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Clothing Design - Alter a Pattern 1W24

Age Group: 
Teens (17+), Adults

You can register for this class starting November 15. 

If you’re tired of making ill-fitting clothes from store-bought patterns, this class is for you. In the first four sessions, you’ll learn the basics of pattern making. Then, alter a store-bought pattern of your choice in the remaining sessions to fit you or your model of choice. You’ll walk away from this class confident and ready to alter patterns on your own.

Note this course is designed for students who have sewn many garments from store-bought patterns and are ready to move to the next step in learning fashion design skills.

*Prerequisite: Intermediate Sewing or equivalent skills.

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Fifile Nguyen

Fifile Nguyen

Fifile (Fi) is a strategic planner with expertise in design thinking, service design and innovation management. She previously served on the Eliot School of Fine & Applied Arts Advisory Council, creating a Community Insights Study to help the school with strategic planning. Fi served as a member of the school's sewing faculty from 2013-17, during which time she worked with a team to develop our fashion curriculum and skills pathway. At the same time, she worked as Marketing Coordinator at Cengage Learning and then Marketing Manager at John Wiley & Sons, academic publishers. 

Fi holds a BBA in International Business and a BS in Textile and Apparel Design from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA in Business Design from the University of Toronto Rotman School of Management. She has lived in four countries and speaks three languages.

Fashion design, strategic planning
Materials to bring to class:
  • butter paper: This is the paper you will use to practice your pattern alterations skills. It needs to be thin enough to fold, but thick enough to be durable. It also needs to be semi-see through. They come in yellow or white. Either is fine. This paper will come in rolls of varying widths. 12” rolls are totally fine, but if you plan on doing more life-size patterns on your own, I’d recommend getting 18”, or even 24” rolls. This is up to you. Here are examples of butter paper: Bienfang Canary Sketching and Tracing Paper, Canson Tracing Sketch Rolls, Speedball Tracing Paper in Rolls, approx. $5-$9.
  • French curves: A small 4 pack of see through French curves that we will use for pattern drafting. Example: Westcott C-Thru Set of French Curves, approx. $6.
  • clear straight 2” ruler: 18” long, 2” wide clear, bendy plastic ruler with a printed grid in 8ths graph scale. Example: C-Thru Clear Plastic Ruler 8ths Graph Scale 2 Inches Wide, approx. $3.
  • clear Scotch tape: Your standard Scotch Magic tape will do. Make sure it’s matte so that it can be written on! Example: Scotch Magic Tape ¾ inches x 18 yards, approx. $3.50.
  • large triangle ruler or L ruler (your choice): These will become more important when you make full-sized patterns. “Large” means 14 inches or bigger, and 90 degree angled. Plastic or metal both work fine, it’s just a question of price and if you think you might need the durability of metal over plastic. Example: Utrecht Aluminum L-Square 24 x 14 inches, approx. $23. C-Thru P450 14 inches, approx. $13.50.
  • fine ballpoint pen in any dark color (black, blue, red, purple, green as desired): Standard cheap BIC pen, that kind of thing. We will draw pattern lines with this, so pick a color that won’t be hard to see.
  • standard letter-sized folder or binder with clear page inserts: These will hold your ¼ scale patterns, and serve as your personal reference guide in the future. I recommend a 3 ring, 2 inch presentation binder. The clear page inserts are apparently called “top-load poly sheet protectors”. Together, approx. $6  
  • basic sewing kit w/ items below:
    • pin cushion – I use a tin box. It’s really up to you whether you want to get that tomato or not.
    • machine sewing needles – 5 pack universal machine needles in varying sizes.
    • hand sewing needles – assorted sizes, as many as you want
    • pins – I recommend Dritz 300 Count Extra Long Satin Pins (nickel plated steel). Pins with plastic heads are cumbersome and are considered less professional.
    • thread – standard polyester or cotton thread in a small spool, any color
    • tailor’s chalk – Totally up to you and your preferences.
    • fabric scissors – Fabric scissors are so important!  I recommend investing in Gingher’s all metal Dressmaker’s Shears, or some similar brand. When taken care of, these can last you a lifetime and cut beautifully. Approx. $36.
    • paper scissors – We will have these available at the school. If you are picky (like me), feel free to bring your own.
    • seam ripper
    • measuring tape- Make sure your tape is flexible and that the lines are accurate (!).