Thursday, December 22, 2011

Merry Christmas

I apologise for not having much to say in the past few weeks!
The rituals of Christmas celebrations have kept me hopping.
Cookies to make, concerts to attend, cards to write, caroling parties, looking for work for next June, family to visit, and shopping -among other things.

I have been doing a bit of Christmas sewing- and I'll post a picture of that after I give the item to my daughter. I don't want her to peek.

I've been doing a bit of knitting- tackling a sweater for myself- the first one I have knit since 1988! I am having issues with the lack of shaping in the sleeve- last time I checked my arm was not tubular, it actually increases in dimension between the wrist and bicep, but this seems to be not allowed for in the pattern, so I am going to chart out a better shape before I knit the sleeves. Put it on the to do list and hope I get to it before the next decade!

Other knitted things are finished and already being enjoyed.

I have a small project to do in the new year and I planned on drafting a men's shirt and making one up for the blog before I head back to full time work on yet another season of shows.
It is amazing how the time has flown by.

Speaking of time, I have to go, so Merry Christmas and a Happy 2012 to everyone.
See you soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

interpreting measurements

Sorry for the long delay in posting, these past few weeks have been very intense and busy but now I am back home from my teaching gig, just in time to feel the Christmas rush coming at me!

I was spending this training time going over the drafting of body coats (tail-coats, frock and morning coats) and one of the first things we needed to do was measure our fit volunteer.
Thank-you, by the way, to all our fit volunteers- it can be a bit unnerving to stand there while we poke and prod and talk about you objectively.

Most of the time, we are given measurements that are taken by someone else, and could be quite out of date, so our job is often made more difficult by the lack of information.

Even if you yourself take the measurements, it is difficult sometimes interpreting them when making an individualized pattern or even modifying a block pattern. We are always pressed for time and it is difficult to spend time analysing the figure you are measuring in the 10 minutes we are allotted for measuring. That is where photos come in handy.

But we must press on, as we may be preparing costumes weeks in advance of actually having the person on site, so you must be a bit of a number detective to make your patterns.

Once the measurements have been taken, the issue of how to interpret the individual measurements is one that many people struggle with.

In this instance, the nape to waist measurement as taken was 18 1/4". OK, you think, so what? Well, when you are drafting you generally keep in mind some proportionate formulas such as the nape to waist measure is generally 1/4 of the man's height. In this case that worked out to 17 1/4". A full inch less than the taken measurement. The question was which number was correct?
The answer is that both are, but lets go backwards a bit.

I recommended drafting to the proportionate waist length to start. Then think about why the other number is longer. In this case, the contour of his back makes it longer. Why- well, like many men he is at the gym working out and the building up of the back muscles is a very common occurrence. The trapezius muscles are large and they bulk up easily.

So, to apply the extra measured length on the draft by marking the waistline at 18 1/4" from the nape, and drafting everything else in relation to that length of waist would be a problem. The length needed in the draft is above the scye line not below it. You have to put the fabric where the body needs it.

To demonstrate we just cut a proportionate coat and put it on him. What happened? The centre back waist stood away from the body. There were drag lines running from the blade toward the side waist and the front of the coat was pushing against the front waist area.
To boldly show how much and where the extra length in the back was needed, I had my student cut the coat straight across the upper back. Gently then, don't cut his shirt!
Lo, and behold, the coat dropped an inch at the centre back seam and a full 1/2" at the armhole.
We then pinned in a strip of fabric, so it was held together. The drag lines disappeared. The back waist dropped into his body, and the pressure on the fronts was released.

The other thing that happened is that slightly more width was needed across the back- I'm not sure the original measurement was accurate to begin with, but since the body is three dimensional, an increase in one dimension- length, corresponds to an increase in the opposing direction too- width.

It is always fun to do this. Of course you wouldn't just cut open a real coat and waste fabric, but for teaching it is the most direct method to illustrate the point!

Sunday, November 20, 2011


designed by Richard Hudson
Cut and basted up in fabric for first and only fitting
The finished product- unfortunately these didn't make it onstage- cut by the choreographer before they were shipped! Oy!

