15 October 2011

Getting Organised for Pattern Drafting

The other day I decided to get all my pattern drafting stuff organised. Long term readers will know I struggle with sewing productivity, so predictably enough I haven't got round to making many patterns (only two or three) since doing my course at London College of Fashion in August. I'm starting the advanced course soon so really need to get a move on! I was struggling to find the right bits and pieces amongst a huge pile of papers, to recall what I'd already done, and I could never for the life of me remember where I'd written down my measurements. So I decided to sort everything out to clear my space and my head...

After twenty minutes of rummaging, I found where I'd noted down my body measurements (on this chart downloaded from Portia's blog) and stuck it on my wall - now I'll never lose it again.

Did I mention I invested in a dress form? Here it is! Yes, it's an "it" - I refuse to follow the convention of personifying it with a name like Gladys or something, which I find a little... erm... creepy [shudder]. I mean, it might come alive in the night and start murdering people and framing me for it (have I watched too many horror movies?!). Anyway, it's a Lady Valet, as recommended to me by Handmade Jane. I'm really pleased with the choice - it is adjustable, pinnable, swivelable, and its cream cover and wooden stand look quite nice in my sitting room. I'd been procrastinating about adjusting it to my size as I'd read horror stories about the process taking hours and hours, so I was pleasantly surprised that, when I finally got round to it, it only actually took about five minutes. Another thing ticked off my list!

I went through my massive pile of papers, sorting them into blocks, experimentations for future reference, and fully drafted pattern pieces. The latter I sorted into labelled transparent files organised by pattern so when I make them up again I have all the pieces to hand.

Tidying these up allowed me to locate the bodice block I'd drafted to my size for my upcycled lace button back blouse. I made up the the block pieces in calico to double check the fit, which was perfect. Then I glued the paper pieces onto card to help them last a bit longer and so I can draw around them when drafting patterns. I also ordered a load of calico (which isn't cheap at the moment as cotton prices have soared, apparently) for making toiles.

Now I feel much better! I've got a notebook full of sketches of designs I want to try making up, so I can get on with doing that now. Tell me, if you draft your own patterns, do you have a system for staying organised?

[Soundtrack: 'The Light' by Jill Scott]