Introduction to Pattern Cutting with Karen - 5th October 2017

This week, after being set my initial brief I began my technical and practical workshops in my group with specialist tutors. On Thursday I took part in my first pattern cutting session, learning the fundamentals and a brief history of the craft of pattern cutting. I learnt which equipment I am required to use to do pattern cutting successfully, and also which areas such as understanding the human anatomy, analytical skills, knowledge of textiles and fashion awareness are all key to being able to start pattern cutting. 

Pattern primary blocks - Most patterns begin as a rectangle. Then add measurements for arms, necks, and darts. All pattern blocks start as halves. 

  • Fitted Bodice sits above the waist
  • Longer bodice (using a dress block) sits below the waist 
  • Casual block (doesn't include darts) 
  • Skirt block and trouser block - below the waist
Secondary blocks - These are blocks that have had dimension changes or have been worked on in some way.

Ways of achieving basic shapes learnt in my workshop

(1) Creating a size chart involves taking direct measurements from the body to make a pattern.  Understanding body shape is essential to this. These measurements fall under:

  • Bust
  • Waist
  • Hip
  • Nape to waist
  • Waist to knee 
  • Over arm
(2) You can also create a block by 2D drafting using a generic size chart from a pattern cutting book. During this part of the session I learnt that brands all work from their own set of blocks that relate specifically to their customer. This is the reason for various high street brands (for example) to vary in their version or a size 10. I found that H&M sizes come up extremely small from personal experience, which I realise now could be based on the fact that the brands 'customer' may be generally smaller than the UK customer - as H&M is a Swedish company. 

(3) Modelling directly onto the dress stand can provide a way to help you realise your design ideas by automatically bringing it to life in 3D. This method can then maybe be further manipulated through drawing, printing and photography. Anything made on the stand has to then be translated into 2D to make a pattern from it. 

(4) You can also take a pattern from an existing garment but opening out the item to its original form, and reproducing it in your choice of fabric. This can be a good starting point for something that is well fitting which you already own to use as a guide and base. 

(5) The last method we spoke about was starting with a block and building onto it in 3D. This method sounded quite interesting to me, as you are able to start with a strong core base and then have the opportunity to develop multiple 3D ideas using the stand, enabling you to visualise your outcomes and make changes using drawing of fabric. If doing this it is important to pin your fabrics to each other and not the stand - so you are able to remove your work from the stand without interfering with your design aesthetic. 

The Potato Task - Understanding The Concept Of Pattern Cutting

To begin gaining an understanding of pattern cutting first hand, we were required to bring a potato to the first session. I was confused by this at first however at the end of the session it did help me see the technique a lot clearer.

First I covered the potato entirely in calico. Then, drew random lines all over the calico, lettered each line and cut along to remove the calico entirely. This had somewhat created a selection of 'pattern pieces' which could then be turned into 2D to create a block. It was necessary to cut into the pieces slightly to relieve the tension to make them flat, which created the same effect as darts - it all started to make sense. 

Calico after being removed from the potato and snipped to make 2D.

The next step was to pin down my 'pattern pieces' and draw around them on paper to create my block. The letters enabled me to match up each point of my pattern with the correct other one.

Block created from drawing around my calico and creating a 2D block.
At this point, the exercise was over. If this was a real garment, technical requirements would be added at this point - however the use of the potato helped me to understand the principles of 3D to 2D pattern making. This block could technically now be remade in various fabrics to create a cover for my potato! I enjoyed learning the various ways pattern cutting could be approache this week, and the task using the potato helped me to visualise one of the ways and begin to see how these concepts can be brought to life. 


Popular posts from this blog