From the Miraculous to The Unexplainable

In the interests of full disclosure, I’ll tell you I took this class at work as part of my job.  However, no one asked me to write this up and I wouldn’t if I wasn’t impressed.

First, the Miraculous: Today I made a full set of basic blocks or slopers or whatever you want to call them.  Maria Opresnik is a very clever dressmaker and drafting teacher in Australia, she invented a special ruler designed to take 7 measurements and create a perfectly fitting block.  It’s called Maria Martin’s Pattern Drafter.

After wrestling with a vintage pattern-making textbook which yielded questionable results, I didn’t think it could be that simple and approached the class with a certain measure of skepticism.  I knew I made rookie mistakes with my other sloper, I wasn’t sure how to take some of the measurements and used reams of polytrace making a series of so-so slopers which I don’t use.  It’s frustrating because I spend enough time altering patterns to fit I often think I should just start from scratch, but I lacked the right foundation.  So how could a little template work magic?

Maria ran a lovely class of 12 individual women.  We were all different body shapes and had varying levels of skill, as you’d expect.  I am blown away.  Not only did I make my dress front and back, a sleeve, two collars, a pants sloper, dress and pants muslins in five leisurely paced hours- everything fit.  Mine fit me, my partner’s fitted her, everyone had a good fit.

Those of us with larger busts needed a little tweaking, but she tweaked deftly and transferred it to our slopers.  After my bust tweak (hehe), my sloper closely resembled my usual bodice pattern after I do a FBA- armscythe, width, length, and dart depth.  I’m sorry I didn’t get a photo of me in my dress before I cut it up to transfer the tweakings but I’m itching to extrapolate a new blouse.

Worth looking into.  I think this could be the next “thing.”  Her design is elegant simplicity, not “slap it together and make it work but it looks like crap” simplicity.  If you know what I mean.  The book is spiral bound and painfully clear (imagine if Amy Butler wrote the instructions…), and Maria herself is calm, patient, and she dressed in an impeccably fitted linen dress with pleated interest.

Here’s my pants muslin, my photographer didn’t inform me I pinned too hastily, that’s the wrinkle-pull.  Just wait til these become K.Hepburn pants.

No smiley shorts.  Nothing.  The pulling is my pinning but I’m not going to re-photograph.

My goodness.


That is, if I can keep myself on task.
The Unexplainable:  A UFO over the Dome of the Rock.  Yes, I know, but check out this clip from a very Aussie morning news show.  Ignore the cheesy music, just watch the first 35 seconds.  I idly clicked on it after checking my e-mail and it made me sit up straight in my chair.
What is it?  (Edited to add: This has since been shown to be a hoax, but I like finding things like this.  It makes life interesting.)


  1. Before I get distracted by the unexplainable, I must comment on the miraculous. You found the The Holy Grail of pattern drafting?! I eagerly await posts when you show how you use these custom-fit patterns to sew more complex & stylish designs. Although there is nothing wrong with a simple garment made with one of your new patterns.I have not heard of this system – maybe the google will help me find her website (hope she has one!)

  2. That's amazing – my limited stabs at sloper making have gone pretty much nowhere. Congrats! At that price I will personally have to stick with my awkward vintage books — but I'm looking forward to seeing how it works for you!

  3. Weither or not I believe in UFO's is not relevant. What is a valid question though is if UFO's exist, and they are a civilization who has managed to invent time travel, how come they can't manage something as simple as an invisable cloak, or something. Didn't someone in Germany invent an invisable cloak a year or so ago? Why can't the advanced ailens?

  4. Believe me, Karin, most of the time when I go to work I'm pinching myself… Especially the part about having a boss who nurtures creativity..Hmmm… I didn't remember that $385 is expensive in the U.S., especially with the way the dollar is. $385 in Australia is much less than what it is on the other side of the Pacific… Hmmm.. Robin- oh the pressure! I'm taking pictures of the pattern making process, hope I don't disappoint! (Though the dress muslin looked so good I'm thinking of making a plain wiggle dress from it soon..)Tina, I can't say I know. There have been a few invisibility cloaks invented here, but they seemed inelegant to me. My husband said something about alien teenagers messing with us. Maybe he's right. I've pretty much decided not to believe the several videos because of the lack of eye witnesses… Esz, her classes were held at Sewco Sewing Centre in Brisbane. She does classes all over Australia, she said she's thinking of going to the US later this year. I really, really think this could be the next big thing in sewing.

  5. WOWOWOW what fantastic results. I just found your blog through a follower and am so glad. Thanks for posting about the pattern drafting. I think this is a must have for me! Also sympathise with the heat, it's certainly been muggy and hot lately. Hope you were affected by the flooding.

  6. This looks very inviting and I am sorely tempted – the problem is, I did a pattern drafting course years ago and made my own slopers, but I realised that you need to know SO MUCH about drafting that I realised that I was too inexperienced. I got out my drafting books to refashion my coat and it was hard work – using the correct ratio of stand to fall on the collar – getting the right curve on the revere – balancing the revere with the correct proportions to the collar and on it went. I like the fact that patterns do all of that for us!I will watch your progress with great interest to see if it is something I could feasibly invest in ( and do you think she'd consider coming to NZ?)

  7. Mary Nanna- I think you pick up heaps of that sort of intuitive knowledge from regular sewing and tinkering but I know what you mean… Also you have to figure out your own construction and meterages, etc… Thanks, Time traveller, I raised an eyebrow at the typo but figured you meant well. Heh. The weather is absolutely revolting. I'd rather be buried under several feet of snow.

  8. Ahhhh why do you torment me with this amazing-looking but expensive drafting system?I will put it on my wish list.They should hand over the invisibility cloaks to us crafters. I'm sure you could come up with something stylish. Maybe in a 30s design? An invisibility capelet?

  9. Maybe Debi will start one for her next cape project… :) It's definitely wish-list fodder. All I meant was $390 buys a LOT less here than it would back home. (Though it feels like a lot of money to me, too.) The cost of living is a little more expensive than London when you work it out, and real estate is ridiculously expensive.

  10. The drafting system looks so sleek! And the results are great. Are you thinking that you are going to concentrate on designing mainly through your slopers, or will you continue to purchase patterns?

  11. When you drafted the bodice sloper but had to do some bust tweaks did she show you what she did, or is it in the book, how to adjust? It sounds a fabulous system.

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  15. I know I’m coming in late on this, but I saw this post several months ago, was coveting the pattern drafter, and after a lot of searching online I ended up purchasing a system called Sure Fit Designs, which from what I can see is quite similar, and less expensive. It’s been around since the 80’s, and after finishing my sloper and being so happy with it I really can’t see why it isn’t more popular. Glenda Sparling, the creator of it, is VERY hands on and helpful with the product, she will email with you or skype to help you iron out any kinks you may have. I was and continue to be very impressed with her.

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