Tutorial 5. Re-calculating the Pattern after Individual Measurements.
Let’s continue working on the pattern of our to-be corset.
I have written my client’s main measurements on the board together with the measurements I got off the mock-up.
Our task is to calculate all alterations that should be applied to the existing pattern, i.e. adjust the pattern after the client’s measurements.
I would like to draw your attention to the main difficulty in making corsets with separate cups. It is all about making correct calculations of their location, volume, and shape.
Our mock-up will be of great help to us. You can imagine your client by looking at the mock-up or at her photograph as a guide. By looking at a picture of your client, at her measurements, and at the mock-up you will be able to see what kind of alterations should be applied to the measurements of the cups. It might seem difficult at first but it really isn’t when you have a mock-up in front of your eyes!
What concerns my particular case, the client’s measurements almost fully coincide with those on the pattern. Some of them differ by as little as 1-2cm and others are identical. One of the peculiarities of my client’s build is a relatively small bust. It is not as full and round as the cups of the mock-up that I stuffed with padding polyester. I’m sure my client would need thick push-up pads to fill cups like these with “body”. But in that case the upper edge of the cups would most likely start sticking out making it obvious there is some empty space in-between.
First of all I want to straighten the princess seams of the cups and remove extra fullness. There’s a very simple way of doing it!
I simply straighten the pattern by drawing a straight line on both cup pieces that goes from the top down to the bust line notch.
I have straightened the princess seams on the mock-up by pinning them. As you can see, the excessive fullness is gone.
You probably have a reasonable question: “Why make such full cups on a small corset like this?”
I provide you with a multi-purpose pattern for all occasions! If you need to adjust this pattern for a full-breasted woman, you won’t need to worry about the fullness. Removing is always easier than adding. Think of it this way: if your client has a larger-sized full bust, you won’t have to change these princess seams. You will be able to tell by looking at the mock-up.
I will treat the under-bust, waist and stomach circumferences according to the traditional method.
The distance from the side seam to the cup along the bust line is normally around 5-6cm. This distance is quite obvious on the mock-up and you can tell how it would change if you added, let’s say, 3cm to the side seam. If you find that it goes well beyond 5-6cm, then you will know the side cup piece should be made bigger so as to move it closer to the side seam and even out the distance.
The distance from the waistline to the under-bust line remains unchanged. I would like to point up that issue because I receive a lot of related questions. The distance from the waistline to the under-bust line is often measured somewhat incorrectly on women with full breasts. Heavy breasts tend to sag and make the distance seem like 10cm when it is 12.5cm on our mock-up. But you should never forget that the function of a corset is to lift the bust and form its beautiful shape. Don’t rush to alter the distance between the waistline and the under-bust line on the pattern! The original distance is anatomically correct and it should stay unchanged as long as there are no radical changes in the side length due to the person’s height! Remember, you can lift any low-placed bust up to the standard and make it look appealing – this is the purpose of wearing a corset. These are important remarks on the specifics of our pattern when used for a full-bodied woman.
Finally, I’d like to note that there are certain limitations for corsets with separate cups. When your client’s bust circumference exceeds 100cm, you must think whether offering her a corset with separate cups is reasonable at all. Perhaps it would be better to replace it with a one-piece corset and then add some decorative lines that would imitate sewn-in cups. But be careful! A full bust highlighted with modelling lines doesn’t always look attractive! And making separate cups for such a full bust is always a bad idea! Sewn-in cups look very good on a small bust because they lift it visually and physically and make it appear larger. So please do be careful when choosing the design! And don’t forget that full breasts are rather heavy and presuppose certain limitations when you adjust the pattern.
Now let us return to the calculations. All values in the table are in centimeters.
The first measurements to account for are bust front and under-bust front.
It is 49cm on the pattern and my client’s measurement is 47cm.
49cm – 47cm = 2cm
This means we have 2cm extra. They should be removed from the pattern. I divide the value in half (for two corset halves) and get minus 1cm. I write it down in the table (column 4, line 1).
It is 38cm on the pattern and the client’s measurement is 39cm.
38cm – 39cm = -1cm
The client’s measurement is slightly bigger than that on the pattern, so I need to add 0.5cm from each side (column 4, line 2).
This doesn’t look good though. The alteration values for these measurements are way too unlike. You should always make allowance for inaccuracies. These measurement s are always relative; they simply show you the way of dividing full bust-line and under-bust line circumferences line into front and back sections. It is no big deal to have a divergence of 0.5cm or even 1cm when you take measurements.
Let’s choose something neutral and suitable. I suggest we shouldn’t change anything in the bust circumference measurement but leave it as is. I write a zero in column 4, line 3. We can add 0.5cm starting from the under-bust line and across the whole length. I write the value of 0.5cm into lines 4, 5 and 6 of column 4.
I don’t need to apply any changes to the bust middle. The client’s measurement coincides with the pattern and equals 19cm. What does a bust middle measurement of 19cm mean on our corset? I measure 19cm with a measuring tape and mark relative end points corresponding to this length. Let me remind you that the princess seams on the cups are decorative: they don’t go over the middle of the bust and don’t have to cross these points. You should just try to imagine if their location would look good on the client or not. When the bust middle measurement equals 19cm, distant princess seams like these are quite beautiful. If you don’t like it or have some other preferences, you can re-model the cups and shift their princess seams closer to the centre.
