Getting Started

Boy has this taken some thinking about!  I wasn’t sure how to begin, so here I am, diving into the deep end.

Ok, here’s the thing. There is no way of doing this without some cash outlay in getting the right equipment. If you are going to make your own patterns you will need certain things. Morplan is pretty much a one-stop-shop.  You will need:

paper, good quality
a grader set square and flexicurve or a patternmaster
mechanical pencil – either a 0.5mm or 0.3mm
calculator
coloured fine-liners, these from Staedtler are pretty good
scissors for cutting PAPER
glue stick and magic tape – not sellotape.

Equipment for pattern cutting

Those are the basics, and we can add to them as we go along, but you will struggle to do things properly without those.

Of course the other requirement is instructions!  But that is where I come in.  I will be using a combination of 3 pattern cutting writers, Winifred Aldrich, Natalie Bray and Helen Joseph Armstrong.  Depending on how adventurous it gets, I might bring Tomoko Nakamichi into the mix!

The next step is to take measurements.  I do not take every body measurement.  There are size tables in the books, which are refered to as “standard” sizes.  Now, while everyone of us is different, there are certain uniformities.  I take 6 crucial measurements and compare those to the tables in the book to ascertain a “non-standard” size.  The measurements needed are:

bust measurement

Bust;  Measure around the fullest part of the bust, make sure the tape is level around the body.

underbust measurement

Underbust;  The tape needs to be right under the bust, along the bra-line.  Keep the tape taut.  Add 12cm to this measurement to get a “standard” bust size for your frame.

Waist; the narrowest part, usually, but not always in line with the elbows.

waist measurement
hip measurement

Hip;  This is the fullest part of the seat, so measure around your bum, not at the top of the hip bones.

Chest;  This one requires an extra pair of hands.  Measure across the chest, above the bust, from where the arms meet the body at the armpit area.

chest measurement

Back;  As for chest, across the shoulder blades from arm to arm.

Armed with this information you now need to get the remainder of the measurements from the size tables.

The size for the young lady I have measured is a Non-Standard UK size 8.  Armed with this information I can now start drafting the basic patterns from which everything else will be developed. These are called “blocks” and the test garments made from them are “toiles,” also known as “muslins”.

The next post will be how to draft the skirt block and make and fit the toile.  Please leave feedback, I can only improve the posts if you do! 😀

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