Saturday, July 28, 2012

Boy's patterns

While I am waiting for fabric to make its way to me, I thought I had better get started on some pattern making and a toile, since my next project involves making costumes for boys.

Conveniently I have a neighbour with a seven year old who has graciously let me use him for a fit model. It has been a great help and I promised to finish the mock-ups for him for Hallowe'en- a win-win situation!

I haven't made a lot of costumes for children, the last time was for a production of Oliver! and strangely enough, earlier this year I culled a backlog of patterns and guess what I tossed? Yes, Many of the patterns I had made for that show. Why does that happen? Is there something in the air that senses the moment I get rid of something, I will have a nee of it within the next 6 months.? Does that happen to anyone else?

Anyway, I did keep a few of them but I started with going through my collected cache of measurements and trying to compare them with some standards from a variety of sources. I was looking at Metric Pattern cutting for Children, and I have some more historical measurement tables from tailoring books as well.
The costumes I make will be worn by different children over the course of the next few years and the children range in age and height between 7-13 years and 51" to 63" tall. I keep all measurement sheets and never throw them away! I am putting them on a spread sheet so hopefully I can compare them by chest size, height or age to get an idea about the average size ranges.

Having a daughter, now almost 16, I do have a sense of the strange proportions that children have at different ages, but when you start trying to make patterns, it looks so odd on the table that you start second guessing everything.

Some things I have made note of:
Children have big heads. Being a mother makes this obvious!

In adults you can safely estimate proportions by dividing the height into the ideal of eight heads. Doesn't work with kids. If I take Master H's height of 51 3/4" and compare it to his measured nape to floor, from the top of his head to the nape is 8 1/4" which is more or less proportionately the size of an adult  of 5' 6" in height.

Children have a bit of a belly even if they are slim and have great posture. The patterns need extra room in the front waist area, and front length which is evident in the photo above.

Their limbs are slim and long compared to their chest, waist and hip measures. I remember my daughter seemed to stay the same circumference for many years even though she grew taller all the time.

They tend to have larger feet than you would think they should have.

They grow. Sometimes a great deal in a short time. I think my daughter grew over 4" in height one year. Big hem allowances are needed!

Not sure about their shoulder slope. I thought most kids had squarer shoulders, but I might be wrong about that. Master H above has sloping shoulders and the children I am making for will likely have sloping shoulders as well since they are baby ballet dancers.

I'm trying to see if I can relate their nape to waist length to a percentage of their height, or nape to floor length just out of curiousity. Trying to make the process make more sense.

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