Pattern Drafting Crash Course – Truing Up Your Patterns

Truing Patterns

This will explain how to smooth out your patterns in preparation for use in creating styles from the basic patterns.

The first draft of each piece should be carefully cut apart and the following places checked for accuracy and 90 degree angles on both your front and the back
The first draft of each piece should be carefully cut apart and the following places checked for accuracy and 90 degree angles

Feel free to ask questions or comment on this tutorial.

I can dream right?

I am currently fighting with a pinched nerve in my neck. Have been for over a month now but according to the chiropractor and massage therapist I’m seeing there’s improvement. Unfortunately it meant I did NOT get to sew or craft much this holiday season like I really like to do. I had several projects on my list for Christmas that may just have to wait a couple more months!

On my list are:

  1. A backpack for my Minecraft happy son in the shape of a Creeper with a pencil case also in the shape of one. His favorite critter in the game. To accomplish it I have the supplies including heavy denim in a pixelated camo! Down side is that it’s rough on the hands to cut out and right now it’s on the taboo list to do! I can dream about an electric cutter, the SKIL 2352-01 3.6-Volt Lithium-Ion Multi-Cutter  that’d make it easier but I’m not likely to get anytime soon! I do have the Fiskars Contour Rotary Cutter which works fantastically for most things but in this case I think I’d prefer  the electric version!
  2. My tablet bag which would allow me to carry my tablet and a whole purse full of other stuff including all my gadgets. This project is currently in pieces as it was set aside in favor of finishing a Jawa costume!
  3. More fleece pants would be nice to finish as it is, well, freezing outside! It’s a bit colder than average with the wind AND sub 0 temperatures! I have a pair of fleece pants I made in 2001 and I really should sit down and FIX those but a new pair would be nice to have as alternates.
  4. I’d also love to do another fleece skirt. I used to have a A-line skirt in fleece that was nice to wear and really warm in the winter!
  5. Fleece curtains for the bedroom to help keep the house warmer this winter. Really not all that complex to make and I might just break the ban on sewing after my daughter is done with her brother’s Christmas present to create the darn things! It’s cold.. oh I mentioned that earlier right?

Luckily for me I am getting better and looking at avoiding surgery so hopefully this winter I’ll get to complete a couple of those projects. Not doll ones but still sewing.

I did manage to do one doll project this month but ONLY because it was promised before the nerve acted up and ONLY with a LOT of help from Sera. She seems to really enjoy hand sewing work and did fantastically working in miniature. Together we created a semi-replica of Betsy Ross for Justice’s 5th grade history assignment, the Clock Tower Cafe. The room box is 3 feet tall (dad) and dollhouse furniture kit; a table, chairs and cabinet in 1″ scale put together by Justice, a counter created from scraps of foam core by dad (George) and is manned by a 1″ scale action figure of Ben Franklin!

Here’s to healing and a Happy New Year!

Relaunch!

I’m taking a leap and going back to promoting my pattern work once more. It’s been 6 years since I stopped actively talking about my love of my dolls and the patterns I’ve done. During those years I have accomplished many things but had my passion and love of sewing for my dolls on the sidelines. I have only bought 1 (!) doll in all that time and she sits above my computer looking down at me wishing for clothing. While I have a number of projects already started for myself, the house and kids I plan to work on some of my UFOs for the dolls as well!

You will note that individual patterns have all but gone away (Super Size Barbie and the 1″ scale dress forms are the exception) and have been replaced with Pattern Lines and Pattern Kits in addition to the books Pattern Making for Dolls and Pattern Drafting for Miniatures!

Keep an eye on the NEWS area! Also be sure to keep up with the best stuff on FaceBook, Twitter @STCDolls,  or Pinterest!

The new sewing table

OK so originally I was going to build a nice small 12″ wide folded table that would serve as a sewing machine surface… instead my beloved decided to expand the project just a little bit……WOW! For Christmas week we spent time building the basic table so I could sew presents at the last-minute. My end result was a much larger table that I absolutely LOVE. It is 30″x48″ folded and 60″x48″ with the “wing” out. It is about 36″ tall and doubles as a cutting table as well as being my sewing surface.

sewing table 100_3472-300x225

Anyway here are a couple of shots of it finally completed with the last touches on it…. a pull out shelf for projects and tools. My fabric collection is on bottom and will eventually go in a “Bento Box” style storage system allowing me to have a “neat” appearance to at least my fabric shelf. We’ll see when those get done!

 

Buyer BEWARE!!!

The Sew Essentials Cutting Table you can get at JoAnn’s is a major waste of money. I bought one 3 years ago and the welds gave out on it tonight as I NEEDED it for a project. I bought it because it was at a better height for cutting out projects of which I did cut quite a few out but the longer I had it the more wobbly it became. I kept the screws tight on it but they never held. Finally as the welds have broken it will go out in the yard for the next dump run. It was a WASTE of $60. For that amount I have the supplies I need to build Anna White’s “Sewing Table for Small Spaces” which is for me all wood 3/4″ thick, with large wheels and space to store my machines. It’ll also fold down to about 12″ wide! I can hardly wait to start on it in a week or two as I need it for various projects I plan to attempt to complete by birthday/Christmas this year!

