Behind The Seams at Ratavosi | Post 2

Another Weekend gone by ! My oh My !

poof snap - weekend gone

I’m feeling a little like this cutie in the pic – Poof – Snap – and the Weekend is gone !

This whole thing still feels a little surreal to me. Majority of the time I’m positive about it, then other times when I snap out of it and really let the pressure get to me, I sit there for ten minutes, thinking to myself – HOW-THE-HECK-WILL-I-PULL-THROUGH then I get over it just as I finish the sentence and everything is fine again ! It doesn’t last long at all haha It’s so crazy, and so nerve wrecking. I’m so anxious just thinking about all the great things that are coming up ahead in my life.

I think as the weeks go on and I start completing each piece, I will be more confident that I am reaching my End goal in a timely manner. The more I can cross off my list the better I’ll feel. There is a lot to get done before I start crossing things off my list though.


This week, like others, has been another whirlwind of a week. I have been madly cutting my fabrics and preparing them for my machinist to help me sew.I think if a “Flexing Hand Muscles Competition” ever existed I’d probably win it. I have made such a mess with my studio space this week, that just thinking of cleaning it up is an exhausting thought in itself.


I’ve come up with so many challenges and I am happy to see myself working through them ! Sometimes when I am pattern making I get stuck on the most dumbest things. Well they aren’t dumb at the time but when you look back you think…REALLYY !… Good to see I learn from it though ! It’s usually because I am such a perfectionist that I play with things so much and take a bit here and a bit there that I end up ruining something that was ironically perfect to begin with !! My new piece to pick at is my Gold leather bustier. I can’t wait to see what this will look like, I’m so nervous about it – I know the patterns are right, I have sampled them about 4 times now to make sure there are no mistakes, but to see it live in it’s correct fabrication – It’s quite exciting ! Something I’m dying to see, and I think the feeling is the same for the next 19 pieces that follow after it.


I was looking at the Calendar earlier this week and I couldn’t believe my eyes ! There are LESS THAN 2 months to go until LAFWDC ! Can you believe that – Time is seriously flying. This is going to be such an amazing experience – Thank you thank you thank you to whoever and however this happened to me. I am so grateful.

Now, with every Post in the Behind the Seams Series I try to include a fashion Lesson. Whether it be a tip or pattern making or sewing instructions etc. I do my best to teach as I go.

Today’s Lesson includes your Studio or Sew room Essentials.


When you first Start Sewing you don’t realise just how many things you’ll need professionally to get ahead. I certainly didn’t think there was this much to purchase in my first semester – Goes to show there was a lot I didn’t know at that stage.

Let’s start with the two biggest items in the image. Our Rulers.

There are two kinds of rulers every Pattern maker needs. a Grading Ruler, The one on the Left – and a French Curve Ruler The one on the right. Grading Rulers make it very easy to, as the name suggests,”Grade” patterns. You’re probably thinking what I mean by that ? Usually at  a fashion house/label they have a sample size. This is the Block/set of patterns they sample up and perfect. Once this is sampled up and the fit is perfect they will then Grade it up and Down sizes, thus, creating a size range for that style. So if your sample size for your label is an 8, then you can grade down to a size 6 from your samples size block and also grade up a few sizes to a 10 then to a 12 and to a 14. Make sense ? Grading is the method of measuring up or scaling up and down to different sizes by implementing the important points and grading rules for the pattern. There are special algorithm that are used in the industry – a very complex skill to pick up when learning.

So with your Ruler , it has these little 2mm Grids. These help you add seams, take away seams, Draw parallel Lines and ensure you efficiently and correctly work your pattern. Now you’re probably wondering why you’d need a French Curve then ? Well again as the name slightly suggests – it is for all the Curves in your patterns. Not everything is a straight line and if you buy a Good French Curve ruler, they also come with a grading ruler like mine AND they come with a chart that tells you where to place the ruler on a pattern to get the perfect armhole curve, waist curve etc. I’ll speak more of this in the next few months.

I hope I haven’t lost you guys yet – and if I have – Drop me a comment. I’ll be more than happy to explain.

Next are our tracing tools. Tracing wheel, Stiletto, Chalk. I haven’t included my tracing wheel – Darn thing went missing right as I was about to shoot this pic.

You’re probably wondering why you need a shoe ? Because I mentioned Stiletto ? Right…. ! A stiletto is a thin needle like tool that you use to pierce a hole through your pattern and fabric to mark Darts. It’s a genius tool, love this tool, I don’t know where I’d be without it. But it makes it a hundred times easier to see where your darts are without actually marking your fabric with chalk.

Moving onto another lovely thing – I call this a luxury. You don’t really need it but you end up paying a lot of money for it because you want to be all fancy and shit ! It’s called a Notcher. It pretty much makes Notch marks on your patterns. Super Easy, Super neat and accurate…Totally a luxury item, a bit like a hole puncher.

Below the Notcher, you’ll find a Hook attached to a rope. Unfortunately this isn’t a noose-like tool to hang yourself when you’ve had enough in the Sew room…. It is used to hang your pattern blocks instead. This way you can hang all the patterns pieces from one Style on the one hook by punching a hole in the pieces. You can then hang it off your Racks and refer to them when you need to.

6 Other important things I’ve included.

Fabric Scissors that are on the left of the Notcher in the pic. I cannot stress how important it is to NOT DROP THEM and definitely DON’T CUT PAPER WITH THEM ! treat these like they’re your babies – With care. Make sure you get them sharpened and look after them as best you can, a Good pair will last you a lifetime.

This second item will be your best friend at times – An un picker. Un-picks all the shit you did wrong the first time ! How great a tool, now all they have to do is create a fairy god mother who does the unpicking for you too !

Below the un-picker is our third item ! Ribbon tape. I use this to mark out the design lines on my mannequin when I am pattern making or draping. I find it easier to visualise when I create the design lines first. Don’t worry We’ll have a lesson on it once I finish preparing for LAFWDC. It’s not as bad and as hard as you think – just takes some practice.

The fourth item, to the right of the Notcher is our Thread clippers – Another thing I didn’t know existed. I often end up using these for everything like unpicking, cutting threads, making notches. It’s such a handy little thing to have in your kit ! Make sure to buy a good Sharp one.

and lastly our measuring tape and pins. We all know what they are used for…. and no The answer isn’t voodoo dolls 🙂

Well I hope you all enjoyed this post.

I hope by Next week I reach a few more of my goals. To have at least 4 pieces finished, maybe even 5 if I am lucky. and to Also start dying and hand sewing my lace appliqué pieces. Fingers Crossed it goes to plan.

Wish me luck Beautiful Supporters

Until Next Weekend – which will come by in a flash.

xxxx Much Love,

Yours Truly.

Rhaya Ratavosi

Weekend image taken from pinterest :

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