Are you interested in drafting your own clothing designs? You don’t have to be interested in creating a fashion line in order to create clothing of your dreams, in fact many people learn flat-pattern drafting just to make unique styles for themselves and their family.
Suzy Furrer’s class Patternmaking Basics: the Bodice Sloper will teach you how to draft a perfectly fitting moulage and sloper. The moulage will test and confirm that your draft fits perfectly, whilst the sloper will include the minimum necessary ease to draft future sewing patterns from.
Lesson One: Meet Suzy Furrer
Suzy Furrer really doesn’t mess around when starting this course; she jumps immediately into what you will be covering for the entire course, a highlight of some of the tools she will be using, and of course the difference between a moulage and a sloper.
Lesson Two: Measuring for Moulage
Suzy has assumed that you are taking this class to either custom fit yourself (or clients), or a dress form. She shows you exactly how and where to measure to get the most accurate results. More importantly however, she gives quite a number of techniques to help your client to relax and stand; if they shift their weight or position even slightly it can distort all measurements. Plus you want your client to have a good time in a nice relaxed and fun atmosphere; if they enjoy their time they are more likely to return.
It’s important to note that the first half of this class is demonstrated on a person and the second half is how to measure on a dress form.
Lesson Three: Calculating and Setting Up the Moulage
This sewing class will fly by; since there are so many measurements, Suzy really goes through calculating the measurements quite fast. It is good that she explains why and where some of the measurements are obtained, but for a beginner drafter this is going to be an overwhelming session if you don’t pause very regularly.
The second part of this sewing class involves the beginnings of drafting the moulage.
Lesson Four: Drafting the Front Moulage
Out of the entire course Drafting the Front Moulage is the hardest of classes, so if you are a beginner at drafting your own patterns, it’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed. If you want a slightly easier time, either consider Patternmaking Basics: Skirts course, or skip to the next lesson and then come back when you need to.
Lesson Five: Drafting the Back Moulage
Drafting the back moulage is much easier than the front. It would have been nice to have this as the first sewing lesson out of this series in order to ease beginners into drafting, but unfortunately the back moulage requires some information from the front moulage.
Lesson Six: Tracing, Cutting and Sewing
Believe it or not, you aren’t completely through the drafting. Since you are making a moulage, you want it to fit just that little bit more tightly. A great example of this is rather than having the fabric lie flat directly over your bust points, it’s much more flattering for it to slope slightly inwards. Suzy walks you through the steps of cutting your pattern pieces, and whilst doing so she shows you where and how to add extra darts.
Suzy doesn’t really show you how to sew each piece together; she merely says you should refer to a princess seam guide if you need it. She does however tell you which parts she sews first, and any other notes such as clipping and trimming your curves.
Lesson Seven: Fitting and Troubleshooting
In the first part of the lesson, Suzy walks you through each seam and dart, explaining how to tell if material is too tight or loose and reasons for why. She also gives you some good tips on how to find a client’s natural waist to compare to your moulage.
In the second part of the video Suzy discusses how to make the necessary changes for any fitting troubles that you may have had. She teaches you in a way that is designed to save as much of your original drafting as possible, since it’s rather time consuming.
Lesson Eight: Drafting the Bodice Sloper
In sewing lesson eight you will begin to draft the sloper. Why not start directly with a sloper? Suzy explains that by sewing and fitting a moulage, you are guaranteeing that the pattern pieces fit you perfectly, whereas a sloper might cause you to miss the perfect placement of darts and sometimes even have too little or too much ease added.
The lesson is fairly straightforward and logical; you simply end up extending lines outwards to add a bit more ease, and in a few cases you adjust the darts to meet your new lines.
Lesson Nine: Truing the Sloper
There a few steps before you can convert your sloper to the longer-lasting tag board; you need to square your neck and armhole points so they line up to other pieces nicely, and you need to check that all your measurements are accurate after adding your ease. Finally you need to check the lengths of joining seams such as your shoulders.
Lesson Ten: Transferring the Sloper to Tag
If you have been drafting your moulage and sloper in pencil along with Suzy, then you will need to transfer your sloper onto tag board so that it will survive multiple uses. Suzy takes this a step further by teaching you how to notch and awl punch your tag board so that these markings are easily transferred to other designs and fabrics; great if you plan to sew from these patterns quite regularly.
I on the other hand drafted in Illustrator, so could skip this step entirely *evil grin*.
Lesson Eleven: Bodice Sloper Design Options
Suzy covers where and how the sloper can be further manipulated for any patterns that you wish to make. She references her class Patternmaking Basics: Darts that teaches you how to manipulate darts in patterns to achieve different clothes. Suzy provides some really good tips on how to add lots of ease to a pattern whilst still keeping it proportional; helpful to avoid too much ease being placed solely under the arm or along the princess seam.
Suzy very briefly covers how to store your pattern pieces; helpful if you plan to draft a lot of patterns.
Through the majority of the class, we have been drafting for woven fabric. But what about knit fabrics? Knits typically have much more stretch than woven fabric, and cannot hold darts well, and thus the patterns differ drastically. Not to worry though, as in this final lesson Suzy shows you how to convert your sloper to be suitable for a knit fabric.
A supplies and resources PDF that provides a nice chart to record your measurements and calculations.
Even though drafting can be somewhat complex, Suzy teaches in a manner that makes it feel easy. The Craftsy platform allows you to easily pause and rewind as often as you want, so repeating steps as needed is easy.
I would have loved to see the moulage and sloper that Suzy made on the model from lesson two; seeing these on dress forms and an actual person give a significantly different look.
If you are interested in creating sewing patterns to sell commercially, this class will not provide you the measurements necessary to draft patterns. I would suggest looking into measurement standardisations such as what the ASTM provides.
Drafting the bodice is much more complex than drafting a skirt. If you are drafting for the first time, I highly suggest starting with the Patternmaking Basics: Skirts so as not to get overwhelmed. If you take your time, then the class shouldn’t give you too much trouble – plus you have the ability to ask Suzy and your peers questions on the Craftsy platform!
Pattern making Basics: The Bodice Sloper will give you the confidence to draft more complex patterns. Whilst the moulage pictures look incredibly difficult to create, you shouldn’t fret as Suzy clearly walks you through each step in a way that makes it actually feel somewhat easy – and when you finish you will feel accomplished (trust me)!