Today is the 100th post of the Weekend Designer and the last one for this blog. It seems like a good place to stop as I believe I have made my point that everyone is a designer and that making your own pattern “isn’t rocket science”. Weekend Designer has been a fun project as I have discovered the world of blogging and explored desktop publishing. My aim with the subject matter is to show how to execute those creative ideas for your wardrobe and home through pattern drafting. Some of the drafting techniques used were traditional flat pattern methods, drafting by height, transfer grids, simple block designs, and sometimes no pattern at all. While the examples cited are not complex, I have been able to show that making your own patterns is not a talent that you are born with nor a blessed gift, but simply a learned skill. It is like learning a new language. The more you practice it, the more fluent you become. Pattern drafting will allow you to make your creative ideas into reality.


Fabrics, trims, buttons, and embellishments are among our favourite resources for expressing our creativity in fashion design.  There is something particularly special and rewarding about designing and wearing your own creations or decorating your home interiors.  Garments speak a language; they are an extension of yourself, expressing personality, aspirations, moods, and style.  When you know you look great, it’s only natural to feel positive and confident about yourself. The same can be said of  our home decor.


You do not have to be an expert to be your own designer.  With simple pattern modifications and some common sense ( sometimes a bit of trial and error too), you can create your own  design details. When combined with the ideal fabrications you can realize your own creative visions.


You’ve probably discovered many sources of inspiration from the Weekend Designer.  Here are some design tips and advice to help you turn that inspiration into creativity.


  • Be Disciplined – Pattern-making can be hard work and takes concentration. A defined work-space and a preplanned time frame are often helpful. Try to plan creative time every day, or whatever time is available to your lifestyle. Planning a time frame in a space where you can concentrate will help slow down your ideas so you can actually be productive with them.  If you’re in a hurry or if the ideas come too fast, it’s difficult to convert them into a design.


  • Be Prepared – Pattern-making is a skill. However to make that skill work to its best advantage, you need the proper tools and supplies. Take precise and accurate measurements. It does not matter whether amounts are in imperial or metric but be consistent with whichever you choose. The applied math is basic but if you cannot convert fractions then use a calculator as an aid. Get a long straight ruler (yardstick) to draw lines, a set square to make 90° and 45° angles, a French curve to draw curved lines and a tracing wheel. You are only as good as your tools you use. Get a good sewing reference book. The more you know about sewing construction, the more you can expand on your pattern-making.


  • Set Goals – Channel your creativity by setting goals. Let your goals grow as you grow in your knowledge of pattern drafting. Perhaps your goal is to resolve a particular design challenge or to redesign a fashion detail and integrate it into your next design. Know that pattern drafting will eventually free you of “cookie-cutter” fashion and develop a personal made-to-measure style. One technique that I always use is to begin each project with a list of “what do I see”. This will set up your thinking as to how to proceed with your pattern-making.


  • Value Mistakes – Believe it or not, mistakes can be beneficial.  They cause us to search for a different and often better way.  They facilitate experimentation with new materials, techniques, or styles.  Mistakes or challenges are an important part of the design process because they provide unique opportunities for creativity. Always make a toile or muslin fitting to test your pattern before cutting into your fashion fabric. Don’t be disappointed if it does not ‘turn out ‘ on the first attempt as planned; that is what toiles are for. These mock-ups allow you to modify the end result, correct the pattern, and work out the sewing/assembly process.


  • Temporarily Let Go – When you have a creative block or cannot find a resolution to a design problem, there comes a time when it may be more productive to stop working on the pattern drafting. Let it go; do something else. While you have consciously stopped thinking about the problem, your mind is still working on it. Sometime we get too close to see the answer; however when we step back there is room for clarity.


  • Enjoy the Process – don’t forget the reason why you’re doing this.  Is this your hobby, your career, your creative release, your personal time for indulgence? Even if your concentration is on the end product, don’t forget to have fun with the process of pattern drafting.


Lastly, I would like to thank all the readers of Weekend Designer for their interest, comments, compliments, and encouragement. Many of you have set up links to this blog and made referrals to it in your sewing groups. Thank you for your support. Imagine my surprise and delight when I made the Top 100 Blogs on WordPress; it was all your doing.

Thank you again.


Wishing you many a creative weekend.




oscarFeatured: Oscar de la Renta Tiered Gown

Among the occasion gowns, a tiered empire-waisted number is always a standout with its elegant double-ruffled flounce. In coral silk taffeta, it’s unmistakably Oscar.

You will need:

  • Approx. 4 ½ – 5  yds. [4.2 – 4.6 m] of fashion fabric, 60” [152 cm] wide
  • 1 dress zipper, approx. 15” [30 cm] long
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper


Bust – measure around the fullest part of breast, just under the arm.

Chest – measure around upper torso, just under the breast.

Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso, just above navel.

Back width – measure across shoulder blades from armhole to armhole.

Back waist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to waistline.

Dart Size = 2 ¾” [7 cm].  (This is an average bust dart amount for a B-cup. More or less darting may be taken, if desired.)


bodice draft 2

Bodice Section:

Draw 2 lines at a 90° angle from point A.

A-B = ¾” [20mm].

B-C = back waist length.

Square across from C. (waistline)

B-D = half of B-C. (bustline)

D-E = quarter of B-C.

D-F = half of bust measurement.

Square up and down from F to locate G and H.

D-I = half of back width

F-J = half of back width + half of dart + ½” [12 mm].

K is located midway between I and J.

Square up from K to located L.

M is located at the intersection from J.

N is located at the intersection on the centerfront line.

F-O = 2 times distance of N-F.

Square across from O.

Square down from K to locate P at intersection.

G-Q = 3” [75 mm].

Q-R = dart size.

F-S = half of line F-J.

S-T = ½’ [12 mm].

Connect Q to T with a straight line and extend to waistline.

Connect R to T with a straight line and extend to waistline.

D-U = quarter of C-D.

Connect M to U with a straight line.

H-V = half of waist measurement less darting.

Join U to V with a straight line.

Place set square on line U-V and draw a line at a 90° angle to connect to P.

At M and P, smooth the chevron with a curve to blend the lines together.

