Fun with pattern drafting

body-proportionsI started pattern drafting shortly after I learned to hand sew — I was six-years old.

Although I didn’t know the proper term at the time, I did know in order to make flashy Renaissance inspired clothing (my favorite period due to the elaborate fashions) I  would need to do more than eyeball the fabric, cut, and hand sew the pieces together. Trust me, I tried (eyeballing and cutting) when I was six years old and the results weren’t pretty. And so I started making my own patterns.

I knew about the Renaissance period from the books I read. I started reading at four, and read anything I could get my hands on… I quickly outgrew ‘baby books’ at five and was reading at the college level within a few years. My parents thought it was important for my brother and I to improve our mind, so television wasn’t in our household. That might explain why I rarely watch it today. 😉 Naturally I turned to the books in my home, which included a healthy diet of my fathers books; Greek tragedy, Keats, Poe, Shakespeare and numerous other authors and poets mainly from the 1700s and 1800s. The Renaissance inspired fashions I saw within some of those books were extremely appealing and although I disliked playing with dolls I made exception so I could replicate the numerous designs I within the book pages. Several of my father’s books are old and many of them were published in 1700 – 1800s period. I learned at a young age to handle them with care.  The words I couldn’t understand, I’d either ask my parents or take it upon myself to find the answer by  flipping through a very old dictionary which helped me understand what the words.

Initially I used notebook paper to create my patterns but my father seeing my interest did a wonderful thing and somehow acquired photocopy paper. Photocopy paper wasn’t as easily accessible as it is now, since back in the 1970s home printers weren’t the norm– but somehow he managed. I appreciated that. I wish I’d saved some of my old patterns so I can see how far I’ve progressed since that time, but I still have my memories.

Today, I’ve been making a few patterns for my daughter’s Monster High dolls. I wouldn’t necessarily say that’s its ‘easier’ than creating patterns for myself or others, true it’s smaller scale but with my perfectionist mentality things have to be ‘just right’ before it’s accepted. Also,the Monster High dolls are oddly shaped, so the challenge will be to make outfits that are lovely, but also complement their unique figure. Next weekend I have some free time, so I told my daughter to sketch out some designs (which she’s doing right now) and next weekend I’ll turn eight of her sketches into finished outfits.

Repurposed clothing

When I cleaned out my closets, I set aside a few garments to cut and transform into ‘plain fabric’ to be used in various sewing projects. I know some other sewists do this, do you? Making fabric from unwanted clothing is economical and a great way to extend the life of gorgeous fabric. Knowing my daughter’s taste, I knew she’d love to see those prints gracing her dolls… and I was right. There was a big smile on her face when I showed her the items. Earlier today, I cut the outfits into fabric. I now have extra fabric and I didn’t have to spend additional money.


Urban Threads-Such a Doll
Urban Threads-Such a Doll


In other news…

I applied the above embroidered designs to a garment. Yes, it’s for my daughter. I purchased the embroidered design from Urban Threads. No, I didn’t use all the recommended colors. I asked my daughter to choose what she liked. If you embroider (hand or machine) definitely check out their designs. I love them since they aren’t frumpy. Since I’m a machine embroidery noob… I thought it would be a great idea to become knowledgeable about machine embroidery before making my own designs. I took a picture of the garment, which she loves by the way. Eventually I’ll upload and share it here on Celebrate Life. I’m really pleased with how it turned out, of course this means that now I can finally get around to mailing some packages… since I’m pleased with my machine embroidery skills.

This past week, I’ve had some free time and so I’ve taken advantage of that by playing with my Brother Se-400, working on my knitted blanket, and I even played World of Warcraft (although briefly). Here’s hoping you all are finding time to do things you enjoy too.

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[…] turn out great. She chose a t-shirt… smart girl! She decided  on a cute rag doll from Urban Threads. The design was only $3.00 and I plan to use it on a lot of different items. Pressing the green […]


I’m going to check out that site! I’m not a good sewer – wish I could – but – sewing and I don’t see ‘eye’ to ‘eye’
Jennifer recently posted..Food Fight! Grocery

[…] Pattern drafting is easy, once you know how to do it. I started when I was six years old. I’ve had years of practice since most of the outfits I make are created using my own patterns. […]