Pattern Making Supplies
As I pull my life back on track from the train wreck of last week, I look to my next project. The Caftan project IS winding down, with only two sews left to demonstrate, and this has left me looking for my next pattern. Caftan was pretty straight forward, being all basic geometric shapes, but as I read more in to fashion history during my weekly review, I find a lack of patterns in the styles that I want to reproduce. So what is a seamstress to do? Learn to make her own patterns.
To that end, I dug in to my library and found this, rather weighty, tome:
Now, my understanding is that this text book is used in fashion design schools. I lack the time, resources, and overall desire to attend class at a design school. I have no desire to relocate to New York or California, and I find overall that formal education stifles creativity. So I’m going to attempt to work my way through the exercises on my own. With you guys watching!
Now, for reasons, some of which have to do with copyrights and some of which have to do with my own desire to keep moving forward, I am NOT doing a page by page review. While I genuinely feel ALL the information in the book is important for burgeoning young fashion designers, if you want all the details, you can in fact buy the book yourself. But I will start with a list of the tools author Helen Joseph Armstrong says are necessary to get started.
Top of the list are pinning supplies. 1 is a pin cushion. These little tomatoes are familiar to anyone who has ever had a family member who sews. Attached to the green part at the top is a little strawberry of emery dust, which you can use to sharpen your pins and scrape burrs off of them. 2 are the Dressmaker Silk #17 draping and fitting pins. 3 is a straight pin holder. This one is magnetic with space underneath and a lid. 4 is a wrist pin cushion, so you don’t have to hold pins in your mouth.
Scissors seem like an obvious supply. Technically you only need two pair, one for fabric, one for paper. Here I have 1 professional tailor’s shears, 2 my micro-serrated Ginghers, and 3 paper scissors.
Supplies to mark your patterns as well as marking and tracking CHANGES to those patterns, and marking the fabric as you work out kinks in design. 1 is Tailors Chalk, 2 Fine point pens, 3 Mechanical Pencils, 4 Felt tip markers, 5 colored pencils.
Measuring tools are important too, not just for the straight lines, but to track exactly how long a curve is and where to place the button holes. 1 is a yard stick, 2 is a triangle, 3 is a tape measure, 4 is a square, 5 is a short ruler, 6 is a simplex folding measure, 7 is a flexible ruler.
Curve rules are needed for blending and truing lines from hips, bust, shoulders, and darts. 1 is a hip curve rule, 2 is a vary form curve, 3 is a variety of French and Sleigh curves.
Some basic office supplies are also called for in the supply section. Here I have 1 push pins, 2 a stapler, 3 magic mend Scotch Tape. Not shown is a staple remover.
Pattern marking supplies will be used as the project progresses to make sure pieces match. 1 is a pattern notcher, 2 is an awl, 3 is a blunted tracing wheel, 4 is a tracing wheel, 5 is a needle point tracing wheel.
Finally are some miscellaneous supplies. The book actually calls for metal pattern weights, but at $20/weight, I’m opting instead to use my existing pattern weights. If I’m wrong, I can buy the metal ones later. So here we have 1 pattern weights, 2 black twill tape in 1/4”, 1/2” and 1” widths, and 3 pattern hooks.
All supplies here were purchased at one of three locations; however, I am reasonably certain that these are NOT the ONLY locations where pattern making supplies can be found.
For a video version of the supplies, where I do my best to impersonate the late great Billy Mays: