Missa’s Sense-Making Mathless Draft

So here’s the sitch: right now, this isn’t really useful. We have to get it off the body and disassemble it before we can work with it. That’s going to happen in a very specific way. DO NOT attempt to just take it off in one large piece. It’s made of double sided velcro. It’s really good at sticking to itself anywhere it touches. I have made this mistake so that you don’t have to.

Here’s a less dicey method.

Before we go any further, prep a large, flat surface with a clean bit of muslin.  You're going to be transferring the information from your draft to this muslin.

Before we go any further, prep a large, flat surface with a clean bit of muslin. You’re going to be transferring the information from your draft to this muslin.

Cut the horizontal back velcros, towards the side of the body you were not working on.

Cut the horizontal back velcros, towards the side of the body you were not working on.

If you’re doing both sides, you’ll have double velcros.  Cut between them.

Just to be clear: you want the center back velcro to stay with the side with all the work.

Just to be clear: you want the center back velcro to stay with the side with all the work.

At the side of the body, cut between the two velcros.

At the side of the body, cut between the two velcros.

Front and back are now separate at the side.  I'm guessing you already figured that out, but I find this picture really cool.  ;)

Front and back are now separate at the side. I’m guessing you already figured that out, but I find this picture really cool. ;)

Cut the shoulder apart between the two velcros.  It would be a very good idea to have your collaborator hold the front half on her body.  It would also be a good ideal to make sure you don't drop the back half.

Cut the shoulder apart between the two velcros. It would be a very good idea to have your collaborator hold the front half on her body. It would also be a good idea to make sure you don’t drop the back half.

Here's the back half of the draft, laid out on the table.  It's kept the body information so accurately that it won't lie flat yet.

Here’s the back half of the draft, laid out on the table. It’s kept the body information so accurately that it won’t lie flat yet.

Cut all of the horizontal velcros between the two princess line velcros.

Cut all of the horizontal velcros between the two princess line velcros.

You should have something like this.  It still doesn't look flat.

You should have something like this. I know, it still doesn’t look flat.

But you should be able to squash them flat with your hand.

But you should be able to squash it flat with your hand.

I'm working on a pinable table top, so I've pinned everything in place flat.  You could also use weights, or tape (ick!) or whatever it takes to keep things flat.

I’m working on a pinable table top, so I’ve pinned everything in place flat. You could also use weights, or tape (ick!) or whatever it takes to keep things flat.

On the front of the body, cut up center front on the side you were not working on.  Again, don't drop anything.

On the front of the body, cut up center front on the side you were not working on. Again, don’t drop anything.

Center front, on the table.  Again, it's kept enough information to refuse to be flat.

Center front, on the table. Again, it’s kept enough information to refuse to be flat.

Once again, cut up between the princess line velcros to separate the pieces.  Center front is good to go.

Once again, cut up between the princess line velcros to separate the pieces. Center front is good to go.

next: dealing with a wide bust, and fitting

24 thoughts on “Missa’s Sense-Making Mathless Draft

  1. Laura says:

    I want to go do this right now, but Joann is closed and I don’t have enough velcro. This is GENIUS.

    3 years ago | Reply

  2. thelacedangel says:

    This. Is. AWESOME.

    3 years ago | Reply

  3. taoknitter says:

    Yep, brilliant. Sharing!!!

    3 years ago | Reply

  4. Laura says:

    Also, check it out – would have been easier if she had had Velcro, lol. http://www.pinterest.com/pin/42643527697406419/

    3 years ago | Reply

  5. Anna-Carin says:

    Brilliant! I’d never have expected velcro to be the best drafting tool since tin foil… http://www.sempstress.org/demo/how-to-clone-a-doll-and-darn-near-anything-else-without-a-ruler/

    Somehow I was expecting a method using blank paper measuring strips, a pencil, and a dressmaker’s square – but this looks even more exciting!

    3 years ago | Reply

  6. e_Rugby says:

    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.


  7. Lori Jackson (@JacksonmominOK) says:

    I’d just like to say that I love you. Seriously.

    3 years ago | Reply

  8. e_Rugby says:

    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.


  9. Tsu Dho Nimh says:

    This would be awesome for dealing with people with unusually squared/sloped shoulders, asymmetric shoulders or scoliosis.

    And the double-sided Velcro does come in nifty colors. :)
    https://www.levitthookandloop.com/velcro-brand-one-wrap-tape.html

    3 months ago | Reply

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