Place set square on baseline and square a line to L. (side seam)

Shoulder strap front placement is located midway between side seam and dart. (■)

Shoulder strap back placement from side seam equals front amount + 1” [25 mm].

To complete draft, cut through the center of the bottom dart and close top dart to release it into bottom dart, pivoting at T. (see silhouette in diagram above)

Fitting Tip: Measure the bottom edge of the bodice pattern and compare to the chest measurement. Adjust the dart with the difference, if necessary.

Grainlines are parallel to CF and CB.

Add ½” [12 mm] seam allowance to bodice pattern. (Cut front pattern on fold)

For shoulder strap, draw a rectangle = back waist length X 5” [12.5 cm].

Skirt Section:

sheath draft

Measure bottom edge of bodice, less darts . This amount is X.

For the upper tier, draw a rectangle.

Make the CF = ½  X – 1” [25 mm] x back waist length + 3” [75 mm].

Make the CB = ½  X + 1” [25 mm] x back waist length + 7” [180 mm].

Connect the bottom with a diagonal line and divide the pattern.

For the lower tier (front & back), draw a rectangle = 2X x back waist length + 3” [75mm].

For the ruffled flounce, draw a rectangle = 2X x back waist length + 1” [25 mm].

Grainlines are parallel to CF and CB.  (Cut upper tier front pattern on the fold).

Note: Seam allowance (1/2″ or 12 mm) is included in skirt section.

Fitting Tip: The finished length may be adapted by adding or subtracting equal amounts from the top edge of the tier panels. Take gown length measurement while wearing evening shoes.



Shoulder Straps – cut 2X self

Bodice Front – cut 2X self

Bodice Back – cut 4X self

Upper Tier Front – cut 1X self

Upper Tier Back – cut 2X self

Lower Tier – cut 2X self

Flounce Ruffle – cut 4X self


1. Make 2 shoulder straps. With right sides together (RST), fold strap piece in half lengthwise and sew along long open edge. Press seam open. Turn strap RIGHT SIDE OUT. Center seam in middle of width and press flat. Set aside.


2. Make flounce. With RST, sew ruffle panels together along short ends of rectangle to make a “loop”. Press seams open.


With RST, fold the loop in half aligning the raw edges and matching the seams. Sew around the loop, leaving a 6” [15 cm] opening for turning out. Turn flounce RIGHT SIDE OUT and fold 2” [50mm] from seam. Press gently along fold. Set aside.


3. Sew darts on front bodice pieces.


4. Sew bodice backs to bodice front at side seams. Press seams open.


5. Pin/baste shoulder straps to bodice at ■. (You may need to adjust its length).


6. With RST, sew the bodice pieces together along the top edge, ensuring to catch shoulder straps in the stitching. With inner bodice (lining) FACE UP, under-stitch along top edge of bodice. Turn under seam allowance on lower edge of inner bodice and press flat. Set aside.cornerb


7. With RST, sew upper tier backs to upper tier front, matching at side seams and CB seam from bottom of zipper opening. Press seams open.


Turn under top edge of upper tier by 1 ½” [40 mm] and gently press fold.

With RST, stitch a diagonal seam at each corner of zipper opening. Trim excess away and turn RIGHT SIDE OUT. Set aside.

8. With RST, sew lower tier panels at side seams and press seams open. Turn under top edge of lower tier by 1 ½” [40 mm] and gently press fold. Hem bottom edge with a ¼” [6 mm] double-rolled hem finish.ruffle


9. With lower tier and flounce FACE UP, attach flounce to bottom edge of lower tier. Gather along the horizontal seam of the flounce and ruffle the top edge. Distribute the gathers evenly along the bottom edge of the lower tier and stitch through all the layers 2” [50 mm] from fold. ( gathering ratio = 2:1)


10. With upper and lower tiers FACE UP, attach lower tier to bottom edge of upper tier matching at the side seams. Gather 1” [25 mm] from the top fold of the lower tier and ruffle the top edge. Distribute the gathers evenly along the bottom edge of the upper tier and stitch through all the layers 1” [25 mm] from fold. (ratio = 2:1). From inside the garment, stitch the ½” [12 mm] seam allowance of the lower tier to bottom edge of upper tier.


11. With upper tier and bodice FACE UP, attach upper tier to bottom edge of bodice matching at the CF, side seams, and CB seam. Gather 1” [25 mm] from the top fold of the upper tier and ruffle the top edge. Distribute the gathers evenly along the bottom edge of the bodice and stitch through all the layers 1” [25 mm] from fold. (gathering ratio = 2:1). Press seam upward.


12. Insert dress zipper into CB seam from top of bodice using the center slot application.


13. Align bottom edge of inner bodice to stitching line and match at seams. Slip-stitch along bottom edge of inner bodice and along zipper tape.

stefano pilati for YSLFeatured:  Stefano Pilati for YVES SAINT LAURENT

Explore volume and proportion by challenging conventional principles of tailoring for your Autumn wardrobe. Here is a great example by Stefano Pilati for YVES SAINT LAURENT, a ‘zoot’ trouser balancing a fitted cropped top. The pattern draft is a bit more advanced for those daring to try pleated trousers yet it is an easy project to construct.

You will need:

  • Bottom-weight fashion fabric, 54” [137cm] wide **
  • ¼ yd. [0.25 m] of fusible interfacing, 45” [114cm] wide.
  • ⅓ yd. [0.30 m] of pocketing fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide
  • 1 zipper, 7” [18 cm] long.
  • 1 set of pant hook & bar
  • Kraft paper

** A minimum of 3 yards of fabric is required for pleated trousers – for an average sized person. If you’re taller than 6′ – you’ll need 3 1/2 yards of fabric.


Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso just above the navel.

Hip – measure around fullest part of seat, about 9” [23cm] below waistline.

Body Rise – measure vertically from waistline to top of chair seat, while seated.

Outseam – measure vertically from waist to heels.

Trouser Bottom Width – measure length of foot.


Easy Fit template for “baggy” trousers.

easy fitting pant draft

Front (Red)

Draw a long straight line down center of the paper and plot point 0 at the top end.

Square both ways from 0.

0-1 = body rise – waistband width + ⅜” [10mm]; square across.

0-2 = 9” [23cm] – waistband width; square across.

