Last Monday I had the second pattern drawing class. I was still well-prepared when I got there. My bag was still very neatly organized, and I had bought all the supplies we needed. I had 5 extra tape measures in different colours so that I could puzzle it together to create a professional size-taking tape measure.


I even thought of bringing some water along. In a reusable bottle, environmental-friendly as we are. Heck, I even put the bottle in a separate plastic bag, to avoid leakage in case I didn’t close it properly. Can you see it coming already?

After class, I got everything back in the bag, still neatly organized. Except for the extra plastic bag. I forgot about that. And I also didn’t close the bottle properly. As I kind of expected I would, but still, I forgot about the extra plastic bag. So here’s the culprit:

You can still see the water drops on it…

And the result? A wet bag, what else… I got everything out as quickly as I can, but from now on, my course looks slightly curvy:


Luckily that’s only part of the course, I had taken out the rest of it already, since we won’t be needing it just yet. Trying to be organized does help, even though I’m not completely there yet. To be honest, I’m amazed I made it into the second lesson 😉

Sounds familiar? Or are you guys real neat freaks and never encounter anything like this? If so, I so envy you…

Off to a good start!

The first class of pattern drawing has come and gone, and it was nice. Nice to see most familiar faces from last year back, nice to see some new faces, nice to see the teacher back, and nice to start drawing again. After the first obligatory red tape that needed to be done, we got going already. Luckily I could find all my gear immediately in my neatly cleaned bag, ahem.

We’ll focus on blouses first, and after that we’ll move on to dresses. Simply put, a dress is just a blouse with a skirt attached to it. But I guess it’ll get slightly more complicated than that.

Here’s how we learn:

  1. Together with the teacher, we draw a standard blouse, using retail sizes.
  2. We take our own measurements.
  3. We draw a standard blouse using our own measurements.
  4. We make the standard blouse in muslin and fit it.
  5. We alter our pattern to make sure all future blouses will hide our imperfections.
  6. We start from our own standard pattern to draw all kinds of blouses, depending on what we want ourselves.

Looks pretty simple, when you put it like that. Of course, there’s a lot of math involved, and it all takes slightly longer, so we’ll be busy for quite a while. We’ll also learn about different collars and sleeves and all that. Once we can do that, we’ll repeat the whole thing for dresses. 
And this year, we’ll have to learn some formula by heart. When we’re least expecting it, the teacher will point to one of us and we’ll have to blurt it out. I guess I’ll have some studying to do, to avoid the surprised answer that goes a little like “Blaaaaaah Huh?” Which, of course, is just a vocalization of the time I need to think about the formula, but it just doesn’t sound all that smart 🙂 
And for those wondering, I survived the first night without my boy a lot better than I thought I would. It even felt (almost) nice to be out of the house without having to think about whether I had enough nappies in my bag. And by the time I got home, my two most favourite guys in the world were asleep on the sofa. Adorable 🙂
And now, let’s get cracking!

Back to school!

It’s not just the children that have to start school again today. Evening classes are starting again as well. So, tonight I’m starting the second year of pattern drawing. On the programme this year: blouses and dresses. I’d better start losing those last pregnancy pounds before we need to take our measurements!

I’m a bit ashamed to admit, but I haven’t touched last year’s course all summer. I hardly even touched the bag. Only now and then, to push it aside a bit when it got in my way. Of course, I don’t want to arrive in class tonight with the mess I left in my bag after the very last class before summer. So I did clean it out completely. Heck, I even vacuumed it!

I got out what I won’t be needing this year, and started organizing what I will be able to use again. And so I found out I still have loads of pattern drawing paper left. Lesson learned, instead of keep buying new one, search the full bag to see if I have anything left, instead of just quickly rummaging through it.

Back to school

Looks pretty neat for now, doesn’t it?

And with the long rulers in there as well, I’m just about ready to go!

Back to school

Although I guess that by tonight, it may look again as if something exploded in there…

And oh yeah, it’s also the first time I’ll be leaving the house without my little boy. Not sure how I’ll handle that, but I’m sure my hubby and boy will definitely enjoy their guys’ night 🙂

Excuses, excuses

The last few weeks, I’ve missed practically every pattern drawing class. Not a good thing, since classes were already running to an end. Not only did I miss how I did on the test we had last month, I also missed the first part of the exam.

Of course, I have loads of good excuses why I missed the last classes. There was…

Packing for a trip to The Vosges in France. Agree, I shouldn’t have postponed that until the last minute. Can I blame my hubby here? He only came back from a men-only weekend on the same day when we had to pack for The Vosges… Which doesn’t explain why I couldn’t pack my gear, I know… Poor excuse…

The Vosges

Next class, next excuse… We had only just come back from The Vosges, and due to a little sunburn combined with pregnancy, I couldn’t wear shoes anymore. And going to class barefoot… Well, that was just one bridge too far in my opinion. Good excuse!

For the last lesson I missed (which consisted of the first part of the exam), I can blame my unborn. There was an info session at the hospital about going into labour and giving birth. We got loads of practical information and got to see the delivery room already, so we all knew what to expect. Pretty useful, so good excuse!

Of course, it doesn’t really matter whether I had good excuses or not. Fact is that I missed the first part of the exam and am now at home, trying to make it work. Good side of that: I can procrastinate and spend time writing a blog post. Bad side: no peeking, and too much distraction.

Pattern drawing exam

I’m halfway there. I have the basic pattern of the skirt we have to draw, and I kind of started making the adjustments needed to get to the skirt we have to end up with.

Maybe it would go faster if I stopped procrastinating right now… Which I will do… After I made some tea…

From skirts to trousers…. and beyond!

