Finalizing the Barong Dress patterns & Making the Final

I have final arrived at the design I’m hoping. Therefore, what’s left was to clean up the patterns for the final garments to make and submit. The placket I first toiled with didn’t have enough length to cover the raw edges. So I just added extra length.

Below is the first two layplan created for two different fabric widths. The first was the original silk/linen choice I wanted but was too expensive. Then I found my final pure linen piece. Just like with the Terno lay planning, using Illustrator was faster and easier for me to use for the time to work on the pieces.

Making The Final Garment… and mishaps

This is when it started to become stressful for me. As my first choice of fabric was too expensive, I had to find an alternative. $42 was just too much when I barely make money and I needed about 10 meters for 3 garments. I looked for linen with a bit of shine to emulate what Pineapple fiber fabric would be like. I learned to just stick with the first instinct and go with it and never decide impulsively. I have always been the worst at decision making, I always needed a second person to talk to. I could have saved a lot of stress, worry and I could have loved the pieces even more so. I do love the pieces now, but the original choice would have made more of an impact. The linen sateen was too lightweight for my liking for this and that would have retained more of the shaping I wanted as opposed to the lightweight linen. I don’t mind the creases, I think that adds to the charm. If I were to do this piece again, I’ll use the silk/linen choice. However, the linen sateen’s saving grace is that the garments felt very casual, which is what I like. The silk/linen fabric would have made the designs closer to a more formal feel, which is often what Filipino garments are used for. This project humbles down these garments so more people wear them on an everyday basis.

One of the stresses this fabric gave me was the cutting process. Due to time constraints and having about 8 meters of fabric, I wasn’t able to wash the garment. The grainline warped because of how lightweight it is and the amount of creasing it has, the cutting was compromised. I wasn’t sure what to do. I wanted to fuse the whole length of the fabric just to give it stability, but what was the point of buying the fabric if I would have to alter it. I started making the Barong dress when I was informed to fuse my seam allowances. I did that for my Terno dress, however, not for the Barong. I had so much allowance removed from French seaming to redo my seams.

Another mishap was the front panels. I planned, but not trialed french seaming for the right angles and that caused a lot of trouble. I had to ask Claire for another alternative and rescue me from breaking down. Claire suggested a felled seam, which worked out well because it made the right angles prominent and made the design feel more like a barong.

Lastly, adding the facing seams did not meet the seams of the bodice, because of how much the garment stretched during cutting. I had to work with what I’ve got.

PDF Download

I’ve also created a PDF of the patterns for A4 printing at home. This is raw and still needs to have a title page, details page, instructions page, and, ideally, graded. But this is a start of a pdf in the making.

Click to download PDF

Barong Dress

Final Garment

Editing the Barong Dress in CLO3D

This is the first time I used CLO3D program. I always knew about it but never had the chance to try it out. and since there was only 30 days of trial I can use, I timed it so I can use it for this project. That is if the program is straight forward enough. It took a bit of tutorials before I got the hang of the program.

I didn’t get to take images of the the first few trials of the Barong dress on CLO. I didn’t think at this time that I would use CLO as part of my process. What I first did is started from a block we have at Massey. Transferred the file to Illustrator, then to clo. I explained this part in the Making of the Terno dress post. There I did the pattern the way I did in Accumark. Same results, same feeling.

This is when I decided to make the design into a Kimono sleeve. I remembered from second year that the lower I open the sleeve up, might as well do a kimono. I don’t know why I didn’t start from here. I think I wanted a tailored shoulder look. But as I did it in CLO, it worked out better. I also wanted to add pockets, because, again, modern dress. And I played around in CLO where to place them.

I went back to uni to change the patterns to a kimono style sleeve, added pockets, and applied it back to CLO to have a little bit more fun. This didn’t take long at all. But I was able to fix my patterns and placements in CLO before finalizing the patterns and making my final toile. Here are some of the ones I was able to record:

Transferring the new patterns to CLO3d. I simplified some of them because folds are a bit of a mission when first starting.

I wanted to try what would happen if I give the collar more volume.  I liked the end result, but instead of having rounded shape. I ended up having a final collar piece with shaping at the shoulder. I changed the final piece in Accumark.

