• Kaine

Sewing 202 - Introduction to Flat Pattern Drafting

As we enter the next phase of Garment construction, it is important to learn the different ways you can turn your Fashion design into a pattern that will be sewn into an actual garment. There are three major ways of creating a pattern;

1) Flat pattern drafting

2) Draping

3) Freehand drafting

These tutorials focus on the use of Flat pattern drafting, as that is the method that I use, and therefore will teach. But first, I will briefly explain what these three methods are and their differences.

Flat Pattern Drafting vs. Draping vs. Freehand drafting

flat pattern drafting skirt

Flat pattern drafting: A garment is a 3D shape that has to fit over a 3D body. Flat pattern drafting involves taking this 3D shape and translating it into a flat design on paper. That is the key thing. The pattern must be flat at the drafting stage. The steps involved are taking the required body measurements, drafting the design, inserting darts, pleats or gathers to allow the pattern turn into a 3D garment when sewn. All calculations are done on the paper before the paper pattern is finally used to cut out the fabric.

fabric draping

Draping: This is the technique of applying the fabric directly onto the model or person. The fabric is then molded and shaped into the desired design using pins and thread to keep it in shape. The finished outfit is then marked out into its various parts then removed from the model. These pieces are then copied onto paper to become flat patterns, before finally using the paper pattern to cut out the fabric.

freehand drafting

Freehand Drafting: This method is similar to flat pattern drafting, except it involves drafting the pattern directly onto the fabric. You are essentially skipping the paper phase. Since this is done directly on the fabric, care must be taken to account for ease and all necessary seam allowances before cutting the fabric.

A frequently asked question is which method is better. For me, it is a matter of preference. There is nothing wrong in learning all three methods and applying them as you see fit. They all involve a certain amount of work and time, so there are no shortcuts when it comes to good pattern making.

Tools for Flat Pattern drafting

Essentially you need Five main things to draft

brown pattern drafting paper

Paper - When it comes to paper, look for inexpensive and readily available large sheets of paper, or paper rolls. You can get tracing paper, drafting / dot paper, brown paper, and even grease paper. Cardboard paper or card stock should be reserved for making long lasting copies of your patterns. For daily drafting, light weight paper is much better.

straight drafting rulers grid rulers

Straight Rule