Thursday, January 13, 2011

Pattern Drafting 101: Terminology

Here is a list of terms you will come across frequently in drafting and sewing patterns. Knowing what these are means we are 1 step closer to beginning a project!


  • CF- Center Front.
  • CB- Center Back.
  • SS- Side Seam.
  • SA- Seam Allowance.
Armscye: curve of the armhole.

Bias: 45 degrees of the grain, allows fabric to stretch, mostly used for biased binding but can also be used to drape fabric a certain way creating a desired effect.

Dart: used to shape or contour the fabric to the body.

Dart Point: this is pretty much as it sounds; the tip and pointed end of a dart.

Drape: a fine art and a unique way of pattern making. It involves placing the material against the figure you will be working with and draping until you get the desired effect. Once you have a shape you are happy with, you mark and pin the areas where you want the darts to be and then start creating the shape from this.

Ease: an extra measurement that is added for comfort or a looser fit.

French Curve: a useful tool when making your own patterns. It is a way of drawing exact curves, particularly useful when you are making sleeves. They come in all shapes and are a useful addition to the serious dressmaker’s toolbox.

Grading: grading is how a pattern is made bigger or smaller, depending upon the measurements that you have. If you purchase a store bought pattern, you will see several different sizes, this is grading at it's finest.

Grain: the weave of the fabric.

Grain line: a line (usually a long, 2-headed arrow) on a pattern that indicates the pattern should be placed along the grain of the fabric keeping your completed garment from pulling or stretching in the wrong places.

Notch: a wedge cut from the seam allowance which indicates key matching points on seams.

Slash: a cut or a slit made in the pattern to facilitate the construction of a pattern, to lengthen or shorten.

Sleeve Cap: the curved top section of the sleeve.

Sleeve Ease: similar to a notch, the sleeve ease is the extra bit of fabric that ensures that the wearer has movement in the sleeve area.

You can read all the topics on this subject by clicking on the 'Pattern Drafting 101' tab in the sidebar.


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