I was thinking about how interesting and informative it is to do multiples of the same garment.

I don't often run into situations where I am making multiples, at least not usually more than two in the case of an understudy. I also usually deal with figures that are all over the place in terms of sizing, so if I have to make a second costume for an understudy it is usually because they won't fit into the original one.
The ballet gave me the opportunity to draft the same thing in different sizes but for bodies that are very similar. It was a good test of my draft for that particular style of doublet, good practice being consistent too.

In terms of the sewing, it was also interesting to do 6 of the same thing. We naturally gravitated towards each taking on all of one task, which made the work progress much more quickly.
I had help with the cutting- Lela pitched in to cut all the pieced skirts and cuffs- I figured out the sizing of the triangles and wedges for each size of skirt, and made patterns on cardstock with seam allowance included so they could be pieced without having to mark anything. There were about 180 pieces to be cut for the skirts and another 150 or so for the cuffs, so we made a good team once we had it figured out.
Denise figured out a way to secure the tassels from falling apart- and that is such an important thing to do for the dancers safety! then she hand sewed all 288 of them to the sleeves, in the grid pattern that I worked out and Susy marked.
Silvia made most of the body alterations, all the collars and applied them as well as all the underplackets. Susy made all the pieced sleeve cuffs and applied them to the sleeves.
After all the patternmaking was finished, I sewed all the belts for Lela to apply, and the sleeve detail bands for Susy to apply and sewed hooks and snaps onto the fronts.
It went surprisingly quickly and thankfully Susy and Denise sewed all the sleeves in (that is one of my least favourite jobs, I confess). We were just like a well oiled machine, we worked really hard to get these done for the deadline, as they had added two more to the four that we were originally making.

Anyway, we were very pleased with them, we enjoyed making them and the ballet my use them somewhere, sometime in the future.

I am off on a teaching gig for the next two weeks, so posting may be sparse, but teaching always brings up new and interesting topics to think about.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

ballet videos

Off to the big city yesterday to attend the dress rehearsal for the ballet.

We had a great dinner with colleagues at Jules Bistro which accomodated a growing reservation list of the wardobe department with good grace. Not everyone came but there were still 25 of us at dinner, apologies to the other restaurant patrons because we were loud!

It was great to see a ballet again!
I am always amazed at the range of movement and physicality that these dancers have and the way they make those movements seem so natural and easy on stage.
The thrust stage that I am used to seeing performance on is so intimate and close compared to the proscenium stage that this ballet is presented on. I had forgotten what the scale of these pieces are like.
I am including a link here to a set of promotional videos about the process of this ballet, from set building to sword fighting to the ballet's costume shop.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

back from the brink

That was an intense few weeks. Our deadline was November 7th for 10 doublets. The ballet company was away on tour until October 12, so I cut right into fabric to get ready for fittings.

I did one set of fittings on October 14th and another set on the 18th. 15 minute fittings was what was scheduled!! They worked out fairly well, Took photos and notes and luckily the designer was happy with what I had cut.
on the 25th of October, there was a complete change of casting! I had to remark what I could and hope the almost finished costumes would be able to be refit and altered by the ballet staff for the new dancers.

Then 2 costumes were added so there would be something to fit the bigger guys in the other group.

On Nov 1st we were told they were cut and those wouldn't be needed. On Nov 3 there was speculation that they were back in.
We finished at 6 pm on the 5th.
We were vibrating from working so hard. (Well it also could have been the wine we had in the afternoon).

Oh I forgot, the boiler in the building broke down, then the back-up boiler broke as well, so we had no heat. Luckily it wasn't too cold overnight, but we were sewing with our coats on and space heaters at our feet as it was only about 13 degrees in the studio.

Anyway, I have no idea if all of the costumes now are in or out. Only the choreographer knows for sure.
After the opening, I'll show you a few pictures of what we were up to.

Right now I am still recovering. I ventured back into the studio to draft my next job today. I didn't get too far, but it was a start.

