Missa’s Sense-Making Mathless Draft

Now we're going to start setting up for the princess line.  You'll need enough velcro to go from  the lowest hip line to the shoulder.  Pass through the bust point, which is the central point on the bust (optimistically, your nipple, depending on age, size, and shape).
Now we’re going to start setting up for the princess line. You’ll need enough velcro to go from the lowest hip line to the shoulder. Pass through the bust point, which is the central point on the bust (optimistically, your nipple, depending on age, size, and shape).
This passes over the middle of the shoulder.  Measuring is most accurate if you've not been patterning long enough to sight it.
This passes over the middle of the shoulder. You could measure for greater accuracy if you’re not comfortable sighting it, but that would add math into the process.
Smack the velcro straight down onto the two hip vecros.  If you're following along closely, you'll notice that I'm off the princess line of the form - there's shaping in her center panel, which is just mean. (Because I feel for seams when draping, that's why.)
Smack the velcro straight down onto the two hip vecros. If you’re following along closely, you’ll notice that I’m off the princess line of the form – there’s shaping in her center panel, which is just mean. (Because I feel for seams when draping, that’s why.)
Don't stretch the vecro so tight under the boob.
Don’t stretch the vecro so tight under the boob.
You want to be able to push it right to the body underneath.   This comes in in a later step
You want to be able to push it right to the body underneath. This comes in in a later step
And make sure all of your vertical to horizontal velcro joins are square!
And make sure all of your vertical to horizontal velcro joins are square!
Now come around the back of the body with the velcro.
Now come around the back of the body with the velcro.
And find the median point of the shoulder.  That will appear to be off to the side on most bodies, because the body curves in abruptly from the wingbone to the side. Drop straight down to the waist.
And find the median point of the shoulder. That will appear to be off to the side on most bodies, because the body curves in abruptly from the wingbone to the side. Drop straight down to the waist.

In a perfect world, the velcro won’t have a bunch of buckles in it. If it’s fighting you and wants to be all roller-coster between joins, you may be forcing things. Check to make sure that all you horizontal lines are level, and that your verticals aren’t drifting from side to side.

Now, run another velcro the exact same length as the first, right next to it.  For me, it was most intuitive to run the first to the outside of the body and the second to the inside. Your mileage may vary. Do what feels right.
Now, run another velcro the exact same length as the first, right next to it. For me, it was most intuitive to run the first to the outside of the body and the second to the inside. Your mileage may vary. Do what feels right.

next: shoulder measurements

24 Comments

    1. Omg, awesome, thank you! *phew* And thank you for checking in on my neuroses. And JoAnn’s carries double sided velcro by you? I can only get it at Ace here!

    1. Love it! I’m so glad I’m not either of those women! I do think it’s cool that the velcro let’s you do something similar and put in your style lines as you go. I kinda wish it came in colors.

  1. Soo excited. So many questions!

    1) Does this work on male bodies? /without major changes? (Main difference is them usually being less “bumpy” in front, no? – so maybe some measurements/velcro strips can be omitted?)

    3) can anyone who’s tried this already post their rough measurements and velcro usage? It’s sold in 5 m units here, and is kinda expensive, so I don’t want to buy way too much – I realize I can pre-measure the relevant distances – will do and post the result if I remember to.

    2) and this is me being a drafting noob: Is it more acceptable to add ease at the sides of the resulting pattern pieces, or in the middle?

    4) Is there a good online ressource detailing how to draft x (darted bodices, blouses, skirts, pants) from these? I know where to find instructions on how to do bits and pieces of what I want, and have a book or two, but the currently-ultimate(tm) way of arriving at blocks deserves an accompanying comprehensive drafting blog/forum/online classroom.

    (hoping someone else than Missa knows how to answer some of these – you’ve done enough!)

    5) Is there any demand for a German translation for the instructions? I’ll have to do a rough one for whoever ends up taping me anyway, so if it’s any help I can spend the extra time for a proper and understandable one.

