Plan of Action (Dress 003)

If you are just starting out making your own patterns, it helps to first outline a Plan of Action rather than just diving in.  The plan of action consists of looking at the Flat and any specification and making notes about what needs to be done, such as:

  • determining many pattern pieces the design requires
  • listing the pattern pieces
  • making notes on what needs to be done for certain pattern pieces, or groups of pattern pieces (where relevant).
  • doing any necessary calculations (e.g. how much needs to be added onto each pattern piece at the hem area)
  • if you are using any ready-to-wear clothing for a reference, measuring and noting the measurements

I will write a list of the pattern pieces, but I won't necessarily write notes on each and every pattern piece. For example;  if I am creating facing and it is standard facing, I don't need to write any notes.  If you are just starting though, you may need to note the width of the facing at the side seam and CF/CB.  As you make more patterns, is is likely you will write less notes as you will have the information in your head.

In this case, I am using a ready-to-wear dress that I have with a princess line seam to refer to for the hem area.  The dress I am referring to is above-knee length, and my design is for a below-the-knee length, but I decided to use the same hem area because I find the reference-dress too full at the above-knee.  I think that fullness will work better at the below-knee level of the dress I am making.

How many pattern pieces?

The Flat gives the necessary information for the external pieces, but you also need to think about the internal pieces such as lining,  facing, interfacing etc.

dress 003 POA pattern pieces

There are 8 Pattern Pieces for Dress 003; six main pieces and two internal pieces; both the front and back have all-in-one facing.

  1. Dress Centre Front
  2. Bodice Side Front
  3. Side Skirt Front
  4. Dress Centre Back
  5. Bodice Side Back
  6. Side Skirt Back
  7. Bodice Front Facing (and interfacing)
  8. Bodice Back Facing (and interfacing)

Notes/Plan of Action for creating Pattern Pieces

As mentioned at the beginning, I am referencing a ready-to-wear dress with a princess seam that has a flared skirt,  to get the hem area for my pattern.  I will not be replicating it exactly - I will be using it as a guide.

Dress Centre Front (PP #1)

  • Note - don't draw the Princess Line until after the dart manipulation!
  • Pivot some of the side seam dart into the neckline to create the neckline tuck dart.
  • Draw the princess line (after that the dart manipulation is done)
  • Dress length to be 24.25 inches (61 cm cm) below the knee
  • Hem area of this pattern piece:  8.25 inches (21 cm) - see the image Plan of Action Sketch.

I drew a rough sketch by hand of the design, something like in this image.  I then measured the hem area of the CF, Front Side, CB and Back Side of my reference garment, and wrote those measurements on my drawing. 

At this stage, I decided that I would use the back measurements (of the reference garment), for both the front and back of my pattern. I also made other notes that related to other pattern pieces.

dress 003 POA sketch

Dress Centre Back (PP#4)

  • Referencing the ready-to-wear dress, I decided I want to go with the same CB width at the waist, which is 20cm, or 10cm for the half block. This means I have to move my back dart - see the image Plan of Action Back Dart.
  • Hem Area 16.5 inches (21 cm) (as per the details under the Centre Front PP).

The image below is is to show why I want to move the back dart.  Important: this is for me, my block, my figure.  You may not need or want to move the back dart on your block.

The drawing to the left is what I want the dress to look like, the drawing to the right shows what the stylelines look like if I left my dart in it's current place - though it is exaggerated to some extent to show the point.  I know this just from experience; the placement of the back dart (on my block) that works for waisted dresses (for me) doesn't work so well for the Princess Line (for me).  See image 3 for how this is obvious on the block.

dress 003 POA back dart placement

dress 003 POA back dart placement B

Bodice Side Front  & Bodice Side Back

  • The (waist) style line is 1.5-inches (4 cm) above the actual waist line. 

Skirt Side Front & Skirt Side Back

  • Skirt length is 24.25 inches (61.75 cm) below the knee, but remember that the bodice piece begins 1.5-inches (4 cm) above the waist.
  • Skirt flare to begin at waist level.  I want the 1.5-inches (4cm) at the top of the skirt (which is a part of the bodice attached to the skirt) to go straight down.

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