As I’m trucking along in the 7th hour of putting the pattern sizes together, I keep thinking that people really don’t know what it entails to get a pattern ready for release. I am hoping I’ll have this pattern ready for release next week, but I still have hours left of making the sizes look good and have to update my directions still.
Here is my journey of labor and love for a pattern. (Apologies for not photographing more steps in my process.)
1. Initial design phase – this involves sketching and creating my initial pattern. For the Laurel, I started with my Christina Sports Bra as my base. Altering the pattern in my software is getting easier, but I used to do this step by hand.
I cut and paste the pattern together in my software, double check the seam measurements, the waistline measurements, side seam measurements, across bust measurements. Once I feel like I have a working sample, I print out the first draft and sew a sample for myself. This was my first sample
I can then evaluate major and minor changes to my base size. For the Laurel, I was able to get changes in my base size completed after this first round. For the Christina, this phase took about 6 samples. The Christina was started from scratch, so initial patterns in a new silhouette are more labor intensive.
2. Initial grade for the J cup band range – I start this grade based on the Christina grade, but because the seams are completely different, there is a lot of trial and error.
My grading is done in two parts. First for the J cup (my size) for all band sizes, then for each cup size in each band size. There is a lot of back and forth to make this work. The side seams and waistline have to remain the same as the Christina so I stay consistent in my sizing.
Then I need to make sure both sides of the princess seam line remain the same for each size increase. I also have to verify the measurement across the bust is increasing by the right amount. The last point to adjust is the strap point and a point on the armhole which affects the armhole coverage.
If you were wondering, I usually need two notebooks and a clipboard out to help me keep the numbers straight. I also have a spreadsheet I use to help me determine what each measurement should be. When I get to the size 40/42 in the range, I make changes in the pattern shapes to accomodate a slightly different body shape.
This initial grade takes about two to three 6 hour days (for the wide 150 sizes range I cover for the sports bras).
3. Writing initial directions & test fit – I do a rough set for my pattern testers to follow for testing fit of my graded range. I then send the patterns to my testers for checking fit.
I generally give about 2-3 weeks, but sometimes less if its an easy sew. At this time I take a tiny break from my patterns to work on my many other projects.
4. Test fit evaluation and changes – after reviewing 4-6 different sizes I determine if the changes that are needed are a simple grade change or a more complicated pattern change that is needed. Luckily the Laurel Sports Bra was a simple grade change. I neglected to check the measurements on the new pattern of the center front to the armhole. Most of the patterns were off by 1/2 an inch, which affected the fit for everyone.
I also discovered a little pattern problem with the waistband which caused me to have to adjust the waistband pattern and the waistline measurements of the patterns. I also realized this is a change that needs to be made on the Christina, so I will go back after all these steps and update those patterns as well. I honestly don’t think anyone would notice the issue on the Christina, but I’m a perfectionist, so I, of course, have to fix it.
5. Export patterns from software into PDF I can turn into my pattern downloads. At this point, most people might think I am nearing completion, but in actuality, I’m only about half way through this process. I next make all my lines pretty by adding styling and colors to the pattern pieces. This took me 3 hours.
6. Rearranging patterns for download – this sounds easy, but the patterns are not all together. All the A cups of each pattern piece are together and each other cup for each pattern piece are all grouped together. I have to then take each band and each cup and separate them into each band size. That alone took about 2 hours.
Once they are all in their own files, then comes the daunting task of nesting each pattern set together, adding pattern info, grainlines and sizing square. Then grouping them and placing them in the Letter, A4 and A0 formats. Each band size takes 1.5 to 2 hours to organize and get ready for downloading.
7. Filming the tutorials – I take the time to film directions and generally sew two samples together in case there are alterations I’m showing in the directions. I plan out the best steps for construction and mark up the initial direction I created to follow my tutorial.
8. Updating the directions – this generally doesn’t take too long, but I often have to illustrate steps that were not previously illustrated.
9. Editing the video tutorials
10. Creating the online listing and uploading the files for download.
11. Pattern release!
Well, there you have it. I still have from the middle of step 6 and 8-11 to complete, but I’m taking this tiny break to write this post about my process. Luckily I filmed the tutorial on Monday, so I at least have most of that done, all I need to do is film my intro for the videos.
It is done and live everywhere! Pattern Design: Fundamentals is here!
It has been a labor of love and I have finally given birth to my book, 5 years in the making. I feel like I can take a deep breath now, you know, before I start the next book in this series.
But before I can do that, I have many other projects to finish, including a fashion illustration book I’ve been working on with a colleague from California. It is in its editing stage right now, but I’ll post about that project separately. I also have plans to release a new sports bra and re-release the California Dreaming bra with some tweaks and adjustments.
In the meantime, let me revel in my current COMPLETED PROJECT, Pattern Design: Fundamentals. I formatted the book for eReaders and made the book available in a variety of formats, to accommodate a variety of learning styles and price points. I believe I also set the kindle to be free (only on Amazon.com, not international sites) if you buy the black & white book on Amazon (if I set it up right – make sure to tell me if it doesn’t do that).
I hope you enjoy the fruits of my labor. I developed this book in conjunction with a few courses I created when I had my nonprofit design school. I also created half-scale slopers and half-scale curved rulers for use with the course/book. These forms are the same specs as the book (with the exception of the sleeve – I goofed on the specs for the plastic one).
I know that not everyone is a book learner so if you enjoy hand holding while learning to draft, I will be offering this book in an online course format soon. If you ever wonder when I sleep, that’s a good question. Sometimes I wonder too.
I am working on building the coursework for learning through online classes. I plan to release my first classes sometime in November, but I have a few other things I need to complete prior to that, so in actuality, it may not happen until the end of the year. Subscribe to this blog to be updated on all future projects.
Until my next update, I think I need some minions…….