    Oh, and re: differently-coloured velcro: I found the green for plants and black or red for cables and stuff – it’s twice as broad, so you’d have to cut it along the middle, but it might work for style lines etc. Alternatively, take a sharpie to it, sew coloured ribbon down the centre or maybe experiment with dying? I know it’s vile and plasticky stuff, but I also know some people have had success dying buttons.

    1. Howdy – I think I can answer several of your questions.

      1) Yes, this should work just fine on male bodies, as well as children, pregnant women, etc. You might be able to get away with omitting some of the velcro, but I’m not sure I’d try. The contours of the male body in front are (generally) less extreme than those of the female body, but you guys are still human-shaped. The biggest difference is that you most likely aren’t going to need to worry about making sure the chest velcros don’t flatten against the body, because they prolly will (and should).

      3) A standard size 8 stand (36″/25.5″/36.5″) used less than the full 30′ roll. For myself (45/32/47ish – I’ve been dieting and I’d hate to ruin my sense of progress with the harsh reality of a tape measure) I’d expect to use 1.5 – 2 rolls.

      2) Ease on blocks is generally added at the side seams for the layers closest to the body, so as not to distort the neckline. As layers get farther away from the body, ease is added all around to account for clothing presumed to be underneath. Structured jackets will also be extended in the armscye/shoulder for padding and structure.

      4) Aww, thanks! That’s sort of where I was planning to go next, though. ;) There are plenty of books available on pattern drafting. Most start from a 1 or 2 dart front/back block set and develop the princess line. Getting a 1 dart bodice out of this block is super-easy – just place the upper-shoulder princess lines together and trace only to the waist. Presto! Block accomplished.

      5) I have no idea, but I would be completely and thoroughly flattered to have it translated. I mean, that’s just kinda cool.

      And *headdesk*, I never even thought to look in an electronics department! Sweet.

  2. Warning: massive textdump ahead, but I’m not setting up a blog for the sake of one post.

    To avoid future misapprehensions, I’m female. (That’s where mentioning electronics gets you) Just thought it’d be nice to make the boyfriend an equally well-fitting shirt. Turns out he’s not interested in standing still long enough.

    Gamma-testing write-up:
    I’m1,60 tall, with a proportionally longer torso than legs, European size 40 (US 8) top and 42 (US 10) bottom. Bought four rolls of velcro totaling 20m (22yd), had about half of the last one left afterwards.
    With two people unfamiliar with the process, the taping procedure alone takes about 2 hours.

    Bleeding obvious tip #1: if you’re the tapee, and the taper is unfamiliar with the process, talk them through it beforehand. So they know what they’re aiming for, what’s important, etc.

    Especially make sure that they see how the velcro behaves, what to do when a dangling bit of tape accidentally sticks where it shouldn’t and how to gently remove it without disturbing the others.

    Also locate the harder-to-find reference points before velcroing, maybe mark stuff like your shoulder tip (eyeliner or such for skin, tailor’s chalk and similar on clothes).

    As in all measurement-taking endeavours: get a tall mirror (also allows you to see what your taper does without moving around), make sure there’s enough space for the taper to walk around you, make sure the room is heated so the tapee is comfortable. Wear a well-fitting bra if applicable.

    The mirror also helps if the tapee has posture problems they don’t want reflected in the draft. I tend to stand with uneven shoulders, but I don’t want my clothes to encourage that behaviour. Same possibly applies for some hunched shoulder cases. I find it difficult to keep my shoulders level if I can’t see them, even with the mirror I was tempted to draw a black outline of how I should stand.
    I seem to recall for someone who tends not to stand up straight it helps to give them something to look at at eye-level or slightly higher. So go ahead and place a laptop on a shelf, then play your favourite TV series on it.

    Taping process is fairly straightforward, muddled through the upper cross-body velcroes somehow. Figured it wasn’t too important to get them absolutely right since we’re essentially “gridding” the body anyway. major question was where the median shoulder point lies. Is that what it’s called? My dictionary failed me, so I’ll have to find the same point in a german drafting instruction somewhere to know how to call it. And then learn how to describe it to people.
    Also it’d be useful to mention stuff like not making any tapes that cross the bustline too tight before you actually start taping those velcroes, and mentioning beforehand which velcroes will be doubled or offset. Not a problem if you read ahead, though. Non-Pro-tip: If you end up telling your velcrowrangler to just run the center back tape along the spine for convenience’s sake, you can carefully cut it apart in the middle and afterwards not have to move the CB line manually at all.

