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How to design and make your own clothes - Pattern Cutting - Part 2/4

Updated: Jun 26

You too can create your own sewing patterns and here's how!

Once you've decided what you want the end result to look like then it's time to start pattern cutting... but wait, where should you even start?

Don't worry I've broken it down for you below!


Step 1: Work out what you're going to pattern cut

Pattern cutting is like writing a recipe for a cake (for me that's a chocolate cherry roulade at the moment!). You just need to work out what ingredients and methods you'll need to make your final creation. Pattern cutting is no different.

90% of the time pattern cutting starts with pattern blocks (basic sewing pattern stencils). If you need your own bodice and sleeves blocks, they're included inside our pattern cutting courses or separately here.

Once you've got your blocks you need to start by deciding which design (max 3 designs) to start with. On your design, annotate exactly what needs altering on your pattern blocks to make it look like your design.

Here are a few pointers to help get those cogs turning:

  1. What fabric are you going to be using? The behaviour of the fabric may cause you to make different decisions, for example, pleats need to be bigger to stand out with thicker fabrics, silk can automatically create a more draped look so you may not need to add in much extra fabric to create a draped 'easy fitting' look.

  2. What is the overall fit? Wider, more fitted, longer, shorter?

  3. What are the sleeves/legs like? Super fitted, poofy, flared, do they have cuffs and a placket opening?

  4. If you're not having sleeves then what are the armholes like? Do they extend out?

  5. How are you going to get the garment on and off? Buttons, zips, poppers, maybe it doesn't need fastenings because the design allows you to get it on and off?

  6. Are there any design features you're adding? Ruffles, tucks, gathers, pleats?

These are just a few thoughts to get you going but as you write this list and annotate your design, it'll encourage you to notice what else will need changing.

Step 2: It's time to get drafting your patterns

Start by moving any darts, that are in the way of your design, out of the way or into new design features (unless your garment is super loose that you don't need the darts anymore).

Work on altering the fit of the garment to your design and then the design features of the bodice/legs. After this, if you have sleeves, pattern cut them making sure to do any armhole alterations if you've changed the armhole fit on the bodice.

Step 3: Adding hem and seam allowances

Hem and seam allowances must always be added to your sewing patterns last. This is so they don't get altered or get in the way whilst you're making your patterns.

The type of fabric will really influence the type and size of your hem and seam allowances. In our Introduction to Pattern Cutting eBook, we've written some recommendations on when to use different types and sizes of hems and seams. Click here if you've not downloaded your copy yet (it's totally free).

Step 4: Annotating

This is the bit that most people hate doing but it's the icing on the cake, especially if you're creating a slow fashion wardrobe where you'll want to use the same patterns over and over or adapt them slightly in years to come!

If you've purchased our course then you'll find our Pattern Cutting Checklist is included. It'll help you remember what you need to write and it's really helpful to organise your sewing patterns when you're storing them too!

If you'd like this checklist to help with your annotations and organise your sewing patterns then you can get yours here.

If you have any questions or want to learn more, head over to my Instagram to hear about my latest courses, tips and tricks. We'd also love to see your process so feel free to tag us in your posts!


Come and learn how to start creating your own sewing patterns with my free online class. In just 60 minutes, you'll learn how to take your design and transform it into dream clothes that you can wear. Sign up here to grab your spot now.

I can't wait to see you inside the masterclass and answer your pattern drafting questions.

Happy creating, Sarah x

P.S. Come over to part 3 where I'll be talking about toiles. This is a vital part of the process so be sure to check it out! Click here to start reading

In case you missed Part 1, then here's the link below:


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