Hi sewlover,

Okay so I think it’s time we have a little conversation about Freehand cutting and Pattern-drafting because I’ve been asked severally about them, their relevance, benefits and all that.

Anyway, I think I’ll share with you what I understand about them, their relevance and when and when not to apply them.

What is Freehand cutting?

Well freehand cutting is the act of drafting out designs and styles directly on fabric and cutting them out. Via this method of cutting, all dimensions, style lines, seam allowances are drafted straight on the fabric. This method of fabric cutting is used mostly by experienced sewists and fashion designer

Advantages of Freehand cutting

  1. Quick and Easy: Now because the design and style are drafted straight on the fabric, you spend less time sewing. It makes the whole process quicker and faster. Then you also do not have to brainstorm through all the technicalities that comes with drafting out a pattern instead.
  2. Perfect fit: Because this method of fabric cutting is used for mostly custom designs, it ensures a perfect fit since the designs are tailored to the model’s fit.
  3. Cheap: Because the designs are drafted out directly on fabric, you spend less money buying pattern papers, tracing papers and all the etcetera that comes with pattern-drafting.


  1. No adjustment: Now one of the disadvantages of freehand cutting is the inability to make adjustments once the fabric is cut. Mistakes can not be undone, only redone
  2. Fabric wastage: Now because of point 1 above i.e your inability to undo mistakes and only to redo them using freehand cutting, you tend to use alot more fabrics than intended.
  3. No instructions: Freehand cutting comes with little to no instructions. Therefore, drafts made form this method of fabric cutting can not be used by another.
  4. Drafts can not be reused: Because designs are cut directly on fabric, they can not be modified or readjusted to other designs without ruining the original structure or style lines
  5. No testing. Because drafts from freehand cutting are sewn directly, they are not tested.

What is Pattern-drafting?

Pattern-drafting is the act of creating templates from which patterns are derived from, for clothing styles or designs. What this means is, if your intention is to make an off-shoulder blouse, you can use patterndrafting to either create a template(that you can use later) or a template that you can make adjustments on before cutting your design on fabric.

Advantages of Patterndrafting

Now the advantages of Pattern-drafting are literally all the disadvantages of freehand cutting and more. It helps to take care of all the shortcomings that comes with freehand cutting and areas that freehand cutting can not cover.i.e

  1. You can easily adjust your patterns when there is a mistake. So with pattern-drafting, mistakes are mitigated.
  2. Because of (1) above, it serves your fabric from wastage
  3. Patterns come with instructions. So its use is not limited to its originator. This also means that public can read and understand your patterns and even be able to use it.
  4. Patterns can be easily modified to other designs
  5. Patterns can be tested before they are sewn. Unlike freehand cutting, patterns are usually first tested using muslin before they are sewn on fabric.
  6. Patterns are durable. They can last for a very long time if kept probably
  7. Patterns can be used to start a clothing line. If your dream is to start a clothing line one day for commercial purposes, then knowing how to draft patterns can help you achieve it with less stress and effort.
  8. Patterns can be graded. This means, patterns can be graded to a larger size or graded down to a lower size which is unlike freehand cutting. Drafts from freehand cutting are restricted to their original size .

Disadvantages of Pattern-drafting

  1. It is time consuming: Because pattern-drafting involves drafting a template, pattern and testing before designs are sewn, it takes alot more time than freehand cutting
  2. It requires great expertise: Because there are various types of fabrics, texture and how they work, it will require a great expertise and knowledge to draft patterns that work perfectly with the nature of the fabric.
  3. It is expensive: In relation to sewing, pattern-drafting requires special tools and materials, which makes it alot more expensive than freehand cutting
  4. It does not always ensure a perfect fit: Unless a test is conducted before the pattern is drafted out on fabric, drafts from pattern-drafting do not always ensure a perfect fit.

So you can see how freehand cutting differs so much from pattern-drafting and personally, I think as a fashion designer, it is wise to learn both aspect of fabric cutting and sewing so that you can know in what circumstances-when and when not- to use them

U = Use

X = don’t use




When making a custom fit garment



When starting a clothing line



When making a simple garment



When a complicated style



When making a style you’ve made before



When making a style you’ve never done before



When working with a familiar fabric



When working with a non familiar fabric






So that’s it guys. My thoughts about Freehand and Pattern-drafting. If you’ll like to share yours, please leave your thoughts on the comment box below. I’ll really love to read what you think.

By the way, if you are asked to choose between both methods,i.e pick only one, which will you pick?

Please share your thoughts on the comment box below.

Meanwhile, are you looking for an opportunity to learn pattern-drafting from scratch? then kindly visit here to register for TheQEffectz Private Class for Beginners now.  Classes begin June 1st 2019. Registrations are currently in progress to  end May 31st, 2019 and Please note that the class is limited to 10 students only. There are currently only 2 slots left for pattern-drafting and I think 4 for sewing. So register now before they are all filled.

To learn how to cut freehand, then make sure you register for TheQEffectz Private class for Intermediate come March 2020. See here to learn more.

So till next time for more sewing tips and ideas, kisses!

Published by Quincy

Hi, I'm Quincy, a fashion designer, gist and story writer...Welcome to my blog.I hope you find a home here...kisses!


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