The Life of a Garment: Drafting

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Now that you’ve determined what your wardrobe is missing, it’s time to decide how you want to address making it. If you already have a pattern for whatever you want then you get to skip this step, which is why it’s so nice to remake pieces you already know work for you. (You also need not worry about having so many of the same thing, as so much of the design depends on the fabric; for that reason, part of the drafting process is also taking your chosen fabric into account). If you don’t have a pattern in your library, you’ll need to determine if it’s something you want to find a pattern for, or if it’s feasible to draft the pattern yourself. This fall, I’d like to have a raglan sleeve sweater designed and ready to go so that sewing it up won’t take long. Part of that process is making and remaking your pattern to assure that it’s the exact fit and silhouette you’re going for. Since it’s almost summer and I won’t be wearing sweaters regularly, I’ve decided to make a few variations of a basic raglan shirt so I can make any necessary adjustments before I finalize the pattern for the fall. I’m not worried about all of them looking too similar, because once I have the pattern working in a nice and fluid fabric, I plan to move on to very different fabrics so I can make sure this pattern will work for quite a few different styles.


Drafting the pattern is arguably my favorite part of the sewing process, as I’m constantly so intrigued by how the body relates to the two dimensional sewing pattern. You need to first have your measurements, which can be pretty tricky depending on your situation. I am a very single lady who hasn’t always got friends at the ready who can take them, so getting the correct measurement for every single thing is a bit of an art. I like to think I’ve got it down. Okay, I like to think I’ve got it down until I actually start using that pattern, and realize I had one number way off. Oops.


The nice thing is that I don’t retake my measurements every time I set out to make a pattern. Instead, I’ll start with one of my blocks. Don’t picture a literal block; I’m not starting off with a box. A block is the basic pattern made from your specific measurements. You use this to add or take lines away from it to make whatever your heart desires. Although I’ve made my own blocks, there are basic sewing patterns out there that can be used as essentially the same thing. All you need to do is find a very simple sewing pattern and change it from there until you’re content with the pattern. After this, it’s just a matter of choosing what fabric you want to make with your newly drafted pattern, and then making a test run with a similar textile.

Elizabeth Hyer is a barista by day and an avid fan of eating Cookout and watching Netflix by herself by night. In addition to this, she makes all her own clothes and seeks to inspire people to live consciously in regards to the clothing they buy. You can further follow her adventures on Instagram, as well as her blog at Hyer Handmade Design.