[Module 6] Creating the Flexible Pattern | 9. Pattern Organisation

Updated: Jul 17

Prior to diving in a cutting up all of your glorious fabrics it is now worth a little extra time to check and organise your pattern pieces.


Have you;

  • Added any Seam Allowances or Hems that you require, if not refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Seam Allowances and Hems.

  • Do you have enough notches to help you with construction - on long Seams this would be as a minimum every 10”.

  • Moved all of your notches into your Seam Allowances.

  • Added all Awl Points required to allow you to Tailor Tack to place those important corresponding points onto the Fabric.

  • Added Grainlines.

  • Added Fold Lines.

  • Added any other pattern markings.

  • Named your garment and placed this name on all pattern pieces to identify them

  • Named each pattern piece, i.e. Front, Back, Waistband etc.

  • Identified the Client Details to the Pattern in some way, Name, Date, Client Number, Weight.

  • Defined on the pattern how many pieces to cut and in which Fabric.

  • Have you determined if you will need to Thread Trace if you have you may wish to copy pattern pieces if you need to cut them out of more than one fabric say for a contrast or a lining.

  • Copied off all the required Facing pieces.

  • Copied off all required Interfacing pieces.

  • Considered if any pattern piece should be traced off to cut the piece as a whole rather than half.

  • Have you created all of your ‘Accessory Pattern Pieces’, for extras such as pockets or applique or do you have them available to you in a Flexible Pattern Packet.

  • If you have already tested your garment and are happy with it and will reuse this pattern over and over again do you need to consider preserving it, if so refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Preserve the Draft.

  • Any small pattern pieces can be stored in a whole punched envelope and added to the patters on the hook in that way.

  • Number all Pattern Pieces, start with the main pieces first.

  • I also colour code all Pattern pieces according to the fabric that they will be cut from so all pieces cut from fashion fabric will be marked with a dark green dot for example, then another colour for contrast, Lining, Underling and Interfacing. If you have a piece that is to be cut from more than one fabric then mark it with more than one colour. By colour coding for fabric you are making things easier for the cutting process because you can quickly find all of the pieces you require and then can be confident that you have all the pieces to layout for each fabric. This colour coding is reflected on the Pattern Record Card detailed below.

Flexible Patterns, I’ve given it this name because I feel that while you are drafting it is important to consider how you will make your garments for the designs that you have drawn. If there is anyway that you can maximise the time that you have spent so far drafting and fitting and altering it is at this point. By adding in a different Back to a garment or copying a pattern and changing a Neckline slightly or creating a different length sleeve then now is the time to do it while you have everything fresh in your mind for the pattern that you are working on. So before you continue ask yourself is there any other pattern I can draft quickly to maximise what I have done but to give me flexibility with the pattern to create this garment in different ways. If you have already done this then that’s fabulous because you have been listening to me and that makes me happy, all this typing has been worthwhile!


Pattern Control

After years of Project Management you cant help but be organised and with all of these patterns pieces sitting before you it is time to collect them together and establish some system that not only catalogues what pieces you have for this Flexible Pattern but also reminds you what it should look like, what design choices were made, what other notions you recommend to use and a construction order so that when you come to sew it all together you have a reminder of what to do in which order. Also most importantly somewhere to write any notes to yourself after making it that can help you decide if you need to alter the pattern in any way, how you felt about the design or how the garment went together in other words to assist with your learning, you will learn something from every single garment that you make.


I have given you a starting point to control this information by providing a Flexible Pattern Record Card you are welcome to use this or create your own, with three pages of space to define information I find that this is sufficient for my requirements. A sample Flexible Pattern Record Card has also been supplied to give you an idea of how you can use it.


The first page gives the basic information for the Flexible Pattern and has many rows to detail each pattern piece (if you have a pattern that requires more rows just print off another copy of this page and continue on that).

The second page gives you a place to show the style and your fabric choices and also to detail any Notions or Accents that you feel should be used which creates a useful shopping list if you also note that the first page gives you a place to define how much of each fabric you need.


The third page is your instruction and reflection page, so every time you make this garment you can add or remove points as the pattern evolves. Construction order will be looked at in more detail in Module 8.


The Flexible Pattern Record Card should be stored with the pattern or at least a copy of it. When you are browsing through your patterns it is going to give you lots of information at a glance about the pattern and remind you of what you did. You could hole punch it and sit it on top of your patterns.


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