I spend a lot of time looking at clothes. After awhile, I started to notice how all clothes are pretty much the same variation of the same thing. This bodice, those sleeves, that skirt, ruffles here, darts there, pick and choose. They are all elaborations of the same shapes, which makes a lot of sense. Generally speaking, most people have all the same body parts in the same places. After I could see how everything was the same, I could pick out the differences.

Pattern making became a lot easier. I don’t use a sloper. From what I can gather, the only place they use those is in pattern making school. Instead I use measurements and curves, and draw the shapes I want on the paper. Since I’ve studied anatomy for my drawing hobby, I have a good idea of which bits go in and which stick out.

I remember a few months ago I talked about how I wanted to be able to look at a garment and tell how it was put together. I can do that now with most clothing, which took me by surprise since I anticipated that it would take a lot more experience. Bras were turning point for me. For years I thought of them as sewn together using ancient black arts only known to factory machines and experts, and that the average woman had no chance of stitching one together herself. Then I took one apart, and after I ripped off the under-wire I found all of the seams lying exposed and helpless, their secrets revealed. So that’s how it’s done. When I feel confident about which shapes to use to get the cup size perfect, I intend to make one on my own.

It’s a mixture of disappointment and excitement. The magic behind that beautiful blouse is gone, but I can make one for myself.