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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Making A Basic Pattern Block

Even if you are new to sewing there is no reason why you shouldn't be able to make your own patterns.
Making a pattern can be easier than sewing!

And sometimes you just can't find the style you want so you have to make your own...

If you can follow a recipe you can make a simple pattern.
But you do need a good patternmaking book to follow, and a few tools, just like you need a good cookbook and the right tools when you are learning to cook.

When making your basic blocks, precision and accurate measurements are the most important things because you will use the BASIC BLOCKS to make all of your designs from and if the basic block fits well, then a lot of your work is done....

This week I made a basic block for my three year old.

I used the book above  called Metric Pattern Cutting For Children.

I have many pattern cutting books and this is the only one I have EVER found that is geared for children. 
So if you want to learn to make your own kids patterns you should buy this book,
The good thing is the book is very easy to follow and the patterns fit really well if drafted accurately.

These were the directions I had to follow to make my basic pattern block, which I will later use to design some clothes.
You have to take a LOT of measurements which is the hardest part with a wiggly kid.
However, my nine year old was no problem !

Here is my basic block for my three year old. It took some concentration and I had to take the measurements with a metric ruler.

Since doing this basic block I have made another one for my nine year old and I used my regular imperial ruler. But I have to say, doing the calculations were easier the metric way. How hard was it to figure out 1/16 of 7. 5 inches?!

Trust me, doing the math is easier using metrics!
A basic block does NOT have seam allowances. This allows for more accurate designs when you trace your blocks and cut them apart to make new designs.

To make a muslin to check for fit, I traced my basic block front and back and sleeve for one side of the body.

Then I added seam allowances.

The fit was good!

Of course fitting a toddler body is pretty much a no brainer compared to the curves of an adult. The sleeve was about an inch too long.

But as I mentioned before, taking measurements for a wiggly toddler is another story altogether!

Stop by after the 13th and I will show you how I used my blocks to create the design I made for Gigi for Project Run & Play!

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  1. love that you are making your own block and individual patterns - I tend to draft patterns using just measurements or the tried and true, copy something they own method ;op I love what great accuracy you get this way. I think blocking may have to wait until they are a bit older though ;o) I can't wait to see what you have for PR&P!!!! ~Suzanne (

  2. My mom has this book (can't remember if she used it to make K's attendant dress a few years ago or if it was pattern drafting software?) and it's on my rapidly expanding 'things to try' list. Can't wait to see what you make for the first challenge on PR&P!

    1. Thanks Cindy. the styles in the book aren't that cool but it gives great basic patternmaking skills!

  3. I regretfully had to return my borrowed copy of this book to the library, but it's coming to me in the mail..what a great book. Being such an admirer of your work, I cannot wait to see the creation you made with this block!

    1. Thanks Heidi. You are one of my favorite kid sewing bloggers!

  4. I enjoyed this post. I have the book, though haven't drawn blocks from it yet but your post is very encouraging.

  5. This is really exciting! I'm going to pick up a copy of this book, asap! Looking forward to seeing the finished product. :)

  6. I absolutely cannot wait to get this book--thank you!!! I have been wanting to teach myself how to do this, but there is practically nothing online and books for kids are scarce, so you've given me a way now. I'm looking forward to seeing your PR&P project :)

  7. I love this book, especially the explanations the author gives on the variations in pattern blocks as a child grows. I bypassed the book a few times because I thought working with metrics was going to be too much of a distraction. I was so wrong. After using this book, I'm definitely a metric convert :).

  8. Oh, I have this book! Did you use the block pictured? There are so many to choose from. The styles are dated but easy enough to alter and modernise. Make sure you show us what you make from the block :)


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