Lots of sewers can draft flat patterns using measurements and that works well for most but sometimes you have a client who needs a more custom approach. About 4 years I helped this fellow sewer make a duct tape dummy for herself and she has been using it to make sweatshirts and loose tops but when she wanted to make more fitted blouses she asked for my help. Here is what we started with:
Gingham was going to be my best choice for this project just to start with making a sloper or basic shell to get her dimensions as you can see her left shoulder is quite high and forward while the right shoulder is sloped and narrower. You can see the center back marker line curves toward the right and forward as well. If we wanted to be able to make a pattern for the back without a center back seam and cutting separate left and right backs we need some real substantial darts. Let’s get draping! The center back is drawn in and what we need are 4 darts to make the gingham stripes as vertical and horizontal as we can. Once the back is done and pinned tight I can move to the fronts. These will always be cut separately so they are draped that way too. Now we are ready to make some paper patterns and see the real dimensions! Can you see when I stack the two fronts how much bigger the left front is? What is the difference?The left shoulder is 2 inches taller and the side seam is one inch wider and the armsyce is almost 1.5 inches lower too. Here we are making a left front pattern and I have to include that I use my SA Curve tools for all the curved areas. Claire, the designer of the rulers just sent me my latest order for the rest of the collections and they are wonderful!
The back pattern looks like this: Paper is pinned under the gingham panel and will be traced with a needle spiked tracing wheel and all darts drawn in too. With the darts sewn into the gingham and attached to the fronts I am holding a metal edged ruler along the center back so you can see the curve of the upper spine. Now that is where the 4 darts really do a good job of making the curve. Also with the center back the ruler shows the curve to the right:
While one shoulder is 2 inches taller than horizontal, the other shoulder is almost 2 inches shorter than the horizontal line. No wonder no commercial patterns worked. To measure all these points and plot them on paper would have been very labor intensive and if your client cannot stand for too long as mine could not, it would have been very hard on both of us…luckily the duct tape dummy never complained, she let me stick pins into her and was very patient…ha ha.
After all this we realized that my client have changed in the past 4 years and her curve now was more pronounced so I added more padding to center back and stitched the sloper as a cover to her dummy:
Next time we tackle a princess seamed blouse and really discover more fitting issues!
Nancy, my fitting model is coming by this week for her wrap front blouse try-on and I will show you the alterations I made to her pattern before cutting…Lord knows you have had enough visual stimulation with this post!