Catherine Gracey

Living Life, One Misadventure At A Time.

Pattern Drafting, Take One

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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For Your 18th

Mum came to visit me last week while my boyfriend is away. It was a relaxing week, and we got up to the sort of mischief a mother and daughter can cause when armed with credit cards and a sewing machine.

Our projects began with my wardrobe. We made a few essentials for the coming months, altered a few patterns to fit the lengths of fabric that I had available, and generally caused a mess in the living room.

Once we were done with clothes for me, we switched our attention to things for the baby. This is where things got interesting, because poor little babies are helpless against the depravations of bored mothers, and especially helpless against the depravations of bored grandmothers. When they’re tiny they aren’t able to resist ridiculous clothes and foolish accessories.

Mum and I were both quite pleased with this fact.

We had a few silly options available to us, so rather than disagreeing about which was the silliest, we decided to make several things rather than just one. Did my baby need a chilli pepper sleeping bag? Why yes, yes it did. Did baby need a pea pod sleeping bag? Naturally, but best to do it in a different size to spread out the photo opportunities.

It was difficult to find the fabrics we wanted to use, so we’ve had to compromise. I’ll have to get the camera out on the first day of wear, just in case the bags don’t survive in their current glory. Our pattern was Kwik Sew 3446, and the results are below.

Baby Sleeping Bags

Yes darling, you can hate Mummy later.

I can almost see the 18th birthday invitations now.

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