Learn to make your own patterns- Kicking the pattern buying habit

Spending 16 dollars on a pattern, sewing it up, and then realizing it looks nothing like the envelope is frustrating.It just happened to me and it’s probably happened to you, too. IMO, learning fitting techniques for commercial patterns designed for another body can be HARDER than just drafting your own.

Making your own patterns isn’t very hard once you get your basic slopers made up. And it can be fun, too. It’s a proud moment for a clothing maker to realize their own design from start to finish. I’d love to see more bloggers creating their own designs and blogging about them.  As a blog reader myself, I’d love to see less pattern hawking and more pattern design.

So why don’t I create more of my own patterns myself ? I have a degree in fashion design and I can do this stuff, yet I probably create only one out of every five projects from my own design. Why do I keep buying patterns? Because I’m lazy and my skills are rusty and not that great. Plain and simple.

One of my goals for 2015, is to finally start creating the majority of my wardrobe from my self made designs. I graduated way back in the 90′s, so I need some refresher courses. And I stopped sewing for years in between, when I was doing my full time SAHM stuff. I could take some classes on Saturdays, an hour away in downtown LA  taught by the Otis school of design to brush up my skills, but I just can’t see myself being gone all day when I still have a five year old and 11 year old to hang out with on the weekends. At this point in my life, I want to just refine my design skills and share design processes for my readers by blogging about it. We’ll see if that takes me anywhere new.

Here are some steps I’m taking to get my design skills beefed up while learning from home this coming year: I’m putting it out there, so now I HAVE to do it.


I recently bought a new pattern design book written by my old FIDM instructor, and excellent teacher,Connie Amaden Crawford called Patternmaking Made Easy. This looks like a great book. It goes over creating basic slopers and has tons of information on patternmaking. I still use her textbooks The Art Of Fashion Draping and A Guide To Fashion Sewing. ( affiliated links) Granted, these books are expensive, BUT they are a complete curriculum and these were the books we worked through in the classes my design program. So if you want a pretty complete “design homeschooling” program those three books are like the design Tri Fecta you need to get started. And you won’t have any costly student loans to pay back!


When I took my week long couture sewing class with couture expert Susan Khalje in August, I mentioned to her I’d like to improve my design skills. She had great things to say about the pattern design teacher Suzy Furrer who runs the Apparel Arts Center in San Francisco.  Here are some of their class descriptions. Ms. Furrer is very experienced with a long career in pattern design and more than qualified to teach pattern making. Here is her bio.   I was  excited when I found out Suzy Furrer also has some raved about Craftsy classes. And since all the classes are on sale for 19.99 until Monday for the Balck Friday/ Cyber Monday sales , I’m buying a few classes to get started on my design path: ( I”m not affiliated with Craftsy). Here are the classes that look really good:

Pattern Making Basics. The Bodice Sloper

Pattern Making Basics: The Skirt Sloper

Pattern Making and design: Creative Darts and Seamlines.

Pattern Making and design Learn Collar Design

Pattern Making & Design: Creative Sleeves.

Pattern making and Design Learn Neckline Design

Also I found these two draping courses from the teacher Paul Gallo, who has a career in draping and patten making in New York, according to his Craftsy bio.

Fashion Draping

Fashion Draping, Bias Design

So all those courses cost only $160 dollars if I were to buy them this weekend. That’s over five hundred dollars worth of pattern making and draping courses! I probably won’t buy the skirt and basic draping course, but I’m thinking about it, if only  to get a new perspective.Chanel Look

Since I need a photo for my post,I leave you with one of my favorite things I have designed, a Chanel inspired outfit for Gigi.

Have a great weekend!



Share Button


  1. says

    It’ll be fun to see your designs. Designing my own patterns is something I would LOVE to be able to do. I’ve been eyeing some those craftsy classes also. Hmmmmm….. might have to sign up for a few.

  2. says

    Hi Justine,

    Your candour and honesty about your sewing adventures have inspired me to try again to sew my own clothes.
    I have purchased my first reference book. Create the Perfect Fit by Joi Mahon. Am getting together with two friends to measure each other and hopefully I can start to make clothes that actually fit!