Have you made clothes from commercial dressmaking patterns but wish you had more choice and a better fit? What if you could sew your own designs, or copy your favourite clothes or recreate vintage patterns in your size? At Sew In Brighton you can learn fashion design & pattern cutting at any time of the year. Check our classes menu here to see if we have a specific course running, but if not you can learn this skill in 1-2-1 lessons & most aspects of it can be also learnt in our Stitch Classes
There are 3 aspects to Pattern Cutting & Fashion Design:
1. Making your block - this is a basic shape (a skirt, trouser, top (bodice) or dress) that has been crafted to fit you just how you like. It has no design details. It's purpose is to be used again and again and adapted into new clothing fashion designs of your choice
2. Fashion Design & Pattern Cutting - Tracing off & cutting up your block to make many new dressmaking patterns to your own custom clothing fashion design (or replicating it into garment styles you've seen somewhere)
3. Replicating a pattern from an existing garment - recreate a much loved garment without taking it apart by tracing it off bit by bit onto paper and adding seam allowance, notches etc
1. Making Your Block:
Method A) Personalised block making from commercial patterns
This is the fastest method to getting a block pattern that fits you and learning how to then change it into you own designs (i.e. pattern cut it to your design). This is an awesome way to make a block without drafting it from scratch from your measurements. We teach this method in Stitch Classes & 1-2-1 lessons plus we may be running Making & Fitting Clothes from Patterns courses or similar Find out more & book classes here
Method B) Drafting a personalised garment block (template) pattern from just your body measurements
Option 1: Introduction to block making - Make a skirt block. We recommend starting to learn the skill of drafting patterns from body measurements by making a personalised pattern for a basic skirt block & sewing it up in calico to check fit and keep as your block template. (4 hours in 1-2-1)
Option 2: More advanced - Make a bodice, dress or trouser block. The bodice block is used for all non stretch top designs from shirts to corsets & you can extend it into a dress. For menswear draft a shirt block or trouser block (8-12 hours in 1-2-1). n.b. For womenswear it's advisable to start with drafting the skirt block as you'll find the more technical bodice/dress/trouser less overwhelming!
Option 3: Stretch or loose fit garment blocks We can help you create a pattern for anything - t-shirts, jackets, leotards, leggings - all can be drafted from your own body measurements (4-8 hours in 1-2-1)
2. Fashion Design & Pattern Cutting
Tracing off & cutting up your block to make many new dressmaking patterns
Bring your block pattern along to Stitch Classes or 1-2-1 lessons to get help creating fashion clothing designs from it. They may be ideas you've seen in shops, on Pinterest, or in your head! We will help you trace off your block and cut it up (pattern cutting) into your new design, ready to be sewn up
Bring to first class: Your block and any calico toiles or garments made from it previously, design ideas, cash for pattern paper (usually £1-£3), wear a vest and leggings in case you need to try it on or measure yourself. You may need to also bring fabric, depsnding on whether you will get to this in the first class (eg in a long 1-2-1 lesson you may do)
3. Replicating a pattern from an existing garment
Recreate a much loved garment without taking it apart
We will teach you how to trace off your garment bit by bit onto pattern paper to make a new pattern from it, so you recreate your original in many different fabrics. Once you have made your pattern, cut out & sew your garment at home or in ongoing Stitch Classes or 1-2-1 lessons with us
To make your pattern in 1-2-1 & Stitch Classes see the 'What to Bring' list in the notes section of the Replicate Clothes workshop page here
Previous Student Reviews of our Pattern Cutting courses:
"This course gave me the confidence I can actually make a pattern for anything I want to design" Julia Miles, Hove
"I've learnt sooo much! I feel I've gained the confidence to design and make any garment" Stephanie Yeboah, Brighton
"Kat is friendly, approachable and positive. I'm amazed to have drafted a pattern and which appears to fit!" Sheila Firth, Fulking
''The course was a revelation. It has opened so many more options to me for my dressmaking and seems limitless in its application'' Caroline Fielden, Brighton
Experience/age: For adults aged 16+. Pattern cutting combines creativity and technical precision. To get the most out of this course you should have made at least one garment before using a sewing machine, be able to use a sewing machine without help and be happy using a calculator for basic maths. You could book sewing classes with us if you want to learn some clothes-sewing skills before the course - click here for info.
Venue: The Sewing Lounge, Hove or enquire about us coming to your house (We have stairs! Click here for information on venue access if you have a disability or injury)
Book Stitch Classes here
Book 1-2-1 lessons here
Lessons content example for Intro to block making (skirt block) + pattern cutting a new design in 1-2-1 lessons:
- Make a perfect fitting skirt pattern template ('block') to your own measurements (2 hours)
- Make a toile and fit to perfection (1-2 hours)
- Learn how to adapt this block pattern to create many different styles & design techniques, including making waistbands, facings, pockets, pleats, gathers - any skirt you can imagine can be made from this block! (2-3 hours)
- Design a skirt & make a full size pattern for it to cut out and sew at home or in additional Stitch classes (3-4 hours)
- Understand how the same techniques can be used to design and make dresses, trousers, tops etc (30 mins to 1 hour)
- You can use the same techniques at home (we will tell you the book to get on Amazon) to create your own trousers, dresses, tops etc and you'll find shop bought patterns much easier to understand and customise/alter with some pattern cutting knowledge under your belt. Book Stitch Classes if you need help pattern cutting your block into new designs or sewing up the garments!
What to bring to your lessons for Intro to block making - skirt block:
- Bring 1 metre of cotton calico fabric to make your toile from (you can buy calico from Fabric Land or your own local fabric shop/online or there is a lovely soft calico from Buttons & Bows in the Open Market, Brighton)
- Bring a sketchbook or folder with holepunched A4 paper plus some pritt stick, pins, fabric scissors, a hard pencil (2H -4H) and a pen.
- Sewing machines are needed for home work but are not needed during the classes. You'll need to have access at home to a sewing machine, pins, scissors and thread for your homework after classes 2 and 3 and after the end of the course to sew your skirt up, so you'll need to know how to sew already. If you don't have your own machine you can pop into The Sewing Lounge to use ours for (£5 an hour - speak to your tutor on the course to arrange) or we have weekly Stitch sewing classes during or after the course should you need them, from £18 a class.
- Wear thin clothes, leggings or tights (not too tight as changes body shape!) on week 1 for measuring the body and week for fitting your mock up/toile to yourself
- Cash to buy pattern paper from us, plus you may want to buy yourself grader ruler from us if you enjoy using it on the day (£15)
We provide: rulers, tracing wheels, masking tape, spare paper scissors, tape measures, handouts.
Where to buy fabric: Suggestions of where to buy your fabric locally will be given on your booking confirmation, or to see our list of local fabric shops now click here
Refreshments: Complimentary tea & coffee during the classes. Feel free to bring a snack if needed