How to walk a pattern (collar)

One of the reasons I wanted a CAD program is so that I could do pattern tutorials. Aren’t I nice? Say yes. I deserve all the sympathy I can scrounge after what I’ve tried to do today. Note I said tried.

My lovely Optitex trainer for today (Josh) taught me how to walk patterns. I’m a big fan of walking patterns which you’ll know if you’ve hung out in these parts any length of time. Before you pass off your wonderful pattern to have a prototype made, you have to check it. Checking it mostly means walking the seam lines to make sure the pieces match up. Actually, everyone should walk patterns, especially people using home patterns. Then you’ll see it’s not your fault the seams don’t line up and you can fix it before you cut the piece goods.

For this example of how to walk a pattern, I’m using a pattern that was given to me by a dear friend. She was a DE (children’s wear) who ended up in a related line of work (embroidery). She gave me a complete set of graded patterns for this particular style with no strings attached. It was understood I could do what I wanted with them which in part meant education. So, we’re going to use Saundra’s pattern for this exercise. The summary caveats being 1) I didn’t make this pattern and 2) Yes, I’m allowed to use it.

The Optitex software has a robust feature called “Walk”. I love it. You align at two given points and just edge the pieces around on the seams you want to line up. The part I love about it, is that if you come to a juncture (like the shoulder seam) while walking the collar over it, the software will ask you if you want a notch right there on the collar. The correct answer is yes. Always yes. I’ll walk you through the exercise in a moment because first I have to complain about the screen capture software that I’m probably not using right. I want all software to be like a toaster. Plug it in, turn it on and it’s supposed to read your mind. I don’t want to read the manual to toast bread. There’s a logical reason why nearly everybody does the same thing. It boils down to having to switch hemispheres (cognitive function) but that’s another story. What I’d wanted to do with my new screen capture toaster, was record a video but no dice. The software got very pouty and recalcitrant bouncing back and forth between zooming in on my CAD program. I’m probably doing the the equivalent of trying to make cheese toast or something. The software is actually very user friendly but I can manage to louse up anything.


So here’s the jpegs of the screens:

First are the pieces (below). The collar is on the left, the bodice (joined at the shoulder seam) is on the right.

Because the pieces are mirrored, we’re only going to walk one side -the right side. Below the pieces are lined up in readiness.

Below, I’ve lined the CF notch of the collar, onto the CF notch (line really) of the bodice.

Below, I’ve started to align edges to each other. By the way, these pieces are shown without seam allowance for simplicity. That’s another thing Optitex does, one click and it comes and goes. F5 toggles it off and on. My trainer nags me because I keep forgetting. Speaking of, there is one sure-fire way to learn anything. It’s to have to teach it to somebody else as soon as possible. That would be you.

Below, I’ve continued to walk the edges, differences are slight.

Below we’ve arrived at the shoulder juncture. It won’t be apparent until the next frame following this one, but that shoulder notch on the collar is not, I repeat, is not matching that shoulder seam.

Below you can see a blow up of the area. The screen capture software is nifty! It puts in arrows! I’ve definitely needed that. Yeah, I know Illustrator does it but I don’t know how (skip the lectures, I have enough on my plate). Anyway, you can see how the notch is off. That should be fixed. Pattern makers have different standards for accuracy. Mine is 1/32nd (that’s a lie, it’s really 1/64th but 1/32nd is good enough). Patternworks also uses 1/32nd. Judging from experience, I think the big 4 home pattern companies use 1/2″. Or thereabouts. Whatever standard that approximates hitting the target on a dartboard (with a blindfold) is the image that comes to mind.

Below, the notch has been corrected.

Below, continuing to walk the piece around the back neckline.

Below is where the collar ends up. You can see the collar falls just shy of that notch on the back bodice neck. That notch is for the zipper, not the collar end. I’m undecided about what to do. Notch the point where the collar ends or let it go? The other option is to extend the collar to meet the zipper notch. The gap looks to be about 1/4″. I’ve decided not to decide for now. I’m not sure I like the collar shaping anyway. Recommendations from children’s wear people? Should that collar meet at CB or should there be a gap?

Below is a zoom out of the last position (above). Perhaps you can see why I don’t like the collar much. If you look at the first illustration in the series, the collar is basically shaped like a facing. When you draft even a flat collar like this one with no roll, you overlap the outside edges of the bodices at the shoulder line because if you don’t, the collar has a doop-tey doop right there on the shoulder line. I’ve never seen this one sewn up and on a child so I wouldn’t know.

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