18 April 2010

CSM class

Last week I was down in London taking a pattern drafting class at Central Saint Martins (a mecca for fashion design!). I had previously taken a pattern cutting course there around Christmas, and I thought this would be a good follow up. If you think you may be interested in taking a similar course, there are some differences. The main difference between the two is that pattern drafting is exactly what it sounds like – drafting patterns from specific measurements using mathematical formulas, and pattern cutting is working from a standard block and then manipulating features, such as darts or necklines. I think pattern cutting is a great class to take for home sewers because it shows how easily you can adjust and change commercial patterns. Pattern drafting is also good knowledge to have, but I must admit it is very involved and time consuming (although you get faster with practice), and tends to be a labour of love.

The pattern drafting class I took was a week long and made a skirt from our own measurements. We practiced drafting and sewing up a basic skirt and then we were able to make our own design. After a couple rejected drafts I finally came up with my design – a pencil skirt with side zip, facing, and a ruffled back panel underneath the bum and extending to the hem (below).
The skirt was fairly easy, but it was my first time making ruffles from scratch to fit a shaped panel so it was a bit laborious. It took me a few hours to construct the panel, and this is me after drafting, cutting, and sewing most of the skirt in one afternoon (I was REALLY frazzled to say the least – thanks for the picture Nia!)

I didn’t end up fully sewing the skirt in class because I wanted to spend my precious class time learning new skills rather than finishing a toile. I have since bought some fabric to make it up in, and when I do I will show how I did the ruffles for the toile and how I am going to do them differently for the actual skirt (the way I did it for the toile was more time consuming).


  1. Fun skirt! Knowing how to draft your patterns makes all the difference. Except now that I'm trying to be historically accurate in patterning and sewing, I'm noticing you do need the old patterns. Which is annoying because they aren't my size.

  2. Hi i wanted to know how good the pattern drafting course was at csm and is it for beginners?