Online Patternmaking Classes
by Don McCunn

Measurements and Drafting the Initial Pattern

This first week is about preparing the initial pattern for the sloper and cutting it out of fabric so that the shape of the darts and seams can be determined for a specific body. I will use the word sloper to refer to the paper pattern and fitting shell to refer to the gingham you will sew to determine the shapes for the darts and seams.


There is almost one hour worth of videos you can view this week. But if you focus just on one specific requirement, the initial steps should only require a half hour of the indicated viewing time.

If you are an experienced sewer, you already know how to cut fabric using a pattern and how to sew in a zipper.


Measurements are the beginning of the process. While measurements are the starting point, do not worry to much about making them overly precise. The body is a series of continuous contours. Measurements in increments of 1/2" (12mm) are accurate enough. The true shape will be determined when the fabric is fit to the body. However the Waist and Hip measurements will be vital in verifying that there is adequate ease in the final pattern.

To quickly and easily locate specific measurements they are referenced by the numbering system used in the second edition of my book How to Make Sewing Patterns (2016). You can download the chart to your computer as an interactive PDF file that can be saved, printed, and shared across multiple devices. Instructions for doing this are included in the PDF file. Record the measurements taken here in a copy of that chart.


You will create the Lower Torso (aka Skirt) pattern based on the initial measurements: Waist (#9), Hips (#13), Waist to Hips (#36), and Waist to Knee (#37).

Measuring a Woman

Measuring a Man

Do-It-Yourself Measurements

The Initial Pattern

The initial pattern guarantees that you will have an appropriate amount of fabric to cover the body. You will need to have one pattern for the front of the sloper and one for the back. The step-by-step instructions for drafting the skirt shown in the video below are available in How to Make Sewing Patterns on page 30, 2nd ed. (pages 28 & 29, 1st ed.).

The Initial Draft

Copying the Pattern

Sewing the Fitting Shell

These videos are basically included for people new to sewing. If you skip these videos, be sure to draw a center front line on the fabric for the front of the fitting shell. Also if you are doing-it-yourself, take a look at the third video.

Three Ways of Cutting Fabric

Sewing a Zipper at Center Back

Sewing the Side Seam and Marking Center Front

DIY - Adding Bias Tape at the Waist

Lower Torso Sloper Home Page   ►  Week One   ►   Go To Week Two

Copyright © 2007, & 2020 by Donald H. McCunn