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For You Pattern Designers (and Aspiring Ones, Too!)

I’ve been contemplating how to write this post for several weeks now. It’s one of those things that sounds like self-promotion, and it is, but even more so, it’s a plea.

It’s a plea to all the designers out there who have been creating PDF sewing patterns for a while but long for more time to design than to re-scan yet another set of tester changes. It’s for those who are designing in Photoshop and thinking there MUST be an easier/faster/more efficient way. And it’s for those that hire out their grading only to receive a lackluster product (and not know how to make it any better).

It’s also to those who design exclusively on paper (to be scanned later) and who hate wasting paper…taping…tracing…and taping and tracing again. And to those who are just getting started in design and are intimidated by the whole process.

To all of you: I have great news. My course has something for EACH. AND. EVERY. ONE. OF. YOU. 

No, seriously. Because even if you’ve been designing forever, and you have 40 successful patterns in your shop, I can help you improve your process. If grading normally takes you weeks, I can show you how to do an entire pattern in a day. (And that’s doing uneven grading – NOT just using the blend tool!)

You say you can draft patterns in your sleep? That’s awesome. What if you could do it all on the computer – creating your blocks, slashing and spreading, making modifications and changes after tester feedback? OR what if you could just get it perfect the first time? Digitizing the ENTIRE process makes that a possibility.

And when I say “digitization,” don’t think I am talking about scanning your existing patterns. I’m talking about doing the ENTIRE PROCESS on-screen. No, the computer won’t sew for you, but maybe that will be my next course… ;)

Or how about you sewists out there who are sick of buying popular patterns and receiving a sub-par pattern? Patterns that aren’t tiled properly or squared at the center neck (creating a slight V instead of a graceful curve)? Sewing a size 4 for your child and realizing you should have made a 6 (even though you followed the size chart exactly)? For you, my hope is that this course will elevate the overall level of quality of PDF sewing patterns on the market. (Can you tell I’m frustrated with some recent sewing?!)

I asked my current students (currently there are 100!) – many of which are experienced designers – to tell me their favorite/most mind-blowing/game changing thing they’ve learned from the course, and this is what they had to say: 

I used to use Photoshop for drafting my bag sewing patterns. NEVER AGAIN! It’s like using a Flathead screwdriver to turn a Philips screw. You can make it work, but it is difficult and your probably will strip the screw. I knew there had to be a better way. Thank you, Lauren, for making it easy to learn it! –Jodi

For me, it’s the ability to nudge, tweak and measure lines to get them exactly right. My testers (when they made the size based on measurements) have commented over and over that they’ve never had a garment fit so well. –Jennifer

I’ve never made patterns in photoshop, only hand drawn, but I LOVE the ability for everything to be so mathematically correct . EXACT distances, perfect angles, knowing that because I got the first one right, when I go to grade there will so many less problems. Also, once you put in the time on the basics (guides and basic blocks) making a slightly different product will be much easier and take less time. –Shelly

I’m still relatively new -only 3.85 patterns thus far. I’ve learned a lot since publishing my first patterns, and I know that they aren’t total perfection. When you know better – you do better. From what I’ve learned in your course, I am able to put out a higher quality product moving forward, but can also go back and take my first patterns to a higher level. That’s exciting.  –Sarah

How easy it is to grade made me so excited and blew my mind. Really, how easy and quick everything is. I wish I had known all this 7 years ago when I first dreamed of starting my own kids line. It’s helped me realize that even if my sewing skills aren’t the best, I can still design clothes that will fit my kids, look awesome, and still cater to their sensory needs. Seriously, it would have made my life so much easier. I didn’t even take the course because of my secret dreams of being a designer. I did it to digitize other designers’ patterns. But the course makes it so easy for me to design my own. I was beyond excited. And now it’s easy for me to spot when my fave designers don’t use illustrator. I think “I really wish they’d take this course or hire me to fix their patterns.” –James

Once you draw your first bodice or whatever and it takes like 5 minutes and is PERFECT, you’ll be hooked and fly through the rest! — Jennifer

The things that I love about this course are the blend tool, (what?!? How can it be that easy). Even how you use the pen tool is easier and quicker than the other class I took. The align tool and the pathfinder. How you measure is quicker than the other way I learned. But beyond that, the tips to help promote and sell, test, ease, EVERYTHING! –Elizabeth

As far as improving my process, I would have to say the blend tool blew my mind. Grading used to take me a week. I graded my next pattern yesterday! One day to grade a pattern is unheard of for me. The eye dropper, too, for changing my pattern lines. That shaved off a bunch of time, too. I had no idea it existed. –Heidi

As a total newbie to computer drafting patterns, I have learned so much that it’s hard to pinpoint one thing! LOL I think one of the things that I like best is to be able to do the block patterns so quickly and I don’t have to use a bunch of paper and rulers and pencils and the paper that just wants to roll up, and trying to keep my cats off of it….. I just look at the block I want to design from, see how many vertical lines I need, draw one, duplicate it however many times I need it, select all and put the markers on the end, go back through and put the right lengths on them, place them where they need to go, same with the horizontal lines. Boom, done in just a few minutes! It’s easy to go back through and change something if I need to, and it’s easy to just drop my pattern piece on top and move points or handles to make whatever changes I might need to make. –Linda

I have only just started the course today and have to say very impressed so far. I am a total computer newbie but watching the videos makes it so much easier to understand. At first I was scared about using illustrator but this course has changed my views. I am actually really enjoying it and excited to learn more. I’m only a little way through the course but like others have said I also love the eye dropper tool and even just the simple things like manipulating text. Also Lauren Dahl you are so likeable to watch! I usually have a short attention spam when it comes to videos and drift off thinking of other things I can do! but with your videos this doesn’t happen. –Davina

