You've found pattern school online - the best resource on stretch fit pattern making available. Together with our Facebook Group we try to answer all your questions and even some you never knew you had. We are constantly playing with new ideas and concepts in order to grow and develop our Ready to Wear knowledge ... why not join us?

This website has a science of stretch section open to the public and a whole stack of pattern making lessons (membership) that will teach you exactly how to make your own blocks/slopers and patterns from scratch ... while we focus on swimwear, you'll find most things apply to dance and other stretchwear ... knowing how to make and use a block means never having to buy patterns again! The site is aimed mainly at fashion school students and assumes some basic knowledge, it may still be appropriate for home sewists wanting to learn stretch fit pattern making.

We even have an eShop with ready made blocks/slopers and patterns if you just want to get straight into it. And lastly of course there's the blog below where we highlight some of the discussion topics from the Facebook group.

What's New

If you ever needed a reason to join our Facebook group, it's because of questions like the one Sarah asked yesterday. She wanted to know about curved crotch seams ... do they create a better fit or prevent camel toe/wedgies? She explained she'd come across other patterns, lingerie specifically, that use a curved crotch seam and wondered about the benefits are of doing it this way?

Well the curved crotch seam is actually a throw back from the days of low stretch fabrics (the original 100% nylon knits) from the 50's ... it was typically used in full brief undies for women that also had back quarter seams trying to create shape ... it's really designed to work with those. People forgot why it was done originally and just kept doing it. With modern stretch fabrics and much smaller width bottoms its probably of no real advantage anymore .... it can't really hurt (you need a seam anyway), but it's certain NOT going to prevent camel toe ... indeed it may make it more likely in some cases as your shortening the center line with out any account for that in the leg line.

Sarah provided some else's image so I've drafted one of mine in the same width as her example. The red line represents the common overly narrow back we're seeing on many reversible bikini bottoms in which "hungry butt" and camel toe are now very common place ... and it should be obvious as to why ... there's simply nothing left to hold onto the cheeks and the crotch width is so narrow the only thing anchoring the entire garment in place is ... well, the crotch itself, hence camel toe. Current PDF pattern designers of these styles think that tightening up the sidebands will hold the leg line out onto the cheek more ... .this demonstrates a lack of understanding of the fabric ... when you stretch in one direction, you increase tension in the perpendicular as well (basic first grade knit theory for those who went to fashion school) ... so what happens is they just effectively shortened the center back line further, turning it into even more of a thong with greater camel toe. So because they don't know how to fix it they've called it a new style .... yes, high waisted, wide band bottoms with hungry butt are a style.

But some people don't like that scrunched up look so they modified things again by putting in a curved crotch seam to try to contour into the bottom more gently. Umm guys all you did was shorten the center back even more???? If you want to fix this problem and contour properly then you need a CB seam (the light blue line) ... it's an even shorter CB length but now it sits properly in the butt and contours out over whatever width leg line you designed ... furthermore you can now reduce the tension on your side seams and eliminate camel toe due to excessive mid line tension.

But this isn't the only cause of Camel Toe. Camel toe is mostly due to pelvic tilt which requires repositioning the crotch section as a whole. In the garment Sarah provided as an example it wouldn't make any difference at all because the rear leg line coming from the crotch seam is around 90 degrees to the seam ... it tends to make a difference for leg lines over 120 degrees or more from the seam ... 90 or less will just shorten the CB line causing 45 degree ripples at the lower line pointing to the enter of the seam. There's an entire section on pelvic tilt and gusset mapping in the group. Another reason for camel toe is the nature of reversible swimwear with two layers of top fabric. People say it's thicker so it reduces the effect. Well yes and no ... this has been tested for years with multiple layers of lining well before reversible swimwear. The more layers of fabric the less likely the fabric will stretch in the center of the panel, instead flattening body features like the bust. But in the crotch region when the middle of the panel is resistant to stretch and the leg line stretches due to elastic only cms away, the section over the crotch creases in the center (convex curve with perpendicular tension) and so a crease drops right down the center line exaggerating camel toe more than usual (even though everything is still being flattened) .... it's about vertical fabric tension varying greatly across a small area with little to no horizontal tension. Why? ... because it's too narrow! Why is it too narrow? .... because everyone thinks they have to clear the leg muscles rather than bring the gusset forward. What I call cascading errors because of a lack of understanding of the principles because of a lack of formal education (sorry if I sound grumpy but there's no other way to say it) ... I don't expect home sewists to understand all this, but I do expect people selling patterns to understand it perfectly ... yet usually they have less understanding than the people actually doing the sewing!

