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  • Caroline Anne Pelliccia

Personal Pattern Blocks

Have you always wanted to be able to design and sew just about any garment that your heart desires? One of the most exciting parts of home sewing is knowing that once you have a well-fitting basic pattern, or block, you’re just a few steps away from making this a reality.

Over the years, most commercial pattern companies have created basic block patterns and then used these as the base for all of their other pattern designs.

Vintage Shell Patterns (Butterick 3415 and Vogue 1003)

Naturally, creating a block for yourself can also help you to assess where your body measurements differ from the so-called “standard sizes” used by pattern makers. This means that you can then use any commercial sewing pattern that you already have, with the confidence that you can create a garment from it that will actually fit you.

Several talented independent designers have also come up with excellent solutions in this field. What follows is by no means an exhaustive list, but certainly a great place to start.

Sure-Fit Designs

A truly amazing join-the-dots system which allows you to create a personalised block using your body measurements, a set of multi-sized, dotted pattern sheets, and a proprietary stylus which cleverly combines various curve rulers to have a specific section, or curve, for each area of the body. For adults, there is a Dress Kit, a Shirt Kit and a Pants Kit.

You would draw off your own basic pattern (Body Blueprint) from each kit. This "block" is perfect as a standalone pattern, and can also be used to design other styles.

Glenda has been the most generous teacher for over 40 years now, and in addition to the personal attention available, there is an absolute abundance of help and information on her website with regard to fitting tune-ups and pattern designing. Sure-Fit Designs is an American company, but there are distributors for the UK/Europe, Australia and South Africa too. Elsabe Hurn, the South African distributor, also has her own YouTube channel, where she presents design-and-sew-alongs. These are, of course, available internationally.

In-House Patterns Studio

Alexandra Morgan has courses which teach you how to draft your own bodice blocks for woven fabrics and for knits. In 2019 she also launched an intensive class called Fitting Essentials, where you will receive the Kayla Shirt pattern and all of the knowledge tools required to make it fit you. Over the course of eight weeks, with a carefully thought out series of recorded videos and live sessions, she teaches you literally everything you need to know about bodice fitting.

It is one of the most comprehensive sources of fitting information that I have ever encountered, and, as the course is interactive, there is also a lot to be learned from your fellow classmates. At the end of the course you should have your own finely tuned shirt pattern, which you can also use as is, or as the basis for other styles of blouses, and dresses.

A few other designers and fitting experts that I have really enjoyed learning from are:

- Suzy Furrer @ Apparel Arts Productions

- Gina Renee @ Gina Renee Designs

- Various experts on the Craftsy platform.

I know how tough it can be to fit yourself (it does get easier over time though, I promise), so if you’d like an extra pair of hands and eyes on your fitting block, or you’d like help with drafting a basic block, please message me and I will let you know when I have a slot available.

We would generally arrange a full day workshop, but we can also tailor something to your specific requirements. I am currently scheduling sessions for August through December 2023, and will have appointment availability in

-London, England

-Johannesburg, South Africa and

-Santiago, Chile

Complete the contact form if you’d like to know more.

Until next time,


P.S. Please note that at this time I only offer dress/bodice/torso block assistance, and only for fitting women’s bodies.

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