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pattern blocks and modifying them
am I lazy or efficient?
rmusic1
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rmusic1
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Date: 2/9/13 11:54 AM

I've just come back from a pattern drafting work shop as part of my dress making class. I finally (yippee!) have a skirt block, a close fitting and loose fitting bodice, and a sleeve.

This has taken two work shops in total, a considerable investment of my time, but hopefully has been worth it.

During class I watched as some of the other students who had finished drafting their blocks then traced them all and added seam allowances. I've just added seam allowances and cut everything as is.

When I asked the tutor about it, I got told its good to trace so you can keep the original master block in good condition whilst trying out new things, like moving darts. I get that.

What gets me twitching is the thought of spending SO MUCH TIME copying the pieces out every time you want to try something new. So I wondered, is it worth going to a commercial photo copier shop, and getting 10 or so copies of each block printed off to play with. I think the cost would be worth the time saved.

I'm apparently not the first person (click here) to think about doing something like this. I'd rather pay money and then SEW.

I think I am maybe less of a traditionalist, judging on the reactions from the tutor and a few class mates. But I'm interested in what works! thoughts?

Silk Challis
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Silk Challis
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Date: 2/9/13 12:33 PM

I think that any method is ok as long as the pattern pieces are undistorted.

I actually like tracing patterns, it is always the first step of my projects. I feel it is part of the project I am starting.

Tracing enables me to study the pattern pieces and to pay attention to small details that can go unnoticed.
I also like to modify my patterns a lot, so keeping the original allows me to restart from scratch.

Quickie
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Quickie
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Date: 2/9/13 1:08 PM

I think tracing is not so much work

andye
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Date: 2/9/13 1:39 PM

Surely the professional pattern-makers have thought of a solution?

I know that it involves awls, carbon paper, and needle tracing wheels. The big problem is paper size-- if you have to cut on the fold, or glue pattern pieces together, it distorts things.

Also, women's patterns tend to drafted without seam allowances-- it makes multipanel bodices and skirts so much easier if you can add them later
-- Edited on 2/9/13 1:41 PM --

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Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

sew2006
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sew2006
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In reply to rmusic1 <<
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Date: 2/9/13 6:16 PM

When I took a fashion design couse we kept the original and traced a copy on bristol board. This did not include any seam allowance. The bristal board comes in many colors and it's very easy for a pencil to follow the edge to trace on paper. You than add ease and create the style of garment. The seam allowance is added last.

If you try to create a princess type garment from your block the centers won't have the seam allowance when drafted. The hip area needs to be curved to add proper shaping. You than trace your two front pieces and add seam allowance around the entire pattern. Place a ruler on top of your work to make tracing easier/faster.

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beauturbo
beauturbo
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In reply to rmusic1 <<


Date: 2/9/13 6:22 PM

I think do it yourself places like Kinko's Copy shop or places like that charge 10 to 15 cents per copy when you know how to use their copy machine, and stick some change in there. And do it yourself. Probably way less than cost of gas in a vehicle or bus fare to even get there. But, at same time most of the machines in places like that, have more paper trays for more regular size 8 1/2 x 11 inch letter head paper or often 17 X 11 inch at most. If you want to copy something way bigger, then you probably have to go to someplace that has means to copy real blue prints instead. Would be cheaper if you figured out how to use that kind of self serve copy machine instead, if you need something big, than paying them to do it for you. In that case your paper in blue print size gets fed in sideways and it gets printed out and comes out sideways too, more like on a plotter instead. Costs are up though.

But if you are just an impatient person, the whole amount of time to gather up all your stuff, haul it off to someplace like that, do that, and get home with it, probably is always several hours round trip in driving and parking and walking and doing, while time to manually trace something off, might be like 5 or 10 minutes instead, without having to actually go anyplace. So pick your time involved task maybe either way, just by whatever you prefer.

Babe B
Babe B  Friend of PR
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Date: 2/10/13 10:39 AM

I've used Staples for large, mirror image copies of applique blocks since I have shakey hands for tracing sometimes. Copies were for my personal use only, made on their largest printer, 60 in wide, and cost $1.50 for two copies. Worth it to me.

petro
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Date: 2/10/13 2:55 PM

Usually, blocks are on card, no seam allowance. It takes hardly any time to draw round them, its the next stages that take the time. To save time I have main blocks with different positions of the bust dart, and different blocks for things like overgarments, or without ease for jersey or lingerie. I don't have these sets for every size block I have but I build them up as I go. Same for things like kimono or raglan.

You could have multiple copies of your basic block, but I'm not sure how much time this would save in practice. I guess it depends on what kinds of pattern you're going to be designing.
The way I usually work is like the pattern in this blog post
http://patternpandemonium.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/jungle-blues/
Its pretty untidy, but you can see where I've moved darts and cut up the block, so this is the interim stage. If I'm making a pukka pattern it would start like this, be tried in fabric, then tidied up, be drawn on another piece of paper, have seam allowance and balance marks added. So, the first part of drawing round my block would only be about three minutes out of several hours work.

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