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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 each pattern piece, 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)
Basically, you want to make sure you study the design and have everything you need to do laid out so that you don't overlook or forget anything. You then refer to these notes when creating the pattern pieces.
Although you can make all these decisions on the fly while making the pattern; but this can lead to some oversights and mistakes. Even when there are minimal pattern pieces. Especially when you're starting out, it is a very good practice to get into.
How many pattern pieces?
There are only three pattern pieces; the Bodice Front, Bodice Back, and the interfacing for the Button Placket. The button placket itself is an extension of the Bodice Front.
- Bodice Front
- Bodice Back
- Placket interfacing
Notes/Plan of Action for creating Pattern Pieces
Please be aware that the notes that I would create (and you for your project) would just be jotted points. I wouldn't put this descriptive detail for myself. I am putting full explanations for people new to sewing and/or patternmaking who may not understand ("don't add seam allowance neckline & armholes - bias binding," or "gape dart neckline?")
Note that although there are only three pattern piecees, the neckline and the armholes are finished off with bias tape. I do NOT create a pattern piece and then pin that onto the fabric and cut it out. I create as many strips of bias as I can from a square of fabric, then sew them together and cut them to the length required. (I use leftovers for other projects).
Things I need to keep in mind, decisions I need to make before drafting the top:
- I need to determine whether the neckline depth means there will be a gape dart which needs to be moved into the side seam dart.
- How much do I want to add to the circumference at the hemline? This top is A-line rather than square, but the hem (accordingly to my flat) isn't that wide...
- I need to determine the width of the bias tape (actually, I always use the same, but again, this is for the purposes of illustrating the point.)
- I need to remember that I don't need to add seam allowance to the neckline and armholes, due to the use of bias tape on the outside of the garment. (If it was bias binding used just to finish off the seam, not part of the garment details, it would be only on the inside and that would require adding seam allowance). See the image below for an example of this.
Image - Finishing off with Bias Binding
The top on the left has the bias tape on the inside only. The top on the right has the bias tape as part of the garment.
- The neckline does not require countouring (for me!)
- The bias tape will be made of the self fabric, showing on the outside and be 0.38inch | 1cm wide. The seam allowance will also be 0.38 inch | 1cm, therefore the bias tape need to be (twice the width of the bias + twice the width of the seam allowance) = 1.57-inch | 4cm. (Having said that I usually cut my bias 2 inches | 5cm wide and it ends up being a tiny bit wider... Given I'm making this for myself and these decisions are purely my own, it doesn't matter to me whether or not my shoulder width is a tiny fraction more than the original plan).
- I will add at total of 4 inches | 10cm to the circumference at the hemline, distributed evenly between front and back. This means 1 inch | 2.5cm each to the Front Bodice and the Back Bodice.
II make most of my patterns out of vilene rather than paper, as it is much easier to pin to fabric, especially if the fabric is a sheer or a bit difficult to work with (i.e. viscose). However, I don't even use vilene to make pattern pieces to cut out interfacing; I use scraps of fabric.
Especially in a top like this, where my interfacing is very thin and unstable, it is so much easier to cut it out with a piece of fabric. I also use another piece of fabric underneath to really stablise it. This means the interfacing is sandwiched between 2 layers of fabric, making it very stable. It's easier to draw the pattern piece onto calico or other unprinted fabric, but you can use any fabric piece is you can see the lines you have drawn. When I draw the pattern pieces onto fabric, I use a thin texta.
Don't cut the pattern piece out of the fabric before laying it on the interfacing; leave some fabric around the lines of the pattern; this makes it much easier to cut (i.e. further stability, you are cutting through 2 layers of fabric and the interfacing). Here is an image showing what I mean. This is actually the pattern piece for the button placket interfacing for this pattern. I never cut-on-fold with interfacing, so I have drawn both of the pattern pieces; the line down the middle is the separating line.