How to Make Your Own Sewing Pattern at Home

DIY Sewing Projects Learn Stitching

Learn to make your own sewing pattern using these easy tips and methods.

It's great if you get free sewing patterns online and make your clothes easily.

But you don't get a sewing pattern for every dress that you want to make.


That's the main reason why I had to come up with this post!

I love to make my own sewing patterns because of many reasons - time, cost, headache, hassles and so on.

5 reasons why I make my own sewing pattern -

  • It was tough to find out the exact sewing pattern that I wanted. Most of the times, the size and design was hard to get.
  • Too much time is spent just surfing through sites and trying to figure out different specifications available. 
  • Money is also a part of the deal. To buy each pattern and then saving the pattern to be used again to cover its cost was simply absurd. I can't keep all the mess around in my cupboards.
  • I found it easier, time saving, money saving and energy saving to make my own sewing patterns.
  • I gained practice over the sewing formulas and I can draft directly on fabric now. Many times, I don't need a sewing pattern at all.

8 things you need to Make Your Sewing Pattern

#1. Inspiration

You have read this far shows that you are inspired enough to make your clothes. 

If sewing gets a little overwhelming don't worry, just leave a message on the community page and you'll get appropriate solution to your problem.

#2.  Drawing skills

You need basic drawing skills to draw around a dress, make curves, draw lines and some dots. 

You'll get hold of this as you practice.

#3. Willingness To Learn Pattern Making

You should allow yourself to get fully involved in the pattern making process (and make a lot of mistakes along the way) along side going to an evening pattern cutting class. 

Alternatively, you can get some commercial patterns and practice using them in order to understand how patterns work.

#4. Draping

If you have a mannequin of your size, you can experiment with draping to the form in muslin-marking and cutting as needed.

Then lay out and trace out.  Don't forget to include seam allowances.

You can use the same basic direction markings as on commercial patterns on your own.  

The more you practice,  the more intuitive it becomes.  Once you have a set of slopers on your size, you can use them to create any garment you might imagine.

#5. Books

I would recommend getting a book on pattern drafting. A pattern cutting book helps you get the instructions step by step. 

Just type in ‘pattern making books’ into amazon to fit whatever projects you hope to achieve in the future) as this gives you loads of useful information and eases you into the fun yet complex world of pattern cutting.

#6. Tools

You will need some cutting and drafting tools -

  • a big table,
  • big roll of craft paper,
  • some pencils and
  • lots of erasers,
  • a set of long rulers,
  • a set of french curves,
  • maybe a compass,
  • and other equipment.

You will need to get a set of rulers including a curve, appropriate paper and paper shears.

Never use your fabric scissors for cutting paper.

Get a hold of some butcher paper or bulletin board paper.  

Drafting is the process of translating measurements into patterns, based on a set of basic patterns called a sloper.

The bodice sloper for example, is the basic pattern piece you use to create the bodice on a dress, altering it as needed to create whatever style you want.

Use a pencil to practice drafting a basic sloper.  Use a yard stick and arm scye to assist. 

#7. Sewing Course

Take a short term sewing class. You don't need to enroll in a whole fashion design program.

Continuing education courses are offered through school boards and technical colleges. 

You can usually enroll in one single class, in this case an introductory pattern drafting class.

#8. Sewing Tips

It's very useful to see someone make a sewing pattern in front of you, rather than attempt figuring it out from a book. 

There are many good YouTube Sewing Tutorials you can learn sewing.

How I start sewing a dress : my sewing routine

How I learned making my own sewing pattern -

I started by deconstructing old garments that I no longer used to see how panels and linings and trimmings were placed to create shaped garments. 

Then I started making rough designs on pattern paper and pinning them to mannequins (or bodies of friends and family who had no choice) to see how they’d fit together.

Try searching for sewing patterns to see what sort of shapes are used to create certain silhouettes, but don’t forget to bear in mind the type of material that would be used.

Some fabrics are stiff enough to hold shape, like wool, but others like silk will drape.

Two ways to Make a Sewing Pattern

1-Draping fabric Method (usually muslin) on a dress form

I design patterns for dolls by pinning fabric to the doll and cutting it back off on the lines I intend to have become seams. 

Then I lay the pieces out, trace them and add a seam allowance and perhaps a little extra for ease.

Making patterns for people should be similar, except that you have to be careful not to poke needles into people!

Before you can really do it you have to understand how to make the fabric curve around attractively.

It helps to buy quite a lot of cheap fabric and play around with it.

When the cheap stuff (you can even buy old sheets at rummage sales for a few dollars) sews up into a good looking garment, remove the seams carefully and you can use that for a pattern.

2-Flat pattern design, in which you modify a basic sloper pattern.

If it’s your first time, then the best thing to do is to use bought patterns or ones from the internet to help you.

It is easiest to make a pattern when you have a dress form.

For me, cut out a piece of wrapping paper and put it on my dress form with pins.

Then, I pin where seams or darts will be and take a sharpie or pen to trace it there on the dress form.

You can adjust as much as you want. Make sure that you always leave room for your seam allowance.

How to Recreate a garment that’s worn out

If you want to make your own patterns, because you want to recreate a garment you love, but that is worn out, then you can get practice by cutting the garment apart by its' seem lines, layout the garment on paper and cut out.  

OR you can jump right into layout on appropriate fabric according to warp-weft-bias, and cut out with a little extra for seam allowance.

How to make sewing pattern online

If you learn to make patterns manually, your work won’t be reusable — you’ll have to start from scratch and do the same work over and over for each pattern you make.

And if you make mistakes with the manual drawing technique you won’t notice it until maybe 3 or 4 steps later.

So you might not know where your measurement or drawing went off the rails and so you can’t fix it, you’ll have to start over.

Another choice is to use software to draft your patterns.

However these are often very expensive and complex to use.

But I discovered a FREE (yes completely free) pattern making program (Valentina) which is downloadable and can but used for any sort of pattern making projects you want. 

You’ll be able to print in tiled mode and tape the printed pattern together, or have print it on a large format printer.

You’ll need to find software that lets you design your own patterns, versus buying their library of patterns.

As a beginner, you may not want to make a significant initial investment in pattern drafting software.

The software should be affordable for ALL the modules you need, including the ability to use traditional pattern drafting formulas, using any of the measurements you need, and laying out the pattern pieces.

The software should have language translations and online help available in your language.Also, it should run on your computer’s operating system — most pattern drafting software runs only on Windows. 

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