Friday, October 28, 2011


Just popping by to let you know I am still working on those ballet costumes!
Just to prove it, here's a nice gusset in a ballet sleeve. It is basically the same concept as my regular grown on gusset for a two piece sleeve, just with more range of motion. I had a great talk with my colleague Evan before I started this project as he has oodles of experience cutting for ballet. I took his advice to heart and I have been very happy with the results. Thanks Evan!

In case you were wondering, the under sleeve gusset is basically as high as the top of the sleeve head

Now we just have to get the two extra costumes done that were added and soon they will be ready to be shipped.
I'll be back soon.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

jeans draft back

So I finished the draft of the jeans back.
On the second page the instructions continue for the front and then into the instructions for the back before you get to the section headed "underside".
Why did they do that?
Hard to know, so the instructions 17 from 4... and 18 from 4... and locate 19 should really be in the underside section. Never mind.
One thing I thought odd was to use 1/4 waist size to locate point 18. Can't say I've seen that before and they don't explain it so carry on anyway and find 19 in order to develop your seat angle.

I think the rest of the instructions are OK to follow and this is what I ended up with.
So what is strange?
No dart. Not even an indication of a dart and with an 8 inch waist to hip difference I expected something.
The other thing I find odd is the look of the height and angle of point 21. It looks short and trucated and the angle where it intersects the waistline is not at 90 degrees. More about this in a minute.

I measured the pattern at the hip level, using a line 1/6 scale up from the crotch or fork line on the fronts and across the hip on the back(dash line) and measured the pattern at 19 7/8 inch, which is slightly less that the actual hip measurement, so no ease.
In the description it says "the main thing to be considered in the preparation of the draft of jean is to cut to fit the figure closely at hips seat and upper legs without being uncomfortable."
I guess that means no ease.

I measured the waist and came to 16 1/2 inches on the half which gives a waist of 33 inches. The back waist is 8 1/2 inches and perhaps that half inch is to be eased into the waist band to act as the missing dart. Maybe you should fold out the 1/2 inch to shape the yoke? Well they don't mention doing anything with it at all.

If the waist is eased that will hollow out the back waist line (that is what happens when you ease a line in, it hollows out) so that the intersection of CB and back waist line are closer to a 90 degree angle.

If you don't have a 90 degree angle at the CB your CB seam forms a hollow vee at the waist line.
So what to do? You could raise the back waist so that it intersects the CB run at a 90 degree angle which gives more coverage over the seat when bending (orange line).You could hollow out the waistline a bit as you ease it in and leave the CB run as is. I guess that would depend on fitting it on someone to see if it worked. I would cut on the extra myself, as it is easier to remove fabric you don't want than to wish you had it afterwards.

I make the same point regarding the CF which also should meet the waist line at a 90 degree angle otherwise the waistline vees there too.

Lastly I cut out the fronts and marked the seam allowances and laid the inseams together to see the seam run. (Looks ok if you can decide what line they mean for you to use as CF)

I also line up the side seams which again, don't run smoothly into each other which begs the question of how to handle that when sewing and if you follow the given line, will it sit nicely on the body, or should those seams also be trued up so they run together more harmoniously?

So, interesting. Can you tell where all the shaping needed for an eight inch waist to hip difference has gone?
A little in the CF, a lot in the side seams, if you put the pattern together at the hip area you can see the large dart takeout, the rest in the CB which isn't really as much as I imagined for a pair of jeans. I'm not sure how I feel about this- I'd likely shift things around a bit.

I would have expected a CB line a bit more angled in a pair of jeans, it puts the CB more on the bias and allows the bias to mould around the seat a bit. They also don't mention the size of the thigh which is a measurement that is useful in closely fitted jeans. The thigh size and the CB line angle and length are all related, and affect one another.

I think that if I was going to try these out, I'd cut a toile in denim and leave ample inlays or seam allowances in the areas of concern.

I'm off to do my fittings tomorrow, so I may not surface for a few days. I'd love to read your thoughts on this draft, especially if you have tried it out.

