12 January 2013

Pattern drafting: Slopers and Beyond

A few months ago, Nothy Lane from Aft Agley suggested I write about the process of "drafting" my own patterns, like my turnback cuff blouse or my black trousers. What a great idea! I thought. How do I draft them? I picked up my old sketchbook and flipped through the pages, convinced that I'd find a plethora of clear, helpful tips to share.

Not so.

The sketches and drawings ranged from confusing:

This shirt

To completely chaotic:

Like, I don't even know

There wasn't a helpful tip in sight! Sighing, I shelved that post idea, since I had no idea how to translate my convoluted (and likely inaccurate) design-and-draft process into something that other seamsters could use, or even understand.

It did make me consider, though, that there might be a better way to do this "pattern drafting" thing. Trial-and-error, careful measurements, instinct, and visualizing things in my head had worked for me so far, but maybe there was a more orderly method. Besides, I didn't even have a basic bodice sloper, and so I usually planned out and drew every pattern from scratch.

Yes, I really did. I don't even know why. Maybe I didn't know what slopers were?

Now, though, having finally made a sloper (!) over the holidays, I can feel new pattern possibilities stretching out before me, and so I'm ready to—not share tips of my own, not yet, but share some of the online resources that I've used and found helpful (the thanks for this suggestion go to The Perfect Nose).

Sloper Options:

Leena's pattern drafting: I used the bodice sloper tutorial from Leenas.com, and it was pretty fantastic. I had to make a slight swayback adjustment and raise the lower point of the front dart by about an inch, but that was all. And at the same time, never have I ever had the shoulders on any shirt fit me so well. I didn't even realize there was something wrong with my other shirts' shoulders until I tried this on. They also have basic pants (men's and women's), sleeves, and a skirt block.

01 January 2013

Reworking an Old Garment Using a Sloper

blue floral print

Remember that fabric up there? Back in the summer I bought it with the intention of making a short-sleeved, hooded jacket, but right from the start I was unhappy with nearly everything about it. I complained about the cutesy flowers and I whined about the bandana border print. I grumbled that the blue was too girlish and the white too boring. I insisted, in short, that this was not the fabric for me.

The thing is, I think the fabric heard all my cruel comments about it. It knew.

Or at least that's how I'm choosing to explain the fact that when I sewed up the basic jacket the fit was terrible--like absolutely, completely off. After that disappointment I decided that I'd been right about the fabric and proceeded to stuff the half-finished jacket into one of my drawers, where it languished, unseen, for the next four months.

Well, last week that fabric made a comeback.

blue sleeveless homemade shirt
Cue dramatic music

The new shirt is still light and a little summery, but I think that overly-dramatic photo does justice to the fabric's new look, which is modern and practical instead of cute and homemade. (One might say, in fact, that the fabric was transformed from a beauty into a beast of a shirt. That's right.)

blue sleeveless homemade shirt
blue sleeveless homemade shirt

I'm being a little smug over a sleeveless top, I know, but I'm just satisfied at having turned a badly-fitting jacket into something that I like and will actually wear! And I did it with the help of a sloper I made earlier in the break, which makes me doubly happy.

Ah. A sloper. That's the real point of interest here.

shirt sloper