Tutorial 3. Calculating Pattern Adjustments (Continued).
Now we need to calculate necessary adjustments for the pattern with shoulder seams.
I have drawn another table with eight columns on the writing board and filled it in with the measurements. Columns 1 and 2 contain my mum's measurements (client's measurements) and measurements taken off my standard pattern.
Let us go through the list of necessary measurements.
We will use the traditional corset measurements, as well as several additional measurements, to re-calculate the pattern with shoulder seams.
- Bust front,
- Under-bust front,
- Bust circumference,
- Under-bust circumference,
- Waist circumference,
- Neck base to bust middle. This measurement is taken from the apex of the breast to the base of the neck.
- Shoulder tip to bust middle. This measurement, too, is taken from the apex of the breast but this time you shift the measuring tape to the tip of the shoulder (where the arm begins). It indicates the degree of shoulder slope.
- Nape to waist. This measurement is taken from the seventh cervical vertebra down to the intersection with the waistline.
- Back shoulder tip to waist. This measurement is taken from the same point of intersection with the waistline found when measuring the nape to waist, only this time you shift the measuring tape diagonally to the tip of the shoulder. It indicates the degree of shoulder slope from the back.
- Back neck base to waist. This measurement is taken from the base of the neck from the back. Place the measuring tape in a straight line and bring it to the cord tied around the waist. This measurement indicates the location of the innermost point of the shoulder in relation to the waistline.
- Shoulder width at the back. Measure the distance between the shoulder tips from the back. It's up to you where and how to place the armscye. You can, for example, go down the arm a little if you want to lower the shoulder seam. Or the other way round: you can step further inwards from the shoulder tip if you want to make your client's shoulders appear smaller and make full sleeves. The length of this measurement depends on the look you want to achieve.
- Shoulder width at the front. This measurement is identical to the previous, only taken from the front. I highly recommend that you measure the distance between the same very points as from the back.
- Shoulder length. This measurement is the distance from the base of the neck to the point from which you measured the shoulder width.
- Back width. Measure the distance between the armscyes. But make sure to study your client's figure first and determine where the armscye line should pass from the back. If you take this measurement correctly, you won't have to worry about your set-in sleeve shifting towards the back when you alter the standard pattern.
There are a couple more additional measurements that you will need to design the sleeve:
- Armscye circumference. Simply measure the circumference of the arm. I recommend you do it at the level where the side length measurement stops.
- Upper arm circumference. Measure the circumference of the upper arm.
- Sleeve length. It's best to take it simultaneously with the shoulder length measurement. First you measure the distance from the base of the neck to the shoulder tip. Then you pass the elbow with the measuring tape and reach the wrist or whatever level you want the sleeve to stop at.
- Sleeve length to elbow. This measurement is taken simultaneously with the previous one. It's really good to know exactly where the elbow is located in case you decide to make narrow fitted sleeves. The thing is I wouldn't recommend that you make it too tight in the elbow because your client should be able to bend her arms freely. This is particularly important if your fabric is not very resilient. You can always make it narrower in the area below the elbow if you want.
- Wrist circumference. I must warn you against making a big mistake! Remember that your client is supposed to put her arm in the sleeve first! If your fabric is resilient enough and you are going to hem the sleeve with some resilient material, then you don't have to worry about it being too narrow for your client's arm. You can safely use the plain wrist circumference measurement in this case. But if your fabric is not very resilient and there is no elastic band at the bottom of the sleeve, then you had better measure the wrist circumference with your thumb pressed against the wrist. Otherwise, the sleeve might be too narrow.
- Arm fullness. It's an essential measurement, which is usually used for slim sleeves. You measure the distance between the center of the armscye of the front and the center of the armscye of the back. You can take this measurement with your client's arm hanging down freely If you are using highly resilient fabric. But if your fabric is not very resilient, it makes sense to ask her to slightly bend her arm in the elbow to ensure better freedom of movement in wear. When you start altering the sleeve top on the pattern, this measurement will show how much you need to change. And then you can be sure your client will be able to move her arms freely.
These are all measurements involved in our calculations.
Let us begin then. We basically do the same calculations as for any low-neck corset dress.
Let's start from the front half of the dress. First, I will pre-calculate the configuration of the side seam and write the values under “Back Sides 1” (column 3).
Now let's determine the configuration of the side seam. We use the first two measurements as guides.
Bust front measurement: 56cm on the client and 50cm on the pattern.
56cm – 50cm = 6cm
I divide it in half because there are two sides. Now it's obvious that I need to add 3cm from each side of the pattern.
Under-bust front measurement: 47cm on the client and 41cm on the pattern.
47cm – 41cm = 6cm
I divide it in half because there are two sides. And I need to add 3cm from each side of the pattern.
I got the same values for the bust line and the under-bust line. Therefore, I can logically assume that the entire side seam of the dress should be shifted outwards by 3cm.
Now let's calculate the difference between certain measurements that refer to the front of the dress but don't affect the side seam. I will record those values into columns 3 and 5.
