Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Pattern Drafting, Take One

on July 29, 2013

I spent the weekend in Sydney for a family event. While there I found a small fabric shop that had far too many goodies. My $3 piece of shirring elastic somehow cost $52 and came with a free male “how much did you buy?” exclamation as I left the store.

Other sewers will understand how this keeps happening to me.

Amongst the loot I made off with was some beautiful ribbon. It is wider than my hand, bright and glossy. I had a vague idea of something that I would like to make with it, so I bought 5m with the hope that it would be enough.

Normally I am very bound by the patterns I have available in my stash. Despite the pattern making books on my shelves, which I have spent hundreds of dollars on, I never seem to make it past reading them and running away in fear. I know my patterns well, and I always have a rough idea of how much fabric each of them will take.

This purchase of ribbon has forced me to return to the idea of pattern making. I want something pretty, something that I can wear now. I don’t want to wait until the end of my pregnancy to begin wearing beautiful clothes again. To get the skirt I have in my head, I have to strike out alone and create something for myself.


In a moment of self-confidence that came from somewhere unknown, I decided to give it a go. It must have been a fairly hefty dose of confidence, because I ventured bravely into AutoCAD without opening a single book or instructional video. “This is just maths” I told myself as I opened a new file.

Have I ever mentioned how much I hate maths?

It took hours, and a bit of help from my boyfriend, but I finally drew my first pattern. The measurements all seem to work on paper, and I will have enough fullness in the skirt to cover my entire pregnancy. If it goes well, the skirt will easily adapt to my body once the baby is born and I am able to return to my regular size.

My next step is to print out the pattern and trace it onto my large sheets of paper. I have my fabric, my thread and my ribbon. Now I just need to hope that the confidence holds out long enough to finish the project and see if it works.

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