Final Thoughts…

Simple: I am adding 3D into my process as soon as I can afford the subscription. It cancels a lot of toiling process to get to the final, saves on fabric and time. I can even start using it after the sketching process, because I can do iterations while already making the pattern.

Model: Maria Knowles

Making the Terno Dress

The first mentoring session, I knew I needed to ask about the lineup and improve it a little bit. I took Sue’s suggestion to lengthen the dress and make it a maxi length to create drama. Who knew adding a few more centimeters can change the look of a garment. (I always forget this sort of iteration where I can simply change one little detail of the garment). The pattern making began with these suggestion in mind. The length was added with what I think is enough length for an average tall person. However, I expect changes.

Making the pattern for this dress was straight forward. I hid all the darts in the bottom flare and added more. I wanted a generous amount of volume to the hem.

The collar/lapel piece will help determine the weaving length and width that will go on top of it. It may also serve as facing if needed.

Sleeve measurements taken for the terno sleeve pattern making.

Some adjustments were needed, particularly at the sleeve. I need to lower it to make it comfortable. (Spoiler alert: I’m glad I did.)

pre-final garment changes

Finalizing the Patterns

I didn’t change the patterns too much as the first toile worked out well. Fit was good, which I’m glad. While, I did think the length was a little too long, I think, given the change, I would have had it as it was in the first draft. Having it drape on the floor made for a more dramatic effect. The final ended up having a shorter length. 

Making the pocket

It can not be a modern dress if it doesn’t have pockets. It’s just necessary feature. I had to add it. I designed the pocket based on the Pattern making book by Armstrong. It’s the best way I know how to. As I followed it, the pockets had grown on facing at the front and back pattern pieces. However, I decided to remove it as the pocket will be cut from the main fabric anyway. You”ll see these changes in the following photos.

Making the facing

This will perhaps be the first time I will make a facing on my own. I don’t think I’ve ever done facings before. Linings, yes. But not so much facings. I opted for about 5cm facing (did this, cut the fabric before I received feedback to make my facings 6cm). At first I thought I had to straighten the strip of facing by making the sides parallel to grainline. But I researched this before I committed. Unfortunately, I don’t have the source I got the information to just have the facing as it is on the pattern. So I changed it and did not touch the grainline anymore.

Lay Planning

I did a quick lay plan for this so I know how much fabric I should buy. I am using the same fabric for all my white garments so I needed to buy just enough as I can not afford to have too much. I first planned for a 119cm wide fabric, then found the one I used as my final one, which was 142cm wide. So did my lay plan twice. The reason I used Adobe Illustrator is its ease of use and convenience for me. I am very familiar with the program. For what I need to do, it’s an easier and faster method for me.

Cleaning pattern lines

This is the part of the process where I was going through repetitive actions and I was getting overwhelmed with the amount of work. For a bit of break from pattern making, I make the patterns look clean and tidy, then I’d transfer it to CLO3D and just play a bit. It’s unnecessary step, that probably was the reason I had to ask extension. But at the time, I needed something different to keep me going.

Unresolved problems

One of the last things I stitched was the Terno sleeve. It was so straightforward, yet so overwhelming at the same time. While the sleeve length worked out well to fit the arm whole of the dress, the facing didn’t. By this time, I had my photoshoot done, I had to have my garments ready for presentation. There was just not any time. There was barely any energy left and I had to make the decision that this garment will have to have a hanging facing at the arm hole. (I’m still meant to overlock that, woops). It just wouldn’t fit. My theory is, since the main garment isn’t fused, it retained its flexibility and stretch, especially with the curves. The facing, either shrunk in the heat or retained the scye length according to pattern and my calculations were wrong. It was heartbreaking to let an unresolved problem be seen and assessed, but I had to choose sanity. I can fix it after it’s graded, right?


Final Garment

Overall Thoughts…

Making the terno dress is an enjoyable process. I was able to do one toile and make it work the first time. Even after a little bit of changes without another toile, it has still worked out. Adding the terno sleeve was a whole new ball game, though and that presented different challenges. The fabric definitely put me off guard and I had to work with what I got. The cutting was what stressed me the most. In the end, I just had to make it work. If I ever re-do this piece, it will be done with a different fabric.

