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Pattern Grading Issue: Dart Casserole

14 Jun

Ever since the pattern grading workshop I did in March, I’ve graded all the new patterns that I’ve been creating for my next collection.  I’m learning more and more about clothing pattern grading the more I do it.  Yay!  I am learning what I like and what I hate about the process I’m currently using.  When the workshop instructor first talked about nesting the graded patterns (you know, where all the sizes are nested together on one paper in sequential order), I remember leaning over and commenting to my neighbor “When I actually start patterning my own stuff, there’s NO WAY I’m gonna nest them.”

If you’ve ever worked with a commercial store-bought pattern you might know why this practice of nesting multiple sizes is so freakin’ obnoxious.  If you want to use any size other than the very largest size, you have three options: cutting it out of the pattern (while losing all the larger sizes), tracing it onto it’s own paper (why didn’t they just do this in the first place?), or laying the pattern on the fabric and cutting the fabric at the correct cut line while NOT cutting the pattern (sounds confusing? yup).  The second reason that I’ve come to hate nested pattern is because there’s always going to be a billion different lines/darts/notches/etc all over.  It gets really confusing. When there’s a giant cluster of dart confusion, I call it Dart Casserole.

Note to self: good luck!

So I hate nested patterns, but I grade my patterns into about nine or ten different sizes (this is fairly excessive, don’t worry if you prefer 3 or 4 sizes when you grade).  I use a good amount of paper for patterning already, and if I made each size separate, I’d end up using NINE or TEN times the amount of paper!!!  And, it’d actually probably take me four or five times as long to finish grading.  I’m really into the whole Reduce-Reuse-Recycle mentality, so I can’t justify using all that paper if I don’t need to.  I’m tight on time too, so nest away patterns!  Nest away!

Still, I am annoyed with how confusing my darts are to read and to transfer from my pattern to my fabric.  After I finished the one pictured above I actually just thought to myself “Yeesh. Good luck with that later.” So I actually wrote a note to myself: good luck!  After dealing with those dang darts for awhile, I decided to try something else.

Before: dart casserole
After: easy-to-follow dart chart

Now my pattern only has the dart’s center post marked and a note telling me how far away the dart’s legs should be marked in on the fabric. (This dart’s legs would be drawn in 3/8″ away at the bottom. Wimpy dart.)  I’m going to try this method for awhile and see if it works out better.  It most definitely LOOKS better.  In case anyone wants to incorporate this into their pattern grading, I really don’t think it’d be very successful with any darts except straight darts unless you are crazy consistent drawing in your curved legs.

If anyone’s found a better solution to the “AHHH! DART CASSEROLE!” issue while nesting your graded patterns, please please let me know.  I love to improve my processes!

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3 responses to “Pattern Grading Issue: Dart Casserole

  1. Cindi

    06.15.12 at 9:02 am

    First – GREAT idea!!! Although I only ever make a patten in one size at a time. Second – Where do you take pattern grading workshops around here? Omaha, I mean. Please, do tell, as since I have moved back here, I have not seen anything like that, and not for lack of looking! Third – where do you buy your fabric? Are there any stores (other than Hancock or Jo-Ann’s) here that sell good quality clothing fabric? Or do you have to travel? Sorry for the 20 questions, but my inner seamstress is quite depressed right now…

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    • audiohelkuik

      06.15.12 at 9:26 am

      Omaha Fashion Institute (nonprofit organization affiliated with Omaha Fashion Week) hosted a pattern grading workshop in March. That’s the only pattern grading class I’ve ever attended. I don’t know if they have plans of doing it again. The instructor they brought in is from the East Coast, I think.

      I don’t shop at local fabric stores unless I need something pretty standard because I don’t like their choices. There’s a fabric store I like in NW Iowa. It’s called InWeave. I know alot of designers travel or shop online. I hear there’s a great fabric store in Chicago that people bus out to.

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  2. Cindi

    06.15.12 at 11:22 am

    Oh my. I was hoping you were going to lead me to the hidden independent fabric store in Omaha. I had started to suspect that I would have to travel for quality clothing fabric, although if I want Polar Fleece…, well, I don’t.
    Not a big fan of online fabric shopping, for me, feeling the texture and drape of a fabric is part of the inspiration. I will google InWeave (great name) and see where they are, and well, I love traveling, so maybe I just have another reason to justify a trip. Thanks for the info!

    And thanks for the follow on my new little photog blog. 🙂

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