It’s hard to believe, but my first year of pattern drawing classes is coming to an end. Only a couple more classes left. It went so fast!

Shortly after New Year’s, we finished up drawing skirt patterns. In theory, I should now be able to draw up any type of skirt for any size and any posture. In practice, I’m not that confident yet. My first try at a maternity skirt was not really a success. But I’ll save that story for a different post.

After the skirts, we moved on to trousers. There’s a lot more to keep in mind when you’re drawing trousers! Let’s just say we’re not in Kansas anymore…

I won’t go into all the technical details, but I did learn quite some fun facts already, so I thought I’d share them with you:

  • Don’t waste time and effort on drawing up your own jeans. You’ll never be able to process the fabric like the big brands do, it’s easier to just buy a pair and make some adjustments, if necessary. Of course, if you are like me, this fact may keep lingering in your head until, one day, you’ll yell ‘Challenge… accepted!’
  • Don’t waste time and effort on drawing up (and sewing) fancy suit pants for men. The way in which the pockets and the lining need to be finished will take a lot of time and cause a lot of frustrations. Just buying a suit is a lot easier. And for this one, I don’t think you’ll ever hear me yell ‘Challenge accepted’… Sweat suit pants are a completely different story, of course. You can do whatever you want with those.
  • Drawing up a pair of (simple) trousers for men is a completely different technique than drawing them up for women, apparently. All because we are built differently. During this class, we’re focusing on women’s trousers only, but I did find out one big difference between the two. Apparently, you can recognize a good tailor by the questions he/she asks his/her clients. Because a good tailor should always ask a man how it’s hanging. Literally. A good pattern and a good fitted pair of trousers provides some extra room on one side. We didn’t go into any details, so I have no idea what the pattern would look like, but I did find it intriguing. Of course, in a way, it’s logical, isn’t it? When we learn how to draw up skirts and dresses next year, we’ll provide the extra room for our breasts as well, after all.
Anyway, during the last class, we had a test. Draw a pair of women’s classic trousers, and in doing so, use the measurements on the board. Fortunately, we could keep our course material with us. Still, it took me all 3,5 hours to come up with a pattern. And then we didn’t even have to take posture into account. I wonder how I did…
All in all, I must say this class is more intensive and more difficult than I would have thought. There really is quite some math involved, and I am pretty tired when I come home late at night. But it’s also very fullfilling. Well, it will be, if the test went well…


Custom-made skirt

I’m really enjoying the pattern classes I’m taking. I must admit, it was a bit confronting in the beginning. Sure, we had to take each others measurements, I was prepared for that. And that each one of us had to go and stand in front of the class so we could determine where our lumps and bumps were to decide where the darts should go, I could live with that as well. Eventhough I was marked as a hollow-back girl. Literally, of course, not the Gwen Stefani kind. Hey, I’m married after all 😉

At that point, silly me even thought the hardest part was over. I had been scrutinized, now I could draw my pattern and take that hollow back into account. Easy peasy. Of course, I had totally forgot about fitting. And believe you me, when you say the word fitting, you should hear thunder and see lightning to indicate how ominous it actually is.

So, I had to make my first skirt. In muslin (or left-over fabric), so it could still be altered and perfected afterwards. And once again, I would have to go in front of the class to be scrutinized. Oh boy. I made sure I’d had enough sleep, focused on a positive mood and put on my skirt. And my thick skin. I was ready for battle.

Now, you may ask yourself why we had to go through all this hassle again. Wasn’t the skirt already made to fit? Well, it was. But only in theory. And that theory does not take your actual built into account, or your standing posture, or how one side of your body is not necessarily exactly the same as your other side.

The picture below comes from Posture for a Healthy Back: What is Good Posture and shows you what kind of postures there are. And each of these postures influence how you wear a skirt (or any other garment, for that matter).

So, there I was again. Turning in every direction, so my classmates wouldn’t miss a thing. It does feel a bit weird, seeing a dozen faces focusing on your skirt, pulling it down a bit, then up a bit again. And these gals see every tiny detail!

For me, the conclusion was that I was not symmetrical. My hip is a bit higher on one side, which makes that my skirt is a bit higher up on one side as well. My standing posture also sways back a bit, which makes my skirt look a bit longer at the back than it looks on the front. These ‘faults’ had to be taken into account in my pattern as well. I also had to adjust my side seams a bit, so they were in the middle of my hip. That’s because I have more bum than belly. Which is a good thing 😉 And that was all!

To be honest, I considered myself lucky. True, some people were a lot better off, having to change nearly nothing. But others had their skirt cut over their bellies, or over their thighs, to indicate where extra fabric was needed. A very good practice, but I was just glad that my underwear wasn’t suddenly showing.

So yes, the conclusing is that I’m a hollow-backed high-hipped girl, which actually means that I’m a bit lopsided and slightly out of balance. But from now on, noone will be able to tell that any more from the way my skirt looks.

How about you? Do you have good posture, or do you recognize yourself more in the other postures?

Pattern drawing classes

Have you seen this clip?

It was used to announce the grand opening of Westfield Stratford City. Pretty neat, hey? I love how the couple dances its way through all that fashion. So pretty!

Ah, retro and vintage. It sure is my weak spot. That’s why I took up pattern drawing classes. I’m secretly hoping to design my own versions of the outfits in this clip. On the menu in class this first year: skirts and trousers.

So, even though we’re still pretty busy renovating, it’s time for me to get my sewing gear out again, space or no space. I can feel the itch, and it would be cruel to ignore it. Who knows what my wardrobe will look like this time next year 🙂

How about you? Anything retro on your needles, hooks or machines? Do share!