The Pattern Project – Basic Blocks

I’ve done a bit of self-drafting including drafting and grading this simple tee which we use in our workshops. Made and modelled here by my friend and customer Emma 🙂

overlocked tee

I’ve added sleeves to it and made it up in sweat fabric which worked well and is something I wear quite regularly then more recently I made it up in a more slinky synthetic mix knit and added little cuffs to the sleeves. I lengthened the body and tapered the side seams in from the underarm to give it a relaxed casual fit.

But for the more structured styles we are planning to design patterns for I needed to make blocks. Blocks are a basic templates of the body with minimal ease from which a design idea can be developed into a pattern.

I started by making a fitted bodice block and straight skirt block.

It’s really taking me back to my uni days although we never learnt to make our own blocks at uni, we copied blocks given to us by our tutors, but I did have to learn how to make my own blocks in the third year as I did kidswear for my final project and there were no pre-drafted blocks available for my chosen age range. Back then I used a book to teach myself how to draft basic blocks. I’m using a combination of a Burda Style Accademy online course and Shoben Pattern Cutting Book I picked up from the Sew Essential bloggers meetup.

I’m using our own developed size specs as I talked about in the first post about the Pattern Project

I padded out the mannequin to make her the shape of our size 3 woman (about a size 12-14 on the high street) and also to fill in the side gaps in the adjustable mannequin – I find it really hard to fit the waist when there are gaps! I also made a jersey sleeve to go over the equine as this makes it much easier to pin the garment pieces to and gives definition to where the side seams are meant to sit.


I then used this to fit the mathematically drafted the bodice blocks. I had to make quite a few changes to both the bodice block and to the mannequin- mannequins have incredibly flat shoulders it turns out – not like real people – I checked on quite a few of both!

I then made up a second draft of the bodice based on the alterations I made…

This fits a lot better now although there are still some styling and fitting tweaks and a 3rd tiole and probably 4th toile will need to be made to iron these out. I’ll also fit both the bodice and the skirt on Freya and Bekki to see how they look on real people!


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