Experiments in Pattern Drafting

Recently I've been experimenting with pattern drafting for knits. I created a sloper using a well-worn and well-loved old t-shirt as reference. For the first test of my new sloper I used this super soft and drape-y fabric from Girl Charlee and hoped for the best.

And it fit, yay! I sewed it with my serger and finished the neckline and sleeves with bands (set in flat, because it's way easier than in the round). This shirt is so comfortable.

Because the fabric I used in my first shirt had a lot of stretch I was curious to see how the same pattern would work with a more stable knit. This pink fabric, also from Girl Charlee, is a bit thicker and doesn't have nearly as much stretch as fabric #1. It ended up being a bit more snug, but definitely still comfortable.

For this persimmon striped fabric (also from Girl Charlee) I had envisioned a Breton-style tee with a boatneck. I altered the neckline by comparing it to my last two shirts and raising it accordingly.

I also wanted to try something different with the sleeves, so I drafted tulip sleeves with the help of this tutorial by Dixie DIY. It was a bit confusing, but I figured it out in the end! I'm pretty happy with how they look, but I wish I had finished the edges with bands rather than just turning under and stitching. As they are, they're kind of floppy.

That stripe matching at the shoulder seam was just a lucky coincidence!

This last garment is the biggest departure from my original sloper. I saw a similar crossover back woven shirt online and wanted to see if I could recreate it. First I doubled my back pattern piece (because it was on the fold) and then I drew two curves going from the left shoulder to the right side, keeping the shoulder and side seams their original length. I cut two of these pieces and sewed the shirt as usual, just making extra sure that everything was overlapping properly.

This knit (once again from Girl Charlee - are you noticing a pattern here?) is very lightweight and has a great drape.

The neckline is the same as the first two shirts, but it falls a bit lower, which I'm guessing is because there are no sleeves to help hold it up. So on my next version I'll raise the neckline by an inch or two. I may also make the straps a bit wider in the back.

While making this pattern I made sure that I would still be able to wear a normal bra with it. The dip in the back ends right above my bra strap.

This tank works great as an everyday top for summer, but I think this pattern could also be used for activewear or to create a dressier top for evening.

With all the overlapping, I wasn't sure how to finish the edges of this tank until I realized it was actually all one continuous line. So I measured the curve all the way around and it came to something like 130 inches. I cut three long strips of fabric, sewed them together to make one very long strip, and attached it by stretching and serging. I didn't bother with basting.

I left a couple inches of the strip hanging off at the start so I could serge the two ends together at the end, rather than having to come up an exact length for the strip. Happily that worked really well and all the edges are finished! My husband was fascinated that it was all one continuous line, so he put together this gif to visualize it better. Pretty neat, huh!?

I've really been enjoying drafting my own patterns, so expect to see more experiments soon! I also have some Jamie Jeans and Anima pants in the works.

Have you tried drafting your own patterns?

<3 Lindsay

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