Terno Sleeve Pattern Making

After years of rummaging the Internet for tutorials and information on how to make a Terno sleeve, I have finally found the best tutorial that show how to pattern make and also sew this sleeve. I also bought a book (still in the possession of my sister in the Philippine, in which she took photos of important pages for me to study) that show patterns of various Filipiniana dresses throughout history. It includes information on the how to make, maintain and the art of the terno manga (terno sleeve). This book is available for purchase at

Page courtesy of Patterns for the Filipino Dress published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This is posted for University assessment only.
Page courtesy of Patterns for the Filipino Dress published by the Cultural Center of the Philippines. This is posted for University assessment only.

I’ve applied the instructions onto CAD, which was not as hard as I thought it would be.

I took the arm scye measurements and divided it by four. That dictated the quarter circle seen on the square on left side image. I then copied this curve line to complete the oval shape. This has become the template for the rest of the sleeve. The top half was overset about 3 inches, and then again another 3 inches. The quarter half of the oval was traced to complete the sleeve at the arms and everything was closed with straight lines.

I added the pleats by hand after cutting the fabric, in which I used it to create the notches for the final pattern. Traditionally, 11-13 pleats are created to build the curve of the sleeve. There are many other ways to create the sleeve, however, for this collection, I wanted to emphasize the tradition amongst the modernity of the rest of the design.

This is the first sample of the sleeve using __ fusing. The result show a stiff sleeve, and although it does the job, it can look better. The cardboard-like stiffness also creates certain creases to the sleeve that makes the sleeve look cheap and craft like – far from what the sleeve should portray. I also, if possible, want to omit the glue on fusible for a more sustainable reason. The glue on fusible changed the look and feel of the fabric. I then tried three other interfacings to trial the sleeve stiffness without being too cardboard-like.

1. This one is using Buckram

2. This one is using hair canvas interfacing.

3. This last one is using sew-in interfacing.

All are using a basting technique to hold the pieces together before it gets attached to the bodice of the garment. There is no need to do extensive basting such as the first two sampled, it only needs to attach using straight stitches at the seam allowance, which was used as a technique on the third sample. While both choices create the sleeve look acceptable to the traditional terno, buckram creates the best look that has both stiffness of the shape and softness at the curve.

Tatsulok Final Garments

Barong Shirt dress with Tapis
Baro’t Saya Combination
Balabal dress

Promotional Ideas

The promotional part is a collaborative work with my dear friend Regine Panlilio, who’s been on board with this project since day one. Actually, since second year. I’ve let her have free reign in the media part of the project, visualize it her way, but keeping in line with the brief.  We have had meetings together to talk about the film, which then complements the photos that will be part of the lookbook. We wanted to create a film that not only shows the clothes, but provides more of the story, a summary of how colonial thinking are infiltrated in people’s mindset, and overall, in a community. As a mainly Christian country, the biggest influencer is the church, and thus the white dress. At home, we get to be a little bit freer, thus the woven dress.

The execution of the lookbook, however, was perhaps the last bit I thought of in the entire project. Keeping in mind the whole project, I still made sure that regardless of time constraints, the lookbook still speaks with the theme of the entire project. So many of the project is part hand made, part digital. So I knew that juxtaposition is in there too. I opted for raw edges to get that look and feel.


The film was indeed Regine’s vision, however, we had multiple meetings to make the film capture the message of the collection. As this is a project to empower Filipino culture, I wanted to get as many Filipino creatives I know as possible. I’ve always known the photographs will be great. We’ve worked together since 2011 or so and I knew she’ll be able to portray the images with the message in mind. It was the film that was a little bit harder because it’ll be our first major film to do together. 5 minutes of film can say a lot of things. They say a picture is worth a thousand words. A film is made up of thousands of pictures. Also, adding the speech made by Manuel L. Quezon, elevated the film up a notch and pulled together the film.




