Books & Online Patternmaking Classes by Don McCunn
There are two basic approaches to creating sewing patterns for garments. The most common approach has been developed for people working in the fashion industry. This approach uses generic patternmaking instructions. The designer and pattern maker are creating patterns and garments for people they will never see.
The approach described in these books and classes is Custom Bespoke Pattern Making where you design garments for a specific individual. It is based on looking at the body you are sewing for and learning how to shape two-dimensional patterns (and fabric) to fit the three-dimensional contours of the body. You start by creating patterns, called slopers or master patterns, that show the shape of a specific body. These fitted patterns can then be modified to create designs that will require little, if any, additional fitting.
"I learned to sew at a young age, making mostly garments for myself and for friends. I decided to learn flat pattern drafting this year because I was tired of the many alterations I need to make to commercial and indie patterns in order to make them fit. I have watched every pattern drafting class on Craftsy, and purchased every book on pattern drafting and fitting there is. Your book, Don, was the only one that delivered the goods. There are books that teach garment fitting, and books mostly geared for the industry that teach drafting, but only yours contains enough information on both subjects to result in garments that fit."
Early in my career teaching pattern design using my book How to Make Sewing Patterns I learned that many people can learn much more easily when they can see demonstrations of processes rather than picking up techniques from books. These online classes are video demonstrations that supplement the material in my books. There are nine classes in this series with each one including videos to demonstrate the techniques in one of these books (aka "required texts"). My An Introduction to Pattern Design is a free e-Book you can download by clicking This Link. Page references are included for all the books and for How to Make Sewing Patterns both the 1977 and 2016 editions are listed. Either edition can be used as the course text. These videos are being made available at no charge.
Pattern design is not rocket science. On this website I show how kids 5 years and older can create their own original pattern designs for three dimensional shapes even before they learn to sew. The first three parts illustrate the basic pattern design techniques. For kids who do want to sew, the fourth part describes the basic hand and machine sewing techniques.
This course supplements the material in the free e-Book An Introduction to Pattern Design. While creating fitted slopers is the first step--you do it once. Designing patterns from the slopers is something that you will do as often as you want. This course allows you to immediately practice creating designs by providing a readily available, predetermined shape--a wine bottle. The instructions are designed for beginning as well as advanced sewers. For more information, see the Overview.
How to Make a Lower Torso (aka Skirt) Sloper
This course covers the waist-to-hip region for both men and women. The resulting patterns can be used to optimize the fit of the torso portion of pants and it is an essential pattern for creating a Body Double (aka Dress Form). The course concludes with demonstrations of how to create a variety of different skirt designs.
How to Make a Pants Sloper
This course describes creating pants for both men and women. The pants pattern can be used to simplify the process of creating the leg portion of a Body Double (aka Dress Form).
How to Make a Body Double (aka Dress Form)
Typically Dress forms are for fitting the torso. This course shows how to make a Body Double that includes the torso, legs, arms, and even adds a head. It includes instructions, such as how to make pipe stands, that are not in How to Make Sewing Patterns.
Patternmaking Tools and Supplies
This is a list of the tools and supplies required to create the fitted slopers described in the sloper classes above and How to Make Sewing Patterns.
How to Make Custom-Fit Bras
This course is about making underwire bras. The initial model for this bra was unable to wear an underwire bra for more than two hours at a time. With the first bra I made for her, she wore it for a full week and forgot she had it on.
How to Make Custom-Fit Corsets
This course describes how to make three styles of custom-fit corsets: Underbust, Strapless, and Shoulder Strap. There is no additional text required for the class. The instructions are all included in the website.