dressmaking

The Art of Pattern Cutting

My mum and I have just returned from a three-day pattern cutting course that has completely transformed the way we think about sewing. The course, Pattern Cutting 1, is one of a variety of sewing courses delivered by the super talented Jane White of Jane White Couture. Over three days Jane introduced us to the art of pattern cutting and helped us to create perfectly fitting skirt, trouser, bodice and sleeve blocks. She also showed us a number of exciting manipulation techniques – from changing a pencil skirt into an A line skirt, to moving darts and suppressing them into seams – it was a real eye opener!

Jane began by taking a full set of body measurements that far surpassed the waist, bust and hips sizes given by most patterns. She then introduced us to the Winifred Aldrich pattern cutting method and helped us to produce our own personal pattern blocks. With lots of measurements to make and lines to draw, pattern cutting can be a daunting prospect but Jane debunked the myth surrounding it and broke the process down in a clear and easy to understand way. Kind and encouraging, she reassured us that we could do it and we could do it well 🙂

After drawing our blocks on squared pattern paper, we copied them on to tracing paper and then transferred the markings on to calico to produce a toile. As well as being a word I struggle to say, a toile is a mock up that allows you to see if the garment fits properly. After all, you don’t want to waste good fabric finding out your lovingly made dress is too small! Once our toiles were complete, we tried them on and Jane showed us ways to tweak them further to create an even better fit.


It was such an illuminating process and my mum and I left Lincolnshire feeling like proper seamstresses, bursting with excitement and ideas for future dressmaking projects. (My mum is going to make a floral summer dress, while I hope to make a pair of wool cigarette pants.) We have also booked up for Jane’s more advanced pattern cutting courses later in the year.

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You can find a full list of Jane’s courses on her website www.janewhitetuition.co.uk

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