In Fitting Fashion

  • Pattern Making Musings

    Gosh it's been a while hasn't it?  It's been a challenging few months but I wanted you to know that things are still happening around here just not as quickly as I had hoped.  

    As you may already know I am an Instructor in the fashion department at a local post secondary school.  This year I took on several new courses and have been spending nearly every available moment planning the course content and projects for this year's students.  I tend to put a lot of time and energy into planning because I feel that it's important for the students to have a valuable experience and I don't like being ill-prepared for anything.  

    This will be my second year of teaching and I think I learn even more about fashion while teaching it than I ever did studying it.  When you are forced to present an idea to someone else, it is imperative that you understand it completely first.  I've always known this but nothing makes this clearer than standing up in front of a group of students who are looking to you for knowledge and guidance.  


    I've had many "Ah-ha" moments as well as a few surprises this year.  For instance, it has become clear to me that spatial reasoning is a key ingredient to understanding pattern making.  Spatial reasoning is the ability to deal with how objects relate in two and three dimensions; it is the ability to visualize what something will look like within the mind. This is something I took for granted until I found that some students find this challenging and others find it very easy.  You can take your own spatial reasoning test if you are curious how you would score.  My score is on the average side of things but it's something I constantly try to improve on.  

    If you're looking for a challenge, try the Pattern Puzzles from Studio Faro .  After a short while I found I had an unbearable desire to physically manipulate the shapes.  I guess I am a very tactile person.  Probably the reason I prefer draping over flat pattern making.

    My understanding of pattern making comes purely through practice and experimentation.  It's extremely time consuming to perfect your pattern making skills and perseverance seems to be a key ingredient.  I actually wish I had spent more time perfecting my skills throughout my career.  I believe pattern making has become a lost art and I would like to play a small part in reviving it if possible.  Hopefully one or two of my students will find some joy in the process and create beautiful things with the knowledge they gain.  I think there are enough $5 T-Shirts constructed under dubious conditions in the marketplace.  I'm hoping our up and coming designers bring things to a new level-something akin to Christian Dior in 1947 with a fresh and modern twist.  I think it's time for a change.  Don't you?

    Courtesy of Metropolitan Museum of Art


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  • Comments on this post (4 comments)

    • Alexandra says...

      Hi Jo! Great to hear from you. Be proud of how far you’ve come. We’re all on the same journey!

      Hi Anita, I absolutely love your pattern puzzles. Such amazing learning opportunities!

      Hi Lynne! Welcome to the blog, I’m hoping to get back at that one soon. It been on the back burner while I’ve been teaching and making new patterns. Lots of thinks in the works for this year!

      On January 01, 2014

    • Lynne Cover says...

      Hi there! Just found your blog today and am really enjoying it. I was following the fittings that you were doing for Vogue 8664 and was wondering if you were going to continue with this project? Happy New Year!

      On January 01, 2014

    • Anita McAdam says...

      Thanks for the mention. Sometimes the only way to work out patterns is to manipulate fabric or paper. Love you blog. :)

      On December 27, 2013

    • Jo at says...

      I took the spatial skills test and got “average”. As a self taught beginner, I tie myself in knots trying to figure out pattern alterations, fitting, and construction.
      It’s frustrating trying to get the real world to match the pretty picture in my head!
      I’m not surprised I came up average in the test as I don’t feel it comes naturally to me. But I’ll keep trying cos I want pretty garments, dammit!

      Pleased to hear things are still moving along behind the scenes. I’ve got another cool cowl tank to blog, and I really want to make the belle bow blouse but the fitting is scaring me off!

      Long comment. Heh! Looking forward to what you come up with next :)

      On December 12, 2013

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