Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Pattern Making Penelope Red

Most people don't realise I create ALL of my own patterns myself. And with pattern making, and women's fashion, comes grading. Grading means to adjust the pattern from a standard size 10 to a size 8, 12, 14, etc.

In a mass-produced brand, the pattern making is done more and more often these days on a computer, making the grading become a simple flick of a couple of buttons. As with all hand done work, electronic automation is becoming common, and eventually manual pattern making and grading will be a thing of the past. However, like with all of my processes, I guess doing things the Penelope Red way is like taking a step back into the past...

Above, to grade I start off with a grid at the top and bottom of each piece to grade. I won't get into specifics of how to grade here- it is too technical, but trust me, it's complicated!

I then move the size 10 pattern piece around the grid to form the next size I am creating.

I then cut out and "notch" each piece. Notching means to place a little marker along the seam line to indicate a seam junction, a dart or to prevent stretching of the fabric. They are very handy around a curved seam.

Again, more grading! Each time I create a new style this means not only do I need to create and test the pattern, but I need to grade at least three sizes ( so that means a total of four complete patterns per size). All of this work adds up!

I have already started to come up with a few ideas for the Autumn 2011 Collection, and there will be quite a few new styles, including a new pant style, a new jacket style, a new blouse style, and a new skirt style... and no doubt a few more!

To see some of my current styles, please visit the Penelope Red shop online here:

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