I am pretty sure most of us have bought either a dress, trouser, or top that didn't fit at some point. This can be very sad and sometimes make it feel like a waste of money. It's either we are looking for a buyer or probably figuring who it might fit perfectly as a gift.
Sometimes you could have a design of a particular dress you desire to buy and not find it in your size while shopping or not even see something close to what you have pictured. Let's be honest, custom made sewing is not so cheap in Nigeria especially if you want something really good with a perfect fit.
Wait a minute, let us not lose hope shopping for the perfect fit. You can always take that bold step of actually making your dress pattern without having to spend a penny. Well, the only money you will need to spend is tools for your pattern which are not so expensive in Nigeria.
You can make any sewing pattern you want, from a wrap dress to an off-shoulder dress… all the way to a perfect dinner dress for that special occasion. I bet you will feel great after designing your first dress pattern and trust me, sometimes designing your own garments can be cheaper compared to buying a tailored made or custom made dress.
It is also a productive way to spend your spare time.
That amazing feeling of wearing the perfect dress that fits your body and shape cannot be overemphasized. You wouldn't have to deal with that beautiful dress that the sleeves are probably too short or long or the bust its and the hip is too big or the length is not the perfect picture dress you imagined.
Designing your own dress can be fun and it's a perfect way of expressing your fashion style. Just think about it and make it.
Perhaps the only thing stopping you from sewing your own clothes is that you need to learn how to sew, but nothing stops you from designing your own dress patterns and our amazing tutors at Superprof will show you how to do it.
And, just in case you didn’t know, your Superprof has excellent pattern making and sewing tutors standing by to help you learn how to draft and sew.
Getting Starting: Pattern Making Tools
You don't have to break a bank to get started with making your own dress pattern. Having said that, Contrary to popular belief, you do not also have to be an art major to design a clothes pattern; you don’t even have to know how to draw. All you will need is the right pattern making tools, the proper mindset and the determination to make your first dress.
Let us give you a list of pattern making tools you can start with as a beginner who wants to make their first dress pattern. Wondering if you would have to buy more tools as you advance? you really don't have to but with constant research, you could find more tools to make your work easier...that's all. So let us take a look at the basic tools you would need for that dress pattern.
- Pattern paper
- Paper scissors
- Measuring tape
- French curve
- Hip curve
- Tracing wheel
- Sewing pins
- Paper Tapes
- Pattern master
- Dress form - optional
- Self-healing mat
- Rotary cutter
All the above tools are important but we want to take a moment to talk on pattern paper. Pattern papers are very important and you would use lots of them as you continue to make patterns as this is what you would use to prepare your block also know as slopers.
There are different pattern papers out there such as the Brown paper, plotter paper, Tissue paper, pattern cards and so on. You can read more on the type of pattern papers and their uses on goldstartool.com. The right paper is essential to pattern-making but you will need other tools and accessories to make patterns for sewing your own clothes.
A little advice would be that if you want to make the block patterns that you would use to manipulate to other future designs, ensure you use thick paper-like cardboard: they last longer than most brown papers. You can then trace your block pattern onto your brown paper for the design you want to manipulate and cut on your fabric.
Getting The Right Measurement
Of course, without the right measurement, you cannot make the right pattern for yourself. Measurements are very critical in the preparation of your patterns. It is obvious is that contorting yourself to measure every aspect of your body is likely to yield an inaccurate result. How would you be able to measure for example your back width, nape of your neck to your shoulder, length to the waist and the like? Practically impossible... No, It is impossible.
To obtain your exact measurements, you have a couple of choices:
- You could ask a friend to take your measurement. It could be that you use another person to show him or her how to take the measurement or you watch videos together explaining what is required of them to ensure you are given your exact measurement
- You could also go to a professional tailor or your personal tailor who normally sews for you and request they please help out with your measurements. It might be at a little cost or not.
The first time someone said, 'What are your measurements?' I answered, '37, 24, 38 - but not necessarily in that order.'
-- Carol Burnett
You will not want to measure yourself each time you wish to make yourself something new to wear; for that reason, you should create a sloper or block as it is called. A sloper is a size template that pattern drafters use so that they don’t have to measure again and again. You can also trace your block patterns onto another paper, so you can always have access to your original block pattern.
If you think you have added or lost some weight, you can always go back to your original pattern and make some adjustments. This adjustment is what we call pattern grading.
How To Find Inspiration For Your Patterns
Have you ever been told something like this...we do not have this particular design and style in your size? Hmm...that can be very sad to hear such especially if it is something you were really hoping to get. We know what it feels like to really want a particular dress, yet your size is the problem.
If you look on the brighter side, you can actually get inspiration from your disappointment and turn it into your next dress pattern.
There is nothing wrong with you taking inspiration from clothing hanging in the shops or anything you see online.
If you see a style while browsing online, or see someone wear a beautiful Nigerian Aso-Ebi style, there is no harm in trying to create one for yourself with your own touch of fashion style. Feel free to incorporate that boat neckline, v-neckline, U neckline or even the sweetheart neckline you saw and liked into your next project.
Everyone gets inspiration from anywhere. You could get yours from the internet, while shopping or even from the lady that walked past you.
By no means are we suggesting copying the designs of any famous labels and in no way are we encouraging you to counterfeit designer clothing! We are only saying you could get inspiration for your next dinner dress from what you saw.
The idea behind looking at an assortment of designs is to find what works best for you, what defines your style and fashion sense, what features and aspects you like and what you feel you would be most comfortable wearing.
If you are looking for vintage designs and style, you could watch an old movie or do some research online to be inspired. You could also look at Vogue patterns if you are angling for more classic lines. If you’re cruising around online, you might try Simplicity Patterns has it has a lot to offer in the way of style and design.
Well, you could also talk to your tailor to give you some of their old patterns or tell them to inspire you from their experience or even paw through their pattern bins to get inspiration for your next pattern project. You can decide to sew your next dress pattern on a piece of calico to give you an idea of what it would look like on your actual fabric.
Putting it all Together
You now have some great ideas for the dress you want to make and you have your dress and sleeve sloper - a template of your current measurements. And of course, the tools you need to make your first pattern.
It means you are ready to put it all together to get that dress you have been dreaming of.
As mentioned earlier, you do not need to be an artist or a lover of drawings to make clothing patterns. Now is the time to prove that point. Once you know what you are doing with the right lesson, video tutorials, pattern books, you can start your dress pattern project.
Your tape rule, french curves, hip curves will definitely come in handy now. You will need all these tools and the ones mentioned earlier above to draft your pattern. Place your original dress block pattern on your paper, trace it out then start manipulating the darts, necklines, length and all other embellishments you would want on your dress.
If you want the skirt to be pleated, you only need to draw vertical lines from the waist to the hem or if you maybe want to pencil your dress, then you can take like 1 inch from the length to the hips of your front (side front) and back (centre back and side back) pattern. As you continue to read up our articles on pattern making, you will get to learn some of the pattern making terms used often.
Whatever sleeve you want, draw them in with the use of your sleeve block. If you are making a dress with a band, don't forget to draw them in to create your pattern. Most importantly, don't forget your 0.5 inch - 1-inch seam allowance.
Once you are done with your dress pattern, you can now place it on your fabric, cut it out then sew it. Like we said earlier also, we have fantastic sewing tutors on www.superprof.ng who can give you lessons on how to sew if you do not know how to.
Once you are done with your dress sewing, you can wear your new pencil, pleated or flare dress to your first class so you can learn how to make patterns for more cute clothes that would catch the attention of people when you go out.
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