(505) Draft and Sew Your Own Top or Tunic

Sewing your own clothes is satisfying and practical. Drafting your own patterns goes one step further and puts the entire design process in your hands. Cal will teach you how to draft a pattern for a simple woven top that can easily be customized in myriad ways. As a shorter, loose-fitting top, it’s a “Boxy Tee.”  Make it longer, with a bit more ease, and in a fabric with good drape like linen, it’s a “Drapy Tunic.”

This is a perfect introduction to pattern-drafting and the sewing couldn’t be simpler. The basic T-shirt shape makes a lovely ‘blank canvas’ pattern to use as a foundation for all sorts of techniques including piecing, quilting, embroidering, dyeing, eco-printing… and, of course, you can combine and layer the treatments to create the most special garments. We all have fat quarters or other smallish cuts of precious fabric that are too small to use for garments–until now! Play around with different seam placements and piece together smaller scraps of fabric, placing some of those treasured morsels front and center.

We’ll begin by drafting the basic pattern to your measurements, then cut and sew a quick muslin (fit sample) to check fit, and tweak the pattern if necessary. Next you’ll either continue by turning your sample into a ‘wearable muslin,’ or cut a new one, perhaps adding extra seams or pockets. Beginning stitchers will keep it fairly simple, and those with more advanced skills can customize to their hearts’ content. Everyone will leave with a garment that reflects their personality and with ideas to make endless variations!

NOTE: Please have at least advanced-beginner sewing skills, with a few simple projects under your belt.


Cal Patch

Experience Level:

Beginner, Intermediate

Maximum Class Size:


Equipment required

Sewing Machine

Student Supplies:

For drafting the pattern:

  • Pad or roll of paper, at least 14 inches wide (can be newsprint, drawing paper, etc.).
  • Notebook.
  • Pencil, eraser and sharpener
  • Ruler (18” x 2” clear sewing ruler is best)
  • Tape measure
  • Paper scissors
  • Clear tape

For sewing the garment:

  • Sewing machine and extension cord.
  • 2+ yards of muslin or inexpensive woven fabric for fit sample.
  • About 2-3 yards total of woven fabric. (This can be made up of smaller pieces of a few different fabrics. The amount necessary depends on you actual pattern measurements (quilting or other cottons work well for a boxy tee shape, drapier linens or rayons will be better for longer, drapey tunic/dress styles).
  • All-purpose thread to match.
  • 2 yards 1/2 inch single-fold bias tape.
  • Basic sewing kit: Fabric shears, pins, marking tool, seam ripper.