The music was arranged b y my brother, Renato Robrigado from the original song Tatsulok where the title of the project is based from. Composed by Rom Dongeto and originally performed by folk-rock Buklod. It was the first time I worked with my brother creatively and I never knew how to professionally give him a brief nor did he not ask me for any questions regarding the feel of the music. I was never strong with my music description. I listen to what sounds good, but I can never understand it the way music artists do. So it took a few renditions before arriving at what made to the final film.

Lookbook Ideas

Lookbook Ideas

Pop out style pages, from
Stitch bound style, from Originally found at
Accordion style, originally found in

Making the Weaving and into the Balabal Dress

Oh the weaving process. Probably the most overwhelming task out of any of my work. Suddenly, I had to unlearn the past few years to make this garment happen. It’s not that I don’t need planning. It’s just a different planning than pattern making. Maths were involved, especially dealing with stretch fabrics. However, the percentage of the stretch doesn’t necessarily work the same way as patternmaking with a stretch fabric as it is dependent on the tension I apply it. All explained in the video. As I’ve never done any textiles paper, except for embroidery, I didn’t know where to start. Everything is laid out open for me to pick and choose and decision making is my weakest trait. I’ve learned to make faster decisions than I previously have ever because of the personal deadlines I gave myself. Part of those decisions were loom making, colors and method. And whether I make a pattern out of the colors or make it free flowing.

The loom was hand made. 1m x 1m  but I placed one of the edges about 70cm. As I needed 50cm length, I thought this was enough for the stretch. Turns out, I needed 10 more cm. Nails were placed 1cm apart, and this also had to be decided. 

I’ve practiced and sampled this method in the first semester, however, I didn’t account for the little curve ball in the form of colors. I originally decided on using only old clothes to make the weaving as part of the sustainability angle of my project, and some old t-shirts are interwoven in the pieces, it wasn’t enough. With little time at the point of making the weave, sourcing old t-shirts that have colors that work together wasn’t practical. I had to go to a plan B of some sort. I went and bought new fabrics, sadly. And this was where my money went all over the place. I went and bought about .5 to 1 m of different color knit fabrics (weft), and 8 meters worth of pale lavender and pink knit fabric (warp). The colors I chose were more on the dark cool colors, shades of purples and blue. To brighten up the garment, I went for bright warm colors, such as yellow and red and pink. The warp stayed a single color. I wanted to portray the diversity and vibrant culture of the Philippines. For some reason, purple and yellow reminds me of the Philippines the most. Colors of the flag are also in there.

There were two methods that were at play here. First was the typical method which involves longer strips of fabric on all sides of the weaving. The second, which I ended up using, is a continuous strip of warp fabric, then pieces of strips along the weft. This became the choice because it allowed the weaving to drape more.

I put together this video so I can show how the weaving was done. Writing a it down will be a mission. Here’s the process of how the weaving happened.

Making the Dress

As there were no pattern making involved, draping was the best way to put the whole garment together. I popped two panels on a mannequin, and closed the ends, leaving the middle unattached for the head to go through. From there I decided where and how other panels will go. I had to make sure that the back is also is covered. Or maybe lengthen. Those were some of the things I had to think about.

The finished product happened while the photoshoot was happening. While the other garments were being photographed, I was “sewing”my model into the dresss. I used more strips of fabrics to attach ends together and close the garment shut. It’s zero waste, in terms of panels, as they remained the rectangle as woven, but instead of cutting the shape in the whole width of the fabric, I added to make the pieces, making the rectangle work for the body.

Making the Skirt

The skirt went through the same method of “sewing” my model into the skirt draping two panels, attached to one side, and closing in at where the other ends with a strip of fabric. I have no image of how this was done, however, it is pretty straight forward as seen in the final photos below

saya & balabal

Final Garments

Pattern Making the Baro’t Saya Dress Combination

While this may seem like the simplest design, this design perhaps was the one that had so many iterations of the pattern. From using various blocks to changing the back designs to adding new features. There wasn’t any specificity in this design except for three: it’s cropped, it has a terno sleeve and can connect to the skirt. Everything else can be designed anyway. It was the last thing I designed to complete the four-look collection and it was the one I needed to make the collection more cohesive. I was challenged at the beginning of the semester to add another look, and since I have one garment per look, I accepted. However, my design brain cells must have retired for the project and my technical brain took over because designing this look took a while. There were changes here and there, and this took the final seat. That means, more iterations as I pattern make it. See Weaving post for details

More details about the changes for the Barong Dress on CAD

There were multiple changes made with the patterns of the Barong dress to finesse its look and details. I began by removing the fullness of the dress that made it oversize, but I kept the volume of the original pattern at the hem.