Monday, October 10, 2011

jeans draft front

So I have drafted the fronts of the jeans, as instructed.
Beginning with the crotch or "fork line", at "0".
0-1 is the rise , less the waistband which I decided was 1 and 1/2 inches deep.
the instructions progress logically until you get to
"draw the fly seam"
Looking at the illustration of the draft makes this instruction confusing.
So I left it for a moment and went to the next few instructions
0-8 to find the hip point
9 from 7 to get the waist point
11 is 1 inch above the fork line and 1/2 inch from the fly seam grow on fly at point 10-11.

Ok so this is irritating.
There is 1/2 inch seam allowance allowed, so you can see the dotted line inside the lower area of the fly line that is drawn from 6 indicating the seam allowance. At 11 it turns abruptly into the solid line from 11 to 10.
10 is 1/2 inch in from 7 so one assumes that is seam allowance.
Then you see the fly line from 6 running into a point above 11 in a small dotted line, that seems to run into the line 10- 11 as well.
It makes it very confusing to determine where the centre front line is if you didn't want a grow on fly.
The abrupt angle formed at 11 isn't pleasing to me either.

I am very opinionated about drafts and I think they should be clear.
This one doesn't get any marks for clarity.

What else can I say at this point? I think that there will need to be some truing up of angles at some point, but I will draft the back next ( I think there is something odd going on there as well), so I'll go onward and try to make sense of it all at the end.

Friday, October 7, 2011

reading the draft

Well, the first thing to notice on the first page of the draft is the rise, and the difference between the waist and hip measurement.

First, the rise.
Obviously in comparison to the last draft I talked about, the rise on the jeans pattern is much shorter. The rise on the trousers was 13 inches and the jeans rise is 10 1/2 inches.
Jeans generally sit below the natural waist. How much below is a style decision.
That makes sense.

The next thing that caught my eye was the difference between the waist measurement of 32 inches and the hip at 40 inches.
This seems odd. That is an 8 inch difference. That is about the standard difference for women.

The last pair we looked at had a difference of 6 inches, and since jeans sit lower than the natural waist, where the body is generally bigger, I would have expected a smaller difference not a greater one.

Which begs the question: What is a standard difference?
The number we have for this draft in metric are: waist 81.28cm and hip 101.6cm (20cm difference)

I checked in Metric pattern cutting for menswear which is close to the era we are dealing with.

The chart for regular mature figures:
natural waist of 82 cm, hip 100cm, (18cm difference)
trouser waist (4cm below natural waist) 85 cm

For Athletic figures:
natural waist 83cm, hip 102cm, (19cm difference)
trouser waist 86cm (4cm below natural waist)

So, what to think? It could be based on a real measurement rather than a standard. It indicates to me that there will be some accomodation in the draft for a large seat.

carrying on,
there is a 1/2 inch seam allowance allowed throughout the draft.
That is a change from the previous standard of 1/4 inch. Keep that in mind.

Next step is to start drafting.

jeans draft 1970

I am waiting for ballet fittings, so I thought it would be interesting to look at another draft for trousers.
This draft for jeans comes from the Tailor and Cutter of 1970. Again, thanks to the Cutter and Tailor forum for the following draft.
I preread this and I have noticed some odd things. But for now, I will post the draft here and have a read through it for yourself.
Drafting and thoughts to follow.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

fly pattern

Hi, Sorry for the delay in posting, I'm up to my ears getting a bunch of ballet doublets prepared for fittings

I'm just going to talk about the button fly, which would have been used for these trousers.

I start by tracing off the front of the trousers, from the waist down to the inseam.
You can then mark off the placement for the buttonholes.
At the waist, the closure options are either a trouser hook and bar, or an inside button on the fly or a visible button and hole.

We almost always would use a hook and bar at the waist but it is, of course, your preference. You may also want to make your fly piece with an angled tab for an inner button at the waist, to provide more support, like most modern trousers have.

Generally, there are 5 buttons on the fly and they need to be spaced approximately 4.5cm apart.
The first button needs to be set below the waistband interfacing, and I have placed this sample at 1", then spaced the buttons 4.5 cm apart. You also need to leave about 3/4 to 1 inch of space after the last buttonhole to find the fly notch. The notch will be in the curve of the front line.

You can play around with the length of the fly opening a bit, but beware of making the fly buttons too close or too far apart.
The width of the fly piece is usally around 2", tapering gracefully down to the inseam, and yes they were cut that long!