0-3 = outseam – waistband width; square across. (creaseline)

1-4 = half the measurement of 1-3 minus 2” [50mm]; square across.

1-5 = 1/12 of hip + ¾” [20mm]; square up to locate 6 and 7 at intersections.

6-8 = ¼ of hip + 1” [25mm].

5-9 = 1/16 of hip + ⅜” [10mm].

7-10 = ⅜” [10mm].

Join 10-6 with a straight line and 6-9 with a smooth curve, missing 5 by approx. 1 ⅜” [35mm].

10-11 = ¼ of waist + 2” [50mm].

3-12 = ½ of trouser bottom width – ¼” [6mm]; join 8-12 with a straight line. Mark point 13 on kneeline.

Draw in side seam; join 8-11 with a slight curve.

3-14 = ½ of trouser bottom width – ¼” [6mm].

4-15 = the distance of 4-13.

Draw inside leg seam; join 14-15 with a straight line; join 9-15 with a slight curve inwards ⅜” [10mm] as shown.

Back (Blue)

5-16 = ¼ of measurement 1-5; square up to locate 17 on hipline and 18 on the waistline.

16-19 = half the distance 16-18.

18-20 = ¾” [20mm].

20-21 = ¾” [20mm].

21-22 = ¼ of waist + 2 ⅜” [60mm]; join 21-22 to touch the horizontal line from 0.

9-23 = half the distance 5-9.

23-24 = ⅛” [3mm].

Join 21-19 with a straight line; join 19-24 with a deep curve missing 16 by approx. 1 ¾” [45mm].

17-25 = ¼ of hip + ¾” [20mm].

12-26 = ⅜” [10mm].

13-27 = ⅜” [10mm].

Draw in side seam; 22-25 curves outward slightly; 25-27 curve inwards slightly and join 27-26 with a straight line.

14-28 = ⅜” [10mm].

15-29 = ⅜” [10mm].

Draw inside leg seam; join 28-29 with a straight line; join 29-24 with a curve inwards by ⅜” [10mm].


Most easy fitting trousers require extra ease in the back crotch line, especially pleated pants. Trace off back section of trouser template and add more ease. Begin by, cutting along the hipline and spread open a wedge as desired, approximately 1 ½” [40mm] wide at the back CB line. (The more rounded the behind, the greater the seat angle.) Re-draw the back seam curve as shown.

easy fitting pant adaptation

Style Adaptation

Pleated “zoot” trousers are full at the waistline and shaped in at the hem.

Trace round basic easy-fit trouser template onto additional paper.

Back Section *

Add additional ease in CB seam if necessary (see above).

Mark points (a) and (b) on hemline ¾” [20 mm] inward from leg seam.

Draw straight line from (a) to kneeline.

Draw in a bowed outseam (curve) from hipline tapering to (b).

Shape the bottom hemline with a slight curve outward ⅜” [10mm]. ***

Divide line 21-22 into 3 equal parts. At each point, draw in a waist suppression dart.      (2 in total).

Dart = 1 ⅛” wide x 4” long [30mm x 100mm].

Front Section *

Trace round front trouser template onto additional paper.

Cut across kneeline; then cut top section dividing along the crease (grainline). Spread open at waistline for desired amount of pleating and extend waistline at side seam to blend smoothly with outseam of leg.  (For instance, open 2” [50mm] at waist and extend 1 ⅜” [35mm] at side seam. With dart allowance this gives 4 ⅛” [10.5 cm] fullness).

Divide fullness into 3 equal pleats.

Design Note: More fullness can be added at the waistline by opening the grainline further at the waist and making deeper pleats.

Mark points (c) and (d) on hemline ¾” [20 mm] inward from leg seam.

Draw straight line from (d) to kneeline.

Draw in a bowed outseam (curve) from hipline tapering to (c).

Shape the bottom hemline with a straight line. ***

Grainline is parallel to creaseline.

For fly & fly facing *, trace off CF seam and waistline from 10.

Draw a parallel line 2” [50mm] from CF line and taper 1” [25cm] below zipper notch.

Grainline is parallel to CF line.

For waistband *, draw a long rectangle equal to the waist measurement X desired width.

Add a 2” [50mm] extension to one short end of pattern.

pocketMirror the final dimensions of the waistband along the foldline.

Grainline is parallel to foldline.

For sideseam pockets, make a pocket bag pattern *.

A-B = 9” [23 cm]; square across from A and B.

A-C = 6” [15 cm]; square down to locate D.

A-E =  6” [15 cm]; square across.

B-F = 1” [2.5 cm]; square up to G.

Draw in an arc with a compass from H to I as shown.

Fold paper on line C-D and trace off C-A-E-G-H-I-D as mirrored image. Open flat for bag pattern piece.

Grainline is parallel to foldline.

lay* Add seam allowances to all pattern pieces.

*** Add 1 ¼” [30mm] hem allowances to trouser bottoms.


Front Leg – cut 2X self

Back Leg – cut 2X self

Waistband – cut 1X self

Waistband Interfacing – cut 1X fusible

Fly – cut 3X self

Pocket Bag – cut 2X pocketing


1. Fold pocket bag piece in half crossways and stitch a French seam along curved edge of bag. Set aside.


2. Iron fusible interfacing to back (wrong side) of waistband, following manufacturer’s directions. Set aside.


3. Fold pleats along waistline of front trousers and baste down. Set aside.


4. Sew waist darts on back trouser. Set aside.


5. Finish seams on all cut pieces with pinking shears or overlock machine.

6. With right sides together (RST), align and match side seam of front and back trouser legs. Leaving a 6” opening from top edge of cut pieces for pockets, sew up the side seam and press open.

Attach a pocket bag to each seam allowance at the opening and stitch in place. Set aside.


7. flyWith RST, sew curved edge of fly facing. Grade seam allowance and turn RIGHT SIDE OUT. Press seam and topstitch. With the fly facing FACE UP and the curved edge to your left, stitch the zipper FACE UP to the straight edge of the fly facing (fig.1). Set aside.


8. With RST, sew fly to right front leg. Grade seam allowance and press seam to one side. Under-stitch fly.


9. With RST, align and match front pieces along CF line and crotch. Stitch from bottom of fly to within 2” of the inseam.