Clip measurements were taken off the mock-up exactly from the end-point of the bust middle measurement. The clip measurements on the mock-up are 11cm to the armscye and 6cm to the neckline and I have written these values down. The bust middle measurement taken off my client is 19cm and it is relatively the same on the mock-up. Correlated clip measurements are 11cm and 6cm on the pattern, and 10cm and 5cm on the client.
These values indicate that we should slightly adjust our clip measurements.
I need to shorten the clip to the scye by 1cm. I write -1cm into the table (column 4, line 8).
And now the clip to the neckline: according to pure mathematics I should remove 1cm as well, but I really doubt it... You will have to remove this 1cm from the pattern if having a deep décolleté is essential to your client. But if your client relies on your own taste, you can decide whether it’s worth removing this centimeter by looking at the mock-up. I don’t feel like removing anything from my mock-up because I am satisfied with the size of the cups and the shape of the neckline. I write a zero in the table (column 4, line 8).
Side length: I need to reduce it by 0.5cm. I write the value of -0.5cm in the table (column 4, line 9).
Back length: I could add 0.5cm to the length of the back because the pattern is slightly smaller than the client’s measurement. But I can also leave it as is because 0.5cm is not that crucial for the back length! I write a zero in the table (column 4, line 10).
So I have calculated the side seam of the front.
And now let’s look at the side seam of the back.
I don’t need the first two measurements here. I write dashes in the table (column 5, lines 1 and 2).
We haven’t added anything at the side at the bust-line level but the measurement on the pattern is 1cm bigger than the client’s. That’s why I need to reduce the side seam of the back by 0.5cm from both sides in order to reach the client’s measurement. I write -0.5cm into the table (column 5, line 3).
We have added 0.5cm at the front and, since the client’s measurement coincides with the pattern, we should remove 0.5cm at the back to even it out. I write down -0.5cm in the table (column 5, line 4).
Adjusting the waistline is somewhat harder. It is 68cm on the pattern and the client’s measurement is 64cm.
Besides, we have added 1cm to the full circumference:
68cm + 1cm = 69cm
69cm - 64cm = 5cm
What we got is a difference of 5cm. If we divide it in half, we can see that 2.5cm should be removed from each side at the waistline level. I write -2.5cm in the table (column 5, line 5).
Stomach circumference 12cm below the waistline:
There is a great difference between this measurement on the pattern – 90cm, and the client’s measurement – 84cm.
Besides, we have added 1cm to the full circumference:
90cm + 1cm = 91cm
91cm - 84cm = 7cm
The result is a 7cm divergence. If we divide it in half, we can see that 3.5cm should be removed from each side at the stomach level. I write -3.5cm in the table (column 5, line 6).
Column 5 is about to be filled in: I write dashes in lines 7 and 8; the value of -0.5cm in line 9; and a zero in line 10.
It is now obvious that we have to adjust the side seam or else it will be too crooked. In this situation princess seams come to our rescue.
You can use princess seams when there is a rather high divergence between re-calculated values. In our case for example I need to alter the side seam of the back by 0.5cm at the bust-line and under-bust line levels, and then by as much as 2.5cm at the waistline level and by 3.5cm at the level of the stomach. It makes sense to use the princess seams both at the front and at the back here. Fortunately, there are many princess seams and we can choose which of them we want to use.
And now let’s look back at the mock-up. In our case the central front piece is already very narrow and we will need to reduce it further starting from the waistline. This means using the princess seam between the central and the side piece of the front wouldn’t be reasonable. If you’re going to use a different pattern and your central front piece is a lot wider, then you could remove a little at the waistline level. But I would like to use the side princess seams, from both sides of the front.
Let me remind you again that you can alter front princess seams only starting at the waistline. You shouldn’t change anything in the under-bust area. You can start at the under-bust level and move down towards the waistline and the bottom. I will use two cut edges of the front princess seams and two cut edges of the back princess seams.
Let us apply the -0.5cm alteration for the side seam of the back piece, i.e. remove 0.5cm along its whole length. I write the value of -0.5cm in the table (column 6, lines 3, 4, 5 and 6).
What kind of corresponding alterations should be applied to the princess seams?
There are no alterations at the bust and the under-bust levels. I write a zero in the table (columns 7 and 8, lines 3 and 4).
At the waistline level: there are four cut edges on each half of the corset. We have already removed 0.5cm from the side seam of the back so now we need to remove another 2cm. This remaining 2cm should be distributed between our four cut edges. Thus we need to remove 0.5cm from each princess seam of the front and the back at the waistline level. I write -0.5cm in the table (columns 7 and 8, line 5).
Now let’s count it at the stomach level. We have already removed 0.5cm from the side seam of the back and we need to remove another 3cm now. This remaining 3cm should be distributed between four cut edges. Thus we need to remove 0.75cm from each princess seam of the front and the back at the level of the stomach. I write -0.75cm in the table (columns 7 and 8, line 6).
We will adjust the pieces correspondingly during the cutting process, directly on fabric.
And we are done with calculations.
Now we can start cutting our garment.