Friday, 23 January 2015

Moral - check and double check, then check again!! Pattern drafting new term

Monday was the first class in the new term of pattern drafting - and we were doing a skirt. A skirt is the easiest thing to draft, so this term is skirt and then the sleeve for the bodice drafted last term.

This time, we weren't draping, but rather using measurements to draw up the block. My tutor wasn't using the Winifred Aldrich figures as she doesn't like them, but I'm sorry to say I didn't pick up whose we were using.
We had to take our waist and hip measurements plus hip depth (though that wasn't essential, apparently)  and work from there.

We first drew a horizontal line the width of the hips plus 1cm total for ease. That's not a lot of ease but ease is essential if we're going to be able to try this on. as little as is feasible to make a proper block.

Then, we divided front and back skirt - this was not an equal division as the side-seam-to-be was 1cm forward of the midline. Presumably, this is because most women are wider in the back skirt than the front. I certainly am, though my tummy is trying to get some words in!
We had to follow instructions given on a sheet. Some of the measurements e.g. hip depth (mine matched exactly), dart length, etc were standard measurements. This was a little worrying for me as I am far from standard! A few sizes bigger, a few inches taller - well, it's between friends isn't it?
So, I finished drawing my block, the next step being to transfer this onto  another piece of pattern paper so that we could add 1cm seam allowances and make up to test the fit.

I thought my darts looked rather bigger than the diagram we were given - though granted it was only a diagram. However, I surmised that I could measure the space between each dart to work out how much fabric would be available to go around my waist. You can, of course!
Out of focus photo of block in instructions. Too late to change. Too ill.
I did this and came up 10cms short!
My measuring co-conspirator checked all my measurements and calculations and agreed that I hadn't made a mistake. However, her darts looked like the diagram's darts.

We were near the end of the class by this time and my tutor suggested that as fit needed to be checked on the body, anyway, I just draw everything out as it was onto a new piece of pattern paper, separating out the front and the back. I started to do that, managing only one before the end of class. I'm sure we would have worked out the problem had we had a little longer. Maybe not though!
At home, I bemoaned the problem to my DH. I'm not sure what he said, but whatever it was suddenly made me see the light!!

I was 10 cm short.
My darts, other than the side waist shaping, which was standard, added up to 20cm.

I had accidentally doubled the size of each dart! How had I done that?  I had clearly misread a section - now that I know what it should have said, I can't understand how I could read it wrongly. I realise that the sentence for the front is spelled out fully, but not so the back (I obviously didn't read that properly, either!)
The sentence is:
Subtract a 1/4 of the waist measurement + 0.6cm tolerance from points 4 from 10
Example given
I.e. 4 from 10                                     = 22.8cm
1/4 of waist + 0.6 cm tolerance     =16.8cm
Difference                                          = 6.0 cm

Place a 1/2 of the difference either side of 13 and 14. (3cm)
My darts were substantially the same size as the examples, so I put 3cm on each side of each of dart tops 13 and 14. Wrong!! Of course, what I should have done was half the 6 cms to make 3cm (as in fact is given in the example) and put 1.5cm at each side of the dart ends. It seems obvious now!
If I take into account the extra 4cm that I created in the darts on the front, the whole 10cm is accounted for.
I have a stinking cold and my photos are quick snaps on my Smartphone - but why? oh why? can't I see them? They're there on the phone gallery but not on blogger. Grrr. I'm ready to post this brief blog but can't with no photos. The only photo that shows, even though I took more, is blurred. Well, I'll save as a draft and go to bed with a hot toddy - everything might look better in the morning!
Darts nearest are wrong, darts behind - I have marked in narrower darts and rubbed out outer markings
I have modified the basic drawing. See the difference between that and the original? Equals one far too tight skirt if I hadn't modified!

Can you see the difference?

Moral - check and double check, then check again!!



  1. It's a good thing that you worked it out before cutting into any fabric! It will be wonderful to have that perfectly fitting skirt pattern when you've finished :)

    1. Thank you. Hopefully I'll be shrinking over the next few months!! Then I'll be more than delighted to redo.

  2. After a while, you will be able to look at things like dart width and visually assess whether they look about right. And always making a muslin out of cheap fabric to test.

    1. Yes, I noticed it couldn't be correct. Tonight I made the muslin. The waist was too big! I don't really understand the alteration required (fitted by tutor) but I guess I'll work it out or take it back next week undone! I started drawing the changes and I need to retest in calico.


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