10. With the fronts FACE UP, sew the fly facing FACE DOWN to the left front leg. This will encase the zipper into the CF seam. Flip the zipper FACE UP and edge-stitch along the zipper teeth (fig. 2).


11. Lay the front of the trousers FACE UP. Align the CF line and smooth out the fly opening. Baste the fly opening shut. Once completed, fold the fronts in half with the left front leg on top. Pin back the fly facing to reveal the zipper FACE DOWN on the fly. Stitch the zipper tape to the fly. (fig. 3) Baste curved edge of fly to left front.


12. With garment FACE UP, sew a J-stitch to secure the fly. Begin with a bar-tack at the bottom of the fly opening and topstitch the J-stitch following the basting thread markings up to the top.


13. With RST, align and match back and front at the inseam. Baste/pin raw edges together along the inseam of each leg. Sew inseams and press seam open.


14. crotch1Pull one leg RIGHT SIDE OUT and drop down into other leg. Align and match up inner leg seam and CB crotch seam. Baste/pin crotch seam. Sew seam from bottom of fly to top edge of back section (in a U-shape). Turn garment RIGHT SIDE OUT and set aside.


15. Turn under seam allowance on one long edge of waistband and press flat. Fold waistband in half, with RST and stitch up short ends, allowing for seam allowance. Trim corners and grade. Turn waistband RIGHT SIDE OUT.


16. Pin raw edge of waistband FACE UP to inside edge of trousers waistline, allowing for 2” [50mm] extension on left-hand side of waistband. Ease in waistline onto waistband. Baste across top of pocket bag and pleats. Stitch waistband to waistline, ensuring to catch top of front pocket and pleats in the seaming. Grade seam allowance and turn up into waistband. Align and match folded edge of waistband to machine-stitching on FACE SIDE of garment. Edge-stitch the waistband to the garment.


17. On each cuff bottom, turn up 1 ¼” [30mm] hem. Turn under ¼” [6mm] and hand-stitch hem in place.


18. Hand-stitch set of hooks and bars onto the waistband, just above the zipper.


Design Tip: Design the waistband width ½” [12 mm] greater than the width of your favourite belt and add belt loops.

lacy-camisole-ella mossFeatured: Ella Moss Camisole

Lacy lingerie-inspired camisoles are the hottest tops for summer. Treat yourself to a fluid bias-cut top, similar to this one by L.A.’s Pamella Protzel for Ella Moss. The “bias-cut” technique is used by designers for cutting clothing to utilize the greater stretch in the bias or diagonal direction of the fabric, causing it to accentuate body lines and curves and drape softly, thereby eliminating the need for darts.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] of fashion fabric, 45” [114cm] wide.
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of insertion lace, 1” – 2″[25-50 mm] wide.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper


Bust – measure around fullest part of chest just under the arms.

Armhole Depth – measure vertically from top of shoulder to armpit level.

Neck – measure around base of neck.

Back width – measure across shoulder blades from armpit to armpit.

Back waist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to waist line.



Fold paper in half lengthwise. Plot X at the top of the foldline.

Along the foldline, square across from X at a 90° angle.

X-A = back waist length + ⅜” [10mm]; square across.

A-B = 6” [15.2 cm]; square across.

X-C = armhole depth + ⅝” [15mm]; square across.

X-D = half the measurement X-C; square across.

X-E = one fifth the measurement X-D; square across.

X-F = one sixth the neck size; square up.

F-G = ¾” [20mm].

C-H = half of the back width – ⅝” [15mm]; square up to locate I and J at the intersection of lines.

Join G to J with a straight line.

C-K = quarter of the bust measurement – ⅝” [15mm]; square down to locate M on waist line and L on high-hip line.

Draw an armhole curve from I to K as shown.

M-N = 1 ⅝” [45mm]; shape sideseam with a smooth curve between K and L.

Shape the hemline at a 90° angle from L, missing B by ⅜” [10mm].

Draw a square box with 2 sides located at A. Draw a grainline through opposite corners of the box.

For shoulder strap, measure distance from J-I-K. Double the amount and plot it on a straight line.

K-O = 1 ⅝” [40mm]; join O-O and K-O with a straight line.

Draw a grainline at 45° to K-O.

Add seam allowance to body pieces except for armhole & shoulder straps.


Cutting Tip: Widen seam allowances for bias-cut. Although bias cuts don’t fray, the fibers on cut edges relax and open up, so even half-inch away from a cut edge isn’t an accurate stitching line. To your pattern pieces, add 1-1/2-inch-wide seam allowances. Use 1/2-inch seam allowances at the neckline for the lace trim. Always mark stitching lines with thread as soon as the fabric is cut, before removing the pattern pieces. Once sewing and pressing are done, seams can be trimmed.


Front – cut 1X self

Back – cut 1X self

Shoulder strap – cut 2X self (make longer than needed for shaping)

Trim – Cut length of lace to match width at top of the garment.

Fitting Tip: Pin/baste the fabric pieces together and try it on before you sew the garment. This is called trial fitting, and it allows you the chance to define the fit of the bias cut with better accuracy and mark the stitching lines. If you’re sewing a garment for someone else, have them try on the fitting. Allow enough “ease” to slip over the head.


