Introducing an online drafting course

Thank you, everyone, for your thoughtful comments to my last post. Forgive me for being slow in responding - my heart is full of things that make it hard to write these days. We've been experiencing new levels of craziness here in MN with the rioting and general unease in our neighborhoods. Which is happening at the same time that the kids are finishing virtual school and dealing with the strange mix of emotions that come with it. Earlier this week we picked up the contents of their school lockers, which their teachers had emptied out and consolidated in grocery sacks on their behalf. There was much exclaiming as the kids unpacked them at home - they were like time capsules, full of mementos of a school year that had gotten lost on its way to the finish line. Our middle school principal is retiring this year, and informed us while we were at home during the lockdown. Like so many graduating seniors, he's saying goodbye quietly and without fanfare. It will be strange to return to school in the fall and not see him there - but stranger still to not have a memory of a send-off to celebrate and thank him for decades of patient and smiling service to the school, the kids and the education system. 

And then there's the news these days. So visceral. So frustratingly, mind-bogglingly painful to watch. So heart-rending to contemplate that with all the loss inherent in the natural order of life, we would add to that by our own actions and words. Bereavement, displacement, isolation, security, justice, a hijacked spring and uncertain summer - some days my spirit is heavy for all the grief around me. Other days I am hopeful that this, too, shall pass and when it does, may I not have wasted the lessons. May they have made me slower to judge and speak. May they have convinced me that I really don't know as much as I thought I did.

I know that at least for a while, Dad and Auntie Laura are going to be on my mind front and center, and from time to time, I might process that here on the blog. It probably won't be as raw, mainly because I'm not the same person now that I was when I wrote those two tributes. I am forever and profoundly changed, but some days I actually do feel a little like old zany LiEr and just being able to acknowledge that is hugely uplifting for me. 

That said, let's keep moving forward!

I'm very excited to introduce a new online drafting course authored by my good friend Daljeet! You guys know her by her nickname Jen - yes, that Jen who co-wrote my drafting series Sew From Scratch here on ikatbag in 2010:

Some context here might be helpful. Long-time readers of this blog will know that we cover an eclectic selection of stuff on ikatbag. I'll go as far as to say that most of that stuff is sewing-related and the sewn projects are split between garments, bags and some toys. Some of you might also remember that I don't work with commercial patterns and instead draft my own whenever I need to make something to wear. You can read more about it here. Sew From Scratch was a series of foundational drafting tutorials for children's slopers and garments which I wrote to share my garment-making method. I was fortunate to collaborate with Daljeet on a few of those posts. She and I grew up with a similar sewing philosophy but while I was informally mentored by Mum, Aunt Laura and (posthumously) my grandmother who taught them,  Daljeet pursued garment-making independently and eventually made a profession of it. I have fond memories of Sew from Scratch, not only because it reunited us virtually (she in Malaysia and I in the US) but also for how I was able to focus and dissect my thoughts alongside someone with such rich and varied experience. 

When Sew From Scratch ended, people wrote to ask if I'd do another drafting series for women which included bust darts and all the other front-bodice stuff missing from children's drafts. I sat on it (of course) - and then years, later, I kinda sorta did

It was probably not at all what you guys were expecting, and I'd bet most of you don't even remember it apart from a couple of the more popular posts on sleeves and darts. It wasn't methodical or even systematic; I meandered all over the place talking about whatever I fancied on any particular day, and became quite rabid toward the end about transforming one kind of sloper to another. Even if you were already possessed of some drafting experience, you likely reacted along the lines of, "Um." (I wouldn't be surprised if true beginners simply just clawed their eyes out.)

I have good news for you! Brand-new and just-launched on the online platforms Udemy and Teachable, behold: Daljeet's drafting course 

Drafting Basics 1

How to Draft a Basic Bodice Block (Sloper)

Which, happily, is both methodical and systematic. And satisfyingly linear - Daljeet literally takes you from the very beginning (here are the tools, this is how and what you measure) to a working sloper - or basic block - for a woman's upper body based on your own measurements.

Let's unpack!

Here is the course overview, which tells you what you can expect to take away from the course:

  • How to draft a basic bodice pattern from your own measurements (with step-by-step instructions).
  • All the basic (must-have) & optional (good-to-have) tools for pattern drafting.
  • How to determine & calculate Front & Back body dimensions for drafting (and why).
  • How to create & rotate/pivot darts (and why).

Here is the course preview video, taken from the Udemy site (link in later paragraph). There is a similar one on the Teachable site.

