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Sep 10, 2015

Back to School -- First Patternmaking Class!



I went back to school yesterday!

Actually, yesterday was our second class; I'd missed the first one as I was on vacation.  I nearly didn't get into Patternmaking at FIT at all because by the time I tried to register, all three sections of the class were full (they're each limited to 18 students) and for some reason they weren't maintaining waiting lists.  From Provincetown I managed to get someone in the department to find out if any of the professors would be willing to take one more student.  Fortunately for me, someone was: Professor Tamanaha.

I owned most of the supplies we'll be using already, with the exception of an L-shaped ruler, which I picked up locally on Tuesday.  The supply list includes muslin, pencils, rulers, pins, tape -- about what you'd expect.  I'm one of only two guys in the class; the rest are women.  There are a few people around my age in the class but most seem to be undergraduates or maybe just a little older than that.

The room is full of Alva body forms and each student will choose a form to work with over the semester (or so it seems).  I think most of the first class was focused on how to take the necessary measurements of the body form; luckily I was familiar with most of these measurements already.  We were given handouts on what to measure and then how to use the measurements to draft a basic sleeveless front and back bodice to fit the body form we'd chosen.







We spent most of the 3-1/2 hour class drafting, with the professor first demonstrating at the blackboard, and then all of us students working on our own.  The time flew by, though by 10 pm I was pretty fried.  I like the professor a lot -- very clear and also helpful.

Our only assignment is to complete our bodice drafts but since I finished mine in class, I'm basically homework free.  (If there's time it might be fun to draft for the body form I have at home too.)

I really enjoy all the measuring, calculating, and drafting: I find it very satisfying.  I've already done some drafting, albeit using a different formula than the one being taught in this class, and that helps tremendously.   (Clearly there are a number of different formulas people use to draft bodices, maybe with the same results and maybe not.)  So that was class #1!

Meanwhile I've been busy working on another shirt muslin (below), which I'm making entirely on my Elna Grasshopper.  I love sewing with it, though I'm not used to working on a free arm: I may consider setting up the table using the metal carrying case after all -- we'll see. 



And that's it!

Anyone ever taken a patternmaking class out there? If so, how was it?

Have a great day, everybody!

27 comments:

  1. I geek out on pattern drafting as well! Looking forward to hearing all about your class!

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  2. oh i'm jealous of your access to a patternmaking class. i love playing with patterns and measures, etc. do you use a textbook or is it courseware provided by the instructor? i look forward to hearing more about your adventures...

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    1. ...and I'm just jealous, period. It's where I reside.

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    2. I'm jealous too. The tiny bit of drafting that I did was facinating, and the results were great. I'd love to learn how to do it for real.

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    3. I wish I lived near FIT, I would have taken a course long time ago! Here in the hinterlands of Connecticut there's not a fashion design school in sight! Oh, I also wanted to say I just posted on my blog!! Eat crow now Test!!! LOL!!!

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    4. So you did post; why, it's practically an annual event!

      The post is fantastic (as they all are - you aren't shy to find and insert many photographs, and that goes appreciated) ode to machines, Peter himself, and a certain someone who actually got mentioned in your blog (THAT incorrigible one on the west coast sometimes answers my serious questions, but has otherwise made it a serious practice to actually ignore me! ME!).

      Peter spawned my obsession with vintage machines as well, and sewing machine repair is either in my future, or I'm going to have to entice Rain to leave NYC for a visit to Columbus, Ohio (it's the city that does sleep, when it isn't up late scarfing down grease at a Waffle House).

      Do microwave the crow, but be careful, what I don't devour may, in a few short months, be served up cold on a plate fixed just for you (a soggy paper plate, which is certain to give your pant legs laundry issues for the ages).

      Sign me,
      Extra Testy!

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    5. Dear Lord, I'm on my third glass of moscato and you're freaking me out! Lol! Who is on the west coast??!!! Are you saying there is another Testosterone?......a west coast version??!! Who, what, when, where how???!!! I think I better hit the hay, before I get even more confused!!!! Oh, thanks for warning my about the soggy plated crow leftovers.......in addition to vintage fever, I've also fired up my blogging mojo, I had a ball banging out that post and I'm on a roll!!

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    6. There is NOT another Testosterone (even if the oceans were filled with moscato, that would not cover the contingency of a duplication), as for who I am referring to, without naming names, is a girl of so many rare qualities (so she seems); so many qualities, which Peter has pointed out so often.

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    7. Who, EVE???!!! Peter forgive me but I just couldn't resist! LMAO!!

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    8. Test you already know "Your the top"!

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  3. I did a course in my early 20's, and like you I knew a bit about how things worked, which helped a lot. Being short waisted started me on my journey.
    I have recommended doing a drafting course to a few folks over the years. The insight and ease it gives to any projects is fantastic.

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  4. I hope you enjoy your intro into the wonderful world of patternmaking Peter!

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  5. I just quit my job (at 52) to go back to school for fashion design. I'm in a pattern drafting and pattern draping class. It's harder than it looks,but I'm very excited!

