Pattern Drafting with Norwich Sewcials - Cheetah Dress!


As you may already know, myself and The Fabric Wrangler run our local sewing community group called Norwich Sewcials and the other week we headed out for our first Pattern Drafting retreat!

If you're going to talk the talk I figured I better walk the walk and make a dress to wear from a bodice block I had already drafted for myself. (By the way I don't teach this class, I'm very much the behind the scenes technical/admin side of the Norwich Sewcials partnership! Pippa is very much the tutor with over 30 years' experience and there's no way I'm getting in the way of that. #knowyourplace #assitanttothemaster)

I love shirt dresses so a natural step from my bodice block was to make an easy fit maxi shirt dress. Once you have your block this is surprisingly quite straight forward! I did however want to make a toile. Hopefully a 'wearable' toile. 

The block was extended at the centre fronts for the plackets then a simple collar band and collar drafted to attach. I cut the sleeves 6cm off and added 6cm cuffs back on for the 'shirt' feel. The skirt is a large A-line shape, no darts, with a button placket also added at the centre front to match the top bodice.

Some soft viscose challis from Rainbow Fabrics called out to me from the stash - mainly because there was 3 meters of it. This was the result!

It was giving me 'school ma'am goth' vibes so I added spider webs being as it is October. 

 On my bodice block I have little neck tucks at the back to deal with a mini hunchback from hours of computer work. This makes it sit nice and flat against my neck.

This toile is FAR from perfect and I could reel off the 800 things that went a bit wrong (waist too low as I double added seam allowance, buttons in wrong place and don't even get me started on the sleeve I accidentally cut off at the cuff....etc etc) however overall I think it's perfectly wearable.

I was overjoyed that the back and arms fit, but of course they were drafted to my measurements so why wouldn't they. 

I did wear the thick belt during the class but had to take it off about midday as I could no longer breathe. This is why I like a loose fit dress!

All in all a good first toile off a self-drafted block and definitely room to go back in and improve. 

As for the weekend it was so much fun. It's amazing being around such creative people. Plus we got to see new gadgets including this seam allowance adding thingy which did the trick nicely.

Janome very kindly provided us some goodies for arrival bags which was very exciting and a lovely treat for our attendees.  I won't say more about the goody bag as we have another group in November who may or may not be reading this. 

 I'd say good company, new skills and a nice dress is a good win for a weekend :)

If you fancy seeing more pics of the retreat head to the Norwich Sewcials social media as we saved some pics as stories.

Feel free to comment and come and say hello on InstagramFacebookPinterest and Bloglovin too xxx


  1. Emma,
    Well I reckon you graduated from Pippa’s drafting course with first class honours. Your final dissertation/ dress is beautiful. What are you going to draft next?

    1. Thanks so much Claire! Dare I try something a bit more fitted hmm Will definitely be trying another dress though xx