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Most of the time, we are given measurements that are taken by someone else, and could be quite out of date, so our job is often made more difficult by the lack of information.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!
Oh Terri, so very good, I hope you will give more examples in this style. What happened to the front?ReplyDelete
The front fell into a natural place. Strange, I cannot find a picture of it from the front. It must have been taken on another camera, or I didn't save it.ReplyDelete
The challenge in teaching is that we always have to deal with the individual's figure. I can't seem to find that perfect standard shape and size of fit model.
I think it is so important to actually put the drafting to the test and fit someone, not just talk about the drafting as something separate.
Terri,so you ended with a back armhole about 1" longer than the supposed theoretical back armhole and with no need to change the front armhole? The guy has also much muscles at the upper arms?ReplyDelete
No, the increase at the back armhole was only 1/2". The length increased 1" along the centre back line. It looked quite rounded on paper.ReplyDelete
We consistently took in the armhole underneath the arm, reducing approximately 1cm there.
His upper arms were not over developed.
Thanks, Terri. I see it at the right shoulder if I enlarge the pic.ReplyDelete
In my very modest opinion the problem was an error in the measurement. Very, very rarely do proportions in the human body change so drastically. I mean, there may be minor differences, but an inch I think already goes beyond the narrow scope of a difference in proportion. When measurements are taken, the client is observed and details are noted that are not told to the client, such as a visible development in the upper back torso, for example. In addition, at least it is my practice, when I meet clients of this type I take additional measurements to the traditional ones, back width at the height of the middle back, generally about 15 cm from the nape, depth of the curvature of the nape. back, etc. I have the habit of taking all the measurements of the client, even when he only comes to make a simple jacket, and to observe how he stands, to which side he leans, how he maintains his shoulders, etc. It is part of taking measurements.ReplyDelete
I totally agree, Yes it is very important to observe, and take additional measurements, and to take photos where one can more readily analyse the figure.ReplyDelete
The measurements were correct as far as I can remember. (a decade later) This individual had a very developed back, but this was also an exercise in thinking about the idea of shape versus measurements, and how to apply it to your drafting process.
It is too bad, but the reality of working in the theatre is you don't always get to take your own measurements, so you need to work with what you are given.
Sorry, but I forgot to add an important detail in the previous comment. This is it: many so-called "tailors" today have learned the profession not from the old traditional tailoring school, but by alternative means; essentially copying old pattern making techniques found in books and on the internet, or by other means; and they forget that those old techniques started from an essential premise, this is: the men's clothing of yesteryear hung from the natural waist, not from what today is called "waist" which is rather the high hip, which is where modern men generally tie their trousers with belt loops. Unfortunately, they forget that those older techniques covered the waistband, but when the waistband was moved down in today's time many garments that then hung elegantly today appear ridiculously short. An essential example is the men's vest. You just have to check hundreds of YouTube videos and posts to realize how short those garments look, that they do not cover the waist band of the trousers and in which the shirt and the unfortunate belt almost always show.ReplyDelete
BTW, I like your blog.