Pattern Making Essentials is a 5-week course at The Makehouse taught by the very experienced Alexandra Morgan. Alexandra studied a Bachelor of Applied Arts in Fashion Design at Ryerson University and has worked as a pattern maker, designer, technical designer, and fit technician since 1995, specializing in women’s wear. She has her own pattern making company,In-House Patterns, and also teaches private lessons here in Victoria.
Over the last five weeks I attended Alexandra’s pattern making class. Pattern making is the practice of turning a sketch into flat pieces that will be sewn together to fit and flatter a three-dimensional body. I loved this class. It was the best combination of math and precise measurements mixed with creativity and problem solving. The workshop covers foundational knowledge about how a pattern is designed as well as how the design and layout of a pattern on a certain type of fabric will affect the end shape of the garment. Alexandra has so much knowledge about pattern making. She explains and demos the pattern making techniques in easy to understand methods while also giving students lots of time to practice the techniques.
I attended a pattern making class about a year ago at the Makehouse and I was excited to further improve my skills with this new 5-week course. This class is perfect for you if you are new to sewing and want more of an understanding about how patterns work together, or if you work with sew-at-home patterns a lot and would like advice about how to manipulate them to better fit your body.
In the first few classes we covered the bodice and skirt blocks and how to manipulate those to make different shapes. With the skirt block we started with a straight skirt pattern, and manipulated it into different styles of skirts including an A-line skirt, flared skirt, and four-gore skirt with a yoke. With the bodice block we worked on single and double dart manipulations and moved darts around the bodice to create different looks.
In the last few classes we worked on understanding how to add ease and remove ease in order to change the way a garment fits. We started with adding ease to the bodice block in order to make a basic button up shirt. With this we removed darts, changed the styling, added a pleat, a facing, and a collar, and shortened the sleeves from long sleeves to short sleeves. This practice was a great opportunity to see how something can be changed from one shape to another while maintaining consistent fit measurements.
Next, we focused on removing ease to create a contoured dress that fits closely to the body. This project was mostly bodice manipulations where we removed ease in relation to the bust point. Then we separated the bodice block to create an empire waist and changed the neckline to be deeper and the shoulder width to a strap. For the skirt of the dress we changed the straight skirt into a flared skirt.
Throughout the course Alexandra offered many tips and techniques for creating a more professional looking finished garment. Here of some of my favourite ones that she shared with us.
Tips for pattern making:
Walk your patterns and make sure that all seams match up properly. This is especially important if you have changed any styling or manipulated any darts. This will make things so much easier when you are trying to stitch pieces together and are wondering why certain seams aren’t lining up.
When manipulating darts for the bodice, pull the dart back from the bust point about half an inch to get a better fit and no pointy corners. As cool as Madonna’s cone bra was, you don’t really want that for your handmade summer dress.
When creating patterns and when cutting the fabric, make sure to draw on the notches. This will help you keep track of back and front pattern pieces and will lead to less confusion when you are trying to put together a yoke and a skirt piece and wondering which are the front and back pieces.
Ensure that seam lines and waistlines are at 90 degree angles. This will create a nice straight edge when the two seams are sewn together rather than dipping down or creating a point on the seam where the front and back pieces meet.
Pattern Making Essentials is one of my favourite classes at The Makehouse. The next class will be held in the fall, so make sure to pencil it in to your calendar. Other ways to get your pattern making fix are theFit Nights where you can bring your latest project and get some feedback on how to make it fit better, and theSkirt Block andBodice Block classes where you can create blocks that fit your personal measurements.
The Makehouse is looking to welcome a new part-time staff member to our team!
We are a one-of-a-kind sewing studio and retail store offering a diverse range of workshops for children and adults. We carry a range of sewing patterns, fabrics, books, notions and tools. We are a small team committed to carrying great products & delivering the best customer service.
