A personal pet peeve of mine is drafting patterns. I HATE DRAFTING PATTERNS from scratch because they take forever. I have a collection of drafted patterns but for some reason, with cosplay, many of the patterns cannot be reused. Because of this, I have learned one shortcut method to patterning. Here is a tip on how to quickly and easily make a pattern.
- Find good reference pictures of the item you need. Study it- where are the darts placed? Is the zipper in back or front? If it’s a skirt or dress, where does the waist begin? A good set of reference pictures for your item will help you out. I tend to keep a copy of my reference pictures in my Google Docs so that I can access it from anywhere, especially my cell phone.
- Raid your closet or go to your local thrift store and find an item with all the similar traits. Try the item on and make sure it fits. If it fits “well enough” then we can make modifications later but find one that fits pretty well. I like crawling thrift stores because I can usually find an item for $2 to $5 which is sometimes much cheaper than buying a pattern and quicker than drafting my own. Try to find an item that fits well around the bust, waist, shoulders, crotch, butt and thigh. If an item’s sleeves or length is too long or short, those are easy modifications to make. The other items are a lot harder.
- If you need to make modifications to your thrift store bought item, now is the time to make those modifications. Turn the item inside out. Wear the item. Get some pins and have someone pin the item where it is too loose. I use a pen and mark where the item might be too tight or needs extension. I found this very handy tutorial on alterations that has helped me in my time of need. I tend to make all the markings for splicing the pattern directly onto the item itself and add in reminders (eg. “+ 2 inches from waist”)
- Get your handy dandy seam ripper and rip open all the seams, all the darts, and hey, you might as well rip out the zipper too. Who knows, you might even be able to use it later and it will save you $ on having to buy a new zipper. Remove all your loose threads.
- Ta-da, now you have your pattern. Use it wisely. If you made modifications to your item, now is the time to cut up the pattern and splice it before pinning it onto your fabric. You’re done with making your pattern. Now go and frolic. Frolic like me, be free for you do not have to draft your pattern from scratch.