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Instructor: Lela Stairs | Dates: January 12 (Half-day) & 13-14 (Full Days), January 19 (Half-day) & 20-21 (Full Days), 2024

Participants learn how to interpret a two-dimensional design and render it into a three-dimensional costume pattern in this double-weekend workshop.


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7 in stock

Pay a deposit of $100.00 per item
Pattern Drafting Product Image

Course Description

Stratford Festival Cutter, Lela Stairs, teaches the skills of interpreting sketches, drafting patterns, mocking up blocks, and cutting a customer.

This course is ideal for those working in costume or wardrobe departments and those who build costumes for community theatre.

Lesson Outline
  1. Friday (1/2 day) – What is cutting? Introduce block development/custom patterns for actors; examine sketches and discuss sketch interpretation; practice taking proper measurements (which measurements and why); look at body types and discover how patterns work. Skills learned: what a cutter is; the importance of measuring properly; the differences in body types; sketch interpretation.
  2. Saturday – Finish up with measurements and pattern drafting all day. Establish size and ease, dart manipulation; examine different sketches and see how they translate to a bodice; begin to establish style lines and period features within your basic block; begin cutting out and mocking up the loose-fitting bodice in muslin. Skills learned: drafting; dart manipulation; style lines that are period specific; translating a sketch to a pattern.
  3. Sunday – Continue cutting out mockups and completing pattern drafting. Sew mockups and begin fitting them (this is establishing a base for size and shape); discuss fittings and their importance, and learn what to look for in fittings (draglines, placement of seams and darts). Skills learned: drafting, cutting out a mockup and why, discussing fit. Homework during the week (not compulsory): finish sewing mockup if incomplete. Complete drafting to bring to class for the next weekend.
  4. Friday (1/2 day) – Complete fittings. Continue to sew and fit any bodices that were not complete. Return to patterns for pattern alterations and adjustments; talk about fitting room etique. Skills learned: fitting, fitting etiquette, pattern adjustments.
  5. Saturday – Return to blocks to start looking at how that basic block turns into a period bodice, corset, or blouse. Start interpreting a sketch into the blocks and spend the day looking at different ways to manipulate the mockup for the costume bodice. Skills learned: changing style lines on your patterns to suit a period of design.
  6. Sunday – Continue drafting and mocking up the costume bodice. Do fittings if time allows; wrap up and conclude; option: introduce draping (if time allows and participants are ready to advance). These will be included with the letter of welcome to participants.


7 in stock

Pay a deposit of $100.00 per item

Other Information

Course Location

163 King Street
Stratford N5A 4S2

Certificate Eligible

This course can  be taken as part of the Theatre Production Arts Certificate. (Learn more about it here.)

Tuition Assistance

Learn more about our tuition assistance options here.

COVID Protocols

Read our COVID student protocols here.

More Information

For more information about this course, contact Susan Starkweather, Program Advisor, at