Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Drafting and ease

Beangirl posed a very interesting question in a comment on my previous post.

"OK, I have a question about the patterns in the Aldrich.... do you find her suggested ease good? I'm meaning on the clothing patterns, where she adds xx cm to each measurement. I was just wondering if you go with these (or similar for your own designs) or if you have a different set that you prefer (and is that more or less ease)."

Now ease is a concept vital to the production of good patterns, and one which can drive you nuts in bought patterns. So for you Beangirl, and anyone else interested in My Favourite Book
I did some as-accurate-as-I-could-manage measuring of Isabella, who I use for a size 2 model. By happy coincidence she was accurately weighed and had her height measured at a paediatric appointment yesterday. So, here goes. (All measurements in centimetres, apart from weight obviously)

.......................Aldrich......... Isabella

Height ...............86................. 82.7

Weight......... 11-12kg ..........13.45kg

Chest ................52.................. 51

Waist ................49.................. 53

Hip ....................52................. 59

A couple of things to note - Isabella wears cloth nappies, so her hip measurement is considerably bigger than the one given in Aldrich. She was weighed dressed apart from coat and shoes, so that measurement is a little high. Her tummy was hard to measure because she was giggling and probably poking it out. She is quite round though, so I think my measurement is pretty accurate.

I would expect that a block drafted from the measurements given in the charts in Aldrich would fit Isabella pretty well, possibly being a little snug over the bum if insuffficient ease is allowed. It should be a little bit too big (which will allow growing room).

And that is exactly what I've found, except that there is enough room for her bulky nappy, so there is enough ease allowed.

As an illustration, here's a dress design I'm currently working on. (Toile #1 of probably at least 2 or 3) This design will be altered before I actually make one to be worn, but the fit is the point, so here we go. Very little has been done to alter the fit from the block, so this is a good example to show.

This is drafted from the flat (woven) blody block for a size 86. I turned it into a raglan block using the tracksuit adaptation from her menswear book (oh how I LOVE having a small library of drafting books!) and added flare to the lower section by slashing and spreading in wedges - there is no change to the edge which is seamed to the gathered yoke. The yoke has been slashed and spread to create the gathers, but there is no extra ease added there either. The sleeves were straightened from armhole to cuff as there will be an elastic casing at the cuff. I've folded them up more than the 3cm allowed hem so her hands peek out, so you can see there's growing and moving room there. The skirt has been drafted to be knee length, but I haven't folded up the 3cm hem allowed here. It will be just below her knees - where I'd expect for her height.

So where does that get us? I can only speak from my experience of course, but I find her blocks to be really good. I like the ease allowances given (some blocks give you the option of closer or easier fitting too). The garments I've drafted to fit Isabella fit her as I expect - nicely, with room to move and grow, but they don't swamp her. I could rave on and on for weeks about everything I love about drafting with this book, but I'll stop here with the hope that it has (rather long-windedly) answered your query. If you (or anyone else - I could blather on about drafting and fit forever!) has any other questions, fire away!


  1. Awesome! I love having my own personal pattern-fitting slave--- I mean, kind-hearted internet buddy to provide so much good info. I am very very excited about starting to draft my blocks for the kids. I'm torn between drafting a standard block or custom fitting them. The only disadvantage to that is that I will have to give up my ideas of making clothes they can both, at some point, wear. I don't know why I cling to this dream, it's very unrealistic. So I think for TLo's summer wardrobe, I will start to draft for her specifically. Ooooo, so fun!!!

  2. Reading your posts has had me drooling over those books. I don't know if I can resist much longer...

  3. Hmmm. I have had major problems with her ease measurements - but it could well be me! I shall go back to the flat body block section and see if I've been misunderstanding it.