Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 6: Summary of Lessons Learned


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.

Pattern Review: Style Arc Erin Culottes

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.

Drafting a Pattern Block or Sloper Part 3.5: the Pants Muslin


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.

Drafting a Sloper or Pattern Block Part 3: Pants

So now that I have a skirt sloper, I need a perfect pant sloper. I am notoriously picky about my pants. If they fit in the waist they don’t fit my hips. If they fit my thighs they are too big in the waist. It’s just frustrating. Previously I custom fitted McCall’s 5941 to my shape and have a great go to pants pattern but I’d like a little variety.  So I wanted a standard pant to draft variations from.  I already have an idea of the first pattern to draft from these!

sewinghow to pantSo the first sample is from Sewing.Wonderhowto.com. These look pretty good but the first thing I noticed was that it didn’t account for thigh circumference and since that is one of my problem areas, I kind of wish it did. This tutorial was easy to follow and looks close to pants patterns I have used in the past. Also the darts aren’t very deep so I am not sure how it will fit around the rear. We will see!

burda cut pantThe next is from Burdastyle.com. This one has two back darts so I think it will fit the rear better. This one went together fairly easily, even when I had to go back and correct my measurement errors. This one didn’t account for thigh circumference either but it looks the closest to my current favorite pants pattern. It has nice straight from the knee legs that you could easily adjust to hang from the hip. The back has a curved hem which is different than any other pant I have done but it will probably make the pant hang better in the back. You have to excuse the typos in the tutorial, they call the crotch a “crutch” and a few other misspellings because I think the original designer may not have been a native English speaker.

pant cotoureThe last trial is InthemoodforCouture.com. It looks the most complicated of the three, with various fitting adjustments for different body types. With complications probably comes better fit. This one was a little more difficult to complete. It did not automatically put in the darts and I left them off to be added when fitting. It does not seem to take into account the curviness of the butt, hip, and waist but we will see when we get to the muslins.

Now for the muslin test!

Full Circle Blouse Outfit

Circle blouse outfit

This blouse fabric is VF155-27 from Vogue Fabric Store. I love their swatch program and reasonable prices. I get 5 catalogs a year and usually make at least 3 outfits per year. My outfits usually cost $100 for 3 pieces in coordinated fabric. And they fit me perfectly! I don’t know where I would find that in a store! For this outfit, I made pants out of matching polyester fabric VF155-30, McCall’s pattern 5941 view E. I customized this wide leg pant pattern to my shape and I’m not giving it up since it is out of print. It has become my goto pant pattern because of the smooth wide waistband and flat fit with no darts or pleats. I usually add pockets to this pattern (look for my next tutorial on pocket drafting. I suggest finding a similar style and making a custom fitting. I paired this outfit with a sweater I had made previously out of a Vogue Fabrics knit VF111-39 in Vogue pattern 8780.

Pocket Tutorial: Adding Pockets to Pants Part II

Once you get your fabric all cut out, it is time to assemble the pants with the pockets. I will be making a fly front pant out of my favorite pant pattern (McCall’s 5941), using my drafted pocket pattern.

IMG_0567Lay the pocket backs down with the pant front on top. Lay the cut lining piece on top and cut the pant front to match the pocket. I am going to cut 3/8 more inches off because I want to wrap my pocket lining.

IMG_0568Put pocket lining on top of the pant front and serge or sew a straight stitch with a 3/8 inch seam. Iron the pocket open.

IMG_0569           IMG_0570

Then fold it behind the pant front as it will be when worn. Press again and then top stitch if desired.

IMG_0571Line up the pocket back to the pocket front and stitch along the bottom. Feel free to stay stitch the top and side to the pant front as well if it is moving around too much for your tastes. I also baste the pocket closed at this time so everything lays flat.

Now I have a new pant front with a slash pocket in it! I continue to assemble the pants, catching the center front seam into the fly as I make it.


See future pic for the full outfit. Thanks for reading and happy sewing!

Pocket Drafting Tutorial: Adding Pockets to Pants Part I

I like to have pockets in almost everything, well at least one piece of my outfit, so I wanted to learn how to add pockets to pants. I tried a few different methods before settling on one. I tried putting them in the side seam and they just opened all the time, yuck. I also hate how pockets can get bunched up in your pants.

A word about tutorials: Thank you for taking the time to read mine. I advise trying to read at least 3 tutorials before trying a technique you are learning about. Each one is written a little differently and the more instructions you get the more depth of understanding you get.

Now back to pockets. I happened upon a great article in Threads for drafting pockets that include a front stay. Front tummy stays are great because even if you don’t have a belly you are trying to smooth they just make the front of your pants nice and flat. I put them in most of my pants. I think you could do this in skirts with a back or side zipper as well if you are adding pockets to those.

IMG_0561First get out the front pant of your favorite pants pattern. Mine is McCall’s 5941. Fold in and tape any darts the front has. Place on top of the paper (2 sheets).  (Ignore my red lines from a previous pocket draft.) I use heavier craft paper because my patterns get a lot of use.

Trace around the top of the pattern from the hip line, usually right below the notches. Mark all notches and the center front. Also mark 5/8 inches from the center front (towards the fly). Then free hand your desired pocket shape, curving up towards the center front. Mark your seam lines so you can figure out the slant opening. Draw two lines parallel to the fly, one on the center front and one on the 5/8 mark. (If you are doing side zip pants you will place your pattern on the fold at the center front line. If you are using the fly front like I am, you have to have seam allowance. If you are using a side zip pattern you can just mark the center front at the seam line where the two front pieces will meet.)


Cut out the pattern and transfer the markings to the second piece. This will be your pocket back and cut out of your pant fabric. Some people cut front and back of the pockets out of the lining fabric and then cut a triangular overlay for the opening. I like the smoother look of the single layer of fabric.

IMG_0563Now go back to you initial drafting piece and trace another pocket pattern on another piece of paper. Copy all markings. Measure 1.5 inches from the side seam along the top seam line and mark.   Measure 1.5 inches up from the notches at the seam line and mark. Put your hand down and make sure it is the width you want.  The smaller it is, the less it will gape.


IMG_0566Using a ruler draw a straight line. Then draw 2 more lines parallel to this one 3/8 inches apart. Connect the farthest one to the pattern edge with perpendicular lines. The outer most line is the cutting line if you are going to wrap your lining fabric around the edge of the fabric. I do this when I have a fun lining and can add a little flash to the project. Usually my shirt will cover the pockets anyway but they are fun. The second line is for if you don’t want to show off the lining.

Now you have your pocket pattern. Cut two of the main pant fabric and two in your lining fabric. Do not use lining material for the pocket, it won’t hold up. Trust me I learned the hard way. Use a heavier satin poly fabric (with light interfacing) or a fun calico. I think you can get away with a fat quarter but I am not sure. Good luck adding pockets to everything!

See part II for how to put it all together.