Bra making – how to DIY your pattern part 2By Susan | Comments: 8 | October 14, 2014
After scanning my pressed pieces, I am going to set about tracing them using Adobe Illustrator. Now as I said in part 1 you don’t need to make a digital pattern. I’m doing it because it’s going to make visuals easier for me to show on the blog and because I have a cat who likes to nest in lots of pretty patterns. Invariably I lose pattern pieces. This way I am ensuring that none get lost and I don’t have to unpick another bra and start the whole process over again.
Start by tracing any pieces that are asymmetrical in shape. If you are using Illustrator the pen tool is your best option for this. Double check to make sure your scans are at actual size. Do not resize them from the original size or you will run into sizing problems when you make your actual bra.
If you are creating a traditional manual pattern use pattern weights to hold the pieces in place while you trace around. If your pieces are too small for that, try taping them in place using some magic tape or washi tape (basically any tape that is easy to remove. Now is not the time to be using super sticky tape that may damage your pattern). Use a sharp pencil, ruler and french curve to help you get the most accurate tracing possible. Be sure to mark seam allowances, grainlines, stretch direction and if needed add notes. The shapes are odd and very small so it can be easy to mix them up. A well placed this side up, this seam joins to that seam marking or note can make your life a whole lot easier. This pattern is for YOU so make all the notes and markings you need to.
Once you have all the asymmetrical pieces traced now it’s time to work on the symmetrical pieces. Mark the centre point of each of the pattern pieces. Take a sheet of paper and fold it in half. Placing the fold line under the original fabric piece. Lining it up on the centre line you just marked. Once it is correctly aligned then you can trace out one side of your shape. Creating them on the fold is more accurate. Do this for all symmetrical shapes. If using illustrator, trace half and then copy the piece and flip it. Re join it to create one pattern piece.
As you go through tracing your pieces be critical in the assessment of them. Is there an odd bump going upwards on what seems to be a straight line? Does one corner pull down in an almost arrow like way? Pattern lines should be smooth. If it’s a curve, a straight line or an angle. The line is to be smooth and free from bumps or ridges. When you are tracing from a garment that has been worn you will find more bumps and ridges as the fabric has distorted. You can see in the above photo that the fabric piece has been distorted. See how warped the gingham checks are. I’ve drawn the piece to help compensate for those factors. So take your time now to be aware of this and adjust if needed?
It all comes down to the accuracy of your pattern. Take your time, trace carefully but also measure. Ensure that pieces that are to be joined are the same length, mark your notches, grainlines. Use your notes and photos to give yourself as much information as you need to get a really good pattern created.
Next time I’ll be talking fabrics, trims and notions. Until then if you need anything clarified or just have more questions, ask away in the comments.