The button hole piece can be cut slightly shorter, but usually still continues below the notch, to reduce bulk in the fly, but the facing and extension pieces usually extend right to the inseam.

When cutting out, you will need these pieces:
A self facing for the left front (unless the fabric is really thick- then use silesia)
The button hole piece which is comprised of a layer of self fabric, a layer of silesia and some kind of interfacing for the buttonholes.
The right front extension which will be a layer of self fabric, and a layer of silesia, and again some kind of interfacing, to support the buttons being sewn there.

Cutting out the fly pieces can result in a lot of concerned moments holding up the pattern to your body to figure out what side of the pattern faces up and how to lay it on the fabric, so here's a hint.
If you always draft the pattern as we did here, flip it over and chalk that onto your fabric, this will give you the extension and the facing, cut right sides together, the extension being topmost.
Then take these and place them on the fabric again and cut one more piece one layer thick (the right side of the fabric is facing downwards). This is the button hole piece. Cut the pieces again on a double layer of silesia and then cut interfacing of your choice. The interfacing should be cut short- to just the level of the fly notch , again to reduce bulk in the fly area.
The fly stitching holds everything in place, and it needs to clear the button holes, and then tapers down ending below the fly notch, not at it like modern trousers do.

The more I talk about it the more I realize I need visuals, which will have to be later, since they are not on my computer. I'll see if I can locate them.

In the meantime, did you find the draft easy or difficult to follow?
Did you draft to the measurements given first before trying to draft to someone else's or your own measures?
Are you going to try them out in muslin?
Just curious!
Should we look at some other drafts?
Let me know.

Sunday, September 18, 2011


This draft has a grown on waistband but you need a pattern for the interfacing or waistband canvas.
When I first started sewing for the theatre, I was often handed an oversize piece of waistband interfacing that didn't seem to make much sense to me. It was slightly curved and there was a process of sewing it in that was very time consuming and it seemed to waste a lot of materials.

I needed to know why it was that shape, and to streamline the process, so this is how I make my waistband interfacing pattern.
First, trace out the front waistband section onto a new piece of paper.

Lay the side seams together, as they would be sewn- remember there are seam allowances included in the pattern and you don't want to include seam allowances in your pattern for the interfacing, because it will be too big.
Trace over as far as the dart.

Move the pattern over, laying the dart seam to dart seam (closing the dart) and trace off the rest of the waist from the trouser pattern.
This is a good exercise to check the accuracy of your pattern.
Here you can see that the dart legs are not the same length and need to be corrected on the trouser pattern. This is something that should be done before you get to this point, so walk the seam lines of your patterns and make sure it is accurate.
I don't particularly like the shape I've drawn for the "fishtail" so I would probably draw something more pleasing rather than leave it the way it is.
I was trying to just follow the draft as written to see how it turned out, I would normally correct things as I go, and you should too. If it looks wrong or ugly it probably is. It does take time to develop an eye, but also confidence to act on it.

Draw in the waistline, curving it slightly as shown, connecting it to the front waistline.
Now, when you cut your waistband canvas (interfacing) you want to be able to catch it to the waist stitching, so you will need to add 1/4 inch to the bottom of the interfacing pattern. You will also add 2" to the CF of the pattern to allow for interfacing to go into the fly extension on the right hand side of the trousers.
The other thing to remember is that this pattern likely has 1/4" seam allowance on the top edge too, so that needs to be removed from your waistband pattern.

The waistband pattern will of course change if you have a smaller dart take up or two back darts, so the same shape doesn't work on all patterns. I make a separate pattern for every pair of trousers.

These trousers should sit well up into the hollow of the back, and when sewing up the CB, I would sew only up about as far as 1/2 inch past the waist line allowing the waistband to splay above that point. If in a fitting you want to or can close it then go ahead but I would guess it needs to splay.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

drafting the trouser back

Here we are, ready to start drafting the back of the trousers.
I have cut out the front pattern, laid it on a new piece of paper, and traced around it.
I have then drawn in the horizontal and vertical construction lines, and the points from the fronts that are needed to draft the backs.


