Tutorial 1. Choosing a Suitable Dress.
Customizing the Dress with Respect to the Child's Body Proportions.
I need to choose a suitable dress for a girl named Sonja. Sonja is six and her height is 114-116cm.
I start from tying cords around the major circumference lines the same way I do on women: one cord is tied around the supposed waistline, another around the stomach line, and yet another along the bust line. Then I take three pictures of Sonja against the wall (front, back, and side view) with a height chart or a measuring tape hanging in the background.
Sonja is a preschooler. Her head-to-height ratio is 1:5. First of all, I determine a harmonious golden-ration position of the waistline and mark the girl's height with blue Photoshop guides. You can see the supposed position of the waistline here:
The best dress type for a girl of this age group is a flared dress with a high waist.
Here are the best proportions for Sonja which form a golden ratio as long as the dress is strapless.
I could visually place the waistline higher, like this:
Or, the other way round, place it lower:
Girls of this age look very cute and natural in dresses with such proportions.
Most of them, however, as we all know, like to dress up as princesses. They like small bodices and long skirts. And it is pointless trying to say "but, sweetheart, this dress just won't suit you so well." This won't work! In addition, girls of this age still have a bit of a protruding belly. And you have to find a way to make an absolutely disproportionate dress more harmonious, i.e. customize it after the child's body proportions by using some decorative elements and other tricks.
Below is the dress we chose for Sonja. It has a long wide striped skirt, a mono-coloured bodice, and detached sleeves (armlets):
The armlets imitate off-shoulder straps or sleeves visually improving the girl's proportions in the dress.
In theory, the bodice is supposed to take up 1/5 or 2/5 of the dress because the girl's head-to-height ratio is 1:5 and the same ratio must be maintained in the garment.
If I divide the dress in 2/5 and 3/5 parts, then the skirt will be short:
And if I divide it in 1/5 and 4/5 parts, then the bodice will be way too short:
There is no way to adjust the length of the bodice after the length of the skirt maintaining the right proportions.
This means I need to use decorative elements instead. In my case, there is an additional ruffle on the skirt. This ruffle is supposed to be positioned in a golden ratio to the bodice. In other words, the length of the bodice and the position of the ruffle must form a golden ratio:
The skirt of this length looks good on the girl. The harmonious look is achieved with the help of a decorative element.
Here is a different example:
This dress also features a full skirt and puffed armlets. But the largest flower is positioned in a golden ratio to the bodice to make it more pleasing to the eye.
Let us check if it is true:
Yes, the flower is basically right in a golden ratio position.
And now, I need to mark all relevant proportions. The black lines mark the top line and the bottom line of the bodice, as well as the length and the position of the ruffle.
Now I only need to figure out how full the skirt should be. The width of the skirt should correspond with the width of the shoulders. And you must not forget that the shoulders will seem wider because of the armlets.
Suppose the armlets will make the shoulder this wide:
In this case, the skirt should have the following width at the bottom:
Here is my system of coordinates, i.e. the proportions with which I will work:
To obtain their numeric values, use Photoshop rulers or take a picture of the child against a height chart. You can also simply measure the child with a measuring tape. Do it whatever way you prefer.
The width of the skirt can be calculated based on the golden ratio formula: simply multiply the total width of shoulders and armlets by 1.62. I will explain it in greater detail when we start drafting the pattern.
Let me show you the final result, the finished dress:
As you can see, I got all proportions right: the widths of the armlets, the shoulders, and the skirt, the length of the skirt, the length of the bodice, the position of the decorative ruffle – all elements are in a golden ratio to each other.
I also added some flower accents to the ruffle to make it stand out more.
Despite the low waist and the long flared skirt, the girl looks great in this dress! The proportions are perfect!