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Sunday, 28 April 2013

Skirt draft with high right hip

So if you wander over to the thread I started at Cutter and Tailor, you'll learn that I'm totally wonky. My right shoulder droops and my right waist and hip are high to compensate. One of the changes that was suggested was that I draft a separate right side of the pattern using the measurements of my right hip.

Now, I thought this went against the accepted doctrine that an unsymmetrical garment for an unsymmetrical figure would accent the a-symmetry, but what do I know? So I gave it a shot.

The front certainly looks good! The line is very faint but the centre front is hanging plumb now, whereas it was jutting to my right at the bottom on my last skirt.

The left side is looking pretty good, too, except that there seems to be a bit of extra volume above my buttocks. Hmm...

Again I can see there's some weird stuff happening above the fullest part of my bum.

Whaaa! The altered right side looks kind of sloppy? And there is definitely something weird going on with the upper butt area.

Here's the alteration. I shifted the side seam up 1.5cm from the seat line (the horizontal pencil line at the bottom) and then corrected the centre fold line. You can see there's a significant gap between my old centre fold line (vertical line in pencil near the right hand side of the photo) and the new centre back fold line (in sharpie). I just don't know how to make the alteration without causing the centre fold line to change. ugh.

On the up side, everything is hanging much straighter and the addition of front darts and easing into the waist belt is giving me a much more flattering shape on the tummy, I think.

Any suggestions?

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Bart, Cart, Dart, Eart

So I've learned so much already from the thread I started over at Cutter and Tailor. Amazing! My mind has been pretty much blown.

One thing that took a little fiddling was drafting the darts. More specifically the shape of the darts.

One of Schneidergott's posts has very nuanced instructions for the shapes for front and back darts.

The legs of the back darts are supposed to have a combination of convex and concave shapes to hug your curves and also blend the point of the dart into the fabric so it doesn't give you those awful blubs at the end.

So here's what I did to make sure the contours my the dart legs are smooth and symmetrical.

I drew in the centre line of the dart, and marked where I wanted the dart to end and the amount of intake (the ends of the dart legs)

Next, I drew in straight dart legs and marked 3 cm up from the end of the dart.

Now the tricky part. I used a vary form ruler and french curve to draw in a more anatomically correct dart leg, bowing out (until it crosses the straight line I drew in at the 3 cm mark) to hug the small of my back. Then I did the same, bowing the line inwards so that the dart leg blends into the line formed by the edge of the fold, creating the fullness for my buttocks.

See? Nice smooth blend.

 Than it's just a matter of making the dart symmetrical. I used my pattern making wheel but if you're using tracing paper you can just ...well, trace it.


I did a similar thing with the front dart, which is a lot simpler because it only curves inward to give you a convex shape. Again, I blended into the line of the fold.


I hadn't bought anything in April until yesterday, when I bought tights ($7), metallic sandals ($50) and fabric and notions to make up this skirt I'm drafting ($50 - I have expensive taste!) so I've spent $107.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Making Minimal Headway

You know when you get super inspired but don't really have the tools to accomplish what you want? And then you go off in a million different directions and kind of don't get much of anything accomplished, and then you don't know what you should be focusing on even though you just want to get something done?

That's where I am with drafting. I'm a little petrified of sleeves (the next step for my torso block) and the book that I was using - Patternmaking For Fashion Design - had to go back to the library and I'm like, 5th in line to get it back again. So I thought I would get stuck in with Cutter and Tailor.

You may remember that I talked a little bit about Cutter and Tailor in my New Year post. I heard about this forum from Chris (thanks Chris!) and I just hadn't had the discipline to get started.

Basically, cutter and tailor is a place for master garment makers to share their knowledge and resources with people who are interested in learning, but in exchange, you're expected to do a lot of learning on your own. Since I'm almost completely self-taught so far, this sounds perfect for me!

Basic apprentices (that's me!) are asked to start with a basic skirt or trouser draft. I decided to start with a skirt because I know how tricky trousers can be!

Here's my first skirt draft!

Sexy, no?

I used the Rundschau drafting system (instructions can be found here), specifically their draft for a figure with a "prominent seat," of course.

Bam. I'm already happier with the fit of this skirt than any commercial pattern I've tried!

There's a little bit of ease, which is why it's sitting just below my natural waist. I'm going to be adding a lining and a waistband when I actually make up the skirt, should I leave the ease as it is?

One of this things I like most about this pattern is that it has four darts in the back and none in the front! I'm surprised that I can get such a good fit even though there's no centre back seam.

Since the draft has a straight centre back line of the skirt, I cut it on the fold. If I wanted to move the zipper to the back, could I move the two innermost darts into the centre seam? I was really surprised that there was no contouring at the centre back!

