Male Pattern Boldness is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Jul 5, 2016

A Second Summer FIT Class: Flat Patternmaking II



Last week I decided to take another summer class at Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

My draping class ended last Monday; this new class, Flat Pattern Design II, began the following morning.  It's a day class, 9 am - 12:45 pm, and meets three days a week through July 26th.  Since it's a short class, a lot is being squeezed into a very short period.  Today was our third class and we've already drafted a bodice sloper, a fitted torso sloper (which includes the hip), and long pants.  Tomorrow we'll finish a tent-shaped bodice and work on a structured drop shoulder sleeve.  We'll be drafting a variety of different collars and sleeves (along with pants), working up to a final project of our own design.

A number of you have asked whether I prefer draping over flat patternmaking.  Even though you start at different points, you end up using both methods as you design.  You need draping skills to adjust a flat-patterned bodice that doesn't fit perfectly.  (You're making your corrections directly to the muslin, and then transferring them back to the paper pattern.)  Conversely, you may have draped a bodice but will then use flat patternmaking methods to draft a sleeve or, certainly, a facing.   They're complementary.

Making shoulder and neckline adjustments to my bodice sloper.

Fitting my bodice sloper to my Size 12 dress form.

Drafting my pants sloper


What I like about draping is that you get to see your design on your dress form before you make a paper pattern for it.  Somehow this feels more creative.  Flat patternmaking involves more measuring, formulas, and calculations, so it feels more precise.  Naturally, anything you drape will have to be turned into a flat pattern, so you'll always need drafting skills.  I like both methods, and am glad I have the opportunity to study them side-by-side.

These summer accelerated classes are fun because they meet so frequently over so short a time.  I love being able to just dive in and learn quickly, and to be surrounded by other students who are equally as passionate about what they're doing. 

In closing, if you've studied both flat patternmaking and draping, which do you prefer?  (And why?)

Have a great day, everybody!

Turning a bodice sloper into a fitted torso sloper.

18 comments:

  1. I went to FIDM (Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising) and studied fashion design. I always preferred draping because I could see how the fabric worked with the design I was draping. Working only with patterns would sometimes make me feel lost, like I didn't really know how my design would look like in the end.

    I've grown to appreciate flat pattern-making since, though.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm just starting out with flat patternmaking, so I can't compare yet. Love seeing your process!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Have only studied flat patternmaking. But you are entirely correct that each method relies on the other method, to achieve a proper fit on the ultimate target: a human being. Living human beings are more difficult to fit than mannequins, but far more interesting. For instance, one puzzle set us by our professor was "How many darts does it take to fit a dowager's hump?" How many times in life do you get to consider THAT conundrum? (Unless you are custom designing for rich old humpbacked women. Not sure how wide open is that job market.) We then went on to draft and construct a dowager's hump, for a character in the play we were costuming. And darted her costume to fit the hump ... after that, fitting to asymmetrical figure characteristics were a doddle.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I see the terms 'sloper' and 'block' used interchangeably. Are they the same thing? From my (very limited) reading, there seem to be varying opinions of how many blocks actually exist or are necessary from which to build patterns.

    I'm really enjoying reading about your classes and what you're learning; your blog is a sewing curriculum sloper!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, "sloper" and "block" are the same thing. Depends whether your source was edited by a U.S. publisher or a European publisher.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, LinB. I suspected each might infer distinct details but I was wrong.

      Delete
    3. There are also differences in the use of the terms commercially versus home sewing. Commercially the term block is commonly used... and it's not just for clothes. You can have a block for a purse or hat or sofa cover. The term sloper is used for clothing exclusively, and it never has seam allowances.
      Note that most of this info is recent, from a commercial pattern maker's site and from wikipedia, as well as anecdotally in my career. But terminology changes no matter how hard yu try to nail it down...

      Delete
    4. Thanks for that additional information, Kathleen. Sounds like a Venn diagram is in order! (How's that for a block?) Agree re. terms: I'm a former musician and musical jargon is constantly changing. That's one thing about the English language I like most but it can be confusing.

      Delete
    5. A block is a basic pattern that can be used on its own or as a foundation for other designs, e.g., A-line skirt block.

      A sloper is a template without seam allowances that often has more information than you would need for a real garment, for example, several darts will be included, although you will only pick one. You trace off the details you need to pattern paper and then start developing the pattern. Slopers can be specialized, e.g., straight sleeve sloper, darted sleeve sloper, woven torso sloper, knit sloper.

      Delete
  5. I am so envious of your proximity to FIT. I love seeing what you are learning. It's inspiring. The closest I'm going to get is Suzy Furer's pattern making classes on Craftsy, good, but not the same as an in person class.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I use both techniques separately, together, alternatively... whatever is necessary to get the job done! I almost always flat pattern sleeves. I almost always flat pattern skirts, unless its an asymmetrical or diagonally pleated style. I'd prefer to drape bodices, but I've been known to flat pattern when there aren't the proper fitting forms available. I drape collars unless it's a standard men's shirt stand... I have so many existing patterns for those!
    I've worked in professional/educational costume shops as a draper/shop manager for 30+ years. I had some training in school and grad school, but so much has been self taught. It's amazing what you can learn by doing (even when, or especially when, you do it wrong the first time).

    ReplyDelete
  7. You have been having quite a productive summer! Your work is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I use both draping and drafting. I find drafting to be almost meditative at this point. When I was sewing for difficult to fit women I would always drape.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This is where I turn to pattern making first. My dress form can be adjusted to a point, but not enough for me to want to dial in on anything that needs a specific size. It's more of a very useful hanger.

    I do drape on a scale model, and often sew up scale items to determine if something just works or not. And of course, I drape on me. But I've stuck myself so many times....

    ReplyDelete
  10. I enjoy these posts! Please continue to update us on what you're learning.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Two real life examples of using both techniques...

    Men's tailored slim fitting jacket/coat for a ballet; bodice and sleeves all done flat, but the director wanted an unusual collar, I did that by draping the pattern on a dress form. The resulting pattern was a shape I could never have drafted flat.

    Canine Lycra body suit? I had to drape Lycra fabric on an uncooperative dog, trying to get the right shape that would go around the rump and the chest and torso, and would be skin tight. Again the final pattern was a shape no one could imagine. Once the basic shape is established, flat patterning cleans up the lines, and establishes closures.

    So as you can see, both methods are necessary, draping works when the shapes are complicated and/or assymetrical (such as women's gowns), and flat pattern works well when the object is symmetrical (a man's bodice/shirt?).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'd really like a photo of the canine lycra body suit LOL.

      Delete

Related Posts with Thumbnails