Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Aqua Shirt


The Aqua shirt is done.

In addition to the new collar experiment, I was also experimenting with some changes  to the sleeve and sleeve cap design.Aqua6


Here is the sleeve with placket sewn into position.

The sleeve and side seams are flat felled however I am still not very good at.   Getting better  bit by bit.


And the cuffs.   Another experiment –  location and style of the pleat on the cuff. Here I tried a box pleat on the outside of the sleeve.

And the final result



Continuing on the dyeing experiments:


I dyed this using the technique described in the book  “Color by Accident”  by Ann Johnston.

This was my first attempt and it was very easy to do.

Next I will make a shirt of this and see what it looks like.


Thanks for reading.

Collar Experiments…

Well,  I haven’t given up sewing shirts yet.  Just been too busy to do much.


This is my current work in progress. The fabric is a cotton broadcloth with a rather stiff hand.   I dyed the fabric myself as a experiment. Fun, but I don’t know what I am doing with it yet.

The major experiment here is the collar.   I am trying to create a collar that has some structure to it such that, with or without a tie it still looks good.  The stiff fabric probably helps.June-18-16-Aqua2


Here are the  collar and stand pieces  (3/8 in seam allowance)


I am moderately happy the with the results of this experiment.  More experimentation to be done…

Next,   I need to get the sleeves on this shirt.


And now for a little serendipitous art:

Found in an obscure corner of the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum.
Found in an obscure corner of the San Francisco Legion of Honor Museum.



Current Project(s) – Dec 2015








What I am working on:

The Fall semester is over, the grades are in.   My major sewing oriented project at the moment is revising my pattern program to work in inkscape as an extension. Thus far this has involved learning  how use inkscape, python,  svg,  xml .  It is nowhere near complete  however I am making progress. So far, it only draws the yoke.

Some of the advantages of writing it as an inkscape  extension are:

  • Inkscape is open-source
  • Inkscape is multi-platform
  • It is very easy to install extensions into inkscape.  Just drop a few files into the inkscape extension folder and you are done. ( the major challenge on the Mac is to find the inkscape extension folder)

The screen shot below shows the inkscape window with the PPD-Shirt extension dialog.

Screen Shot of inkscape with PPD Shirt as extension
Screen Shot of inkscape with PPD Shirt as extension

Of course as I work on this program I realize ways to refine the program to make  it more flexible.  For example, giving the user the option of changing the shape of the yoke by adjusting a few parameters.

(Thanks to David Coffin for suggesting  that a standard yoke should be included in the pattern.)

Yoke variations
Yoke variations

I expect to have a fully working version sometime in the  Spring.  I will have partial versions to play with before that.

Meanwhile,  not wanting to spend all my time on the computer,  I have been sewing a few more shirts (I still have much to learn about sewing shirts). Currently I am having fun with snaps instead of buttons.  Snaps may not be as classy but they are way more fun to install.

White linen shirt with snaps and a shaped cuff:

White Linen shirt
White Linen shirt
Linen shirt with snaps
Linen shirt with snaps

I have also been experimenting with shaping the  cuff.  The goal was to make the cuff longer but have it cutaway around the thumb metacarpal so as not to impede the hand motion.

Shaped Cuff
Shaped Cuff
Cuff with Snaps
Cuff with Snaps

I also made the same shirt out of a pink chambray.

Pink Chambray
Pink Chambray

My next sewing project will probably be some trousers.

I did a very-very quick  muslin of  Joost De Cock’s “Textbook Trousers” at  and they look very promising.  Also, I am in desperate need of trousers.

Thanks for reading.




The PPD-0102 Pattern

This post is about the PPD-0102 pattern which is now available for download.

PPD-0102 Work in progress

I am showing here a work in progress,  ivory twill. I have not had time to complete it yet.

The Back
PPD-0102 The Back

Eventually there will be  step-by-step instructions and  more  photos.

The shirt pattern has its own page,  PPD-0102  where you will find links to the pattern files.

My goal in producing these patterns is to help a sewist produce a shirt that fits well. The commercial patterns available for a sewist  tend to come in the  standard sizes 34-36-38-40-42-44-46.  The skilled sewist is then expected to adjust the pattern as necessary to achieve a good fit.  My initial plan  is to produce the patterns in a finer gradation of sizes and hopefully make it easier to get a good fit (34-52 in 1/2 inch intervals).   Eventually I should  be able to offer custom sized patterns.

