Drafting patterns with Illustrator and printing patterns at home on A4

I have recently started my patternmaking journey.

The reason is that I wanted to create my own pattern fitted to my body instead of buying those ready-made ones and making adjustment.

Of course the process is a bit longer the first times because it means you have to make calculations and draw it. But on the other hand it gives me a sense of achievement. And I have always liked technical drawing (calculations are a bit of a headache…but it’s part of the learning process).

So, I bought these books to get started

Design it yourself clothes by Cal Patch
Patternmaking for fashion design by Helen Joseph Armstrong
Little Black Dress, The: How to Make the Perfect One for You by Simon Henry

And I made a few patterns on paper… but this is a pain if you want to share it online…


What I was missing was a tutorial on how to do it on my computer… after some searches…finally Bingo… I found this fantastic tutorial series by Ralph Pink of Fashion Gorgeois He is really a master of Illustrator and a great patternmaker. And I am really happy he spent his time to make these tutorials.

I got started with the basic bodice pattern. To help you out with measurements he created a fantastic Measurement generator in centimeters… which takes all the hassle of calculations away from you (Great!!!)

Here is a tutorial on How to use the Measurement Generator.

Then I moved on to create my basic bodice pattern using this tutorial. It’s a quite long process, so be prepared to spend a couple of hours on it.
It requires some basic knowledge of Illustrator, but in the video he gives a few tips on how to do it.
At the time I had some basic knowledge gathered through prior training, and Ralph’s tutorial helped me out a lot.

I used this tutorial for learning How to Print a Digital Pattern

Now I am done with my first pattern and I even went and did a second one for my Sailing on the Lake Blouse tutorial that I will share with you this weekend.

The pattern testing on fabric is about to start… let’s see if I mastered the technique ;o)

Do you create your own digital patterns? What process do you use? I would be happy to hear your experience.

10 thoughts on “Drafting patterns with Illustrator and printing patterns at home on A4

  1. I’m so impressed! I really love the tactile art of tracing/altering by hand, but once I get a handle on it, I may just think of going digital. Why not? And I haven’t heard of the LBD book, so I’ve requested it from the library, thanks!

    Looking forward to seeing your creations 🙂


  2. i draft my own patterns, but i do it by hand on 8 1/2 x 11 … and then i scan it and THEN use an illustrating program to digitize it … i can’t wait to check out these videos. i stumbled upon your blog from craft (the sailing blouse) and i’m so glad i did!!

    i’ve been designing my own patterns for way too long, and i like the pattern drafting part much better than the sewing part which is why i have BOXES of patterns that have never been used. i worked as the head pattern making for a prom dress company and a custom bathing suit company … LOVE patterns.

    it’s always fun talking to other people who are interested in it as well. i can’t wait to browse the rest of your blog and see what else you are doing. feel free to email me if you want to chat.

    LOVE the patterns i’ve seen so far (sailing blouse and some pants). beautiful work.


  3. i know what you mean about stopping the video. i didn’t watch the whole LONG video, once i got the gist i opened up my illustrating program (i know my way around pretty well, but i need to learn a few more tricks) and tried drafting. i don’t need to make the sloper (since i use my own blocks that i’ve developed). i drafted up a pattern today, i’m going to try using those points and measurements to draft it, and try to grade it!!


  4. p.s. that pattern drafting book by helen joseph-armstrong is my FAVORITE go-to resource!!

    and have you checked out fashion-incubator.com ?! it’s written by a patternmaker, her book is awesome. there is tons of great info there.


  5. Thank you so much for posting this… I’ve been drafting in Illustrator for a while but have been looking for a way to make my patterns more printer friendly for others. Thank you for having such an extensive blog entry on this.


  6. Hi, had a client ask me today if I did CAD patterns. I have been making card patterns for years and it didn’t occur to me that I could use illustrator to make patterns. I just assumed you had to have a special program and printers for it… So after I told them no, I thought, hang on a mini and googled my question and voila, here I am. Fabulous helpful blog and I’ll be doing the tutorials you have linked. Thanks
    By the way I’ve built websites so I’m very adept at using illustrator, why did I not think of this b4.


  7. Thank you so much for sharing this information. I just got a new sewing machine for Christmas and my first project is a fleece jacket. I didn’t have a pattern so to find this and be able to customize the jacket to my measurements is awesome. Thank you again!


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