Being able to form a pattern and thereby a way of creating any garment that pops into my head is a skill I will never grow tired of. From the off I learnt from pattern blocks rather than ready made patterns and this gave me the best basis from which to begin my dressmaking career.
I love to be able to turn some measurements and a few sheets of paper into the means to create something magical. Admittedly the process is time consuming and when I create something for myself I nearly always apply the measurements straight to fabric. This technique is a lot faster but less accurate too so requires far more fittings and alterations once made. Therefore making a pattern first is always recommended if you do not have your model to hand for near constant trying on.
Though starting with a block guarantees better accuracy, I would not always begin at this point. If the garment I am making has few similarities with the block I must commence with (a bodice, a sleeve, a dress or a trouser block) then generally I will apply the measurements straight to paper and begin shaping the pattern solely from this. This method is really only possible once you are fully confident with basic patterns however, and know what they should look like at all stages of the adaptation.
With this in mind I will begin next week by explaining the blocks and books I used initially, and exploring the simplest methods of adapting them to create the garment you have been dreaming of!