Project Patternmaking : Tools of the Trade Posted on 05 May 23:38 , 0 comments



I apologize for being a little behind on starting this project a rare spring cold has gotten in the way. I have however started to collect together the tools I need to complete the project and I thought I’d share with you my tool kit. Most of these I’ve collected over the 15+ years I’ve been making patterns though I haven’t been that active lately. Not all of these tools are necessary to make a bra pattern but they are nice to have.


This first photo is tools that will primarily be used for my first pattern test of the Foundation Revealed method but are still useful to have. A ruler in centimeters is important for bra making because it allows for more precision. I grew up in a metric system so it’s base 10 system is familiar to me. These are the compasses I prefer to use and I love to use them to add seam allowances around an oaktag pattern. You’ll notice one has a metal point and a toothpick. I use the toothpick side to skim along the pattern edge and the metal point to crease an edge. I started doing this when making shoe patterns because that’s how shoemakers do it. I did purchase a new one on the right so I could have two set at different width. A protractor and 45 and 30 degree angles. The colored sleigh curves are from a set I picked up for $1.50 at Daiso a Japanese style dollar store. The metric ruler is from there also. I also have regular traditional pattern makers french curves which I buy multiples of because they are clear and you will misplace them. The most important tool in this picture those is the flexible ruler used for measuring the breast root and copying curves. It is less useful for actually measuring the curves though. You can pick almost everything in this group up at Staples or Micheal’s

tools copy
This photo contains most of my favorite pattern tools which I’ve had since my school days hence the name labels. The top ruler is a hip curve useful for skirt and torso sides. The next one is a Vary Form curve for armholes and necklines though I usually use a regular french curve for that. Not pictured is a metal L square and a drafters T square. The tracing wheel is probably familiar to most seamstresses. I prefer the needle point kind but it wasn’t pink and thus didn’t match the photo theme (aesthetics first). The big pattern shears look like overkill especially for bra making but I love these because it enables you to cut around curves very easily but there is a way to use these which once mastered will make you love cutting out patterns. You have to keep your arms on the table and pivot what you are cutting around your blades not the other way around. I love my pattern punch and prefer it over an awl but keep a piece of foam core handy to punch into because you WILL destroy your cutting surface. A pattern notcher is a must but don’t pay inflated prices for it. You can pick them up now for less than $10. The last tool which for general pattern making is a MUST is a long arm ruler for transferring your pattern to oaktag.

Oaktag is that thick manilla folder paper that comes in rolls. Buy the heaviest weight that you can find. I like the kind that is green on one side which helps different the right from the wrong side. Other tools not pictured is a rabbit punch and pattern hooks but no pattern pieces for bras are big enough to make them worth hanging.

Hopefully by this weekend I will actually get chance to start this mammoth undertaking. Stay tuned for my first impression look at the ESMOD bra drafting volume. It’s a rather interesting (yet not essential) addition to my library.