As mentioned previously, the center front panel doesn’t need a horizontal line to separate the placket from the rest of it. So I removed the seam to create one whole panel. I actually don’t know why I did it. I think it was so I could hide the raw edges of the facing, which wasn’t the best solution, anyway.

I wanted the collar to end at the seam where the placket begins and then straighten the placket from there. I moved the center panel line 1cm away from the neckline, however, I think I didn’t push through with this later on. The neckline was also reshaped to add space. After removing the fullness at the shoulder, the shoulder went back to it original  length and rounded it off to 14. The toile marks show 12.5cm length, however, I decided to keep the length at 14cm to have it look less tailored.

*Note: Ignore the yellow line as the old line was way down at the waistline.

What my to do list for this task looks like:

Sleeves were the biggest edit I did for this dress as the first one I did doesn’t even replicate the drawing at all. Angle is important in the design of the sleeve, so I began the iteration there. This dictated the height of the crown, which, as expected, is quite small as the angle is high up.

The shape took a while to pattern make. It took me a few tries, while looking at the cut from the toile to create the shape I wanted. As it is drafted flat and opened, and the toile is sewn in 3D form, I could barely imagined what the pattern actually looked like. (Next time, I am going to unpick the seams and open the sleeves to visualize the pattern.

Final patterns of the 2nd drafted pattern:

2nd toile and notes

The second toile presented a much better proportions, sleeves and overall look of the Barong dress. While there are still some noted changes that needs to happen, these are just in the details.

  1. The collar, as suggested by Robyn, to have the stand end at the original center front of the garment. That is to stabilize the corner where the placket and the collar meets. A gap will still be shown, but smaller as oppose to the original patterns. A gap is ideal for the design to emulate the typical mandarin collar on some Barong shirts.
  2. Placket needs to just adjust and have a better construction sequence as there is a part on the placket that isn’t enclosed by the collar. Robyn also suggested a method, which will be toiled as a sample.
  3. Neckline seemed to have gotten higher, a little change needs to happen here.
  4. A little more drop on the armscye is preferred. It has a casual feel to it that I prefer for this shirt dress. Most Barongs are worn in special events, as a uniform or business attire and this particular design is more everyday casual or street vibe.
  5. I wanted to try the sleeve with an coconut fabric interfacing that is stiff. May be able to help with the shape, but may be too stiff. Can only try, right?
  6. Need to still finesse the whole pattern as this will be my final pattern to submit.
  7. Remember to note sequence of construction for specification pack.

Pattern Making the Barong Dress

I started the collection with the Barong dress as it is the most familiar and I know the parts that needs to go. It’s the one in which the design is finalized and will only be changed in details instead of the whole design.

This is the starting block I used to start my pattern making for this garment.

I began pattern making for this garment using resources from Pattern Making for Fashion Design by Helen Joseph Armstrong, which has details of the shirt, collar, placket, and sleeve changes. Design lines where my own.

The master shows the manipulations I made with the tunic block which I drafted from a bodice block. I know there is a women’s blouse block that I could use to start. However, the books showed instructions from the darted bodice block. I think it may serve well to keep a bit of the waist shaping at side seam. I expect this to change if the shaping at the side seam is better straightened instead of keeping the shaping. I also added panel lines to force the triangular shape of the garment and hopefully achieve the look that it is away from the body. This is so there are fewer layers underneath. We shall see.

Here I’ve added fullness through the middle to make the shirt oversized and created an extremely low arm hole (but I had doubts).
Notes on the front patterns of the Barong Dress.

