Anyone who has sewn has probably used a flat pattern. You choose a design you like from a pattern book at the fabric store, lay it out on your fabric, cut and sew. But what if you want to create your own design and be able to make something wearable—or, even more challenging, make it possible for others to sew your design? To do this you’ll need to take a class called Flat Pattern.

In this class you’ll learn to manipulate darts and draft a variety of necklines, collars, sleeves, skirts and bodices from a master pattern.

Students learn how to add flare to a skirt by “slashing and spreading.”
Instructor Peggy Perruccio demonstrates how to add a dart-equivalent yoke to a skirt pattern.
Scissors, tape and a pencil will be the tools you use most in Flat Pattern. And be sure you’re using the scissors you reserve just for paper. We don’t use our fabric scissors for paper or vice versa, do we?!
Students work with quarter-scale, half-scale and full-scale patterns at different points in the class. Sometimes working together helps to get through the trickier tasks.
You’ll be working more in paper than fabric toward the beginning of the course. Later in the semester, however, you’ll be taking one of your designs from two dimensions to three by making a finished garment.

For me, the fun was the final project, putting together all the elements to make an actual pattern from scratch.”—Sally-Ann Rudd

It can be a challenge to make the correct cuts and adjustments to get the exact result you’re aiming for,” student Sandra Helsley admits. “Flat pattern is a surprisingly technical and precise art form.” But Sandra is quick to add that she has put the course to use: “I use flat pattern for my internship at a local, independent women’s clothing company, and it’s so much fun to see how my patterns turn into real creations!”

I now view commercial patterns as a template that I am free to tweak and add design elements that suit my fancy!”—Cathy Imbler

Flat Pattern is required for three out of the four certificates offered by the department, and it’s an important foundational course whatever your fashion future holds. Now is the time to sign up for spring classes! Flat Pattern will be offered Tuesday mornings and taught by department head Ronda Chaney. More information here.