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.
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.
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!