Home > Dressmaking > Pattern Terminology

Pattern Terminology

By: Laura Farrant - Updated: 20 Nov 2010 | comments*Discuss
 
Pattern Making pattern Making Basics

Patterns are the foundation of garment production. Get it right and you have a success on your hands. Get it wrong and it may just be a disaster. This is why it is so important to know as much as you can before you embark on that big project. Brush up on the basics with our quick terminology guide.

The A to Z

The following are some of the most common terms that you might come across when you flick through the sewing books. Swot up on these and you will soon know your block from your sloper.

Blend – Blending is as it sounds making two separate lines appear as one in the final design. The blend will be part of the pattern that you will be working from.

CAD – The professional's choice, CAD is a computerized programme, used for industrial production of garments. It makes grading easy and precise.

Dart Intake – The intake is the extra space, or quantity of fabric, that ensures that when a dart is sewn, the end result isn’t too tight.

Dart Point – This is pretty much as it sounds; the tip and pointed end of a dart.

Drafting Method – This is one method of pattern making and involves the transfer of a pattern directly onto the pattern paper using straight lines and curves (with the help of the French curve).

Drape – Draping is a fine art and a unique way of pattern making. It involves placing the material against the figure measurements you will be working with and draping until you get the desired effect. Once you have a shape you are happy with, you mark and pin the areas where you want the darts to be and then start creating the shape from this.

Flat Pattern Method – This is one way of pattern making and starts with the creation of the block; a basic interpretation of the garment design which is simply made with the wearer’s measurements. It is then refined by making a series of mock-ups, or toiles as they are sometimes known. Gradually the item takes shape. This is one of the most traditional pattern making methods.

French Curve – This is a particularly useful tool when making your own pattern. It is a way of drawing exact curves, particularly useful when you are making sleeves. They come in all shapes and are a useful addition to the serious dressmaker’s toolbox.

Grading – Grading is how a pattern is made bigger or smaller, depending upon the measurements that you have. It sounds quite mathematical but it is really one way of adapting the existing pattern so that it is going to work, and most importantly, fit!

Notches – Notches are very important when making items of clothing. They are allowances in the fabric for sleeves and armholes and ensure that when sewn together, the fit is aligned properly.

Oak Tag Manila – This is the most commonly used pattern making paper for commercial garment production.

Sleeve Cap – This is the curved top section of the sleeve.

Sleeve Ease – Similar to a notch, the sleeve ease is the extra bit of fabric that ensures that the wearer has movement in the sleeve area.

Truing – If someone says that they are truing their pattern it basically means that they are going through a double-checking process and making sure that all seams, on the left and the right, are measuring up and are of equal length and depth.

Summary

These are the terms that you are most likely to come across when you are embarking on your sewing research. You should now have a better understanding and should hopefully feel more confident about your sewing project!

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • StartSewing
    Re: How to Make a Boned Bodice
    Chazzy - Your Question:I am making my daughter's wedding dress. She is a lovely slim shape with small breasts but I am finding that…
    29 June 2017
  • Chazzy
    Re: How to Make a Boned Bodice
    I am making my daughter's wedding dress. She is a lovely slim shape with small breasts but I am finding that quite a problem in…
    28 June 2017
  • StartSewing
    Re: Embroidery
    Kirstylou - Your Question:HiI'm really looking to start up a little hobby personalising items of clothing with initials :)I am completely new to sewing
    27 June 2017
  • Kirstylou
    Re: Embroidery
    Hi I'm really looking to start up a little hobby personalising items of clothing with initials :) I am completely new to sewing and I've seen online…
    24 June 2017
  • Red
    Re: What Does With or Without Nap Means?
    I haven't sewed from a pattern since school so I'm trying something simple. A simple dress by McCalls. At first I…
    21 April 2017
  • Terri
    Re: Fabric and Pattern Preparation
    I have a hard time understanding a Pattern. I want to make a tote bag. Any suggestions on following a pattern? Thank you
    16 February 2017
  • Marge
    Re: How to Make Swags and Jabots
    I need picture illustrations.
    19 April 2016
  • hayleyjean
    Re: Fashion Fundamentals
    Hi, I want to start sewing and would like to start off with lingerie. How do I go about doing a course for that. Are there any night courses…
    25 November 2015
  • Sue
    Re: Stitch Types
    My machine is not stitching properly - on the back of the fabric the stitch can easily be pulled out - do you know what the problem is.
    18 November 2015
  • StartSewing
    Re: How to Make a Tablecloth
    msgarlic - Your Question:MOST IMPORTANTLY and before you do anything else.WASH THE FABRIC FIRST!As with anything you make and will wash…
    11 September 2015
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the StartSewing website. Please read our Disclaimer.