Have you ever found yourself in the situation where you know what you would like to make but you just can’t find the pattern for it?
If you have something in your closet that looks like what you want to achieve, you can draft a pattern from it!

Pattern drafting

That’s what I had to do for my wedding dress. I have the perfectly fitted strapless dress that I wanted to replicate and thanks to Steffanie Lincum’s Craftsy Class Drafting a pattern from ready-to-wear I was able too!
In this class I learned that I could make a pattern by pinning each parts of my existing garment to a large sheet of paper thus making a kind of map to follow for tracing the pattern.

Let me show you the basic concept behind this by making a pattern for this simple yet very versatile pocket.

First you’ll need to gather lots of pins, a large sheet of paper (I’ve used brown craft paper), a surface on which to pin (hello, blocking broad!), and the garment you want to reproduce.

Material

Then simply secure your paper onto the pinning surface and start to pin around the desired area.

Securing the paper

Pinning around

After removing your pins and model, you’ll have a lot of small holes on your paper.

Pin holes

The fun part is to connect them to make the pattern magically appear. Don’t panic if some holes are not perfectly aligned, just connect them the best you can to make the pattern. And at last, add your seam allowances and you’re done!

Pattern

If like me you want to use a dress you already have on hand to replicate part of it, then a muslin is mandatory. This will give you the opportunity to test your pattern and make changes according to the style you want to give this new piece!

This is just the basic technique but you can use it to reproduce just about anything.
For more on this, including treating darts and pleats, I highly recommend Steffanie’s class on Craftsy.
Did you know about this technique? And if so, have you made garments from clothes you’d already own?

  • Hi Coralie!

    This is great post, really helpful with great photos.
    I’ve copied garments before, but only when they were worn out so I took them apart.

    Copying a garment that’s still in use is a great skill, I’m sure you’ll have continued sucess with this method.
    J. xx

    • Coralie

      Thanks, glad you liked it! In my opinion it’s a very useful technique to know, gives you lots of opportunities.