.

It is strongly advised that you do not round any of your measurements.

Measuring a blouse or trouser works around the same principle. It is critical that you do not add or round up any measurement you take. Adding, rounding up or deducting from the measurement will alter the fitting on you.

Using dress forms to adjust a pattern to your measurement
The use of dress forms is another way of adjusting a pattern to your measurements. Source: Unsplash

Adjusting the Pattern

After you have taken the right measurement, the next step is to start doing the maths. You do not have to be a lover of mathematics to this adjustment. It is just a matter of adding for instance 2 inches to 20 inches to give you a new measurement of 22 inches.

Compare your ideal measurements to those on the pattern. If your waist measure exceeds that of the pattern, simply add the extra inches you will need to make the skirt fit you. Just keep comparing each pattern piece to the measurements you’ve made, adding or deducting fractions of inches as needed.

You might wonder what to do about seam allowances.

Wondering what to do about the seam allowances? Not to worry, the average seam allowam=nce we use mostly in our fashion schools in Nigeria is 0.5 inches to 1 inch. So, as you go through your pattern, don’t forget to add that extra measure for seam allowances when you do your calculations. If the seam allowance is indicated on the pattern, just follow use it even if it exceeds or is below the commonly used 0.5-1 inch.

So as you do your measurements, add the seam allowances where required. all pieces of the fabrics would have allowances except you are cutting any part on-fold.

If it is not on-fold, add the necessary seam allowances according to your calculations at each cut and sewing that would be sewn together to ensure you do not alter the fitting. The skirt ends up being tight if you sew on the actual measurement unless if you are lucky and the fabric is extra stretchy.

Consider A Sloper or A Block

You should consider using a block pattern to sew and manipulate your styles. Well, as we said earlier, many fashion schools in Nigeria will teach you how to draft your own block patterns and oh well, if you don't know how to draft one, you could buy one or consider asking a pro to draft one for you.

Your sloper can be used to resize other patterns; you can also use it to create patterns and styles of your own. As the name implies block, it will not incorporate any style or embellishments such as ruffles, darts or pleats. There will be no sewing directions or other markings, and no seam allowances.

Unlike a pattern which already a block manipulated to a style like a gore dress, wrap dress, pencil trouser and the likes.

In fact, you could design and create an entire wardrobe for yourself with just three blocks or slopers: a bodice, a trouser and a skirt sloper.  With a block pattern, you can get a pattern textbook and start manipulating your darts, changing your necklines, adjusting the lengths, width and fittings to your desired style.

As long as you already have the measurements on your slopers, why not measure your best-fitting blouse for your shirt sloper and, if you have one, a pencil skirt for your skirt sloper or whichever sloper you are working on. Just start by inputting your measurements to adjust the sloper and your start embellishments, that is, into your desired necklines and style.

Don't forget you can use your skirt sloper to make an A-line skirt, gore skirt, panel skirt, flare skirt, high low skirt and water skirt style you desire. This applies to all your block patterns.

Would you like more sewing tutorials? you can contact our sewing tutors on Superprof.

 

 

 

 

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Oyin

I am a creative freelancer and fashion designer who loves to travel, explore and meet new people.