Pattern Cutting

I spent this weekend with four lovely ladies, learning Pattern Cutting! For my birthday G. had got me a Pattern Cutting weekend at Ray Stitch with Alice Prier. It was AMAZING.

On Saturday we learned how to make blocks (or slopers for any American readers) – her method for teaching this is based on the AB template which was remarkably straight forward. We started by taking each others measurements and I was particularly surprised by a few. Most sewers know that your ‘hip’ and ‘waist’ measurements are not taken at your hip bone, but actually the fleshiest bit of your bum and the ‘waist’ is  not where your low riders sit hang out.

But I was interested by how we took our ‘bust’ or what I can’t help referring to as my upper bust, as it allowed me to accommodate my shoulder blades. And my ‘chest’ measurement went around snugly under my armpits and then DOWN around boobs, straight across nipples. We also measured bust distance’ AKA the space between your nipples.  As we were measuring each other and were so not being English about it, we were quite explicit in our nipple placement commentary. I expect we’ll all be bosom buddies now (hehehe I couldn’t resist – please tell me that made you laugh too!)

Anyway after taking a gazillion more measurements, dividing some in half and other by 3/4 we were ready to begin drawing! There was this funny yellow ruler, which made me feel like I was back in geometry class we used (instead of a bunch of math) to calculate angles, lengths etc. And slowly before my eyes, I saw my block growing. We did both a top and skirt bottom (which can be joined to be a dress), and sleeves. By the end of Saturday I had my block made and a tester done out of medium weight calico! I was quite pleased the only thing I needed to alter on the block was to slightly lower the armpit as I think it would be irritatingly close on a garment. Though without a good press it was hard to see if there was any finessing I might want to do to it in the future.

IMG_6098On Sunday we learned how to work with our blocks to create patterns and designs. I learned that there’s essentially three ways to change your block: pivot the darts, turn darts into seams and ‘slash and spread’ your darts. It all boils down to what is a function dart and what is a design dart.

If you look at most tops (dresses or blouses), either patterns or in the shops, there are maybe six fundamental designs (see the picture on the right, taken by my new ‘bosom buddy’ of Alice’s drawing). After that a lot of it is just design shenanigans.

Suffice to say the weekend was exhausting but soo inspiring. I’m planning on jumping right in and having a go at making a most wonderfully fitting shift dress (side and waist darts, rounded neck and pockets). I can’t recommend this course enough!



4 thoughts on “Pattern Cutting

Add yours

    1. Thanks Linda! I’d really recommend the AB technique. Her book, while expensive, looks great and I want to get it to make blocks for sister and BFF.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahha the numbers were initially mind boggling you are right! But it was so simply explained how to use them. I think the adapting this to a pattern is going to be relatively straightforward…. fingers crossed.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Create a free website or blog at

Up ↑

english girl at home

A Sewing & Knitting Blog, Made in Birmingham, England


Wat maakt Inge?

~E Made This!

Upping my sewing skills one seam at a time

Redhead Thread

Adventures in sewing

Sew Sarah Smith

Sewing! Liberating the mind & body and soothing the soul one garment at a time


Sewing Patterns, helping you create a wardrobe of clothes you will cherish forever!


A record of some of my sewing projects since 2016

Sew sleep deprived

Lesley blogging about her sewing projects

Wendy Ward

designer | writer | teacher | maker

zoubi zoubisou

Sewing a handmade wardrobe

wasted weekends

misadventures in crafting.

Self Assembly Required

DIY Dressmaking with Emily ❤️


One mans adventures in sewing...

swarm of chickadees

a sewing blog with a nonsense title

dreaming of avonlea

We'll begin with a spin, travelling in the world of my creation - Willy Wonka

Pigeon Wishes

Learning to sew and delearning compulsive shopping habits


From one stitch to another!

Emma and her Machine

Adventures in Sewing

%d bloggers like this: