How to Draft Paper Sewing Patterns

paper pattern

Many of the patterns I have created for my blog often rely on using a pattern guide where you draft your own pattern.  It is a wonderful process that really allows you to understand the constructions of a particular garment along with a growing familiarity of the shape patterns need to be to fit your body.  I first began pattern drafting after I purchased a 1930’s sewing book which used a mathematics-based system.  Never being all that good at math, I grew overwhelmed looking at the guide provided to create what I was used to simply cutting out.  However, once I slowly went through the process I was delighted to find how easy it was to learn and how many more types of garments I could create on my own without having to be restricted to the sizes offered on pattern envelopes.

So, if you have tried but became frustrated with pattern drafting, or if you have never tried it at all, than this post is for you!

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A Mock Up of a 1920’s One Hour Dress

1920's dress

It feels like it has been a very long time since I have shared any of my sewing projects with you all!  While it has been for a very good reason, I really wanted to share something.

So here it is! 🙂

One of my Christmas gifts was a book from Mary Brook Pickens which featured her One Hour Dress.  While I have tried many other designs from Ms. Pickens, this was my first go with this particular style.  I decided to time myself and see if it could really be done in an hour.  Well 90 minutes later I was finished, and while it did take a lot longer than the promised 60 minutes, I can see that most of it was my fault.

I wanted to use up some fabric I had lying around, but realized, a little to late, I didn’t have enough to create the dress as designed.  But I decided to forge ahead and see what I could create.  As a result, I ended up making the bodice piece too short to accommodate for the lack of fabric along with a skirt that was not wide enough to create the proper cascade at each side.  And my last mistake was picking a fabric that was too stretchy and as a result didn’t hang right (notice the belt…)

So….was it Ms Pickens fault that it took way too long and didn’t hang right?  No, it was mine and as a result I will do it right the next time.  I wasn’t sure if I should share this dress or not, but thought if someone was debating creating one on their own for the first time…they may want to learn from my mistakes.

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Deconstructing a Dress

dress cover

How many times have you spent looking for that perfect item to create?  And after much time searching, you finally find it and can’t wait to get started!  You sit down with your sewing machine, fabric, and cup of coffee and then you realize….you don’t have a pattern.  Perhaps you have something similar that you could adapt, but you just aren’t sure what the pieces should look like.

Don’t worry!  

It isn’t hard to figure out what pieces you will need to complete that most perfect ensemble!  Simply take some time to really analyze all areas of the dress and you will be surprised at how quickly all the pieces will jump out at you!

Not sure what I mean?  Just follow along to learn how I deconstruct a vintage dress!!

To start with, you need to find the dress or garment you would like to create.  I have chosen this 1930’s dress:

deconstructing a dress

Once your choice is made, it is time to take a long hard look at all areas of the dress from top to bottom.

Below is the same picture, but with notes on the major areas of construction, along with shapes and details:

dress deconstruction

Taking all of these notes, I then would mock up a pattern of all the pieces I would need to create the dress.  Just like this…

dress pattern

From here, you can then begin adding your own measurements to the patterns, and begin the fun process of completing your chosen garment!

Later on this month, I will show you how to take drawn-out patterns like this, and create full-size custom pieces based on your measurements!!


So don’t just let that most admired outfit remain on the page…let it come to life on you!!!


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1943 Ruffled Blouse Tutorial with Pattern

1943 Ruffled Blouse

Sweet and elegant both describe this little blouse from the 1940’s.  I had such a fun time creating it, that I wanted to share the pattern with you!  However, unlike patterns I have created in the past, this one is a bit different.  I have created a drafting guide with the hopes of allowing anyone of any size the ability to recreate this pattern just for them!

If you try this, I would love to hear from you!!  Send me an email or connect with me on Facebook!

Happy Sewing!

Tools to Draft Pattern:
  • Ruler
  • Curved Ruler for Armholes and Hip Curves
  • Pencil
  • Craft or Wrapping Paper
  • Meausuring Tape
  • Knowledge of your own upper body measurements

1945 Ruffled Blouse Pattern

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Vintage Inspired Makeup Bag Tutorial

makeup bag

With such an easy design and construction, this makeup bag can be yours in as little as 60 minutes!  

Make several in different sizes and coordinating fabrics for a truly personalized collection.



Vintage Makeup Bag Pattern 


  • Fabric scraps in coordinating colors
  • 7 -9″ zipper
  • Ribbon/ lace trims
  • buttons


  1. Sew the two smaller top pieces right-sides together.  Repeat for other side.


2. Attach the larger square to the smaller piece, right sides together. Press.


3. Attach trim where desired on each side.


4. Insert zipper on top of bag.


Putting in a zipper5. Stitch the two sides together making sure to get the edges of the top that border the zipper ends.  Trim seams and turn right side out.



6. Decorate the outside as desired.  Attach ribbon to the zipper for easy opening.


Now fill with your favorite cosmetics!






Tulip Shaped Apron

Fun, floral, and fall-inspired all describe this one of a kind apron.  Perfect as a gift for a friend, a family member, or for yourself!


  • 1 yard solid fabric
  • 3/4-1 yard contrast fabric

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A 1940’s Hair Piece

This little accessory can be created for under $5 and takes only about 10 minutes!  

I highly recommend creating one of these hair pieces if you can’t find/afford a hat that goes with your ensemble but can’t bear the thought of a bare head.  I created mine with a fall theme, but you can design one for any season.  Try holly for Christmas, daffodils for Easter, or magnolias for the summer…the possibilities are truly endless.


  • 1/2 yard tulle
  • silk flowers
  • a hair comb
  • wire or needle and thread
  • wire snips


Because the two flowers I wanted to use were attached to a floral pick, I began by removing them.  They had enough wire attached to their stems, that I did not need any additional wire…but feel free to use some if you just have flower heads.


Next, cut out a piece of tulle that measures 24″ x 21″ the wider part being the width of the veil and will be gathered to the comb.  Fold in half.  I used weights to keep the tulle from shifting.


Round off the bottom of the tulle to desired length and shape.  My finished veil measured 22″ wide by 18″ long.

DSC_0058Run a gathering stitch along the widest part of the tulle.  Gather to fit the hair comb.  Tie off if needed.


Sew to the hair comb.  Be careful how you attach this part.  I wanted the hair comb to go straight back into my hair (think tiara) and have the veil lay over my face.  Because of this, I was careful to sew the tulle so no messy edge would be visible from the front.


Now attach your flowers.  Again, the veil should go over your flowers as well, so make sure that you attach them on the wrong side of the tulle.   If you look at the above picture, the flowers will be attached on top of the tulle, and the tulle will fall over it.  Wire or sew to the hair comb.


**Underneath of the comb


**The above picture shows the hair piece with the comb part facing the camera.


And thats it!  Very easy, affordable, and adjustable to outfit, season, and personal taste.

Here are a few examples of flower hair pieces.  Imagine these with tulle in a variety of hues and textures!



Happy Designing!



1940’s Hat Tutorial

Well, this just happens to be the easiest hat to make ever!  

If you can sew in a circle, you can make this hat.  The inspiration for this little accessory came from the movie Best Foot Forward (1943) staring Lucille Ball.



I loved the sheer elegance of this hat along with the delicate way it perches on the head.

Want to make one of your own?

All you need is a cut-out template of desired shape (mine was a 10″ x 11″ oval cut out of heavy paper) and 5 yards of tulle.

  1. Simply cut out as many ovals as you wish.  The more ovals, the more full the hat.  I folded the tulle several times to save time on cutting.
  2. Pin a smaller oval in the center and then stitch through all the layers.  You will see that my circle is slightly shifted to the back of the head so it would be fuller by my face.
  3. I then made two rows of stitches, one right on top of the other, to ensure a secure hold.


That’s it!  Simply pin on your head and enjoy!

Here are a few more closeups, along with some shots of the whole ensemble!  To see the post on the creation and inspiration of the suit, please click here.

1940's suit with hat 7

1940's suit with hat 6

1940's suit collage

Have a fabulous Monday my friends!