This shot shows the most obvious (at least to me) changes that need to be made. The side seam (I traced it with a sharpie so you can see it) is angled forward towards the hem, and it's a little further back at the waist than I would like.

What is the best way to correct this? I want it to look more like this.
I've also highlighted a strange crater-like formation just above my hip. Because my hips are low relative to my waist, I often have extra fullness in the fabric just above where my hips are widest. Easy enough to nip it in a little.

The waist also dips a little too much in the centre front. Again, should be easy to fix.

Oh, and I need to play with the length to find the right place for the hem because it's a seriously unflattering length right now!

What have I missed? What changes would you recommend?

Sunday, 14 April 2013

Torso Block

...Sounds like something out of a grisly cop drama. I'm also pretty sure that this doesn't technically count as a 'block'. I think it's more accurately a fitting shell but what the heck do I know?

Anyway, I tried out a draft that included the upper part of a skirt, since most of the shirts that I want to make go past my waist proper.

I probably should have planned a little better because the instructions I used to draft my bodice didn't have instructions for how to add the lower torso so I had to do a bit of a mash-up. Which I am most definitely not qualified to do.

Oh well!

Here are the first results.

Ok, so you may have noticed that I have a big round butt. It's hard to fit. The biggest issue is that there's so much suppression between my hip and waist that darts and the side seams kind of distort at the narrowest part. If I ever make anything this fitted I'll almost certainly opt to use multiple darts to spread out the intake, or additional construction seams like princess seams.

For the most part, I'll be making semi-fitted shirts so I won't be taking in so much intake on my darts, and I might leave them out altogether.

It sure does make things difficult to fit, though!

Have you encountered this? How do you deal with it?

I think the actual fitting issues are most obvious from the side view.

HBL is totally wonky and riding up at the back. My first thoughts are to try to release the back darts and side seams because it looks like it might actually be riding up at the back, and I won't be able to correct the fit while that's the case. It's also pretty baggy at the side seam just below my waistline. My hips are quite low so that's not really a surprise.

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

First Draft 3.0

With my Sweetheart's help, I pinned the HBL horizontal and marked new lines for my neckline and armscye.

I have photographic evidence!

It looks kind of terrible in this picture but here's the result

I'm feeling pretty good about this. I can see I have to carve out a bit more of the back armholes but other than that I think I'm happy to leave it as it is.

It was so much easier fitting without any design elements and using the horizontal balance line. Yay!

Next up, drafting a sleeve!

Wish me luck.

Sunday, 7 April 2013


All I want right now is a shirt pattern that I like and fits well but I feel like I'm going in a million different directions and not getting anywhere. Ugh!

I've been trying to get the Burda pattern working and I've made it three times with different alterations and I'm still nowhere near happy with it.

My last shirt had some weird drag lines at the bust and sleeve and it felt tight across the back so in this version I tried to fix those problems and now I have no idea if this looks good or not!

I think the biggest problem was the way the fit changed when I went from a set in sleeve to a flat constructed sleeve.

So I decided to try drafting my own shirt pattern because why not, right? I'm using online resources and Patternmaking for Fashion Design. But as I get to the final stages of fitting my sloper, I realize that I can't find instructions on how to adjust the pattern for a flat sleeve. All the drafting and pattern manipulation resources I can find assume you'll be using a set in sleeve. 

I know how to reduce the sleeve cap to remove ease but I'm not sure how to make a corresponding alteration to the shoulder/armscye to make sure that the fit is still good. Does that make sense?

Because the ease in the sleeve cap is eliminated, the sleeve ends up feeling a little tight on the point if my shoulder, like maybe I need to extend the shoulder a bit to compensate for eliminating the ease and shaping of a set in sleeve.

Is there a different set of instructions for drafting a bodice sloper and sleeve for flat construction? Is there anywhere (online or in a book) that describes what adjustments have to be made to a basic bodice sloper to use a flat constructed sleeve?

Please help!!!

Saturday, 6 April 2013

First Draft 2.0

So here's what my first bodice looked like with the first fitting alterations pinned. (Please ignore the gigantic 'apex' markings)

Here's what I did:
  1. Manipulated the block draft so that I could use darts instead of princess seams.
  2. Moved the bust apex
  3. Lengthened the bodice
  4. Increased the dart intake on the back
Here's the result.

Getting closer, right? I can see that the HBL is high in the front, especially between the bust. I guess I'll increase the intake of the side dart and pin the same amount out across the back? 

I'll also need to figure out the armholes and change the front shoulder seam, which I realized I hadn't drafted quite right. 

Anything else that I've missed?

I'm so excited to get this fitting! Once I'm happy with this, I'll draft a sleeve, and then add to to bottom of the bodice to make a torso block. And then I'll be ready to make clothes. I'm so excited!