pattern making techniques

Draping and Moulage

Draping and Moulage | The Cutting Class. Progress image of draping on a Hervé L. Leroux garment for couture SS13.

Work in progress on a dress for the label Hervé L. Leroux from the Spring-Summer 2013 couture collection.

While many designers design garments that can be created using flat pattern making techniques, other garments are created by working directly on a mannequin using techniques often referred to as “draping” or “moulage”. There are a couple of things to keep in mind when working in this way if you are using draping techniques to develop your own designs.

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Glossary: Princess Panel Lines

Glossary: Princess Panel Lines | The Cutting Class. Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris. Bodice seam lines continue from the armhole down over the bust and to the waist.

Christian Dior, Haute Couture, AW14, Paris.

Here are a couple of examples of how princess panel lines were used in the Christian Dior haute couture collection for Autumn-Winter 2014. The example images show how the seam line can begin from the armhole or from the shoulder line, continuing down through or close to the bust point, and down through the waist.

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The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 3

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves Part 3 | The Cutting Class. Alexander Wang, AW13, New York.

Alexander Wang, AW13, New York.

This post forms the third part of a series about The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves (read Part 1 or Part 2). In the first two posts we talked about how you need to make certain decisions about the fullness and angle of your sleeve. In this post we will talk about how you can then use seams, darts, gathers and tucks to shape the sleeve and body pieces of your garment.

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The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 2

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 2 | The Cutting Class. Balenciaga Sleeves.

Balenciaga, unknown date, images via Pinterest»

In this post we will begin to look at how the angle of the sleeve affects the drape of fabric in the underarm area. We will also consider how the distance between the garment underarm and the actual underarm of the body will affect the amount of arm movement that the wearer has.

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The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves: Part 1

The Fullness and Shaping of Sleeves Part 1 | The Cutting Class. Céline, SS14, Paris.

Céline, SS14, Paris.

There have been a few questions posed to The Cutting Class recently about sleeve shaping, so this post is the first in a series that has been put together to take a different look at sleeves. The focus will especially be on the fullness created around the armhole area and will help you to think about where exactly the fullness and shaping is distributed through a few different styles of sleeves.

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A Nod to Process at Vionnet

A Nod to Process at Vionnet | The Cutting Class. Vionnet, SS14, Demi-Couture, Paris.

Vionnet, SS14, Demi-Couture, Paris.

In his first collection working on Demi-Couture at Vionnet, Hussein Chalayan created a range of garments that worked with pleating and layers of sheer fabrics often embellished with cords and metal hardware. There was also a nod to the pattern making process with fabric prints that resembled pattern making paper.

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Clever Pattern Making Details at Kenzo

Clever Pattern Making Details at Kenzo | The Cutting Class. Kenzo, AW14, Paris.

Kenzo, AW14, Paris.

Hidden amongst the clashing colours and prints of the Kenzo collection for Autumn-Winter 2014, there were some clever pattern making details including crisscrossed lapels and panels that folded back on themselves to create peplums and collars.

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How To Work Out Patterns for Complex Details

How To Work Out Patterns for Complex Details | The Cutting Class. Images from Valentino, SS08, Couture Collection.

Valentino, Couture, SS08.

The Cutting Class recently received a query about how the skirt folds had been constructed on two dresses from Valentino’s final Couture show in Spring-Summer 2008. This seemed like a good opportunity to talk through some strategies for working out these sorts of details yourself.

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Inspiration Images for Subtraction Pattern Cutting

Inspiration Images for Subtraction Pattern Cutting | The Cutting Class. Comme des Garçons from Jane Magazine August 1998

Comme des Garçons. Image from Jane Magazine August 1998 via iiiinspired»

Following on from the previous post on Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts» it seemed fitting to collect together some images of garments that could possibly have been created using this pattern cutting technique, or which could inspire you to experiment with this technique yourself. If you haven’t already downloaded the "Free Cutting" PDF by Julian Roberts», then download the book now and then be inspired by the following images.

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Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts

Subtraction Pattern Cutting with Julian Roberts | The Cutting Class

Image from “Free Cutting” by Julian Roberts.

Many garments are created from flat pattern making methods, or from drape methods, but a method of “hollow construction” has been created by fashion designer Julian Roberts». This pattern cutting technique known as “Subtraction Cutting” makes the most of the negative spaces that can be opened up in fabric and falls somewhere between traditional pattern making and drape resulting in experimental garments that break the boundaries of the usual garment shapes.

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Working With Difficult Materials: Part 2


Garment images are from the project “The Garments May Vary” by Nadine Goepfert via Thisispaper»

As we began to discuss in the previous post, Working With Difficult Materials: Part 1», there are many strategies that you can adopt when designing and working with difficult fabrics. In this post we will discuss some tactics you can try to help you to experiment with how you sew the fabric and some ways to streamline your draping and pattern making processes as well.

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Thom Browne’s Off The Body Tailoring


Thom Browne, AW13, New York.

When the silhouette of a garment moves far enough away from the body, all the old pattern shapes become almost obsolete, and the garment needs to be dissected by a new set of panel lines. The Autumn-Winter 2013 collection by Thom Browne showed a perfect example of how traditional tailoring can be stylised to the point where new pattern cutting techniques are needed.

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Shaping the Shoulder Curve: The Dropped Shoulder and the Set In Sleeve


Antonio Marras, RST14, New York.

When pattern making any garment that crosses over from the shoulder to the arm, you need to consider the placement of seam lines and have an understanding of how the seam line placement will affect the shaping of patterns. The position of the armhole seam line, and the amount of volume in the pattern will have a large part to play in how the silhouette is created, and in how much movement there is in the armhole for the person wearing the garment.

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Fundamentals of Pattern Making: Tucks and Gathers at Prada


Prada, as shown with Menswear SS14, Milan.

As part of the recent menswear show, Prada also showed a selection of womenswear pieces that will be sold as part of Resort 2014. Among the womenswear pieces were a variety of examples of how tucks and gathers can be used to create shaping and fullness.

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Ways To Think About Pattern Changes and Fitting Alterations


Comme des Garçons, AW97. Photographed by Steven Meisel for Vogue Italia 1997.

This amazing photograph of a Comme des Garçons dress provides a perfect visual example of how to think about parts of garments as separate plates that come together to create a 3D form. Thinking about a garment in this way will help you to recognise fitting problems and to correct pattern issues.

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