  1. Sew a narrow double-rolled hem across the top edge of the back piece turning it to the inside.
  2. Fold the top edge of the front piece to the outside and stitch along folded edge. Trim seam allowance close to stitching. Lay insertion lace on top of finished edge and edge-stitch across the bottom of the trim.
  3. bindingWith right sides together, align and match front to back at side seams. Stitch 1” [25mm] from top edge on stitching line. Stay-stitch the armholes.
  4. For shoulder straps, fold the strap pieces in half along its length with wrong sides together to create a bias binding; press lightly. Turn in cut edges of binding to crease of foldine; press. Re-fold center crease and press.
  5. strapPre-shape the bias binding to match armhole edge of garment by stretching the two folded edges to match the shape of the inward curve of the armhole.
  6. Pin/baste binding to armhole, beginning at side seam, and extend the binding as a loop for the shoulder strapping as need. Continue by joining ends on straight grain; turn in one and lap over the other to complete. Stitch the open edge of the binding to the armhole and continue stitching to make the shoulder strap.
  7. Baste your bias-cut garment together along the side seams and drape onto a dressform or let it hang for a day or 2 before you use your sewing machine to complete the seams. This will help to smooth your seams out and encourages the fabric to stretch naturally. Thread-mark the stitching line again if necessary.
  8. Stitch the side seams following the basted stitching line. When stitching seams on your bias-cut garment, be sure to go slowly and allow the fabric to take its natural shape, rather than pulling it taut as you pull it through the sewing machine. It is best to stitch the seams in short bursts, allowing the fabric to relax and take its natural shape each time before continuing. Likewise, once the seams are stitched, allow the garment to hang for a while before you hem the bottom. This will allow the garment to develop a natural fall and ensure that the hems are straight and smooth. When ironing the hem, do not move the iron side to side along the hem as you would with a normal cut garment; instead, move the iron along the line of the bias.
  9. Trim excess away in seam allowance. (I prefer to pink the seam allowance rather than overlock the raw edge.)
  10. Make a narrow rolled edge on the hemline.

Bias-cut garments don’t wrinkle as easily as straight-grain garments do, but they can “grow” on a hanger, so always store them folded and flat.

full_jackets_sanmar_03Featured: Club Jacket by Sanmar

In the fashion world, colour-blocking is in. You might fret that you look ridiculous wearing a burnt-orange shirt and navy-blue pants, but you will find that designers are actually creating single-piece garments in literal blocks of stark colour contrasts. For the daring fashionista, choosing contrasting colours from opposite ends of the colour wheel can result in surprisingly appealing combinations.  Here are the rules to the art of colour-blocking:color-wheel-300

  • Three is the magic number
  • Keep colours in the same family
  • Be loud and proud
  • Keep it simple

Discover analogous, triadic, and split-complementary colour combinations.

You will need:

  • Up to 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] of fashion fabric, colour A*, 45” [114 cm] wide.
  • Up to 1 ½ yds. [1.4 m] of fashion fabric, colour B*, 45” [114 cm] wide.
  • Up to  2  ½ yds. [ 2.3 m] of lining fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide
  • Approx. 2 yds. [1.8 m] of elastic, 1” [25mm] wide
  • ½ yd. [0.5 m] of fusible interfacing, 24” [61 cm] wide
  • 1 separating zipper **
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper

* see Cutting Instructions to determine the yardage required as it is dependent upon the colour-block styling. Feel free to use a third colour in your combination; the featured model uses two colours.


** zipper length = distance from top of collar to garment hem minus 1” [25mm].

Design Tip: Match colour of zipper to lightest fabric colour used in colour blocking


Chest – measure around the upper torso just below the arms

Waist – measure around the narrowest part of torso, just above the navel.

Seat – measure around fullest part of hip, about 9”[23 cm} below waist.

Back width – measure across the shoulder blades from armpit to armpit.

Shoulder – measure from neck to ball socket of shoulder.

Back waist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to natural waistline.

Armsyce depth – measure vertically from top of shoulder to nipple.

Neck – measure around base of neck.

Arm length – measure from end of shoulder to wrist.

Finished Length – measure vertically from nape of  neck to desired length.



Easy fitting coats, jackets and smock shapes can be drafted from a simple grid which maps the basic control points of the body shape. The grid lines can be used for reference. Simple dramatic shapes can be achieved from this type of draft, like the club jacket from Sanmar. The grid is constructed to basic body measurements; substantial ease must be added for movement and styling. Once it is completed, the draft is aligned at the shoulder-sleeve seam and stylelines are drawn in and cut apart for colour-blocking. As the designer, you may create any shape of style lines desired and they may flow seamlessly from front to back. (Try to avoid any sharp angles and corners for ease of assembly.)

jacket draft

Body Grid

Draw 2 lines from A at a 90° angle.

A-B = ¾” [20mm]

A-C = 1/5 of neck measurement minus ⅛” [2 mm].

B-D = armsyce depth; square across.

D-E = 1” [25mm]; square across to mark chestline.

B-F = back waist length; square across.

F-G = 9” [23 cm]

A-H = 1/5 of neck measurement; draw in back neck curve from B to H, as shown.

Draw in front neck curve from C to H, as shown.

G-I = ¼ of chest measurement; square up to the armhole.

Draw a tangent line from H at a 17°angle from the line at point A.

H-J = shoulder measurement.

Style Adaptation

Mark point K on the centerline at the desired finished length + 1” [25mm] turn; square across.

K-L = ¼ of the seat measurement + ⅓ the distance of G-I for ease

Draw a construction line from H through the armhole (intersection of D and I) as shown.

Square up from L to locate M at the intersection of the lines.

Locate N at the waistline.

Extend the shoulder line from J; J-O = arm length + 1” [25mm] turn.

O-P squared from O = 12” [30.5 cm]; join P-M.

M-Q is the measurement M-N.

Draw a smooth underarm curve from N to Q; R is located at the intersection of lines, as shown.

Collar Section

Measure front and back necklines from draft. Compare amount with actual neck measurement. If necessary, increase neckline on draft so total is at least 1” greater than actual body measurement. (This amount may be greater than 1 inch if desired)

On a straight line, V-W = ½ of the back neck measurement.

W-X = ½ of the front neck measurement; square up.

X-Y = ⅜” [10mm].

X-Z = 4” [10 cm].

V-AA = 4” [10 cm]. (CB line)

Join Z and AA.

Fold on CB line and trace out mirror image of collar.

Add seam allowance.

Colour Blocking

S is midway between J and O.

Lay a set square on the sleeve line at S and draw a line at a 90°angle to touch on the line from E. Label this point, T.

S-U = distance of S-T.

Square a line from U to the underarm line.


