Over the weekend I spent a couple of hours at the ‘Recreate a Favourite Garment’ class at Ray Stitch in Islington. The class teaches you how to ‘trace off’ a pattern from a favourite garment so you can recreate it in lots of different fabrics. I’ve been wanting to make a shirt for ages now so decided to take one of my favourite silk shirts from Whistles!
All of the classes at Ray Stitch are run by Alice Prier, a self-taught pattern cutter who set up her own made-to-measure couture company. This class is just three hours long but she also runs courses over a number of weeks, one of which H is going to be attending soon!
You may have seen that H and I tried our hand at self-drafting a few weeks ago. We just guessed at the technique but we weren’t far off from the method that Alice uses. Basically you trace every piece of your garment onto dot and cross tracing paper to create the pattern. The tricky bits come when working out how things like pleats and darts have altered the shape of your garment and ‘undoing’ that to create the pattern piece. Alice makes it seem much simpler than it sounds!
My shirt ended up being one of the most difficult garments to trace off – it has bust darts, a pleat down the back, a fiddly fold over the buttons holes and proper plackets at the sleeves. I think I managed to get the pieces traced off correctly but think I’m going to seriously struggle with actual construction. Anyone with experience of making shirts – help!
Everyone in the class happily pinned and traced their pattern pieces and the three hours flew by. Alice helpfully showed us tricky bits of other people’s patterns as we went along so we all left with the basics needed to trace a number of different garments in future.
Definitely give this class a go if you’d like to learn the basics of self-drafting, I’m excited to try and recreate lots of my other favourite garments now and hopefully make bucket loads of shirts in Liberty print!
Thank you Alice and Ray Stitch for inviting me along, it was the perfect way to spend a Saturday afternoon.