Wow, what an extensive project this was. It took a lot of time and a lot of trial and error to finally draft and fit a basic block pattern for myself. Once I got them all where I liked them I traced them on to poster board for durability. For the most part they will be traced on to paper and then altered to get the ease needed for the fabric.
The best bodice directions were: Suzy Furrer class in Craftsy
The best sleeve directions were: Madalynne
The best skirt directions were: Laura After Midnight
The best pant directions were: Burda Style
I am so excited to try and start drafting my own patterns! I still have a few more blocks to make. Suzy Furrer had several basic pant slopers she recommends and several sleeve slopers. The thing with sleeves is they draft from the bodice so they probably have to be drafted every time.
If you read my post on the cowl blouse, then you probably saw my first pattern draft attempt. My next step is to draft a knit pencil skirt. Then I have a dress in mind I want to try.
As you can see my Suzy Furrer sleeve muslin looks pretty good but I had some trouble easing the sleeve cap in to the sloper so it may have to be adjusted slightly. The height looks good but just a little wide.
Here is the Madalynne sleeve.
Here are some cap sleeves I am trying to draft for this blouse I am making.
I didn’t even make a muslin of the weird one with all the darts at the elbow. I just never thought I’d use it. Overall I think the Madalynne sleeve fit the best and had the easiest instructions. There was less ease that needed to be worked in and it fit together the easiest.
Since I started seeing culottes on the fashion pages I figured I needed a pair. I was hoping to make a nice light pair for summer to go with my silk cowl blouse. Since I haven’t completed my pant sloper yet, I thought I’d try the Style Arc pattern Erin Culottes. Of course they must be made for me if they have my name!
The nice thing about Style Arc is they often give you free patterns. Each pattern is one size so you tell them your size, they print it up and send it to you. They are printed on very nice heavy paper, not tissue. The down side is the instructions are very simple and have no pictures. I think they would be hard for beginners and may be hard for a visual person like me. I am going to give it a go.
I made a good test muslin like any good designer should do, so I could adjust fit before cutting my fashion fabric. It also let me practice following the instructions to make the final project easier. The waist ended up being too long so it had to be shortened a bit to fit correctly. These are so loose fitting that they do not need much fitting. I forgot to take a picture of the muslin before cutting it for another project so no picture, sorry.
My fashion fabric is not very expensive but I was glad to practice anyway. It is a simple linen-look polyester from Joann’s. I usually pick a higher quality fabric for my clothes but I got tired of looking for the perfect fabric and settled on this.
Another new thing for me was the seam allowances, they are only 3/8”, which is smaller than I am used to but they worked just fine. All in all, the pattern went together very easily and came out great. I can’t wait to try another Style Arc pattern. They are a nice company and send you a free pattern when you buy one. What a deal!
These are my own opinions and I have not been compensated for this review, nor are the links affiliate links. I merely like to share my experiences with others.
I was so excited to have a sloper block so I could start drafting my own patterns! I also want to learn how to use my block to help alter readymade patterns to fit better.
I wanted to draft this cowl blouse for this lovely silk I bought at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I traced my sloper and followed the directions in Suzy Furrer’s pattern drafting book to make the cowl blouse. I altered it by making the hem 1.5 inches below the waist. The rest I did by following the directions.
Here’s the first pass that I whipped up in muslin. It won’t have the same drape but it give me a good start. I felt it was a little loose in the back so I think I will do the darts.
Before cutting that beautiful silk, I’ll make one more sample out of less expensive fabric but one that I might still wear. I am going to drop the hemline another inch and then add a 1.5 inch hem allowance.
Not bad for the first sample. I am going to do another one that includes the cap sleeve pattern that I will draft for it. This process has helped me discover where there were challenges in construction as well.
I decided the hem needed to be longer and I added cap sleeves.
Cute so far. The final silk blouse had some challenges. It was harder to sew than the polyester. I used a tissue stabilizer to help feed the fabric. I also has some problems with the hems I have such a hard time with hems on bias cut fabric. I think i need to just do a narrow hem and leave it at that. I used french seams for all of the side seams except where the zipper is. I used two layers of fabric for the sleeves so folded back on each other there is no hem. I also added a small pleat into the cap sleeve for a little mote room. You can’t even tell its there really but it helps with movement. I tacked down all the facings so they didn’t flap.
Over all for a first drafting project this pattern turned out really nice! I am so excited to wear it with my Style Arc Erin Culottes.
Here is the Suzy Furrer bodice in final form on the dress form! Now I have a great set of bodice blocks. I am going to finalize them by fusing with interfacing on the back so they can stand up to a lot of use.
So I learned that you make a moulage first. It is a sloper that has like a second skin fit to get the person’s exact body shape. Then she turns it in to a sloper by adding just a bit of ease to make a close fitting garmet. Suzy says you need to add this ease every time so if you do it once you have a good sloper to start all you designs from.
Here’s my sloper finally done on poster board (get 2 for $1.00 at Dollar Tree!) I hang mine on a clip pant hangar in the closet or on the wall to protect it. This was so good and so much fun that I think I will go back and make new skirt and pant slopers from her book that I bought or just buy the Craftsy Class for those too!
I was not happy with how either of the blocks had turned out so I talked to a few people about moving on to a Craftsy class. The reviews for their classes were great so I will schedule the bodice drafting class. I happened to find out they were offering a $30 credit towards a class and my class was free! I chose Pattern Drafting by Suzy Furrer. She has a bunch of classes on there for pattern drafting and I might just take them all.
I have been loving this class. I take my time and watch the videos sometimes twice before I started drafting. I developed my bodice blocks from the videos and finalized them with marker for cutting lines. I put the darts in a different color so I could visualize them easily. I love that this block has 3 darts for the bust outline to really make it form fitting. She has another class on dart manipulation that teaches you how to play with these.
Suzy has great instructions on how to transfer the blocks to the muslin as well. She has you trace and cut out the pieces in a princess seam and allows for proper fitting.
Now I am ready for the test fit!
Here is the Sewing.Wonderhowto.com muslin. As you can see this one did not fit too well. It was too tight in the thigh and in the rear. Not good. Even if I adjusted the leg width, which is easy, the fit in the crotch and rear is the most difficult and should be correct.
Here is the Burdastyle.com muslin. It has the best fit of all the blocks. It just needs a little taking in on the hips to smooth it out. A few adjustments on the legs as well to improve the fit would make it better. I find it hard to tell with muslin fabric since it doesn’t hang and nice as pants fabric. So far this is my choice but I will compare it to my adjusted pant pattern that I love and see how it compares.
Here is the InthemoodforCouture.com muslin. This one was the most difficult as it called for adding darts later. It would definitely need them. The rear was too small and pulled the side seam back even if I put darts in the front. I don’t think I will go with this one. I didn’t even bother with the darts.
I haven’t decided yet if I will use the Burda sloper yet or if I will spend the money on a Craftsy class for pant drafting. I am enjoying the bodice class so much that if those come out well I probably will buy the pant class too! If you don’t want to spend the money on the class then try the Burda Style tutorial for a nice pant pattern.