Every body has curves – at the front, back and sides. And every body has peculiarities that make it unique. Just as rtw clothing won’t fit you well everywhere, it is the same with ready-made patterns. After all, a clothing or pattern manufacturer cannot go into your individual measurements, but instead uses standard and average measurements for the sake of simplicity. This model figure does not normally exist at all. Therefore, do not look for the fault on your body when it comes to badly fitting clothes! Instead of changing your body, just change the pattern.

If you sew clothes for yourself, you have the great advantage that you can tailor them perfectly to your body. With ready-made patterns, however, you will have significantly more problems adapting them to your body and its peculiarities. Because ready-made patterns already contain many design elements, all of which have to be adjusted and differ in terms of their width and movement allowances. It is easier to adapt a basic block to your dimensions or to create it according to your own dimensions and then adapt it to your wishes.

What is a basic pattern block? How does it differ from a sewing pattern?

A basic pattern block or sloper is in principle the basis of a pattern. Basic blocks do not contain any design elements and are therefore timeless. They only contain the elements that are needed to adapt a two-dimensional pattern to your three-dimensional body, such as darts. Basic blocks are very figure-hugging and contain only a few allowances for freedom of movement, so that you can see the fit as well as possible. They are also designed for woven fabrics without stretch. So, it makes perfect sense to create a modified basic block for stretchy materials such as knitwear or jersey. Because patterns for stretchy fabrics usually contain only very small or even negative additions.

However, a basic block is not a magic bullet. Even if you have made a basic pattern based on your measurements, you will need to make changes as some assumptions are based on average values. The same hip circumference can e.g., be distributed very differently. The basic block is based on an even distribution on the hips and behind. However, it is entirely possible that the hips are wider, and the behind is a little flatter, or the hips are narrower, and the behind is a little more pronounced. That’s why on January 14 there will be instructions here on how you can make the most common adjustments to a basic skirt pattern yourself. Once you have adjusted your basic block to your measurements, it is best to first sew a test piece made of nettle or some other non-stretchable material. With this prototype you can check whether the darts are in the right place, the width is sufficient, etc. If you have to make changes to your prototype, then you transfer them to your basic pattern. The best thing to do is to keep the prototypes with the perfected sloper. So, you can quickly check whether your current measurements still correspond to your basic block or whether you should make changes.

Even a perfectly adapted basic block is not a 100% guarantee that all of the clothes you sew afterwards will fit you perfectly. Because every fabric differs in terms of stretchability and drape, so it may happen that you have to make small adjustments to your garment. So always add enough seam allowance to be able to make changes if necessary. However, this adjustment will be much smaller than is the case with a standard sewing pattern.

Which basic pattern blocks do you need?

In principle, you only need the following three basic patterns in order to be able to derive all kinds of patterns:

  • Basic skirt block – A basic skirt block is a simple straight skirt that is made to fit with one or two darts at the front and back. The skirt sits at the waist. The basic skirt block does not contain any pockets, slits or other design elements. To get started, it is easiest to start with a basic skirt block. This way you can learn the basics of pattern construction and get creative quickly.

  • Basic trouser block – The basic trouser block is straight trousers that fit tightly at the top and taper straight to the legs. The basic block has one or two darts at the front and back at the waist. The basic trouser block sits at the waist. The basic block does not contain any pockets, yokes or other design elements.

  • Basic bodice block – The basic bodice block is a simple tailored bodice with matching narrow sleeves. In the front there is a chest and waist dart, and, in the back, there is a shoulder and waist dart. In connection with the basic skirt block, dresses can be constructed with the basic bodice block. And the basic trouser block complements the basic bodice block to an overall.

The pattern modifications will be a little easier if you use one of these basic blocks or an already slightly modified basic block, such as a blouse or jacket basic block, as required. It also makes perfect sense to construct additional top or basic dresses with frequently used seam lines, such as princess seams or Viennese seams.

Do you still have questions about basic blocks? Then please write them in the comments.