As a growing business we’re looking for an experienced & reliable Retail Sales Associate to join our team on a part-time basis. The ideal candidate will demonstrate the following:
Outgoing personality, positive attitude, great communication skills
Retail sales experience
A desire to deliver a strong customer experience that exceeds expectations
A genuine interest in sewing and the products we carry
Excellent math skills and a good memory
Able to follow direction & work independently
Reliable and stable lifestyle
Well established, mature work ethic
Able to work entire shift removed from personal social media, e.g. cell phone or Facebook
Attention to detail & the ability to work efficiently under pressure
A background in sewing is essential for this position as you will be helping customers chose fabrics, patterns and notions for their projects. Our amazing customers make up Victoria’s diverse sewing/textile community. Staff members must be friendly, knowledgeable and enjoy helping others.
APPROXIMATELY 20-25 HOURS PER WEEK (WED – SUN – DAYTIME HOURS)
Resume must be current with at least three previous employers listed.
Please apply in person or via email to email@example.com and let us know why The Makehouse needs you! Please visit our website (www.themakehouse.ca) and familiarize yourself with what we do before applying and be sure to include a cover letter.
Thank you in advance for your application. Due to time constraints, we will only contact you if we are interested in setting up an interview.
Join us at The Makehouse on Thursday, November 24th between 4-9pm for our fourth annual late night shopping event sponsored by Used.ca.
We have a diverse group of makers slated for this year’s market so that you’ll find something for everyone on your holiday gift list (and maybe a few treats for yourself too). The Makehouse will be featuring our largest selection of bamboo underwear for ladies and this year gentlemen too!
Here’s a preview of some of the creative art and gifts you’ll find this year (click on any title for links to artist pages)!
Atinuke has begun experimenting with natural dyes and fabrics to make cushions, scarves and other one-of-a-kind textiles. This compliments her line of handknit jewellery, which combines organic yarns with vintage chain and charms.
Darcie, an elementary teacher-librarian, named her Etsy shop after her two grandmothers: Ruth and Nelly.
“Ruth and Nelly Vintage and Handmade was founded out of a love of crafting with an environmentally-friendly focus. Using recycled and upcycled materials sourced from local thrift shops, Ruth and Nelly specializes in OOAK bags, scarves and hand embroidered pillows. With Ruth and Nelly, I hope to provide unique vintage finds for those looking to enjoy quality in the everyday.”
Known primarily for her magnets, Uniquely Cedra has been dabbling in larger scale decorative tiles and quirky collage pieces.
“Uniquely Cedra will help you stuff your stockings! Cedra’s vibrant and eclectic collection of handmade vintage inspired magnets, matchboxes and trinket boxes are perfect gifts for the discernible folk on Santa’s list.”
My name is Jessie Beauvilliers and I was born in Quebec, but I hitchhiked across the country when I was 17 years old all the way to Victoria, B.C. During my travels, I’ve seen so many beautiful places, fascinating animals and wonderful people. I started to sketch and paint everything I saw. With a twist of imagination and lots of practice I have been able to create some pieces I am really proud of using a simple fine tip pen.
Always up for a challenge, Radjuli recently remade box cushions in leather for a local tour boat.
She’ll be bringing a selection of wallets & bags made from the offcuts!
“Radjuli’s fabulous leather accessories are part cowboy, part steampunk and all West Coast! Crafted exclusively from offcut and reclaimed leathers, vintage belts and unique hardware, this is wearable art that is built to last!”
Miss Belle is having a grand old time working with felt and embroidery. The latest creations are Mad Money Bags with baby animal appliqué and teeny tiny Tooth Fairy Bags!
Sugar + Candy
Every Sugar + Candy bag is handmade by Mandy Greyling Holmwood – from sketch to template to prototype to production. When you buy a Sugar + Candy bag, you can be confident in its uniqueness, its durability, and of course, its style (you picked it, so it MUST be stylish!).
Join Theatre Skam for an outdoor festival of small batch performance, SKAMpede is suitable for the whole family. You can bike, walk, rollerblade, scooter, or skateboard and take in a series of short shows presented along Harbour Road and the Galloping Goose Trail.
The Makehouse will be on-site with a decorating station where you can customize your ride! If you’re interested in volunteering to help riders decorate please contact jenny(at)themakehouse.ca or call 778-430-6253.
Boys can wear girl’s, who wear boy’s, who wear girl’s! But if you want something a little more feminine there are lots of great options. Our favourite is this cute tank style shirt because of the added bow.