Neck base to bust middle: 28cm on the client and 27cm on the pattern.
28cm – 27cm = 1cm
I need to add another centimeter to the neck base to bust middle line on the central front piece. I will do that when I start transferring the pattern onto the fabric.
Shoulder tip to bust middle: 25cm on the client and 26cm on the pattern.
25cm – 26m= -1cm
It is the other way round here: I need to remove one centimeter from the shoulder tip to bust middle measurement on the central front piece. It shows that the client has noticeably sloping shoulders. As you can see, the slope does look rather steep. It is acceptable on a corset-based dress though. The shoulder seam will settle naturally on the body.
Please note how crucial these measurements are! Make sure to pay careful attention to the placement of the shoulder seam. Your garment will fit the way you want it to only if you measure the neck base to bust middle and the shoulder tip to bust middle correctly.
Nape to waist: 37cm on the client and 37cm on the pattern. The measurements coincide.
I want to point at a certain difference from the traditional way of taking this measurement. Instead of taking the nape to waist measurement from the seventh cervical vertebra, I take it from the desired level of the back neckline. Very many women have an unwanted layer of fat in that area, which means placing the teardrop-shaped opening right there wouldn't be a good idea. It is best to move down just a little.
Back shoulder slope: 41cm on the client and 41cm on the pattern. The measurements coincide.
Back neck base to waist: 42cm on the client and 39cm on the pattern.
42cm – 39cm = 3cm
Three centimeters is quite a big difference. Once again, it shows that my client has a noticeable degree of shoulder slope and the line of the slope will be rather steep. It fully corresponds with the peculiarities of my client's figure though.
Shoulder width at the back: 43cm on the client and 38cm on the pattern.
43cm – 38cm= 5cm
There is a 5cm difference between my client's shoulder width at the back and the same measurement on the pattern. I divide the value in two. As the result, I need to add 2.5cm from each side of the pattern. It means that my mum has a slightly curved back. Her shoulders are somewhat pushed forward, which makes her shoulder width at the back rather large and her shoulder slope rather pronounced. I will add 2.5cm on the central back piece.
Shoulder width at the front: 39cm on the client and 39cm on the pattern. The measurements coincide.
Shoulder length: 13cm on the client and 9cm on the pattern.
13cm – 9cm = 4cm
I took this measurement in its actual size. I felt like placing the shoulder seam rather low for better freedom of movement and more convenience in working with the armscye. I will add 4cm to the shoulder length when transferring the pattern onto the fabric.
Back width: 39cm on the client and 38cm on the pattern.
39cm – 38cm = 1cm
I divide it in two. As the result, I need to add 0.5cm from each side of the armscye to achieve the required width of the back.
Let’s move to the back half of the dress.
The following calculations affect the lace part of the dress above the waistline. First, I will pre-calculate the configuration of the side seam and write the values under “Back Sides 1” (column 5).
Let us begin. You will see what happens after I take into account all measurements and calculations from the table.
The bust front and under-bust front measurements are not involved in these calculations. I write dashes in the table.
Bust circumference: 99cm on the client and 94cm on the pattern.
But I have already added 3cm from each side of the back half of the dress (a total of 6cm).
94cm + 6cm= 100cm
99cm – 100cm = -1cm
I divide it in half. As a result, I need to remove 0.5cm along the bust line from each side of the back of the dress. I write -0.5cm in the table.
Under-bust circumference: 87cm on the client and 81cm on the pattern.
I have, however, already added 3cm from each side of the back (a total of 6cm).
81cm + 6cm = 87cm
87cm – 87cm = 0cm
There are no alterations along the under-bust line so I put a zero in the table.
Waist circumference: 87cm on the client and 75cm on the pattern.
But I have already added 3cm from each side of the back (a total of 6cm).
75cm + 6cm= 81cm
87cm – 81cm = 6cm
I divide it in half. As the result, I need to add 3cm from each side of the back. I write it in the table.
I won't perform as complicated calculations as I did for the corset base of the dress because it is only a simple lace overlay. It's enough to just put the side seam in place. That's why I will leave the side seam of the front as is and apply some alterations to the side seam of the back using the princess seams.
I leave it at -0.5cm along the bust line and at 0 along the under-bust line for the adjusted side seam of the back (column 6). What concerns the waistline, I do the same thing I did when calculating the base of the dress: add 0.5cm and distribute the rest between the front and back princess seams.
Let's see what I have got. I have added just 0.5cm from each side in the waist. It should be 3cm though. I will divide this difference of 2.5cm between the four raw edges of the front and back princess seams. As the result, I need to shift the front and back princess seams 0.6cm outwards in the waist.
I will use another two columns of the table, "Princess Seam Back" and "Princess Seam Front" (7 and 8), and write 0.6cm under "Waistline Circumference."
These are all calculations required to build the pattern of our dress. I will give necessary comments during the cutting process and you will see how to build the patterns of the dress and the lace overlay, how to construct the sleeve and what other additional pieces are required to sew the garment.