Next, target users - the people for whom this course was designed: 

  • Home seamstresses
  • Fashion design students
  • Sewing enthusiasts
  • Professionals in the fashion or dressmaking industry

Those among us who've received drafting instruction from the typical sources (books and other courses, for instance) will likely find the course overview very familiar. After all, this is how we begin to draft, and all decent drafting resources must include techniques for accurately measuring of a real human body and meaningfully translating those measurements onto paper so that they faithfully represent the contours of that same human body. Beyond that, however, drafting resources can vary in their origin, focus and target users. For instance, some are written by and for the fashion industry and focus on the commercial production of clothing for arbitrary dimensions in graded sizes. Others are primarily inspirational - because their goal is application, they begin with pre-existent templates and focus on adapting them into garment patterns in varying styles, discussing drafting principles on the side as they deconstruct fit. Most common are the resources that fall somewhere in-between and feel like they'd be perfect textbooks for a drafting course - substantial enough to guide a persistent and adventurous seamstress enough of the way toward making her (or his) first muslin but not quite intuitive enough without a human teacher to connect some of the dots.  

Daljeet wrote this course for the home seamstress who wants to draft from real body dimensions. She's been sewing about as long as I have, with the bulk of her work in commercial garment-making. As a custom tailor, she's also sewn for customers with a variety of body shapes and sizes. She's designed her own ready-to-wear fashion lines and produced samples for those of other designers. She's taught and mentored students one-on-one as a drafting and sewing instructor. The drafting method she'd developed and now shares in her course is the result of more than a decade of experience of that professional experience, not to mention the years of research and experimentation before sewing became her career. 

This course teaches foundational materials, meaning that it stands alone and does not require prior drafting knowledge. If you can draw lines, use a ruler and measuring tape, and have spatial and visual sense, you can learn to draft. That said, you will most benefit if you already have a very basic understanding of how a pattern generally becomes a garment. Many people who have sewn any kind of garment will already have this knowledge. They will, for instance, be aware that garments may have darts, and of how to sew one closed. And they will know what a neckline or armscye looks like on paper and be unsurprised that sleeves are connected to armholes and necklines belong to collars (if any). If you are familiar with the idea of garment-making from a pattern, even if you haven't yet successfully made a garment, you should do just fine. 

The format is slideshow (rather than live-video), is about 30 mins long and organized into 11 modules.

Section 1: Welcome

Section 2: Introduction

Resources you need to draft (equipment, etc.)

Section 3: All About Measurements
  • Tips for measuring

  • Where to measure

  • Adding ease

  • Taking measurements

Section 4: Drafting
  • Calculations for drafting (using the free interactive worksheet)

  • Drafting the front bodice

  • Drafting the back bodice

Section 5: Refining the Blocks
  • Refining the blocks - dart rotation, centering the waist dart, truing all darts

  • Next steps

Each module is an instructional clip ranging from 1 to 8 minutes and packed with succinct information, and by "succinct", I mean you won't be wasting time watching someone ramble on about how drafting will forever change your life; we've all watched our fill of YouTube videos whose first 10 minutes of preamble we've fast-forwarded to get to the actual 2 minutes of useful material right at the end. Apart from the first two modules introducing the necessary drafting equipment (which many drafting people probably already own), you won't even think of skipping over stuff. In fact, you're going to be regularly hitting the pause button as you follow along and construct your own draft. Nothing is superfluous; everything is well-paced and clearly presented. Rather than tells, Daljeet demonstrates how she obtains each measurement and how that measurement is computed into a workable variable and turned into a line on the draft. 

There's no frustrating guesswork or arbitrary plotting - it's geometry and mathematics but she does the work, not you. The process is so much fun to watch in her videoclips - all the numerical values coming together as lines and then seams in the eventual bodice block. 

If you're less interested in the why (or you just want to get to the plotting already), she provides an interactive worksheet that takes care of the computation for you. All that's required is to download the worksheet and enter the raw measurements taken off the body - the algorithms will manipulate the data so that you can accurately and easily plot them on your draft. 

In addition to the interactive measurement worksheet, there are PDF notes accompanying the individual modules to download, print out and scribble your own learning points on as you watch the clips. There is also an option to make notes digitally within the course platform, see notes made by other students and ask Daljeet questions. 


You can find Daljeet's course here on Udemy:

and also here on Teachable.

The course retails at USD$50 but is available to the first 100 participants at the special price of $24.99.

You'll find all the course info on both Udemy and Teachable The websites themselves are a little fiddly to navigate - you won't find the course easily by browsing or even searching by instructor's name. The best way to access the course is to use the links above, which Daljeet has also listed on her blog


While Drafting Basics 1 is a stand-alone course, there are several others in progress to help you apply what you've learned from it. Daljeet is currently working on more advanced courses on drafting a sheath dress block, a skirt block, sleeves and facings - you can check Daljeet's blog The Measuring Tape for updates.

If you have any questions for Daljeet, you can write them in a comment to this post (below) or hop over to her blog to reach her directly. 

Happy drafting!

Older Post Newer Post