Pattern Design Books

Two very interesting pattern design books just received from Em of Retro Glam.

The draping book needs a lot of study – I’m a bit frightened of draping, it’s so different to anything I’ve ever tried. Em is making a 1930s dress and used draping to get her lovely pattern. I recommend taking a look at her blog for a real learning experience.

The one hour dress though is just my thing. I love making clothes without patterns. I can already see one of these beautiful 1920s dresses as the “thing” for a summer wedding I’ve been invited to. In lawn or a supple silk perhaps. I think I’ll make a very small scale version first to be sure I’ve got the hang of it.

Anyhow, lots of excitement for me thanks to Em.

Thanks for sharing the excitement with me.

Norma x



Filed under 1920s, Clothes, dresses, dressmaking, sewing

20 responses to “Pattern Design Books

  1. These look so exciting. I’m also scared of draping, but always wanted to give it a try. Looking forward to seeing what you make from these books


  2. Good luck! Can’t wait to see the small-scale version.


  3. What is draping? How can you make a dress in an hour? I agree that the dress in an hour looks perfect for summer. Looking forward to seeing what you sew.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Draping involves putting fabric on a dressmakers dummy and gradually converting it to a pattern for a garment. Does that make sense?
      I don’t think I can make a dress in an hour but the book has a certified incidence of it. I’ll see when i try but to be honest 2 or 3 hours would be wonderful

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m so exciting to share the journey with you, Norma. My experience has been that draping is a good learning experience but not the most precise for making patterns. I’ve learned so much from the 1930s draping technique but had the same fit issues as I did with the method in the book I sent, and that was written circa 1960-1970.

    Overall, I’ve found that drafting has more precision. Yet it is possible to combine both techniques. You can draft a basic block and then use draping for something like a capelet collar on a blouse or a flounce on a skirt.

    Even if you never drape a garment, studying the illustrations and techniques will give you a better understanding of how pattern shapes are created and how the fabric will fold, flare or gather. I wish that in school we had used 1/2 scale forms instead of full forms. I think that is the real way to go along with learning how to size up from 1/2 scale.

    The 1 hour dress must have had many, many short cuts in the construction. I think a step-by-step instruction sheet would have been most helpful. As the book is the sewing instructions are embedded with the drafting instructions for some styles.

    What you’ll find of great interest is that some of the dresses had what were called walking pleats in the back or side seams. I think these were added to give the columnar shapes more room for movement. I look forward to seeing how you adapt the styles. Enjoy!


    • I am thrilled by them both. I wonder whether the finish on the one hour dress could be up to scratch.
      I like the walking pleats so I’ll probably incorporate those. I saw a dress on the Oonabaloona blog that has a similar look to the skirt.
      I think draping is well worth pursuing even if just to improve my techniques.
      Thanks again!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m quite intrigued by the one hour dress! And of course the illustration is beautiful — she looks so elegant with her parasol and pretty shoes. I’ll look forward to your updates.


  6. Oh fabulous books! I’m going to head down the draping method again at some point. I did it a lot at college and it was one of my favourite ways of creating a pattern. The fabric does what it’s going to do and you just have to go with it. It’s an odd feeling but you end up creating some amazing pieces. I replicated a corseted John Galliano dress by doing this once, I loved it! xx


  7. Nice! That pattern really looks good. I love that it includes so many designs. Can’t wait to see what you do with it!


  8. The one hour dress looks like it has lots of potential. The choice of fabric could make it fabulous! I’m looking forward to seeing it!


  9. I started a Craftsy draping course and had to put it aside for a while. All I seemed to visualize was Roman Togas. I’m just not ready for this yet. LOL But I’m looking forward to reading about anything anyone else has to show!

    Liked by 1 person

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