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Fashion Designing And Making Your Own Patterns For Beginners

Updated on October 13, 2014

Fashion Design for Beginners

Fashion designing and making your own patterns for garments is challenging, fun and saves you money. Recently, I have been making garments from my own patterns that have been coming out pretty nicely. Last halloween my 5 year old granddaughter told me that she wanted to be a bride, I couldn't find any patterns that I liked for her in her size. So, I decided to make her a custom made pattern for the gown and to my surprise her gown came out very beautiful, plus it was a lot of fun making it.

When you get a handle on making your own patterns, you'll be able to create fashions for just about any occasion. In this hub, I'll go over the very basic tecniques that I have been using to create my own patterns. I'm sure it's not the professional way to make patterns, but it works for me and hopefully it might work for you too or give you an idea of how it could work for you.

This hub does require for you to have sewing skills and to be skilled with having used manufactured patterns comfortably in the past.

Sketching Your Designs

After you've thought about what garment you want to make, sketch it out on a sketching pad with a pencil that has a good eraser, believe me, you'll be using that eraser a lot!!!. I'm sure some of you are laughing, saying that you don't have any artistic skills - have some faith in yourself and give it a try, you just may surprise yourself. By sketching it out first, you're actually preparing your brain for the next few steps. The sketch does not have to be perfect, just sketch it out enough so that you can visualize what you want your garment to look like.

After you've sketched the garment out on your sketching pad, study your sketch for a while, even for a few days if you're very new at this, analyze it and start to think about how many pieces it will take to complete the garment.

I'll use an example of a newborn layette I made for a friend of mine at church who is pregnant with twins. She's having a boy and a girl, I made an outfit for both of the babies, but in the example I'll use the baby boy's layette.

Baby Girl And Baby Boy Layette

Determine How Many Pattern Pieces You'll Need

For the baby boy's layette, I decided that I wanted to make a little jacket, pants, cap, booties and a bib. So I sketched out each article of clothing, studied it, analyzed it, determined how many pieces it would take to make each garment and what each piece would represent. This part takes some time, but If you're already familiar with using a pattern, you'll have an easier time with this part.

For the pants above, I determined that I would need 2 pieces; for the jacket, I determined that I would need 4 pieces; for the booties, I used only one piece. The bib was made from one piece and the cap from 2 pieces.  I used tissue paper for this pattern.

Measure, Measure And Measure Again

Measuring is the key to making a garment that fits perfectly. You do have to measure much more when making your own patterns than you do for a manufactured pattern. For making your own pattern, you not only have to take the standard measurements, you also have to measure neck size, arm length, arm width, wrist width if you making a long sleeve shirt or dress, pant leg width and length, dress or skirt length and any other measurements that pertain to your garment.

I know it sound like a lot, but when you've become skilled at it, eventually it'll be a piece of cake! When making your own pattern, you can be as fancy as you want or as plain as you want.

Drawing The Pattern Pieces On Pattern Paper

There are several options for the type of paper to use. Plain pattern paper can be purchased. You can use white tissue paper, the kind used for gifting, brown paper which come on rolls can be used or any plain paper that is large enough to have one pattern piece drawn on it.

After the measurements are taken and you've determine how many pieces it would take to make your garment, then it's time to start sketching out the pieces on the pattern paper. Now, when sketching out the pieces, make sure to add 5/8inches around each piece for the seam allowance. Use rulers or yard sticks to help with straight lines. For some curved areas you may want to use a protractor or a compass.

Remember to think in halves for the pattern pieces that will be placed on the fold of the fabric. When making a pattern piece such as the front of a shirt or the back of the jacket, you only have to draw half of that part of the garment because it will be placed on the center fold of the fabric, then when it's opened up it will be the complete piece

Some Of The Pattern Pieces Used To Make Baby Boy Layette

Completed baby boy layette ( I forgot to photograph the cap)

Jacket and Pants
Jacket and Pants

Practice Makes Perfect

As with anything, the more you practice at making your own patterns, the better you'll get at it. Start small, with something very simple and gradually work your way up to more complicated patterns. Don't get discouraged, have faith in yourself and have fun making your own patterns. Who knows, one day you may become a famous fashion designer!

Happy fashion designing and pattern making to you!!!


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    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      3 years ago from Maine

      Thank you so much for your comments peachpurple. Don't give up, you'll be successful at making those pants one day!

    • peachpurple profile image


      3 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      i agree that practice makes perfect, I tried making pants several times

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      3 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much Ezzly for your comment.

      Blessings to you!


    • ezzly profile image


      3 years ago

      Nicely done, you are very creative.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      6 years ago from Maine

      Thank you very much josiejossy for visiting and for your comment!

    • josiejossy profile image


      6 years ago from Nairobi Kenya

      Great hub, i liked your explanation.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      7 years ago from Maine

      A pillow would be great to start with, then slowly work your way up to a more complicated project. I know you'll do a great job!

    • BkCreative profile image


      7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      OK, well seriously creativelycc - I just threw out my ridiculous old TV a couple week ago and suddenly...what is this - the creative juices are flowing like mad. And I have time. Whew!

      Being home and writing most days I'd turn on the TV and often it was just background noise. Didn't realize how it was dulling me and causing me stress until I tossed it.

      So there is a good chance I will do this. It is not as easy as your hair gel - but maybe I can start with something real simple. Like a pillow.

      Thanks a million for your wonderful, helpful hubs. I bookmark so many. Rated up! Yay!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Hi BkCreative,

      Thank you for loving my grandbaby's picture. She is precious! You can definitely design and make your own patterns, it is much easier than you think! Let me know when you try it! Take care.

    • BkCreative profile image


      8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Love love love the little girl in the photo. I would love to make my own patterns. You make it seem so possible. Ok I'm going to give this a whole lot of thought.

      Thanks so much. I love your hubs. Rated up of course.

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Hi shakilahmad,

      I'm so happy you like the article! Thank you for your comment!

    • creativelycc profile imageAUTHOR

      Carrie L Cronkite 

      8 years ago from Maine

      Hi Pamela99,

      Thank you so much for your very nice comment!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good informatory article i like it

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      8 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I haven't sewn in quite a while but I use to quite frequently. I like all your pictures and you do beautiful work


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