Last week my class worked up an armscye princess manipulation, then worked it farther into a vest with facing. I’m breaking this down into two demos: one on the armscye princess manipulation from our book, and one for working the vest up. The vest will have a finished pattern attached; this one will just be the block manipulation.
For the record, this is not how I ever do this. I start with a one-dart front. I’m not sure if that’s something I made up, or if that’s how I was taught, or if I fundamentally misunderstood what I was actually taught and ended up making up my own thing. However, the book does it this way (mostly), and I try not to contradict the book too much.
As always, start by comparing the block you have to the picture of what you want. In this case, we have a two dart front sloper and we want a princess line that hits about mid-armhole. I’ve drawn a guideline from the bust point to roughly the middle of the armscye curve.
At the center of the line from the bust point to the armscye, I’ve given myself a guide 1/4″ up. We want to find a curve that smoothly hits the bust point, the 1/4″ guide, and where the original line meets the armscye.
Connect the ends of the dart legs directly with the bust point. This takes out some ease, but that’s ok because we are going to put more in.
We’re going to be cutting the block apart on the lines we’ve just drawn. Always, always, always, before you cut pieces apart make sure that you have a way to put them back together! We’re going to want some notches.
Add notches an inch above and below the bust point. You will have one across the new curved princess line, and one on each dart leg below.
Cut out the sloper. Then cut out the dart on the new legs (all the way to the bust point), and cut up the curved princess line.
You’re done with the center front piece now. Attach him to your colored paper. On the side front, connect the bust point and the point of the side dart.
Cut from the bust point in to, but not through, the dart point. Close the dart and attach the piece to you colored paper.
Complete the side front piece by using a curve to connect the top and bottom of the open dart. You might have to shave off a teeeeensy bit of the top corner.
Your book instructions continue to add more contour below the bust. I have never bothered to do this with a basic princess line – I save it for fully contoured items like corsets and dance bodices, and I generally don’t put it on only one side of the draft. We all have our little quirks…
Both pieces of the front are done, so we can work on the back.
I like the armscye princess lines to be balanced between the front and back when viewed from the side. Measure the amount of the armscye that’s part of the center front piece. Using this measurement, mark a guide on the back armscye. (Mark from the shoulder line down.)
Extend a line 1″ up from the top of the back dart. This line should be parallel to the center back. Now connect the top of this line with the guideline on the armscye.
Same process as the front: find the center of the angled line and mark a guide 1/4″ above it…
…then find a curve that smoothly connects the two ends of the line with the 1/4″ guide. (I still think this looks like a weird elephant!)
ADD NOTCHES. Your book says one, in demo we did two the same way as we did in front. Either is acceptable, but notches must be present before you cut out the block, cut out the dart, and separate the back into two pieces on the princess line.
This time, the side piece is finished first and can be attached to the colored paper. We have to do something about the shoulder dart. Draw a line from the armscye to the dart point. Cut to, but not through, the dart point so that you can close the dart.
Measure the new dart. It should be 1/4″. We’re going to transfer this to the princess curve.
Measure up that 1/4″ from the princess line at the arm. Give yourself a little guide mark.
Using a curve, smoothly redraw the curved portion of the princess line from the top of the 1″ extension of the dart all the way to the guidemark on the armhole. This should be one smooth curve.
Use a shallow curve to redraw the armhole line. Also, I like to give myself something so that I know when part of a draft will not end up in the finished pattern. (This is because I confuse easily and tend to work when I’m tired, so I like things to be very obvious. Even though I want patterns to be clean, I can accept a little clutter on a draft if it helps avoid mistakes.)
At this point, you are done with both the front and the back armscye princess manipulation.
If you’re trying to carry forward into the work we did to develop the vest, that demo is right here.