If you are interested in plat pattern drafting, then you will need to know the basics of manipulating darts. In Patternmaking and Design: Creative Darts and Seam Lines you will learn how to manipulate darts and fabric to create both basic and advanced garment designs. The first few lessons will teach you the absolute basics, including how to utilise the popular slash and spread method. Further lessons will advance your skills to create flattering silhouette through the use of yokes and gathers.
Lesson One: Meet Suzy Furrer
Suzy Furrer has been working in the apparel industry since the mid-’80s. After studying patternmaking with couturier Simmon Sethna in 1996, Suzy started Apparel Arts, a San Francisco-based fashion design school. She also wrote Building Patterns: The Architecture of Women’s Clothing, which is used as a textbook at Apparel Arts and other fashion design schools on the West Coast.
Lesson Two: Basics of Dart Manipulation
In this lesson, Suzy teaches you how to manipulate the darts on your sloper to make a centre front dart. The primary dart manipulation technique taught in this lesson is commonly known as the “slash and spread” method, using your dart legs as a hinge and pivot point. Suzy also teaches you how to ignore the darts and how to shave the darts, which is helpful for sewing with knits.
Of course, along the way she explains various reasons as to why and how you should do things.
- Suzy explains as to whether you should use the low or high figure points for your designs (if you aren’t sure what these are you should look at her drafting bodice class).
- She covers information of dart-equivalent style lines and non-dart-equivalent style lines, which can effect fit and design.
- What to do with your dart bulk so that it doesn’t effect the final design and construction process.
Lesson Three: Dart Variations
Suzy addresses an easy, yet really effective, way to make your clients extra happy with your work: how to emphasize their best features and hide ones they are self-conscious about. And you can do all of this by simply manipulating darts!
In this lesson you will learn how to back darts off, giving a more modern appearance (compared to the 50’s fashion style where dart apexes would come right to the fullest part of the bust – aka usually the nipple).
You will also learn how to draft a french dart, and how to also include a little bit of extra fabric to help capture the extra fabric just beneath the breast apex so it follows the shape of your breasts a bit more nicely.
Finally Suzy will teach you how to draft two different front styles; the diamond shape and a Y shape.
Lesson Four: Gathers and Curves
In this lesson you will learn how to create neckline gathers, horizontal waist/side gather, bust gathers with a yoke and finally curved shoulder darts.
I really liked how Suzy also considered how you might like to create multiple darts in these locations, rather than just draft gathers. She provides several helpful tips on how to get the pattern to look it’s absolute best once sewn.
Suzy even makes suggestions on how to manipulate your pattern based on the thickness of your fabric; for example a thinner fabric may need more fabric in order to highlight gathers nicely, else it can just look like wrinkles.
These patterns will be great for a workplace environment. They look unique and fashionable enough to let you stand out and look like a fashion model (and who doesn’t want to feel gorgeous), yet still be modest enough to not necessarily draw unwanted attention.
Lesson Five: Dart Wrap-Up
In this lesson you will learn how to draft a cowl and how to pivot your sloper around to remove your darts.
Suzy teaches you how to draft a cowl front, although the techniques you will learn will allow you to draft the back yourself. She will also teach you how to make a fold over facing, helping you to not have a raw seam or seam line visible if the cowl spills outwards.
Lesson Six: Princess Line to the Armhole
The princess seam is one of the most common garment alterations that you will come across; its used on shirts and dresses alike. Suzy will teach you how to draft a princess seam onto your sloper, taking into consideration information such as ease and your darts. She also considers helpful information on how to make your client’s (or your own) bust appear more curvy, or how to downplay it.
Suzy also discusses a number of issues to be aware of such as how through the dart manipulation your side panel will often end up shorter than the centre front panel, and of course how to resolve these problems.
Lesson Seven: Princess Line Variations
In this lesson Suzy takes on a unique twist of the traditional princess seam – she not only uses the standard princess seam that stems from the shoulder, but adds a second princess seam that stems from the armhole to make a second panel. Finally she adds a solid side panel, removing the traditional side seam.
If you are interested in drafting corsets, then this lesson might be of particular interest to you. It will teach how to draft up to twelve panels.
Lesson Eight: Empire and Babydoll Lines
If you want to emphasize your bust and waist, use a empire line design. It should fall directly on the bra underwire, cupping your breasts nicely. Suzy will teach you how to draft a empire line that looks a little bit more feminine than the commonly drafted straight lines. She will also teach you how to remove your waist shaping so that your garment doesn’t need a waist seam.
So far through the course, Suzy has taught how to draft fitted garments. She takes a break from this style for a a loose fitting and comfortable baby-doll design. This is probably a design that will really appeal to young mums; it’s a style of clothing that lets them easily move around, and even a style that could be easily converted to a children’s pattern. Matching styles anyone?
Lesson Nine: A-Line, Swing and Double-Breasted Lines
In this lesson Suzy will each you how to draft an A-Line dress. It looks fairly similar to the french dart draft, however it is going to be drafted to the high bust point (initially taught in Lesson 2: Basics of Dart Manipulation) and will be sewn on the fabric bias.
A swing silhouette is very similar to the baby doll, only it doesn’t have a horizontal seam at the bust line. It has a fitted upper chest area, then flares out from the bust down. This is another style that might be interesting to young mums; it could be considered slightly more modest than the babydoll with the inclusion of front button plackets and a higher neckline.
Lesson Ten: Designing Garments For Production
If you are interested in having your garment designs professionally produced, such as being sewn in a factory, then watching this lesson will be important. Suzy Furrer will teach you what details you will need to include in your patterns and what not to include. She explains how certain details might cost more money to include, but in the long run should result in better quality garments or garments that are sewn faster – and thus overall cost less to produce (if being charged by time).
- Metric Conversion PDF guide which comes with most Craftsy classes.
- Supplies and Resources PDF which includes recommended supplies, helpful resources and a pattern drafting order of operations.
- A teacher led class, meaning that you can ask Suzy herself any questions you have. Plus your peers can help you out too.
After teaching you several times the same technique, she will stop teaching it in later lessons and just point out when to do them. This could be considered both a good and bad thing about this class; it means that you should follow the lessons in chronological order to get the best out of this course. However, by doing so, it gives her more time to teach to other techniques and styles.
Suzy teaches fast – mostly to fit all the helpful content in – so you will need to be ready to pause a lot if you are following along. On the plus side, you learn a lot!
Suzy Furrer is an amazing teacher; she can teach complex techniques and make them seem absolutely simple. Of course, even if you struggle to learn the techniques in the first go-round, you can always repeat the videos as much as you want and pause as much as you need.
You can take this class as long as you have a nice fitting sloper to use, though I do really suggest you take Suzy’s class Patternmaking Basics: Bodice first to create that truly personal moulage and sloper. Having that perfectly fitting foundation piece will really make any creations from it look just that more amazing!
If you want to practice manipulating darts as a flat pattern, without necessary sewing the mockups, then consider printing at half scale. I printed my sloper at half scale and it fit perfectly onto standard A4 paper (or US letter). You can even sew mockups at that size without using too much of your fabric.
Did I forget to mention that you can create 15 different blouse designs from Patternmaking and Design: Creative Darts and Seam Lines?! That’s pretty much the cost of buying each of those patterns, with the exception of the expert design and fitting help and the perfect fit. I think with a bit of patience even a beginner could follow along, though it’s very much suited to intermediate and advanced sewers.