Pattern Designs Using Basic Style Elements

Are you ready to start making some pattern designs using what you've learned so far?

With even just a few style elements, you can design skirts, tops, blouses, and dresses.

On this page, I'll go over a few designs using the elements you'll find in the pattern drafting pages - combining sleeves, necklines, and body styles into a variety of tops and blouses, adding skirts, making dresses - you get the idea!

Putting it All Together

flared top with notched neck

Let's start with this simple top.

What are the design elements you can draft?

Well, it's a flared top, tunic length, with a notched neck and bell sleeves.  The only variation is the hemline, and that's easy:

When you flare the top, don't draw a curve to keep the hemline consistent.  Draw a straight line along the bottom, to the angled side seam.  You'll have a pointy side seam, but that's the "point" of this hemline!

A pleated skirt with yoke?

Just a combination of the yoked skirt and the pleated skirt.

Draft the yoke first - you don't want pleats in your yoke!

Then just slash and spread the lower part of the skirt.  The darts have already been dealt with in the yoke draft, so the skirt is just slash and spread.

pleated skirt with yoke

drop waist dress with pleated skirt

This dress is super-easy, and it's such a classic look!

The bodice is your fitted blouse (with the opening in the back instead of the front), lengthen to tunic length.

If you've drafted the pleated skirt already, just shorten it FROM THE TOP.

Because the tunic is about 12 - 14" below the waist (4 - 6" longer than the blouse, which ends 8" below the waist), cut off the top 12 - 14" of the pleated skirt - and stitch it to the bodice!

This stylish sheath is a variation on the high waisted dress with buttons, but it also incorporates the princess seam in the bodice.

Start by drafting the sheath from the bodice and skirt blocks, then draft the princess seam.

In this case, the princess seam starts at the armhole rather than the shoulder, but the process is the same (go ahead - you can do it!).

Then extend the princess line to the hem of the sheath (following the shape of the waist darts to maintain the fit).

Finally, cut the bodice and skirt apart, again following the directions for the buttoned sheath.

high waist dress with princess seams

fitted blouse with bishop sleeve and peter pan collar

This blouse contrasts the fitted blouse bodice with the full bishop's sleeve. The Peter Pan collar lends a tailored touch, without being stuffy.

The flutter-sleeve shift uses the sweetheart neckline, and a flared hem on the dress.

Combining the bodice and skirt blocks into a flared shift style dress is similar to drafting the sheath, but you can ignore the waist darts to make the fit more relaxed. 

To add some flare at the hem (and an even more relaxed fit through the body of the dress), slash and spread from the top of the waist darts to the hem.  Add as much or as little flare as you like; you'll also be adding just a bit through the waist and hip, too.

flared dress with flutter sleeve and sweetheart neckline

drop waist dress with handkerchief skirt

This version of the drop waist dress looks especially nice in dressy fabrics. I like a lace overlay on a handkerchief hem skirt, with a simple silky bodice.

The bodice is your basic blouse, but lengthened to tunic length (like the pleated version above, but without the waist darts).

The skirt is just a handkerchief hem, but drafted with the lengthend bodice in mind.  The bottom of the bodice will be a little larger than on the drop waist dress with circle skirt, and the skirt itself will be shortened 4 - 6" to accommodate the longer bodice.

What's the Next Step?

Keep designing!  You'll find inspiration all around you, and when you do, you'll begin to notice that the styles you love consist of elements you already know how to draft.

And, of course, you'll need to finish your pattern with seam allowances, hems, and facings.

More Blouse Body Styles

More Collars and Necklines

More Sleeve Styles

More Skirts and Dresses

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