Pivoting from 14, sweep from 9 to 16, 2 1/2 inches.

17 from 14 and 18 from 12 are each 1 inch (for seams).
The back of the trouser leg is made wider than the front. The fronts were measured at 1/4 total knee and hem but they have 1/4 inch seam allowance included in that. The backs are made an inch bigger, but they also have seam allowance included. Am I making any sense or just making something simple confusing??

Lets move on.

19 is 1/2 of 0 to 9
20 from 0 equals 1/3 scale plus 1 inch.
This is to establish the CB seat angle, so go ahead and draw a line from 19 to 20 and extend it above the top line by a few inches in preparation.

The next instructions help to find the width of the hip. Measure from 6 to 3 on the fronts, take that number, and starting at 20, measure over to the hip line 1/2 seat plus 2 inches for seam allowance and ease.
22 is 2 1/2 inches up from the top line. I am thinking it is along the straight line from 19-20.
Hollow 3/8 inch at 23. The centre back line has shaping.
Now to measure the waist you are going to start by measuring the front waist, and apply that number at 23, measure over half the total waist measurement plus 2 inches to find 24. Measure over 1/4 inch and square up to 25. The width of the waistband here is 2 inches the same as it is on the front.
The next instructions have a "typo".
It should read 26 from 22 equals 1 1/2 inches, shape up 1 1/2 inches to 27 and complete top.

Measure over 3 1/2 inches from 25 to find 28 which is the dart.
The dart should be squared to the waistline in this draft.

Now the dart can make people confused. The dart has seam allowances. The width of the dart is given as 1/2 inch but it has 1/4 inch seam allowances so it adds up to 1 inch in total.
The dart length is given as 4 1/2 inches and cut out, but it is much longer when sewn with the seam allowances. I have drawn the allowances in so you can see it.

Now you have all the points needed so you can draw in your seam lines.
The inseam is pretty straight from hem to knee, then hollows out to come to point 16.
the outseam is again pretty straight from hem to knee, then ever so slightly hollows inwards from knee to hip and curves outwards over the hip through point 21 up to point 24.

When you shape the top line, make sure the dart legs (there's another terminology word) are the same length. If you just draw it as I have done for an example, one side ends up being slightly longer and you don't want that.
Dart Legs: the seam lines of a dart.

Draw in the seat seam as shown. I like to put the inseams together: point 9 of the fronts to point 16 of the backs and draw a nice line from one to the other. Follow up to 20 which will be a bit of a bump in the line as you hollow out to get to 23 and flare back out to 22.

Curve the hem downwards 1/2" as shown.
Cut out your pattern.

The photos were taken on different days - one sunny and one overcast so I apologize for the strange colours going on.

Next I'll just show you how to make a pattern for the fly and the waistband interfacing.

Monday, September 12, 2011

drafting trouser front continued

This is what I have drawn. The side seam from the hip to the waist needs to be a gentle covex curve, and in drawing it, hitting point 6 didn't seem to make a good line, so my line is outside point 6 by almost 1/4". It looks right to my eye.
I drew the centre front curve in a couple of times and erased it, must have been nervous!
I tried to use a curved ruler to draw it but the shape didn't seem right to me, so I did it again.
I realize that there is no guide line in the draft for developing that curve, so I bisected the angle at 0 and measured it at 1 5/8 inches, if that helps you. Now that I am thinking about it, there is 1/4 inch seam allowance on the centre front, and I normally draft my own patterns nett, so have I scooped a tidge too much out? Hmmm.
It's probably ok, but the fact is, you have to try it in fabric to make a full decision. I wouldn't go any closer than what I have drawn, but if your line is at 1 3/4 inches that's ok too.

For the outseam, your line should be a nice convex shape over the hip, hollow very slightly inward(concave from crotch line to knee, and than continue more or less straigh to the hem.
The inseam should curve inwards from 9 as you drawn the line towards the knee, joining into a straight line drawn from the dress point to the knee, then continuing straight on to the hem.

The front hem in the diagram is a convex curve, whereas I always have drawn a concave line from 12, hollowing up to Ax, and curving back down to 13.