Admittedly this shirt pattern may not be of  interest to the average sewist for  a couple of   reasons:

Yoke Pattern Piece
Yoke Pattern Piece

1) This pattern  features a “shaped” yoke instead of the traditional “straight” yoke .  I am considering making the next pattern with a standard yoke so that a standard basic dress shirt pattern would be available in a wide range of sizes.

2) This pattern looks a bit different than traditional sewing patterns although I do believe that  the pattern is fairly clear   (I still need to finish the instructions).

A remaining challenge  is actually take measurements of a person and produce a pattern and a shirt for that person.  I know it works for me, but that is a sample size of one.  There are about 15 measurements that go into this pattern.    I will describe these measurements in a future post.

In the meantime, I hope  you find the patterns interesting and/or useful.

Thanks for reading.



Lavender Seersucker Shirt

Here is a quick look at  my latest shirt:

Before the buttons:






I have been working on instruction to go with the shirt pattern.   That is not so much fun.

I am also in the process of revising this pattern.  One of the redesigns has to do with the sleeve cap:

SIZE43hv1_Sleeve BoardSIZE43hv1_Sleeve Board


The sleeve cap in PPD-0101 is a bit flatter  which yields more ease of movement but also produces excess fabric under the arm when the arm is in the relaxed position.

Other changes for PPD0102 are

  1. Redesigned collar
  2. Redesigned cuffs
  3. More ease in the forearm

Also in the preliminary stages of developing a women’s pattern

Here is  Ms. Mini Ten  (Half scale form)




Picking Up Where I Left Off?

Singer Buttonhole Attachment on a Kenmore

Well sort of.  I have had time over the summer to reassess my goals for my sewing and designing projects.  Most definitely I am not going to try selling the patterns.  As I complete them I will make them available for  downloading — my contribution to the creative commons concept.

Susan is now focused on her own projects which can be found here.

I am fully taking over the blog for Partlan Pattern Designs (PPD)  as of this post.

To make this transition,  I thought I would provide a little back story.

I wanted to learn how to make my own clothes.

Vintage Kenmore 158.14001

Why? Partly because I like to make things and partly because I felt that the ready-to-wear (RTW) industry was not producing garments I liked or that fit.  And, an additional consideration was that the mass market RTW industry has a reputation for employing  garment workers in abysmal conditions  (though certainly not all of it).

I started sewing and found there was a lot to learn:  sewing technology & techniques, fitting techniques, fabrics, threads, equipment, photography and social media. All of which have steep learning curves.

Surprisingly, on the sewing front, I was able in a fairly short time to produce a garment that was crude but passable enough for me to wear. In my work (teaching physics at a local community college) casual clothing is appropriate most of the time.

This was enough of a success to encourage me to keep going.

As I wore the garments that I had sewn, I found that in wearing them one begins to really  understand the fit and function.   When I had time I modified the designs and tried again.  As Susan says, I am a tinkerer.

My first shirts left much to be desired.  However, I felt I could improve on the implementation, and have.


As I was tinkering with aspects of shirt design and fit, I became interested in designing my own complete shirt pattern.  Basically a pattern self-drafted on me, until I got  the form.

Because I had experience with AutoCad in my past I was able to fairly quickly get the design into a pattern software program (using Pattern Works).

So far so good.  At the time it seemed like this might be a plausible business,  hence the name Partlan Pattern Designs

Then,  the tunnel at the end of the light appeared in considering how to grade the pattern to all other sizes, and, in my naiveté, thinking there might be many of them. Another barrier to producing a viable pattern business is to produce an intelligible set of instructions for the pattern. Susan spent several months on that part of the project in addition to managing the communications, social media and the infrastructure required to actually sell the patterns.

In the end for reasons she discussed here,  we decided to close the business.  I am taking the pattern design on as my personal hobby.  I do plan to release the shirt pattern, probably sometime in the summer of 2015 as there are a number of revisions I want to implement between now and then.


My Shirt, (Brooks Brothers Shorts, Dobbs Hat)

As I begin my blogging adventure, I plan to reflect on the learning curves and share some of my experiences.

Up coming blog topics will include what I learned about:

  • threads and needles
  • fabric (natural fibers)
  • sewing the different parts of the shirt (multiple)
  • drafting a pattern
  • grading a pattern

I will intersperse these with posts on some sewing projects I am working on.

Thanks for reading.