Pattern Maker Extraordinaire, Ruth Bunford

During 2020, I was lucky enough to collaborate with the super talented Pattern Maker, Ruth Bunford, to create the design for my beautiful Daydream dresses. Ruth has not only worked in pattern making with some of the big names in the fashion world, both in Australia and the UK, she also shares her knowledge as a teacher at RMIT University and The Social Studio.

Today Ruth chats about how her journey started as a Pattern Maker and some of the new technologies she has been working with in the world of design.

The Day Dream Dress

I’ve been working as a womenswear Pattern Maker for 17 years now. I started working in London for brands including All Saints, River Island, Top Shop and Erdem.

I moved to Australia in 2012 and have worked with Scanlan Theodore, Life With Bird, Nicholas, Forever New and Thurley Design.

I started sewing by making hair scrunchies in school and I then learnt how to shorten my trousers, as I was too short for all the clothes available in shops. From that I realised that I loved making clothes.

The thing I adore most about pattern making is the beautiful mix of mathematics and creativity and I love both.

As not only an industry professional, but also as a fashion and design teacher with RMIT and The Social Studio, I would say the key elements for a design and pattern making student to learn, are that pattern making is ALL about attention to detail, you can’t be slap-dash. Pattern making can seem very confusing at first but, put simply, pattern making is the idea of breaking a design in to key shapes. Once you start recognising those shapes, it becomes more intuitive.

I feel extremely lucky that my work in 2020 has been supported by the Victorian Government through Creative Victoria. Earlier this year I received a Sustaining Creative Workers Grant to enable me to develop my skills in virtual prototyping. As part of that development I have learnt how to use a program called Clo3D. Clo3D allows me to do my pattern making and grading work digitally. I am able to sew the garment virtually and place it on to an avatar for design evaluation. The use of virtual prototyping has reduced the necessity for face-to-face fit meetings. This has allowed me to continue working throughout the Covid 19 lockdowns.

The ability to create virtual protypes has also reduced the number of design samples that need to be made, as design decisions can be checked without a new garment being sewn up. This reduces waste across the design development process.

Virtual fitting with Clo3D

The Daydream dress first toile