We all have shop-bought clothes we get really attached to, don’t we? So a while back, I attended a Copy Your Clothes workshop (I think it’s called ‘pattern hack’ on their website) at Centre Front Studio in Wallsend. You take along clothes that you like and draft a paper pattern from them so you can recreate them once they’re past their best. How cool is that? I took two dresses along – one is pretty much on its last legs, but the other one is just a dress that I happen to like a lot, so why not take a pattern from it?
The basic principle is that you lay your clothes out on top of pattern paper and trace the shapes off using various methods – drawing around them, using a tracing wheel, pricking through seam lines with a pin, or anything else that comes to mind. The fabric will sometimes require a bit of manipulation and it can be a bit fiddly in places, but we managed. We even moved a dart on one of them! I was so engrossed in what I was doing that I completely forgot to get photos of this part, but I did manage to get some photos of my patterns!
You end up with a bit of a wonky pattern which will need neatening up. I re-traced all of my pieces onto a new sheet of paper and kept my original as a master copy to adjust as necessary. The pattern won’t include seam allowance, so if you do this make sure you add it in all the right places before you start sewing anything. I remembered to do this on my first test garment, but after making a couple of small adjustments to the pattern I made an entire second toile before realising I had forgotten to add seam allowance onto my new pattern. Despite that, I’m happy to say it seems to have worked! My first toile was actually okay, but I wanted to get the fit just right. Hopefully sample number three will be a keeper. You can see I have a very technical way of keeping track on the right side of my fabric when I’m making samples!
The toiles look a bit uninspiring in calico, but I think once I’ve made something up in pretty fabric it will look fine. I can’t wait to have a go! I’ve been getting distracted with loads of other things recently, but I’m caught up now and I’m hoping to have another crack at this soon.
It’s definitely worth booking onto a workshop if you want to have a go at this. If I hadn’t had Dan and Rory to help, I’m sure it wouldn’t have gone half as well. But I [kind of] know what I’m doing now, so the workshop was well worth the money. And it was good fun as always! 🙂