Now bunching at the CB near the crotch is caused by a number of different things:

- cheeks centered to the side

- too narrow back panel at the seam going to too wide too quickly

- leg line apex too far back (certainly looked like that in Sarah's example)

- garment too tight at the waist

- anterior pelvic tilt

- two layers of top fabric (common in reversibles)

You really need to look at each garment and assess the design individually. I prefer to avoid the problem entirely by using a curved CB seam (light blue line) but reversible swimwear people seem opposed to using them because it's another sewing line, so they tend to look for other compromise ways around the problem.

Join our Facebook Group | Follow me on Instagram or Pinterest

The most popular selling item in my eShop are the children's blocks ... by several times over. You'd think women's 8% blocks would out sell everything because they can be used in swim and dance wear but no, kids are everything it seems! Until now I've just had the children's 10% body blocks packaged together with the sleeves as that's all that most people wanted ... they're available as nested CAD files (including layered, printable PDFs). Children's blocks, and thus patterns, are extremely hard to make for ready-to-wear sizing as children vary in size and shape more than any other category of fashion so you need a lot of raw measurement data. Luckily I was able to score a significantly large number of comprehensive children's' measurements (at serious expense again) from an associate designing for a children's brand in the UK ... a sample size of 1,139 kids aged 4 to 17. Yet as large as the data set is, there was still very little correlation between vertical and horizontal measurements or even horizontal to another horizontal. For example there is no correlation between hips and upper thigh/calf, no correlation waist and upper thigh/calf, and zero correlation of any kind between waist to floor and any horizontal measurement.

If I cut out the top and bottom 10% of the bell curve I still have no correlation ... and the curve is so flat that if I take 20% from upper thigh and 20% from calf, at the same time, I lose 90% of the data. Even if I took every result and did 4cm incremental hip averages then that exact average would fit only around 25-30% of kids of that hip size!

A kid with 64cm hips can vary in upper thigh by as much as 9cm (3 sizes) ... and if you think that's bad, waist to floor in a 64cm hip can vary up to 12cm (the full range of sizes). Kids are tall and large, tall and skinny, short and large, short and skinny for same hip measurement (sorry to use the term large but I don't know how else to describe the data) ... and anywhere in between.So what does this mean for block making? Well it means breaking the block in at least two places to adjust for length. I can do a reasonable estimate for hips verses thigh and calf, and if the blocks are nested then there's a reasonable chance that you can adjust between sizes ... then you'll need to account for length .... none of this is easy to make or for the less experienced of you to use ... but children are not consistent no matter what people tell you ... I can see why kids leggings have elasticated waists!

Anyway I've put the kids legs blocks online ... they require instructions on how to use them (included already) as multipart blocks ... I think this is probably the only way I can create blocks with some kind of consistency that works with the fact that kids are every size and shape imaginable. I hope this is exactly what so many have been asking for! I'll package them separate to the body and sleeves because not everyone wants leggings and I want to keep the pricing as low as possible ... currently they're at half price!



Join our Facebook Group | Follow me on Instagram or Pinterest

So how many of you have seen Miyumi as yet? If you're in the Facebook Group then you've probably seen the progress from start to finish ...

Designing and creating the patterns for this body form took several weeks and involved the creation of an entirely new radial grading method ... putting one together is no easy task either although I did write instructions for the process. The pattern is available from my eShop.

To finish the dress for required a few layers of papier mache to make it strong and hard. This is how my papier mache Miyumi turned out. OK with a little more effort she could have been a bit smoother but I'm quite happy with the result for a quick job.

Once she'd had papier mache put on the inside and made solid, I applied it to the outside to smooth over all the joins and make sure they'd never come apart. I also did a little extra contouring here and there to get an even more realistic shape: I smoothed into and around the neck, I did a little more forming of the collar bones, I smoothed where the breast forms joined the body, filled in the back waist a tiny bit and curved the bottom of the rib cage some more.

You could literally pad up anywhere and everywhere once the inside is hard. All of this literally from a printed pattern, some tape, PVA glue and newsprint!!!!

I've ordered some 5mm thick adhesive backed foam (similar to the one at the bottom of this page) that I'll use to cover her once I'm positive she's 100% dry .... so then I can use pins. I'll also papier mache one of my other test models just so I can paint it too!

Join Us In Facebook Groups - Follow Me On Instagram


Follow me on ....

  • Facebook Group
  • Instagram
  • Pinterest

© 2020 Pattern School Online by Stuart Anderson