Once you are happy with the shapes, cut out the front pattern , cutting away your pencil lines.

Lay the cut out fronts on another piece of paper, and carefully trace around the fronts. Use your needle punch tracing wheel if you can and mark though the horizontal and vertical construction lines as well. If you can't use the tracing wheel, punch a small hole at the important points on the pattern in order to transfer them

Remove the front pattern, and remark all lines so you can work from them in preparation to draft the undersides (backs).

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Drafting the trouser front

Ok, Sorry for the delay, but one of my job prospects has come through and I had to stop everything and make a toile for a fitting on Tuesday.

So when you are drafting, the paper is on the table in front of you and the tops of the trousers will be to your left and the hems will be to your right.
I am going to follow the instructions and rewrite them to suit my explanations.

One more bit of terminology:
Square a line, square out: this means to draw a perpendicular line to another line at a specific point on the draft. Be accurate, a 90 degree angle is required.

First step.
The first instruction is 1 from 0 equals the body rise, 13 inches. Stop.

Obviously you have to have a line to start from, not just an arbitrary point hovering in space. Point 0 is on the crotch line, so your first step is to draw a line that will be the crotch line. This line is perpendicular to the table edge.

Now pick a point on the line to be point 0. Label it.

Now square a line perpendicular to the first line, from point o extending the new line to your left.

Measure up from point 0, the rise, 13 inches, and mark point 1. This is the top of the waistband.
Measure down 2 inches from 1 to find point 2. This is your waistline.
Measure up from point 0, 1/6 scale to find point 3. This is your hip or seat line level.
Measure up from point 0, 5 1/4" to find A. That is a guide point for drawing the centre front curve.
Now, you will need to square out from point 1, point 2, and point 3. You should do that now.

Next step.

measure from 0 along crotch line, 1/6 scale to find point 4. This is the mid point of the leg.

measure from 0, along crotch line, 1/4 total hip measurement to find point 5.
measure from 3 along the hip line, 1/4 total hip meaurement minus 1/4" to find point 6.
measure from 2 on the waist line, 1/4 of the total waist plus 1/2" to find point 7.
measure from point 1 along the top line, the distance 2-7 plus 1/4" to find point 8.
measure from point 0 along the crotch line (towards yourself) 1/6 scale to find point 9.

You will need to square a line down from point 4.

Measure from point 4, along this new line, the inseam plus a seam. (a seam allowance here is 1/4inch), so 31 1/4 inches total, to find point 10. This is the hem line.
Find the halfway point on line 4-10 and make a mark, then measure up 2 inches to find point 11. This is the knee line.
Just to clarify, the measurement from 4 to 11 will be 2 inches less than the measurement from 11 to 10.

Stop and square out in both directions from point 10 to make your hemline and from point 11 at the knee line.

At the hem line, measure 1/4 of the bottom (hem width) from point 10 in both directions to find points 12 and 13.
At the knee line, measure out 1/4 of the knee measurement from point 11 in both directions to locate points 14 and 15.

Measure up from point 10, 3/4 inch and mark point Ax.
Measure from 9 on the crotch line 1/2 inch to locate point D for the dress.

Okay, now you are going to join the points to make the pattern.
I think in this case, you could join the points with a ruler for guidelines. Do this lightly in pencil.

You can then draw in your pattern lines with this thought in mind:

Generally speaking, there are very few areas of a draft of any kind that have straight lines. so my advice over and over will be to draw nice lines. Even if you are using curved rulers, it is a good exercise to draw your lines by eye and train the eye hand connection.
Draw beautiful lines. period.

I'll continue tomorrow with drawing in the lines and working toward the back

Thursday, September 8, 2011

trouser drafting terminology

Before you start drafting, it is a good idea to make sure you understand some terminology.

Lets begin at the beginning.

Waist: the waist measurement given - in this case 32 inches

Seat: (hip) is the hip measurement given - 38 inches

Sideseam: also known as the outseam -44 inches

Leg: also known as the inseam- 31 inches

Knee: which is the measurement of the desired trouser size at the knee- not the persons actual knee, is given as 20 inches.

