Organizing All Those Self-Drafted Patterns

by Debbie Bowles

I love drafting my own patterns.  The idea of going from a concept, to drafting that concept, to sewing a garment tells my complete story of garment construction. I’ve been pattern drafting for several years, and I have a chunk of self-drafted patterns.  So how do I organize it all?

Basic tools of my organization:

  • Clothes rack
  • Plastic clip pants/skirt hangers
  • Ziploc bags of various sizes
  • 5×7 sketch book with colored pencils
  • Tagboards in a variety of colors
  • Rolls of drafting paper
  • Lead pencils, rulers, fashion rulers
I have a variety of slopers, each designated by a different color tagboard.

With each drafted pattern, I have an accompanying colored pencil drawing of my garment.  When I’ve completed sewing the garment, I put it in a quart sized Ziploc with the pattern, the picture, and fabric scrap.

This Ziploc goes into a gallon Ziploc of other patterns I’ve drafted using the coordinating sloper.

Then I use my clip pants hanger to clip on the gallon Ziploc, and I attached the sloper to the hanger hook.

All that goes onto a clothes rack.

As you can see, I’ve accumulated a variety of slopers and patterns.  This pattern drafting process is so much fun because through this method I can focus on interesting detail construction instead of the basic fitting of each garment.   I already know the fit is good before drafting the details.  As a result, everything I make is my own design.


You can learn this pattern drafting method too by attending Designing Divas, the fourth Tuesday of each month at 10 a.m. 

We meet at Christ United Methodist Church, Plano, in a large classroom where each person has a table to complete their own drafting. 

This summer is a perfect time to join Designing Divas.  Our project is drafting a knit sloper.    Hope to see you at Divas – where pattern drafting is so much fun (and easier than you would think.)

Debbie Bowles

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