    After taping, even if you’re really cold from standing around in your undies, do not put on your favourite bulky wooly sweater. The velcro will know, even if you think you’re keeping a safe distance, and latch on to you immediately. Also make sure you weigh down any pattern piece you’re not currently using, because they might want to curl in on and stick to themselves. That said, as long as your velcro junctions are reasonably tightly fused, and as long as you’re careful, you can usually always separate rogue strips as long as you can remember which were the intentional joints and which the accidental ones.

    I got away with laying out the 4 resulting pieces and folded muslin on an ironing board, for instant pinnability. The velcro actually adhered to the muslin a bit, and even that was only kinda useful, since it hampered my ability to slide the pieces around without distortion. Turn the muslin around, lay it over a light-table, and trace through to the other side for instant mirrored pattern pcs. Also make sure to mark at least the bust and waistline or thereabouts for additional reference points when pinning it all together. Halfway through pinning I started wondering whether I should have trued my traced pieces, probably the combined fault of my lax attitude towards exact tracing and the light-table shortcut and the one inch seam allowance.

    By then my tapewielder had (deservedly) gone off to do his own thing, so I hid a separating zipper in all the needles (I’m quite tolerant of pinpricks as long as they’re self-inflicted, so the zipper went on upsy-downsy. I then played “hunt for the rogue pin” when I took it off. The boyfriend is somewhat paranoid of random pinstabs to bare feet.)

    Muslin fits fine as far as I can tell with all the wrinkles, except for some weirdness at the armscye (I suspect we didn’t place that velcro high enough). The pattern pieces are seriously bizarre (major swayback, massive bum – seen from the front I don’t have much of a waist, but if I compare the waist/hip differential to any “normal” pattern I seem positively hour-glass shaped), and there’s no way my CB could ever lie on straight-of-grain (especially below the waist).

    Brainflash – pants block. My thought was to go the usual route from skirt block to pants block, but theoretically one should be able to directly mold that region by gridding it in velcro as well. No more worries about preserving crotch curves and rise etc. Only you’d possibly have to do a second copy while sitting down:)

    Once more, apologies for the long comment, and massive props for developing the method and putting it out here.

    Now off to file a patent for the direct creation of coat blocks by putting on a bulky sweater before taking measurements.

    1. *laugh* Good luck with the velcro-sweater-coat-draft patent. Sorry about the gender assumption – I was going on the interest in men’s drafting and the e_rugby sign on.

      Thank you for trying this and sharing the results with everyone! That was awesome of you, and I really appreciate the feedback and the beta-testing. :) Good tip on centering the CB/CF velcros and cutting up the centers. Also good on using the mirror if you are worried about posture.

      Median of the shoulder? There are several terms I’ve heard used: Shoulder width, shoulder fullness, shoulder breadth. It depends on what book you’re using, I think. And yes, you’re totally gridding (or even wire-framing) the body.

      You’re totally correct about being able to work a pant block off of this. It’s really easy to develope a pant block from a skirt block (your torso block below the waist, extended to knee-ish length), plus a thigh circumference. I can’t find a good link on the google right now, but I know I have it in a couple books at home.

      Thanks again for jumping on this and taking the time to share the results with everyone! It’s always enlightening to know what happens with things in the wild, you know?

  3. I would like to use this at an SCA Arts & Crafts session. I have converted it into a text document to help everyone with the step-by-step. I will gladly send it to you for your approval/use. May I have your permission?

  4. Love, love, love this seriously clever method. So grateful for your generosity in sharing it Missa! The velcro is ordered, the manpartner is bribed, cannot wait!

    1. Tee! I’m very glad you’ve enjoyed it and are excited! Let me know if you run into any challenges or have experiences that can help to strengthen the method. :) Have fun!

    1. Yep – I really prefer drafts that catch the whole body because so few of us are truly symmetrical. Thanks for the Velcro link!

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