Bottom: which is the desired hem circumference, not the person's bottom!
is given as 16 1/2 inches.

Scale: one half of the seat measure, so that is 19 inches.
You use scale, or half of a particular measure in drafting for a few reasons.
One: the pattern generally represents half of the body.
Two: many systems of drafting use proportions of a measurement in
determining other areas of the pattern
*you may also see scale written as "on the square"*

Scale, or "on the square" refers to the tailor's square, which is used in drafting. The divisions marked on the tailors square are divisions based on one half of a body measurement.
So for a hip of 40 inches, you would use 20 inches in the draft. If you need to find 1/3 of the scale, you would find the thirds divisions and then look for the number 20 within that area. From the corner of the square to that mark measures 1/3 of 20 inches, or 6 2/3 inches.

The square is a calculator which is especially helpful if you draft in imperial. If you don't have a tailor's square I recommend drafting in metric, using a calculator.

Rise: this is the difference between the inseam and outseam.

This distance can be a measurement or a proportional calculation. The number is greater for trousers designed to be worn at the natural waist and lesser for trousers designed to be worn just above the hip bones.

Dress: an allowance of extra room in the crotch on the pattern for, how shall I put it, the male anatomy. Usually from the era when boxers were the usual underwear, before the advent of briefs and underwear that holds everything closer to the body.
One side of the trouser pattern is larger and that seam line must be shrunk or eased in to match the other, shorter seam line creating a kind of pouched effect. There is varying debate on the amount of "dress" that should be cut in, but modern trouser patterns have generally eliminated it.

Other terms that may be encountered:

Fork: that is the area on the pattern that extends between the legs. In making up trousers, you may see reference to a "fork stay" which is a folded piece of silesia laid in place in the curved area of the crotch.
Fish: another word for a dart- sometimes a double ended dart. In older texts you may read, "take out a fish" in the back.
P.T.U.: permanent turn ups, also known as Cuffs
Nett: means without seam allowance, in other words, on the line. Think of your "gross" pay and your "net" pay- net has had the deductions made.
Spring: a flaring out of a line
Grown-on: part of the pattern as a whole- not sewn on.
Disproportion: measurements that are not the "ideal". Usually, it is the difference between the ideal measurements and the ones you have to work with.
Undersides: back of the trouser pattern
Topsides: front of the trouser pattern
Sweep: to take your measuring tape, fix one end at a certain point, measure to another point and then use that distance like the radius of a circle to sweep or draw an arc.

Whew, I got carried away! I'm sure there are more I haven't thought of.
Not all these words are used in this draft but if you are using old drafting methods you will run across them, guaranteed!

Read through the drafting instructions before you start and figure out if there are things you aren't sure of.

Drafting Tools and trouser draft

The materials and tools you will need to draft a pair of trousers are:
Paper: brown or white kraft paper about 2.5- 3m in length
Pencils: mechanical or regular (nice and sharp)
Yardstick or metre stick

Tailor's square (also known as designer L square) they come in imperial and metric
if you don't have one, you will need a calculator and either a t-square or something that you can draw a right angle with

C-Thru quilters ruler is useful

I personally don't use the curved rulers I am going to list below.
I freehand the curves by eye with a piece of graphite chalk which seems to be unavailable nowadays, so you will either have to use the rulers or freehand draw with a pencil, which isn't easy. You can view the rulers here. Fairgate seems to make the most popular ones so you can search for Fairgate pattern drafting rulers for a selection of websites. Ace is just the one that I randomly chose.
Hip curve ruler/ also known as a vary form ruler (F12-124)
French curve/vary form ruler (F12-112R)

Paper scissors
Needle point tracing wheel
Measuring tape
Magic tape
I think that's it........

Last but not least, a trouser draft.
I decided on this one. It is mid 20th century, flat fronted, high waisted, with grown-on waistband, fish tail back, and plain bottoms. It is from The Pocket CPG (Cutter's Practical Guide) by F.R. Morris.
Thanks to the Cutter and Tailor forum for the source material.
I am just going to draft as directed, and this is not a draft I have used before either, so have a look and then we'll get started.