Exactly what does ‘self’ mean with respect to pattern making?
This term refers to fabrication groupings which are traditionally marked on each individual pattern piece. Self or Shell mean the same thing (these terms are interchangeable). Self refers to the specific main fabrication of a product. If you’re making a pair of jeans, the denim is the self or shell. If you were making a letterman’s jacket, the body -minus the contrasting leather sleeves- would be the self or shell.
In pattern making, pattern pieces are color coded according to their fabrication grouping. This way, when someone is using the pattern, it can be sorted quickly. When doing up your cutter’s must or direction card, the pieces needed to be sorted according to fabrication.
Traditionally, all of the shell/self pieces are marked in black ink. All the lining pieces are blue, the contrast or trim are green or purple. Interfacing or canvas is red. If you’re color coding your patterns correctly, you don’t need to actually write the word “self” or “lining” or “interfacing” because the corresponding color conveys that meaning. However, in California, they’re a little lax on the color coding thing. You might have to write the words along with using the correct color. Not many of the colleges seem the get the color coding thing right these days or even teach it to the students.