Of course, I am addicted to reading Dressmaking Blogs and am always amazed when the blogger says how little time it took to make a garment. I was prompted to try and make a dress in a day after reading of a top with interesting seaming and a peplum that took only 40 minutes to make. I had a whole day when I thought I had nothing to do so decided to give it a go.
There was a dress that I wanted to make that appeared to be straight-forward with only 4 pieces - Back, front, sleeves and a facing strip. It was designed for stretch fabric and needed no closures or fastenings. It was a pattern in a Burda Style Magazines. If you are not familiar with these magazines, issued monthly, they appear to offer Dressmaker's Heaven, that is a large number of patterns for a small monetary outlay: for example 17 patterns for £4.75. However, you might not like all the patterns in an issue plus you have to trace the individual pattern from sheets inside the magazine. This is when Heaven may turn into Hell so I am going to show how I do it.
Each garment is given a number (106 in my case). On turning to the instruction in the magazine for that particular number you will see a box that tells you which Pattern sheet you want and what colour the outline of the pieces will be. It also shows you the pieces and the number that they are allocated on the sheet . Below you see the information for my chosen garment (plus some pencil notes of simple lengthening amendments I intended to make to the pattern).
So I need to locate pattern sheet B, with a red pattern line, pieces 21 to 23 for style 106 with the type of line marking used for size 36. Below is the confusion with which you will be faced (this is sheet B and the pieces shaded completely in pink are the ones for a featured garment in the magazine, unfortunately not the one I chose).
But persevere. Once the pieces have been located I use highlighter to go over the lines of the size that I want and to highlight any pattern markings, such as grainline, notches etc. You can see the outline of the first piece for my dress highlighted in pink across the bottom of sheet B.
I highlight each piece one at a time and then trace it before going on to highlight the next piece. To trace I use ordinary greaseproof paper, cheap and easily obtainable from supermarkets. The drawback is the limited width but you can always tape a bit on if the width is insufficient. When tracing I find it useful to put something solid on which I can rest my tracing hand, this both helps to stop my hand from shifting the paper and provides an extra weight to keep the paper and pattern in place. My grader's set square is ideal for this, see the picture below.
Below is the traced pattern on which I have marked details such as fold line, gathering points etc. and size, model number and which issue of the magazine it came from as I shall add it to my file of traced patterns in case I wish to use it again.
Patterns in the Burda Style magazine do not have seam allowances included so you have to add them yourself where necessary. This does mean that you can choose the seam allowance you want, narrower or wider than the standard 1.5 cm for seams and the depth of hem allowance you require. I use the grader's set square to mark the seam allowance for any straight lines and a seam gauge,as below, to mark the allowance on curves.
Then, at last, I have my pattern pieces complete and ready to cut out with paper scissors before laying on my fabric. All this took one and three quarter hours, although that does include stopping to take even more photographs of the process than you see here. And then I went for a tea break, as I am about to do now. Part 2 to follow later.