For the back yoke, trace out B-H-J-T-E-B.*

For the front yoke, trace out C-H-J-T-E-C.*

For the sleeve bottom, trace out U-O-P-U.*

* Add seam allowance and label CONTRAST.

self pcs

For the upper sleeve, trace out T-S-U-Q-R-M-T.**

For the front and back body, trace out E-M-R-N-L-K-G-F-E.**

** Add seam allowance and label, SELF.


For front lining, trace out C-H-M-R-N-L-K-G-F-E-D-C.***

For the back lining, trace out B-H-M-R-N-L-K-G-F-E-D-B. ***

For the sleeve lining, place sleeve line (H to O) on foldline of paper and trace O-P-Q-R-M-H. *** jacket lay

*** Add seam allowance and label, LINING.


Fabric A (self)

Front Body – cut 2X self

Back body – cut 1X self on fold

Upper Sleeve – cut 4X self (reverse)

A 2” wide strip equal to length of collar.

Fabric B (contrast)

Front yoke – cut 2X contrast

Back Yoke – cut 1X on fold contrast

Sleeve bottom – cut 4X contrast (reverse)

Collar – cut 2X on fold contrast


Front – cut 2X lining

Back – cut 1X on fold lining

Sleeve – cut 2X lining


Collar – cut 2x fusible

Design Tip: Select 2 to 3 colours from the same kind of fabric for colour-blocking. If you are creating a bold outer-shell, keep the lining subdued; or if the shell is somber in colour, choose a bright lining.


1. Iron fusible interfacing to wrong side of collar pieces following manufacturer’s directions.

For outer collar, stitch contrast strip 1” [25mm] from edge across top of collar with right sides facing together (RST). Flip trim FACE UP and trim any excess fabric if necessary.


2. For lining, sew sleeves to each side of back with RST.

Sew one front to each sleeve with RST.

With RST, attach untrimmed collar piece to neckline of lining.

Fold sleeves in half with RST and align and match underarm and side seams of body. Pin/baste and sew seams. Press seams open. Set aside.


3. For shell, sew sleeve bottoms to upper sleeves with RST for the front and back sections.

Sew sleeve halves to body with RST for the back and front sections.

Sew back yoke to back body section with RST, pivoting at the armhole seam.

Sew one front yoke to each front body section with RST, pivoting at the armhole seam.

With RST, align and match fronts to back at all seams on sleeve line. Pin/baste and sew shoulder and sleeve seam.

With RST, attach trimmed collar piece to neckline of shell.


4. Insert separating zipper to front edge from top of collar to within 1” [25mm] of hemline.

Fold sleeves in half with RST and align and match underarm and side seams of shell.

Pin/baste and sew seams. Press seams open.


5. To insert lining, place sleeves of shell into sleeves of lining with RST. Align and match outer edges of the garment. Pin/baste together. Stitch along the zippered edges and across top of collar. Trim corners of collar to reduce bulk. Turn garment RIGHT SIDE OUT. From between the shell and lining, attach the seam allowances of the collar and neckline together. (This can be machined or basted by hand.)

With garment FACE UP, topstitch along zipper edge and collar.


6. At the wrists and the hemline, turn in 1 ¼ ” [30mm] on the shell portion only and press. Align the edge of the lining along the creaseline. (This will allow for a bit of slack in the lining.) Turn under ¼” [6mm] on the shell fabric and stitch a 1” [25mm] casing for the elastic. Leave a small opening to thread the elastic through each casing.




7. To complete the jacket, draw elastic through casing at wrists and zigzag ends together. Stretch out elasticized cuff to distribute the elastic evenly and stitch up opening. “Stitch in the ditch” through the sleeve seams to prevent elastic from twisting in casing.


8. Draw elastic through casing at hemline. Tack each end of elastic at the end of the casing at the CF. Stretch out elasticized hem to distribute the elastic evenly and sew through the sideseams using the “stitch-in-the-ditch” method to prevent the elastic from twisting.

hooded cowlFeatured: Missoni Hooded Scarves

For Fall ’09, Missoni is staying true to the label’s knitwear traditions and producing plenty of fabulous pieces including an abundance of hooded scarves. Design one up for yourself and make use of that fabulous knit remnant you have been saving for something special or go big as featured here.


You will need:

  • ¾  yd. [0.7 m] of stable knit fashion fabric, 60” [152 cm] wide
  • Matching thread


DIMENSIONS: approx. 30” long x 12” wide  [76 cm x 30 cm]



This is a patternless design (a simple block draft). You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to straighten the cut ends of your fabric before you are going to cut. The corners should be 90°.  The rectangle should be about 60 inches  long and 25 inches wide [152 cm x 63.5 cm].  Once that is done, you are ready to cut out the shape.


Fold the fabric into quarters both vertically and horizontally and align the raw edges (fig.1). At the “open” corner, measure 12” [30.5 cm] from the corner and mark location with a pin (■).

Draw an arc using a circular template (I used a large pie plate) with tailor’s chalk at the corner.

Cut through all 4 layers and remove the excess fabric.

cowl draft



Open the fabric flat and refold it in the long direction with the right sides facing together.

Stitch the curved ends together between the ■ using a ¼” [6mm] seam allowance. (fig.2)


Open the fabric as a “tube” and refold it in the narrow direction with the right sides facing together. Align the sewn seam and match up the open raw edges. Clip the seam allowance at the ■, if necessary.


Stitch around the open edge of the loop using a ¼” [6 mm] seam allowance and leave a 6” [15 cm] opening to turn out. (fig.3) Turn the garment right side out and slip-stitch the opening closed.


selmadressFeatured: Selma dress

In many cases, discover your fabric as inspiration and the theme for the piece begins there. There are so many design ideas you can do with patterned fashion fabric and a bit of elastic. Take for instance, the Selma dress with an elasticized bodice and striking rope trim makes for a nautical style and fun back by Christopher Deane. Come across your own themed fabric and try this dress draft for summer.

You will need:

  • approx. 2 ½ yds. [2.3m] of fashion fabric, 45″ [114 cm] wide (depends on desired length)
  • shirring elastic thread.
  • 4 yds. [3.6m] of cording, 1/2″ [12mm] diameter
  • Coordinating thread


X = bust measurement (measure just under the arms around the fullest part of the chest).

Finished length = measure vertically from the armpit to the desired hemline .



This is a patternless design (simple block draft). Plot and cut block layout  directly onto the fabric according to your measurements as illustrated (seam allowance is included).


Cut 1 front, cut 1 back, cut 4 bra cups and cut 4 loop carriers (1-1/2” [4 cm] wide strips).


