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Project: Drafting Directions

Trou in Ten

A lot of sewers are afraid of bifurcated nether-garments. They look more complicated than skirts. I remember wearing bike shorts under costumes for years because I was afraid to attempt a bloomer. And that is an odd conundrum, because I had been making corsets for years. That’s just the power of the pant. But sister, don’t fear the bloomer… There’s a Really Easy Way(tm).

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Drafting Hand Points on Sleeves

Oh, the medieval romance of the sleeve with the little pointsy-doo that falls gracefully over your hand… So lovely. The problem is that half the time something goes wrong and you end up with a sleeve that looks like it’s flipping you off – the point doesn’t follow your hand (unless you put a loop on it), it doesn’t lie smoothly, it wrinkles at the wrist… It can look so sweet, but it can go soooooo wrong. Here’s a drafting trick I picked up in a Bridal Couture class a few years back.


Pattern Cheat for Sewing Underarm Gussets Faster

An underarm gusset is a square (usually) of fabric inserted between the body and sleeve of a shirt. They give you an improved range of motion without a lot of bulk around the arm. There are examples going back to the sixteenth century. My mother remembers by great-grandmother adding them to her husband’s shirts so he wouldn’t rip the seams under the arm. Just the other day, I saw directions in Threads magazine on adding a gusset to a shirt. The problem with gussets, though, is that they’re a pain in patouty to sew. If you need to do them fast (or really really small), there’s an easy way to cheat out your pattern.


Adjusting the Basic Conic Block for an Athletic Shoulder or Curved Back

I’ve been doing some background work for a project, and I had to do up a Conic Block for Lizzle. Her body is a leeeetle bit stylized, and she’s particularly got a relatively wide shoulder and upper back (like a swimmer), and she has a distinct curve at her upper back (a swimmer who spends too much time hunched over a desk, maybe?). Anyway, here’s an adjustment to the Basic Conic Block draft for situations where the upper back is significantly larger than the back bust measurement.

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Drafting the Eleventh Century Overdress

The eleventh century outfit needs and overdress, which means I need a pattern. I want to make one based off a diagram from Kohler’s History of Costume, but the measurements are basically useless to me because my model is a doll.  Fortunately, I have a chemise-y-tunic-y pattern already, and it’s a simple matter to alter that into the overdress pattern I want.

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Drafting a Semi-Fitted Chemise from a Princess Line Pattern

What? Why would you ever possibly want to do that, missa? This is a good question, and the answer is basically, “Because you can.” That, in an of itself, is cool enough for me. I can take the pattern of my little dolly body, or the pattern I cloned off a dolly, or even a fitted princess line sloper of a human, and make a chemise. (Also, I have drafted approximately 55,237,648,119 smocks and chemises and shirts in my life, and I’m just lookin’ for ways to keep it exciting…) This isn’t unlike draping on a stand, because we’re going to make a pattern by eyeballing fit against a human form. It’s just that my human form, in this case, is in the form of flat pieces instead of a three-dimensional stand. But those pieces convey all the same critical information the stand does, and they don’t cost near as much as a decent dress form.


Drafting an Elizabethan Square Necked Chemise – No Math Required!

It sounds way too good to be true, doesn’t it? I mean, making patterns without a whole bunch of math? You can do such a thing? We’re barely even going to use measurements!  We’re going to use out Basic Conic Block, and enjoy good old fashion magic of the sloper alteration. If this sounds too modern, there’s something you need to know: the idea of describing a pattern as a series of steps and measurements is less than 150 years old.

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How to Draft Ye Olde Ren Wench Bodice

Remember a while back, I posted directions for a Basic Conic Block draft? Everyone was sort of like, wow, missa, that’s great, it explains so much, but what do I do with it? Well, a basic block is used to develop other patterns in a big bad hurry, without all that annoying measuring and math. Today, we’re going to make an ultra-generic-wenchy-ren-faire-been-there-drank-the-ale-SEEN-IT type bodice pattern.  You know the the one I’m talking about…. It won’t win you points for originality or authenticity, but it’s a fun little piece to wear.


How to Make a Circle Skirt

A lot of people seem to really like circle skirts. They look all cute and romantic on tiny elf-looking girls, and multi-circle skirts are popular with some dance troups. To me, for historical work, they always scream “sock hop!” and I avoid them even though circular hems are demonstrably correct for sixteenth century surcoats and capes. (They also eat fabric like you wouldn’t believe.) This is about the second easiest skirt pattern I can think of, though, and it’s a good trick to know.

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