The placket was the most difficult to draft. I’ve only done this design once and I still haven’t wrapped my head around it. As I rarely design with buttons, this is not my area of familiarity. To be a little bit more precise, I looked into a traditional barong and how it’s made to understand the mechanics. I expect some changes in the pattern. 

I was thinking of making the front where the pleat stands into a woven detail as well. It may tie in with the design of the first look. But I’m not sure because of the woven tapis that goes on top. It may not be needed.

I was a little worried about the sleeves as the pattern looks so different. It did make sense, though, but I know I still have to see the toile to decide if it’s correct. Additionally, I looked closely at my sketch and tech drawing and realized I had the armhole opening designed to go past the waist. I have to see to know how I feel about such a big opening, it could be surprisingly good or just bad. I do like that the opening is exaggerated for this dress as it casualizes the formal barong.

Back pattern notes and pieces.

The collar was perhaps the easiest to draft. I started with a mandarin collar for the stand, then drafted the shape from there. I may have to open this up a bit for it to sit on the shoulders better. But will try this initial stage of the design.

The first pattern draft was quite successful in the silhouette, length and volume of flare. I didn’t have to changed much in the regard, however the toile presented detailed mistakes that needs to be sort out for the final garment. These changes are mainly:

  1. Sleeves – it’s not the design I was aiming for. The design looks like a kimono, dolman style sleeve but set in. It didn’t have the wide open hem that I first imagined. It is also very low, as I had expected.
  2. Collar – not sitting smoothly. Collar needs to open a few centimeters at the edge to sit nicely on the shoulders. The stand is also being pulled by the collar. I have spoken to Robyn about this and it just needs to be redrafted slightly.
  3. Placket – it is working alright and well, except the construction sequence needs to be noted so as to make sure the top of the placket where it’s not connected to the collar is bagged and the collar seats comfortably while allowing a small opening at the center front.
  4. Seams – need to figure out a way to find raw edges without having to use an overlocker (because I don’t like the look of it, high end is what I’m hoping to achieve) or lining (not really the look I’m going for). I looked into the construction of a typical Barong and French seams seems to be a commong choice as the fabric is light weight and (most of the time) see-through. This may be my first choice.
  5. Shoulders – I first designed this garment as an oversized shirt, so the first draft would show I opened the front and back by about 5cm on each side. However, as I had a talk with Sue, her suggestion was to set it back up to the original length. I may have to drop it a little more as I do like the dropped sleeve look – it has a more relaxed look.
  6. Center Front Panel – i don’t know why I had to cut the placket part of the center front from the bottom bit. I realized it created unnecessary line at the bottom of the placket when it’s completely acceptable to have a single center front panel where the placket would be attached.

Making the changes

Applying all these changes the first time. This was done in August, and now writing this in October. So much has happened in between. I managed to take as many photos as I could along the way, and annotate what’s needed. 

Removing excess drop shoulder

Collar Changes

Placket changes

Making a new Sleeve

Final pieces made for second toiling

It was almost there. But I have pointed out to Robyn some mistakes I noticed and asked for help.

  1. Collar isn’t sitting right. I needed to lessen the volume at the collar to let it sit. (Turns out, I sewed it the wrong way around. I didn’t need to change the pattern much)
  2. Sleeve, although Robyn likes it and said I don’t need to change it, I wasn’t getting the correct feel.
  3. Placket, I decided to shorten it to a typical button up shirt length.
  4. Pocket! What’s a modern dress without pocket?

By this time, I was starting to get frustrated and I needed to do something new. Tried CLO3D for the first time and tutorials were straight forward. To try it out, I used the Barong design. It worked, so I kept going.

Third’s a charm?

To the cutting table and sewing machine, I went back because there were more changes, more alterations to be done. I needed this to work the most. The Terno dress was doing alright, I needed this to work as well. I applied the following changes for the third toile:

No image taken of the final garment, unfortunately. I think I wasn’t getting new results no matter how many changes I keep making. By this time, I was starting to get frustrated and I needed to do something new. Tried CLO3D for the first time and the tutorials were straight forward. To try it out, I used the Barong design, thinking that if the programme isn’t too difficult to learn, I could use it to my advantage. Gladly it was.