1. Make 2 self-lined bra cups. Begin by layering 2 pieces, with right sides together. Stitch across narrow top edge using ½” seam allowance. From machine stitching, measure down ½” and sew down both sides of bra piece, using ½” seam allowance. Press seams open; then turn bra cup right side out. Press bra cups flat and topstitch across the top of each bra cup below the openings. Baste the raw edges together. Set aside.

2. shirWith FACE side up, shirr fabric panels using elastic thread in the bobbin. Begin 1” from top edge of panel and stitch across width of each panel. Do parallel rows of shirring about ½” apart (I used the presser foot width as a guide) and continue until you have a shirred length of fabric equal to 1/3 X.

For example: if the bust equals 36 inches , you would shirr 12-inch length from the top edge of the panel.

3. With right sides together, layer the fabric panels and align the shirred portions while matching the edges along the length. Pin or baste and stitch to create a tube, using ½” seam allowances. Press seams open.

Design Note: The fit of this style is not a snug one. The dress is designed to hang from the shoulder straps. You may get a closer fit by increasing the seam allowance at the side seams.

4. Hem the bottom edge of the tube with a narrow double rolled hem by turning under the bottom edge twice by ½” and press. Topstitch hemline.

5. On one panel front, find the center of the panel above the shirring and mark. Pin/baste one bra cup on either side of this mark, with right side facing. Sew across bottom edges of bra cups.

6. Make carriers 1/2″ X 3″ [12mm X 75mm]; you will need 4 of them. At the outer edges of the bra cups, fold a carrier  in half to form a loop and secure to either side of the garment. Divide the back portion between the two loop carriers into thirds. Place a loop carrier at each location and secure.

7. selma backSerge or pink the raw edge of the top edge. Turn top edge to inside and press. Topstitch in place.

8. Cut 2 lengths of cording. Thread cord in each bra casing and gather up excess fabric to create the gathers. Knot cording together to create halter straps and thread through loop carriers.

0x0-nf best behaviorFeatured: Best Behavior

Stay “kewl” this summer with this gossamer sun serape. It is a cinch to whip up in an afternoon. Take your styling cues from Danish design house, Best Behavior and layer it over your tiny tees and baggy pants.

You will need:

  • approx. 2 yds. [1.8m] of transparent fashion fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide such as chiffon
  • 1 pkg. of bias binding, 1” [25 mm] wide (matching colour)
  • coordinating thread

DIMENSIONS: approximately 34” X 44”  [86 cm X 112 cm]



This is a patternless design (a simple block draft). You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to straighten the cut ends of your fabric before you are going to cut. The corners should be 90°.  Once that is done, trim away the selvedges.


Cut a rectangle 72” X 45” [183 cm X 114 cm].


  1. Find the center of the cloth by folding it in half, both lengthwise and widthwise. Mark the location with a pin. Radiating from the center, lightly chalk an arc 5″ [12.5 cm] away from one fold to the other. Carefully cut on chalked line through all layers to create the neck opening.  Reserve cut away portion.
  2. Fold the width of the bias tape in half and align the raw edges of the tape along the FACE side of the neck opening. Stitch around the neck opening using a ¼” [6mm] seam allowance. Grade the seam allowance. Turn bias binding to inside of opening and press seam flat. Topstitch around neck opening.
  3. Open the fabric flat, FACE side down and machine a narrow double rolled hem along all sides.
  4. To make the pocket, re-fold the cut away portion from the neck into quarters, with right sides together. Reduce the radius of the arc by 1″ [25mm].
  5. Open the fabric flat and fold in half , with RST. Stitch around the curved edge, using a ½” [12mm] seam allowance, leaving a small opening to turn-out. Trim the seam allowance close to the stitching. Turn pocket right side out and slipstitch opening closed. Press pocket flat.
  6. Align pocket to left side of centerfront and edge-stitch pocket to front of garment.
  7. Fold garment in half and align corners. Measure up from matching corners on each side approximately 14”[35.5cm] . Tack front and back together at this point (●).

c2009_11_eyelet vest

Featured: Chulette

Simple eyelet vest with a “peek-a-boo” attitude.

Try styling it similar to this one from Chulette; fully lined with tan colour cotton fabric to add some contrast.

You will need:

  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.15 m] leno-cut fabric, 45” [114 cm] wide such as eyelet.
  • 1 ¼ yds. [1.15m] of matching lining, 45” [114 cm] wide such as broadcloth.
  • Coordinating thread
  • Kraft paper


Bust – measure around fullest part of chest, just under the armpit.

Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso, just above the navel.

Shoulder – measure shoulder length from ball socket to neckline.

Back width – measure across shoulder blades from armpit to armpit.

Backwaist length – measure vertically from nape of neck to waistline.


vest draft

Cut a length of kraft paper equal to your bust measurement + 3” [75mm].

Fold the paper in half across its widest point.

Plot point A on the foldline at the top of the paper.

A-B = 2” [50mm]

B-C = backwaist length

C-D = ½ of B-C less 1” [25mm]

Square across all points at 90°

D-E = ½ of bust measurement

Square up and down from E to locate F and G.

H = midpoint of A-D.

Square across from H.

H-I = ½ of back width minus 1” [25mm].

A-J = 3 ½” [90mm].

K is located where lines squared from B and J intersect.

Draw a shallow arc at K to join B to J as shown.

L is half of D-E.

Square up and down from L to locate M and N.

F-O = 3 ½” [90mm].

E-P = 3” [75mm].

Q is located where lines squatted from O and P intersect.

Draw a deep arc at Q to join O and P as shown.

M-R = J-K + ½” [12 mm].

Draw a straight line from J and O to R.

J-S = 2/3 of shoulder measurement.

O-T = 2/3 of shoulder measurement.

Join S-I-L with a smooth curve as shown.

Trace this curve on the front portion between L and T.

G-U = 3 ½” [90mm].

G-V = 3 ½” [90 mm].

Draw a smooth arc at G connect U and V as shown.

C-W = 1” [25mm].

Square a line across from W.

N-X = ½” [12 mm].

X-Y = 1” [25 mm].

X-Z = 1” [25 mm].

Join points W-Y and V-Z with a smooth line.