When I complete my new table I’ll be sure to post photos…. it’ll be one of the first projects I do with the new circular saw I now own out of sheer necessity!

 

Please note that the above is PURE opinion but fully the truth as my former table is in pieces! 🙁

Tracking a Project

There are many ways to track projects. Everything from task lists to online trackers to spreadsheets. I use a combo of various methods based on the project I’m doing and if there’s a deadline to complete it.

For sewing projects I tend to use a hand written list occasionally transcribed to a spreadsheet which lets me add information about where I am in each project. I’ve also created custom project sheets that give me more detail right on the project. These project sheets or in the fashion industry are also known as spec sheets. Each page includes a design description, list of supplies along with yardage, a drawing of the design and an area for notes such as construction techniques or rough instructions. Sometimes there is a photo of a muslin sample or even a first try or similar design.

Below I’ve included a free download for one of mine in a MS Word format.

Specification Sheet Form (one from my college years geared towards figuring the costs and general supply list of a design)

Pattern & Samples Planner (revision with two to a page for my Circa Notebook geared towards writing more instructions than a cost analysis of the design)

 

Computerizing your pattern drafting

There are several vector graphics programs out that will work to draft patterns on screen.  Adobe Illustrator and CorelDRAW are two of the common ones available commercially. Inkscape is an open source free alternative that can also do the job it just depends on your skills and budget.

Personally, I use  CorelDRAW  and have since version 4.  CorelDRAW has come a long way since then and I’m currently using version 12 which I love and fits my budget. The newer versions I’m sure have more bells and whistles but I only need a few tools.

  • Plain lines
  • Plain curves
  • Bezier curves
  • Shapes variety
  • Contours
  • Line thickness
  • Measurement tools
  • Node edits
  • Zoom
  • Layers
  • Colors
  • PDF file formatting
  • Text both art and paragraph

I’ll go into some of these tools in more depth soon. Illustrator and Inkscape have these common tools as well and there are likely other vector programs that I don’t know about. If you have a favorite drop me a line in the comments below.

Places to find fine fabrics

Miniatures and small scale sewing requires fine fabrics and even a small amount of fabric can get expensive. You can recycle various common items into wonderful doll costumes. A linen handkerchief or napkin come with rolled hems usually done by hand or machine. If you can find one that would no longer be useful for daily use those finely crafted hems can become the hem of your doll’s new dress or sleeves!

Silk blouses are also a common item that get worn spots rendering them unwearable but the rest of your former blouse can be used for your next project!

Personally I like to purposefully get blouses and such at thrift stores and second hand shops.  I tend to buy items that are too small for me and usually on a sale rack. Once in a while I find a blouse for myself, wear it for a while and when it wears out use it for a doll outfit.

I keep my nice fabric in totes by color so I can find what I need or want.

Pattern Drafting for Dolls

Have you ever wanted to create an outfit that YOU had in mind but couldn’t find a pattern for? One that was your own individual creation?  Or you could find the pattern but it’s for the wrong doll or the wrong size doll? Would you like to learn to draft your own patterns instead of purchasing patterns that may or may not fit your doll right? The Pattern Drafting Crash Course is an easy to follow tutorial that lets you learn to draft for a child doll. I developed it and have used it to draft for dolls as small as 1/2″ tall all the way up to a toddler size outfit for my daughter when she was 2! (she’s 13 now!)

If you find it useful, and I think you will the full book is available at my main site, Sue’s Tiny Costumes. Please let me know what you think or if you find it helpful! I’d also LOVE to see patterns you’ve created just drop me a note I’m more than happy to show off what you’ve done!

How do you sew that small….

I’m amused I post a 16″ pattern and am asked how can I see to sew that small? The answer is lots of light, magnifying glass and zooms on the computer along with strained 20/20 and mild glasses! (as of 2012 it’s on longer mild glasses but bifocals and several OttLite!) half-inch-babyHonestly, I work even smaller than Brenda Starr; I work in 1/2″ scale too. This means my smallest doll I’ve sewn for is a whopping 1/2″ tall!

 

 

 

 

1 inch seraI started in 1″ scale making patterns for my lady doll Katherine, from there I made a smocked dress pattern for a 1″ baby I named after my then 1 yr now 13 yr old daughter Seraphine.

 

 

 

tb groupI was hooked on drafting in miniature! I have even written a book on it and taught online & face-to-face classes locally. I branched out to larger dolls that my daughter could play with such as Madeline and Tiny Betsy both of which are in great condition despite being played with!

Beyond that, I’ve done some things for various fashion dolls from Tiny Kitty to Kitty Collier and several dolls in between.

I love drafting for the various size dolls and occasionally I get to play with them more. This summer I hope to get into my backyard and start taking photos of the dresses that will improve the look and feel of the main site along with allow me to share what I’ve created over the years more clearly. The smallest dolls are the hardest for me to photograph but I have a better camera and should be able to get better photos. Beyond that I’ll share some of the patterns that I’ve completed.

How do I do all this… very carefully, patiently and with a lot of trial and error on the sewing construction end of things. The hardest part is writing up how to put the outfits together so someone else can make the outfit.

Enjoy what I’ve shared!