As I work on my pattern cutting work, (I've got a few clients at the moment after not actually having any for a while) I realize having gotten a bit rusty in a few areas has it's benefits of helping crystallize some key procedures that need to take place during the drafting of a pattern.
First, sometimes when you have a cool design to do for your designer, say you really like the style lines in the garment, you may be tempted to start drafting up the style lines on the pattern sloper before you take care of deciding the exact placement of where the silhouette and length lines should be. Don't do this, you'll make the pattern cutting a repetitive process of adjusting and re-adjusting as you re-tweek style lines to properly accommodate the designer's intended look.
Second, notches. When you've drafted the main pattern blocks for a garment, you may sometimes be tempted to start placing your notches in their corresponding places (don't put them on the center of any seam lines though, as pieces can get sewn upside down and miss-matched this way). This is not the right time to notch so don't fall for it. You've got to make sure you've decided on you facing shape lines( if you're using facings) and drafted the other attached but smaller pattern pieces first so that it's easier and quicker to place accurate notches, in all their correct places rather then having a couple notching and notch adjusting sessions.
Third, whenever possible do all similar work on your pattern as a single step in the over all process of drafting your pattern. This doesn't include measuring though (for example, when you draft a basic bodice pattern, you've got to measure the armscye to correctly check the curve on the sleeve block before preceding with anything else). However, when you've got your basic sloper set up for a design, do all the silhouette and length drafting first such as neckline depth, waistline placement, hems, sleeve lengths etc. Zipper and button plackets are next. Then place your style lines on each of the pieces. Then draft your facings, hem facings and hems lengths. In digital pattern making I create my facings by setting up a shaped line that will be used to 'cut' through a copy of the main pattern block so that the seams and shapes will be identical to the main garment block. However, I don't 'cut' the facing out till all the notching work is complete so that I can simply copy the notches as well as the facing pieces to eliminate double measuring of notch placements.
So when you're drafting up your patterns, keep these practical pattern cutting procedures in mind to speed up your work and help keep it more accurate as well. After all, accuracy is just about everything in pattern making. And as they say, time is money.
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