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Pattern Drafting – Two Weekend Workshop


January 13 -15 and January 20-22

(Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sundays.)

Participants learn how to interpret a two-dimensional design and render it into a three-dimensional costume pattern in this double-weekend workshop. Stratford Festival Cutter Lela Stairs teaches the skills of interpreting sketches, drafting patterns, mocking up blocks and cutting a costume. This course is ideal for those working in costume or wardrobe departments, and those who build costumes for community theatre.

Lesson Outline

1.      Friday (1/2 day) – What is cutting? Introduce block development/custom patterns for actors; examine sketches and discuss sketch interpretation; practice taking proper measurements (which measurements and why); look at body types and discover how patterns work.

         Skills Learned: what is a cutter? the importance of measuring properly; the differences in body types; sketch interpretation

2.      Saturday – Finish up with measurements and pattern drafting all day. Establish size and ease, dart manipulation; examine different sketches and see how they translate to a bodice; begin to establish style lines and period features within your basic block; begin cutting out and mocking up the loose-fitting bodice in muslin.

         Skills Learned: drafting, dart manipulation, style lines that are period specific, translating a sketch to a pattern

3.      Sunday – Continue cutting out mockups and completing pattern drafting. Sew mock ups and begin fitting them (this is establishing a base for size and shape); discuss fittings and the importance of them, and learn what to look for in fittings (drag lines, placement of seams and darts).

         Skills Learned: drafting, cutting out a mock up and why, discussing fit

Home work during the week (not compulsory): Finish sewing mock up, if incomplete. Complete drafting to bring to class for the next weekend.

1.      Friday (1/2 day) – Complete fittings. Continue to sew and fit any bodices that were not complete. Return to patterns for pattern alterations and adjustments; talk about fitting room etiquette.

Skills Learned: fitting, fitting etiquette, pattern adjustments

2.      Saturday – Return to blocks to start looking at how that basic block turns into a period bodice, corset, blouse. Start interpreting a sketch into the blocks and spend the day looking at different ways to manipulate the block; draft new patterns from the blocks; if time allows, begin cutting out mock up for costume bodice.

Skills Learned:  changing style lines on your patterns to suit a period or design

3.      Sunday – Continue drafting and mocking up costume bodice. Do fittings if time allows; wrap up and conclude; option: introduce draping, if time allows and participants are ready to advance.

Skills Learned: seeing the changes made to a basic bodice block to suit period/design; draping, if time allows

These will be included with the letter of welcome to participants in early January.

Registration Process:

1. Complete and submit course registration form found here.

2. A $100 (nonrefundable deposit) or full course fee is required to secure your spot in the class.

3.  Fees can be submitted through an e-transfer to registrar@stratfordoffthewall.com or indicate on the registration form your request for an invoice which will allow you pay either a deposit or full fee via a credit card.

Note:  Should you choose to pay the
$100 (non refundable deposit), you will be invoiced by the registrar for the rest of the course fee which will need to be paid 15 days prior to the beginning of the course.

See our cancellation policy for additional info

​Cost: $595

Friday PM, Saturday and Sunday

9:00 am to 5:00 pm


Desmond Heeley Studio, 


163 King Street

Stratford N5A 4S2

Target enrolment: 6 students

For more information contact:

Susan Starkweather, Program Advisor



Jan 13 2023




Factory 163
163 King Street, Stratford, ON


Stratford Off the Wall
(519) 275-2554