Join points Y and Z to L with a straight line.

Add seam allowances to perimeter of pattern pieces except armhole.

Cut out pattern with paper on the fold.

Grainlines are parallel to CB and CF of pattern.


vest layCut 2 bias strips 2 ½” wide [65mm] in lining fabric.

Cut front 2X self

Cut back 1X self

Cut front lining 2X lining

Cut back lining 1X lining.


  1. With right sides together (RST), match up vest fronts to vest back and pin/baste side seams and shoulder seams. Stitch seams and press open.
  2. Repeat Step 1 for vest lining.
  3. With RST, align and match vest to lining around outer edges. Pin/baste in place. Stitch around the perimeter of the garment. Trim and grade seam allowance close to stitching. Turn vest right side out through armhole.
  4. Press seam flat around outer edge of vest. (Use a press cloth as not to mar fabric).
  5. Align and match up armhole opening. Baste both layers of fabric together.
  6. Bind each armhole with bias strip. To do this, fold the bias strip in half lengthwise (wrong sides together) and press foldline (use an up & down motion). Place the raw edges of the bias strip along the armhole on the face side of the vest. Stitch around the armhole using a 3/8” [1 cm] seam allowance. Turn under the short ends to neaten and complete.
  7. Fold the bias binding over the seam allowance in the armholes and align the folded edge to the machine-stitching. Slipstitch binding to lining.
V283627 victoria's secretFeatured: Victoria Secret Peasant Skirt

You’ll this easy-to-sew skirt…XOX.

You will need:

  • Approx. 1 ½  to 3 yds. of fashion fabric (depends on fabric weight and width)
  • Coordinating thread
  • Heavy-duty topstitching/upholstery thread


Waist – measure around narrowest part of torso (just above navel level)

Hips – measure around the fullest part of the seat, about 8” [20cm] below the waistline.

Finished Skirt Length – measure vertically from waist to desired hemline.


This is a simple block draft. You can plot it directly onto your fabric but you will need to determine the dimensions of the panels you are going to cut.

(This also will help you determine how much fabric to purchase.)

Designer Tip: If you wish to use a printed fabric, look for a print that has been “railroaded”, that is the print runs along the fabric’s length. That way, you needn’t piece the fabric together to create the tiers.

XOX Block Draft

xox 1

Measure the hip. You may round up the measurement to the nearest ½” [12mm].

O = (hip measurement + 2” [5cm] ) divided by 2.

Next, determine the desired length of each tier; divide the finished skirt length by the number of tiers you desire. You may round up to the nearest ½” [12 mm]. The featured model from Victoria’s Secret has 3 tiers and is approximately 21″ [53.5cm] long.

X = (finished skirt length + 2 ½ ” [6.5 cm] ) divided by 3.

For example: for a size 14 hip measurement of approximately 38” [96.5 cm] and the finished skirt of approximately 21″ [53.5 cm] long, the tiers are 7 ¾ ” [19.5 cm] long.

Again, you may round your answer a little if needed; this is not exactly rocket science.

O = 20” [51cm]

X =  8” [24 cm]

Time to plot and cut.

Determine if the fabric print runs up-and-down OR railroaded (sideways) on the surface.

Now to add fullness to each panel width.  Gathering is usually a 2:1 ratio.  (If you choose a thin/lightweight fabric you may need a greater ratio.)

layYou will cut 2 panels to make each tier. (skirt front & back).

Plot a 2” [50 mm] band across the fabric’s width OR length. (see  layout diagram)

Set up XOX block as illustrated.

Top Panel = 1 block

Middle Panel = 2 blocks

Bottom Panel = 3 blocks

Designer Tip: Short on fabric? Try cutting the second tier in a contrasting colour or fabric.

xox 2

Now you have all of your skirt pieces and are ready to start sewing!

*Designer Tip: Embellish your tier panels with flat ribbons or braids if desired.


1. Attach the pair of 2” [50 mm] bands together at one short end to create a drawstring. Fold along its length and press flat. Open the fold and turn in raw edges ¼” [6 mm]. Refold and edgestitch along the length on the open side, then along the fold side. Knot each end.

2. xox 3With right sides facing each other, sew the side seams together on each pair of panels using ½” [12 mm] seam allowance. Edge finish each of these seams with an overlock machine if you have access to one, otherwise trim with pinking shears to keep the raw edges from unraveling. Press seams open. There are now 3 “loops” of fabric, one for each tier.

3. hemAt this point, sew a narrow double-rolled hem around the entire bottom edge of the lower tier. Press up 1/2″ [12 mm], open the fabric back out, and press the raw edge in to meet the first crease. Sew the rolled hem.

4. Edge finish the upper edge of the top tier. Fold 1 ¼” [30 mm] to the inside and press to form a casing for the elastic. Turn raw edge under ¼” [6 mm] then stitch about 1″ [25 mm] from the fold all the way around.

5. On the top edges of the middle and bottom tiers (and with right sides facing up), sew a wide zigzag machine-stitch over the heavy-duty thread all the way around the seam allowance.xox 4

6. Starting with the bottom tier, grasp the heavy-duty thread ends and start pulling gently to form gathers in the fabric. When the circumference of this edge matches that of the lower edge of the middle tier, stop and tie your thread ends together to keep everything in place. Then slide the gathers around until you are happy that they are distributed fairly evenly.

7. Flip the middle tier inside out so that the right sides (the face of the fabric) are facing each other and pin it to the bottom tier — the bottom edge of the middle tier (the edge without the gathering) should match up to the top gathered edge of the lower tier and the right sides should be together. Pin/baste this seam just below the zigzag stitching. (basting is your friend on this project!) Now, flip it right side out and check your gathers and re-adjust if necessary. Machine stitch this seam along the basting; then remove the heavy-duty thread and basting.

8. Repeat the procedures from Steps 6 and 7 to attach the middle tier to the top tier.

xox 6

9. Serge or pink the gathered seam allowances you’ve just sewn to finish the raw edges.

10. On the outside edge of the ‘waistband’ casing, open 1” [2.5 cm] on one seam carefully with a seam ripper. Thread the drawstring through the top casing. (Alternatively, you may use elastic in the casing, if desired)