Have you ever wondered how it is possible to draft you own pattern without copying or modifying a commercial pattern, must you use a wiz bang 1-2-3 step computer program? And how are patterns designed in the first place? Whether sold for home sewers, enthusiasts or hobbyists patterns are all first created by someone.
Using advanced technology, laser beams can scan the body, translate a million bits of information through the software to instantly generate the human form onto the screen in 3D. Plotting manipulates information to produce a pattern piece according to your design. The pieces are joined together in virtual reality to see how they all fit together, along with instructions for assembly. Computer programs can generate patterns in a matter of minutes rather than hours, in the hands of an experienced operator. But is it necessary to use CAD?
Or must you be a Michael Angelo, Leonardo Davinci, Albert Einstein or Bill Gates to design, draft or engineer patterns? Some would say yes it helps, and I would agree, however you do not need to be an art master or math genius. Yes, it is highly creative and yes it relies on the theory of relativity, and practice.
One must develop ‘an eye’ – meaning perceiving more than what is visually in front of you and then interpreting and comparing it with a standard, or your design. It doesn’t only rely on having an eye, but also on how measurements relate to one another. In couture, these sets of measurements are different for every individual – they are relative or depend on factors that vary according to context.
For manufacturing purposes, it is made easier for the pattern maker because they are working with a set of standards – standard sizes (the terrible thing that makes women feel so inadequate about themselves). One pattern is created which is then graded – or adjusted up or down thus creating several sizes of the same design.
For a couturier it is a matter of everyday business to interpret a number of measurements – as many as 60 for each client to draft or create a master pattern, a few more measurements are taken specific to a particular design. To grade these patterns is a useless exercise because in Couture everything is unique and no two people are the same.
The couturier is an artist that is continually creating new work so it is crucially important to understand the dynamics of pattern making or pattern engineering and the uniqueness of every individual – of course flat pattern drafting is done by hand. Various methods of draping are used in addition to – not instead of flat pattern drafting.
Trained couturiers use various draping methods to test and visualize designs effectively upon a firm understanding of flat pattern drafting. Much like engineers use models to test designs, and true artists create new work based on past experience – not happen stance.
The initial two years of training in the EHC certificate program, concentrates on the fundamentals of pattern drafting, and further two years of training in the diploma program, teaches students how to refine these skills and then push the boundaries of pattern making – which is referred to as pattern engineering.