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  6. Id love to be able to pattern draft! I'm off the Google formulas now!

    Frankie
    X

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  7. when i left school I did a city and guilds taught apprenticeship in factory cutting and drafting - it was for 6 months and it was brilliant. I had made my own patterns as a teenager using basic math and they worked out. i did go on to fashion design and i did drop out, but its the cutting course that taught me the most, and its the help and advice people I trained with which added enormously as a lot of them sewed also and had formal training in this, so i gleaned further tips from them - i can draft patterns but i love to use vintage patterns also as there are often tiny curves here and there which give the extra finesse. the best of luck with it, i would love to be in a studio with a room of makers for a while again

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  8. I've always wanted to take a class in pattern making at FIT but was never able to make it happen. That's great that the teacher took you on for the class : ). What I've learned about pattern drafting has been thru books and on line. Back in the day I took a lot of classes at G-Street Fabrics in Rockville Maryland and one of them was in draping which I really enjoyed. The grass hopper sewing machine is so cute and the singer was a great find - new toys to play with!

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  9. You know I've got at least four books on patternmaking and still for some strange reason shy away when I see the geometry involved. But then math has been my nemesis since grade 1. Sweating it out under the watchful eagle eye of those nuns (during the Eisenhower years) certainly didn't help matters any and if I you were called up to the blackboard it was pee-pants time! Lord how I survived I'll never know! I did well in everything else but math.......thank God today for computers and calculators!!!

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  10. I've been teaching myself pattern drafting for the past couple years from books and reading online, inspired by you and all the great bloggers. Love the engineering meets art aspect of it. Just finished a mostly successful jeans pattern. I finally got that drafting is not a magic way of getting good fit, I still have to muslin and adjust, maybe several times. So I'm looking more favorably at commercial patterns at the moment, though without knowing the drafting process, I wouldn't know how best to adjust commercial patterns, so all in all very valuable and fascinating. You might inspire me to go around the corner to my local community college which has a good design program, Seattle Central.

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  11. Spent 4 years in college as a mature student to get my Fashion Design degree and pattern making was a constant along with draping. We had to put on a fashion show at the end of each semester which was judged by experts in the industry. Models were produced, my 5 best friends, and clothes and patterns were submitted for scrutiny and grading. Perfection was the name of the game. So happy you got in and will experience more and more!

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  12. Excited to follow your reports from the new class; I wish I could take some classes at FIT!

    About 15 yrs ago I took two basic pattern design classes at our public art college here (MassArt). Just looked and saw that they still offer these courses as part of the continuing ed program, and I'm pretty sure the teacher is the same one I had. A great option for those within reasonable distance of central Boston.

    I hadn't really done any sewing before I took the class, so I learned some pattern drafting and sewing at the same time, which was actually kind of nice. A lot kind of went over my head since I didn't have a sense for how clothes come together; I think I would get a lot more out of it now.

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  13. Peter, FIT used to offer an AAS degree program for industrial patternmaking students. The Patternmaking Technology courses covered drafting, draping, sewing and some illustration for women's ready to wear. I graduated in 2004 and they discontinued the program after the 2005 class. I have a library full of drafting books some of which are hard to get now. Good luck with your class though. After this, you will never have any fear of making changes to patterns commercial or otherwise. Rhode

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  14. Hi Peter,
    I will start my second fast course on pattern making for women clothing tomorrow. I will learn a basic blouse with variations in sleeves. In the last course I learned how to draft a basic skirt and how to make six variations with that pattern, from A-line to full circle. I realy enjoied it. I hope to make some women happy with my new learned skills :-)
    Greetings from Rotterdam, Martin

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  15. I took a wonderful class in Alameda, CA with an instructor who also taught at FIDM in San Francisco. The 2 years I spent there were some of my most satisfying. It's so great to have this knowledge...even when using commercial patterns, knowing drafting makes it so easy to make changes, and to improve Can't wait to see all your posts!

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  16. I have taken Patternmaking I and II as well as Tailoring and Grading (by hand) at FIT - and still have the books to prove it! It was a blast! I loved them all, and hated them sometimes too!

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  17. I took a pattern-making class and loved it. I then collected a couple of really cool sortof obscure pattern-making books. If you're interested I'll go dig then out when I get home. One is British and has a more european fit, the other is written by a woman in California and was quite good. I learned a LOT about sewing from that class. I loved it!

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  18. I had some lessons. I still use the basic slopers (bodice, skirt and trousers) from the method I used there. Later, I collected some more pattern making books. I rarely take the trouble of drafting slopers using a one of them but I will sometimes use the instructions for specific styles. For example, I prefer Winifred Aldrich's kimono sleeves with underarm gussets.
    There is definitely a lot of difference between methods and formulas. Different ideas about ease, different use of measurements and how to draft from them, different basic shapes dart-wise...

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  19. Peter, I'm most curious to hear your thoughts on how the drafting methods you learned here differ from the methods in Dorothy Moore's book. Have you tried any other drafting methods? Which did you find produced better results with the least amount of confusion and time? I'd really appreciate your input. :o)

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