Wednesday, September 1, 2010

new waistcoat pattern

This summer, Silvia's nephew arrived from his home in Switzerland to live here in Canada for a few months before he continues on with his education.
He expressed an interest in making a pair of trousers for himself so I made a pattern and under his aunt's instruction, he did a very good job making them up.
To compliment his new 1920's style trousers, Silvia asked me if I would make up a waistcoat pattern as well, which I happily did. He chose the fabric and she made the waistcoat for him.

I chose a complimentary 1920's style of waistcoat- single-breasted, 6 button, 2 pockets with a close spread to the front points, and a fabric strap at the back neck.

The pattern is fairly straightforward- my own draft which is one that I have developed over the years.
I draft my waistcoat patterns with a 1 cm seam allowance at the CB, the side seams, and the shoulders. All other edges are "net" which means the pattern line is the sewing line. I like to have that definite style line for the centre front, armholes, darts and hem.
I also draft not knowing what fabric may be chosen so I have to assume that the fabric will not be able to be manipulated with stretching or shrinking as the old drafts/methods require.
As you can see from the picture, I change my mind and reposition aspects of the draft as I go. Yes, here in ballpoint pen no less (same as doing the crossword). Not necessarily the recommended tool for either task.
Standard drafts will set out the "rules " by which you are to draft that specific model and the draft controls the proportions and the standard placements of details. The drafts were also for a proportionate model -usually 5'8" in height and using a 36" chest as the base .
I used to worry about the rules, but they are there as guides and I think it is important to come to the realization that when making patterns you have to deal with the figure at hand who is likely to be quite different from the standard shape, and you need to develop an eye for drawing the style lines. I advise this: draft and learn what works, practice, but allow yourself the freedom to draw and develop your "eye".

That is why my pattern look like they do- it is a drawing- not a blueprint. The proof of the drawing comes at the next stage - the toile and the fitting the toile.


  1. I appreciate your comments regarding standard drafts setting out the rules, but dealing with the figure at hand for style lines. It revitalizes my motivation to continue developing my pattern drafting skills when an expert talks about something that I have personally found frustrating, and encourages me to keep working and develop my "eye".

  2. Stepping out away from a published draft is a stumbling block for many people. I think we tend to believe that if something has been published or presented to us in a book, it must, a) work and b) be the way to do things.
    Maybe it becomes akin to questioning authority.

    It is essential to step out over the edge!