Tutorial 36. Practice. Introduction.
We are done with the theory. It is time to do some practice. We all know that all questions, doubts, and challenges start arising from the moment a client enters your atelier.
I have prepared a series of examples which, I believe, can be a good demonstration of the theory you have been introduced to. Of course, something must be left to chance and you might get faced with other cases and situations. Nevertheless, practical exercises suggested in this book will give you guidance in your work with clients, as well as in further work with patterns and other enclosed supplementary materials.
I guess you have already looked at these supplementary materials, patterns, tables, and guides.
And I am sure you were most interested in my Tables for Automatic Calculation of Pattern Adjustments based on client’s measurements. It is a new invention made to facilitate and speed up your work process.
At the same time, I must warn you that my Automatic Calculator is purely mathematical software which re-calculates entered numeric values. If you took measurements incorrectly and entered the resulting incorrect values in the table, it will work with these values. The software will consider these values correct and you will not get informed about such errors.
This is why you should be very attentive and take measurements accurately! And you should first of all double-check the measurements if you notice a difference in the shape of your pattern, customized in accordance with automatically calculated adjustments, compared to the shape of the initial pattern.
It is basically the most common mistake resulting from a lack of experience. My subscribers sometimes ask me to re-calculate adjustments to my standard pattern based on their client’s measurements. And very often, I notice some incongruities from the first look at those measurements, before doing any calculations. It is simply obvious that such measurements cannot be true! Even if your client’s figure is far from the standards, there are still certain laws and proportions. If a certain circumference is noticeably larger than on the pattern, then all other circumferences must be larger, too.
I usually ask the subscriber to double-check her client’s measurements, and in most cases she no longer needs my help after doing so: the problem gets resolved automatically.
That is why I urge you to always be attentive!
I would also like to point out that you should adjust all pattern pieces proportionally when you use my Automatic Pattern Adjustments Calculator. If you need to make a significant adjustment to the standard pattern, the software will only calculate a new position for the side seam. For example, if you need to adjust the pattern up by more than 5-6cm, then shifting the side seam line accordingly will result in way too wide the side front piece and side back piece, while the centre pieces will be disproportionately narrow. In this case, I suggest you should do the following after automatic calculations: divide the added value between the side pieces and the centre pieces. In other words, shift the side seam line by a half of the proposed value and account for the remaining half on the centre piece.
You should also be very careful with Bust Princess Seam Width. As you remember, we measure the distance between bust princess seams and not the distance between bust apex points for corset garments. Thus if you use an incorrect Bust Princess Seam Width from the beginning and try to adjust the standard pattern up by a large enough value, you will end up with a very wide side front piece and a very narrow centre front piece.
Automatic calculation of dart widths also requires your close attention. Please remember that the software is a set of formulae with overall averages. Always compare the resulting bust dart width with the width suggested in the table enclosed with the book. I will explain it in a more detailed way in the tutorials to follow.
Moreover, I still want to talk about manual calculation of pattern adjustments in further tutorials despite offering you my Automatic Pattern Adjustments Calculator. I am convinced that you should know how to do these calculations manually so you can, in exceptional cases, fine-tune the work of the software. It will be hard for you to change something if you don’t understand how the calculator works because you will have no clue where the suggested values came from. On the contrary, when you understand how pattern adjustments are calculated, you will be able to fix any irregularities related to automatic calculation.
Let me briefly remind you about my pattern adjustment principle.
I call it the Adjustable Dress-Form Principle. Imagine that your dress-form is cut in four equal parts, i.e. cut along the central vertical line and along the central horizontal line. You know what I mean if you have an adjustable dress-form at your atelier: you rotate the knobs to make certain areas wider or narrower.
Most importantly, the height and proportions stay the same regardless of size adjustments. Thus you preserve all silhouette lines of the dress-form only changing the volume.
The same principle works for pattern adjustments!
In other words, if you sew a mock-up after my standard pattern, put it on the dress-form, cut it in four parts the same way, and make the dress-form wider or narrower, then all parts of the mock-up will also come together or come apart.
Calculating pattern adjustments based on client’s measurements is exactly the same thing!
The human body is not as standard as the dress-form though!
Every woman’s body has its own unique anatomic features. There are standard figures, and then there are figures with very pronounced curves or with a certain degree of stoop, etc. Women have different bust sizes with different under-bust circumferences. Some women have a broad ribcage which does not allow you to narrow the waist. Not all stomachs can be flattened either. Some women have a narrow waist but wide hips or vice versa. The same thing happens with the waist itself: sometimes you can easily shape it and make it narrower and other times it is simply impossible.
It is very important to account for specific anatomic features when you customize a pattern for your client!
Please remember that the key function of a corset is not to hug the wearer’s body with all its imperfections but to give as pronounced silhouette as possible to a somewhat shapeless figure!
It is clear that every woman wants her body to have proportions similar to our dress-form!
Even if your client is noticeably larger than the dress-form, you will still try to shape her body preserving the beautiful pattern lines and bring it closer to the dress-form shape, only widened.
Difference between Bust Width Front and Width Back can also be considered an anatomic feature. While these two measurements may be nearly identical on one woman, there may be a great difference between them on another woman even if her Bust Circumference is the same. In other words, some women have a broad chest and a narrow back and others have a narrow chest and a broad back.
Thus although my pattern adjustment calculation method is based on the Adjustable Dress-Form Principle, in reality, pattern pieces are not always shifted perfectly symmetrically. Sometimes you make a 2cm gap between the back pieces and a 1cm gap between the front pieces, and in other cases, on the contrary, you might have to make a 5cm gap between the front pieces and a 1-2cm gap between the back pieces.
The following tutorials will be dedicated to these nuances of pattern-making.