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Pattern drafting is an essential skill you should have as a fashion designer. With it, sewing is easier to teach and learn. It is a deviation from the traditional free hand cutting method.

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You don’t have to cut the fabric directly. Rather, you can create the design or blueprint on a pattern paper. The blueprint is then carefully placed on the fabric, then cut. Patterns can be used over and over again. It reduces mistakes and saves time.

To be an expert in pattern drafting, you must have the skills below:

1. Know pattern drafting and sewing terms

There are terms used in pattern drafting and sewing. The terms are the processes involved, the tools and equipment needed, body measurements and so on.

It is important for you to know the terminologies used in pattern drafting. When you know the terms, you can easily teach and learn with it. The terms are not difficult to know. You just need to learn them.

Some of the terms are: facing, dart, apex, blocks, Armscye, CF(center front), CB(center back), bust point, ease, grading, interfacing, notches, slopper, sweep, sewing allowance, slash and spread, etc.

2. How to take body measurement

If you struggle with taking accurate body measurement, you will struggle with pattern drafting. You need an accurate body measurement to draft an accurate pattern.

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Body measurement is a vital skill in fashion designing. You must know where and how to measure in your clients physique. Your pattern will have many mistakes if the measurement is wrong.

If you don’t know how to take accurate body measurement, you can ask fashion designers you know. If you don’t know anyone, watch fashion YouTube channels. Practice until you are an expert. It is very easy to learn.

3. How to draft basic blocks

To be a professional at pattern drafting, you must be able to draft the basic blocks. It is just like building a house. You have to make sure you set a strong foundation. Basic blocks are the foundation of pattern drafting.

The basic blocks are patterns for the basic body measurement. They include pattern for: top, skirt, gown, sleeve and trousers. The patterns are always in two’s. The front and back pattern.

Drafting the basic blocks might be a difficult task for beginners. However, it is very important in pattern drafting. It is easy to learn. All you need to do is have a pattern or cardboard, the body measurement you need, scissors, tape rule, ruler, curve set and pencil or marker.

4. Know the basic blocks derivatives

After drafting your basic blocks, you can modify it. All basic blocks can be modified to sew a complicated or trendy style. You have to know how to modify your pattern.

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For instance, if you have a basic top pattern, you may modify it to become a lot of things. Examples are: a bustier top, corset with basque waistline, an off-shoulder top, a tube top, a top with keyhole neckline, a maxi top, and so on.

Pattern drafting helps you to practice new styles without wasting fabric. If you want to cut a palazzo trouser, you can modify your basic trouser pattern. Don’t be contended with learning only the basic pattern blocks. Learn the derivatives of all the basic blocks to get your desired style.


You don’t have to rush the process. You can take it a step at a time. If you are a beginner with zero knowledge on pattern drafting, you can learn with the pointers above. Above all, you need to consistently practice until you are an expert.

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This article was first published on 3rd August 2022


My name is Agbagba Bukola. I write about the business and exciting world of fashion.

Comments (3)

3 thoughts on “4 Pattern Drafting Skills Fashion Designers Should Know”

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