Sloper drafting


Have you ever drafted your own slopers? How have you used them in your sewing projects?

For a while now I’ve wanted to learn to draft my own patterns. I have all these ideas in my head, and I’m constantly looking for ways to add this and that to patterns that I really like. In effect, I’ve been using commercial patterns as slopers, but I have no actual knowledge of drafting. I hack away, trying this and that, sometimes with success, sometimes with miserable results. As I move forward in my sewing, I think that learning to draft is the next step for me. I have no idea where it’s going to take me, but I want to discipline myself to learning all that I can.

To get the ball rolling, I enrolled in Burdastyle’s Draft Your Own Personal 5 Piece Sloper Collection class recently. I thought that this class was a fantastic value as it walks you through putting together a skirt, sleeve, bodice, pants, knit and even lingerie slopers.  A lot of sloper classes only have you make one or two drafts.  While some of those might delve into perfecting your slopers more in depth, I’d much rather spend the time getting the building blocks, even if they’re rough to start.  I’m sure this class will go a long way to getting my feet wet as I approach the vast ocean of pattern drafting.  

A couple weeks ago, I was able to go through the process of drafting a skirt sloper. I’ve tried drafting a skirt sloper before, but I was a beginner, and it made my eyes cross in complete confusion at the time. This time, I was surprised at how quickly things came together. Meg’s directions were clear and walked you very completely through the drafting.

sloper drafting

Being a visual learner, it was difficult for me to look at my measurements all plotted out and know if they’d work or not. I had some turquoise faille on hand and decided to make a quick mock up to see if the skirt actually fit.  I love the texture of faille, even though it wrinkles, so I was delighted to find a chunk of it leftover from a home project in my scrap bin.

sloper drafting

Hands down, this skirt fits better than anything else I’ve ever made.  I scrambled after the fact to add pockets to make this skirt actually wearable.

sloper drafting sloper drafting

I put in some welt pockets in the front and some patch pockets in the back, using some polka dotted linen for the welts and a line of faux piping on the pockets.

sloper drafting

They kind of dress up the 4 darts in front/back a little.  I look forward to figuring out how to manipulate my slopers so I can do things like get rid of so many darts as Peggy Sager’s words ring in my head: “Darts are not a design feature.”  There’s a lot of things in pattern manipulation that I’m totally comfortable with, but simple things like this put me at a loss.

sloper drafting

The pants came together relatively simply.  I haven’t tested them out yet, but I will to see where I’m at.  Draping pants is something I’m very comfortable with, and I’m curious to see how real trousers work on me since I haven’t ever worn a pair of trousers.  For sure, converting the pants so that they hit NOT at my natural waist is the first thing I’ll change.  High waisted pants and skirts are so uncomfortable to me.

sloper drafting

The bodice did not turn out so hot for me.  I very obviously mismeasured where the bottom of my armscye needs to be. Note my miniature sleeve which would clearly only fit if my arm was partially sliced off.

sloper drafting

I also I wasn’t sure where my shoulders/neck lines needed to be, so my front neckline is decidedly funky.  It’s a bit of a mess, and I just need to start over completely.  I’m hoping that I’ll get a good set of measurements at my fitting group on Saturday and try again.  The actual drafting is simple…getting good measurements is another story.

My review of the skirt sloper is here.

Light Chic


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14 thoughts on “Sloper drafting”

    1. elizabethmadethis

      I hope they have more classes like this one! One of the ladies I sew with is taking the upcoming similar class for workout wear.

  1. I love the skirt! I think making slopers is awesome and some day I want to do it. I have drafted some patterns, but I drafted them based on ready to wear garments I already owned and then my husband graded them.

    1. elizabethmadethis

      What a nice husband! Using RTW as a base is a good way to do it too! If it fits, I say use it!

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  3. Elaine Butcher

    I’m 83 years old and want to make a sloper. I’ve have had some sewing lessons with Martha Pullen. My memory is a little on the short side. I don’t wear mini skirts or body revealing clothes. I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer but I can sew fairly good. I have found very few patterns (if any)for my age. If I could make a sloper maybe I could make some some good ole days dresses, pants, skirts for myself. The 5 piece sloper is what I need. What is the cost and length of the course? Do you have some books, as I’m am computer illiterate. Help!!!!! I love to sew. Please send me all the info and the cost. Vision is starting to be effected.Wet Macular degeneration. got to hurry. don’t know anything about face book or these other things.

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