So far, so good... kind of.

I made it to the next level. Now onto step two!
[Sorry in advance for typos/grammar probs. I'm friggin exhausted!!! Patternmaking is no joke!]

Step Two - Developing the Block -

I don't want to spend a lot of time detailing patternmaking. I know it's not for everyone, which means this post will probably bore many to tears. Feel free to ask questions along the way though if you'd like. I'll do the best I can to answer. I'm giving myself a bit of a refresher course at all this as well, so we'll re-learn together.

Really quick, let me explain what a block is. A block is an original pattern (minus seam allowances) which is used to develop all other patterns. A complete block includes (but is not limited to) a bodice (front and back) and a skirt (front and back). Only one side is made (typically the right side), and you'll cut 2 of that piece or cut one  on the fold (fabric is doubled, folded at the center front (CF) or center back (CB)). From these basics blocks, you can manipulate them into just about anything your mind can imagine.

Here is draft one of my bodice (remember "we" only do 1/2 the body): [paper does not photograph well!]

Ok, so everything looks good on paper. It always does. But before I cut my pattern onto muslin, I had to make an extra adjustment - a bust adjustment. This is the part I've been dreading. I tried to put it off for a few days because I knew it would be drama... but, it wasn't too bad. I followed the bust adjustment below:

And again, it always looks soooo easy on paper. Just a little nip here, and a little tuck there, just follow the formula and it's all good, right? Wrong. It's never that simple (for me).

So here is my adjustment. It was a little wonky at first, as I slashed and spread in the wrong direction : | In my defense, I had total pattern overload when I was doing this, and I should've stopped once I felt the drowsiness coming on, but of course, in typical me fashion, I kept going until it was done! What a massive dart! :O

So, everything looks good on paper... but the reality is, I have to put it on muslin and test it *sigh* So here that is.

And again, the above muslin is only 1/2 of me for right now.
The next round will be a full mock-up which will look like a top (that ends right at the waistline).

And here that is - a view from the side front, and back:

I skipped the photos of the non-marked up muslin, because it was HUGE. Seriously overshot.

Even with the minor "tucks" made above, you can see it's still hella bunchy. Again, paper is one thing; 3-d is a whole other monster. There are all these ridges/hills/mountains, etc that need to be accommodated. When I took my measurements I tried to be as accurate as possible, and I had the d.h. re-check most of the measurements, but of course, there is always room for error. I re-checked measurements again while I tried on the muslin (the d.h. helped, took the above blurry photos lol, as well as did his best to pinch in my back adjustments - what a trooper!) and the #'s were still pretty spot on after the adjustments, so I think all the extra fabric came from the bust modification. Something didn't quite work out right on that lol. We overshot my waistline, which is why you see me wearing the tape. I just grabbed whatever was around for that. That tape will be my new waistline, so all the fabric below that will be trimmed off.

So to sum it up, what you are seeing above is additional adjustments (pinching out the excess fabric) and red lines which should help smooth out the final mock-up, fix my armhole and neckline. The key is getting a well-fitting bodice without it being too tight. My bodice has about 1/4" ease all around which felt relatively comfy, but I still tried to make it fairly snug around the bust area. I stretched and flexed as much as possible while wearing the muslin, paying close attention to how the back of the bodice felt. I do love tailored clothing, but I love breathing just a bit more ;)

Now here's the thing... I've never done this before on myself. I've done this on mannequins (easy!) and on other people before (not too painful), but NEVER on myself. This was a very trying process. I mean, I drafted the damn thing up after spending a fairly decent amount of time on just measuring alone, and then I spent another hour or 2 (or 3) translating the measurements and hoping and praying that they would work out on paper and they did, kind of hahahaaa But my reality check was sewing it up, per usual. I know I will end up sewing at least one more muslin before it is just right (yes, I'm one of those people), but that's why I took extra time with this step, pinching out fabric to make sure it was as close as possible.


My next step is to take these adjustments, re-draft them on paper, and cut/fit another muslin. I will also re-work my darts in the front and back to make sure they are symmetrical and look good aesthetically. After the bodice is done, I will work on the skirt. I was going to cheat and use the skirt block from my last patternmaking class, but I felt guilty and decided to just do the whole thing myself.

Once all the adjustments are made, if everything works out correctly, then the paper pattern can be put on a harder/stiffer paper. I think it's manila paper, but I'm not quite sure. Anyway, that hard pattern is the final block, and that will be used to make everything else. I can't wait till I'm there!!! I want some clothing STAT! I'm having a good time though. This whole process is pretty exciting :D I'm totally dorking out over here on this!

So until next time!


  1. Ok so what you have on acts as a guideline to your design? Will that stay within the completeled project?

  2. Yeah, what you said :| ha! Basically the block is my exact dimensions and that initial starting point for patternmaking. From there, I can make all types of patterns. The hard part is getting it as accurate as possible. With my luck, I'll end up gaining weight soon after all this damn work! LOL!