I was already using Illustrator for creating my patterns with the Aldrich method, so for me the best part was when you opened my eyes with filling charts and creating actions for all vertical measurements, then horizontal measurements… but I still have to try the blend tool and I bet it will be my new best friend… plus: all the InDesign section, totally a newbie here (was using openoffice word and this is all a different world!). –Irene

I have to tell you that your course gave me hope that I could actually see my designs through to real patterns. I have read every book I can find on the subject and have designed on paper in the past, but it took forever. I am disabled due to several back injuries and a failed surgery, so I cannot stand or sit at a desk for more than about 15 minutes at a time. With Illustrator, I can do entire patterns from my recliner, with my feet elevated. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! –Dawn

I haven’t had time just yet to go through everything in the course but one of the many things i like is how well organized it is. i’ve been under a huge time crunch getting my first pattern ready and whenever i need to figure out how to do something, i can easily find the video, etc i need and within a few minutes, i’m doing something in Ai that I didn’t know how to do before And the fabric requirement charts – huge time saver! I made myself self one but didn’t think about layering the metric and imperial on top of each other to be able to do both at once. yet again, you’ve saved me some time! –Vanessa

So please, if you are on-the-fence about this course or thinking that it doesn’t have anything to offer you as an experienced designer, I promise you’ll take something away from it worth far more than the $149 pricetag. And if you are brand new and have never touched Illustrator, don’t worry – I (and the rest of your classmates in the Facebook group and help forums!) will be there for you.

I am not even kidding when I say you can create a PDF sewing pattern – from design concept to pattern testing – in a couple weeks using the methods taught in this course. And we’re not cutting corners here – we’re doing things in a methodical and superbly efficient way.

So please. Stop waiting! Come join the fun! And share your art with the world!


  • Ajaire

    Love it Lauren! Doing things the right way from the start makes everything else heaps easier. I couldn’t be more excited about this course.

    • Lauren Dahl

      So glad you’re in it, Ajaire!

  • Jill @ Made with Moxie

    Do you need to have Illustrator to take this course?

    • Lauren Dahl

      Jill, some of my students are using Gimp with success. There are a few things that work a little differently, but it’s mostly the same. Or you can do the trial Illustrator version for 30 days and then get the subscription. :) I would LOVE to have you!

  • Jenn AJennuineLife

    I could not agree more! A few months ago, I was an aspiring designer – heavy on the aspiring and now within a few weeks of taking Lauren’s course, I am set to release my first pattern, with prexision fit that my testers are raving over!

    • Lauren Dahl

      Thanks for the vote of confidence, Jenn! :)

  • Darcie Griffin

    Yes to all of that! Not even halfway through and I’ve already seen how easily I could create professional patterns without spending months or years going back to school for it. And when I see PDF patterns that quite aren’t at this level, I just want to evangelize to them about how great their designs could be!

    • Lauren Dahl

      Thank you, Darcie!

  • Sophie Crespy

    you have convinced me!! next month I will join for sure!

    • Lauren Dahl

      Oh that’s great news!

  • Annika

    I’m currently waiting for my new computer which will run with windows 8.1. my old one runs under windows xp so i can’t install adobe cc programs on it. however, ones that works, I’ll do your course. i’m so excited…

    • Lauren Dahl

      Yay! Can’t wait!

  • Suzanne Seniore

    I would so love to take your course Lauren, but I just can’t justify the expense since I already paid for Melissa’s course when I started last year. It sounds like your course offers so many things that would be super useful for me though.

    • Lauren Dahl

      Suzanne – I hope you can make it to the course soon! :)

  • Ashley

    What if I don’t necessarily want to design patterns to sell but want to design a pattern to sew for my kids? Between my and my siblings’ kids there are 9 different sized kids and I wonder if knowing how to grade and create simple patterns will still be worth it :)

    • Lauren Dahl

      Ashley – you can really get a book to learn to do all that…I recommend Aldrich books. However, I teach how to do it digitally. So if you want to take what’s taught in the books and do it digitally, my course can definitely help!

  • Kennis Wong

    Hi Lauren, I am searching for a class to digitize and grade patterns. I came across your course and Melissa Mora’s course. I looked at a free sample of Melissa’s class, and I read in some of your reviews that you also have a sample. Could you kindly refer me to that sample? Also, I read that you have a great facebook group, but I can’t find that either. Could you kindly give me the link? Thank you!

    • Lauren Dahl

      Hi there, Kennis! Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have any true samples, but I have several free tutorials on my blog that are good examples of my teaching style and the content you will get in the course. I am not completely familiar with the other course, but my students have told me that it doesn’t include grading as part of the curriculum. I also think it only teaches digitizing existing paper patterns – not creating them directly in Illustrator. :) I will email you this response as well in case you are not set up to receive Disqus responses.

      • Kennis Wong

        Actually that’s all I was asking–just your teaching style, not necessary a sample of the actual course. The free tutorial on your blog was exactly what I need to see. Thank you.

        You are right that Melissa Mora’s main course doesn’t include grading, but she has another course that does. It is separate, but it is $125 (in additions to her main class, which is $95). So it’s a quite a bit more altogether.

        I am taking a pattern drafting class right now, and when that is done, I am ready to do a course on digitizing. Thank you for your response!!

        • Lauren Dahl

          I’m so glad you signed up! xoxo