Pattern cutting class Week 1

I’ve started a beginners pattern cutting class and thought I’d share what it’s all about.

It’s run by Edinburgh Council and is on Monday nights at Leith Academy in their Home Economics department. It’s cost me £48 for 6 week, 2 hour sessions. That makes it a bargainous £4 an hour. We have to take some of our own materials (a roll of lining wallpaper, pencils, ruler, rubber) but other things are provided for the class including a tailors L, French curve and a giant roll of paper table cloths.


I’d looked into some of the online courses but I really do prefer learning in person. And actually I think this probably represents better value for money than some of the Craftsy or Burda online courses.

Week 1 was about drawing our first master pattern for a skirt.

We’re using the Winifrid Aldrich book. Most of us have bought a copy but we’re also given printouts in class.

I tried to read the book in advance but found it almost incomprehensible after the introductory pages. So week 1 was about deciphering what is meant.

We started on our wallpaper drawing the skirt pattern being very very precise. It’s like a recipe that you have to make sure you’ve followed every step and it really helps to tick things off as you go.

This gave me a standard size 12 master pattern for a skirt. So next step was to take actual measurements of ourselves and start drawing out a skirt pattern for ourselves. Unbelievably this was 2 hours up. Time absolutely raced by!


For homework we were encouraged to transfer our pattern master onto paper tablecloth and add a 1.5cm seam allowance. If we were feeling swotty we could also cut out fabric and try sewing it up.

I did have a shot at this but unfortunately I was a div and used my standard size 12 pattern rather than my own pattern. D’oh!

Anyway I’ll let you know how week 2 went later!


22 thoughts on “Pattern cutting class Week 1

  1. Wow that sounds like brilliant value! I’m looking forward to following along here! I remember making a basic pencil skirt block a few years ago from online instructions. I found it very confusing and had to ask for help from a few people. I really should use that pattern!


  2. Wow that’s a good value course! I’ll follow this with interest as I’ve consider pattern making courses, but sadly the only one I’ve found at a reasonable price is while I’m at work! So I’ve been stuck with the Craftsy courses, which are good, of course, but are online – I agree that a classroom course can be useful for asking questions and getting help from the tutor.

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  3. I’ve taught myself drafting using the Aldrich books. Just about to use the menswear version for drafting stuff for my hubby. I did the digital Burdastyle drafting course. More about using AI to make patterns than actually doing the drafting. The digital course was good, but if you get a great tutor in person it’s much better, you get to ask questions and get personalised feedback that you don’t get with online courses.

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  4. Looks fascinating – but mind-boggling as well.
    I guess the figures for the standard size block must have come from leaner times – a 66cm waist for a size 12??!! That must be something like a 6 today.


    1. or yes. once I measured myself I was distinctly in the plus sizes range. But thankfully the skinny woman I was partnered with measured as a 16 so I didn’t worry too much!


  5. Exciting! I’d love to learn how to draft my own patterns properly (doing it vaguely on my own with no-one to help hasn’t really met with any success – strangely). It’ll be fascinating to see how you get on and I’m looking forward to seeing what you make with your self-drafted patterns. Have fun!

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  6. Color me green with envy at having such a course offered locally! As far as the maths, at least it’s metric, not fractions! Even though I’ve been dealing with fractions for mumblemumble decades, I still get out paper and pencil when doing those, and that’s just when using “easy” mixes like half/quarter/eights and divide by an even number. Start throwing in things like divide 31 1/2 by 5 and I’m….even less thrilled.

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  7. Oh ! I’ve recently started a pattern drafting course as well with Gail Ames I’ve been sewing for years but the 4 weeks I’ve done have shown that the more I know the more I know I don’t know ! I’ve been doing a fitted top from a block and although the measurements are right the fitting has been really difficult, I think todays session has finally nailed it and I’ve got permission to cut out some real fabric from my pattern but to arrive at it has involved so much dart manipulation it’s been quite an eye opener. Good luck with yours.

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  8. Wow, I am absolutely green. I would love to do a pattern cutting course and this one seems so reasonable – all the ones that I find are hundreds of quid. It sounds like a massive load of fun. Love that WA book, she is the bizz. I also have the one for cutting children’s clothes. Xx

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  9. Love it! Can’t wait to read about more classes/lessons learned 🙂
    I want to dive into this so bad… although probably not metric so much since it will make thing more complicated where I’m at haha.
    Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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