Several years back, friend and historic clothing guru Ericka handed me a red folder. "Try this sometime. I think you're up for it."
Inside, I found a copy of the long out-of-print Hecklinger's Ladies garments
"How to Cut and Make Up Ladies' Garments" from February 1886.
Now, I have some patterns I have used from my Prairie job for myself and others, so just why is it I need to draft patterns? Education, edification, expanding the mind... or maybe I'm just nuts.
So the folder has waited on my shelf until I'm silly enough to try it.
Which was this week.
So, the next blogs that are on this subject (until I a) finish something, b) lose heart, or c) get distracted and do something else) will detail some of my exploits in learning to draft a pattern to measure.
To start, I took the measurements required. The chart given shows where to measure, assigning letters to keep them straight. Have no fear, my friends, they will never refer to those letters in the text, as far as I have discovered, and actually use those letters in drafting in completely unrelated places. Lesson one, learned.
I thought I would draft out the pattern to my own measurements, adjusting the numbers given in the text for their "sample". That got very very confusing. Lesson two, learned.
Lesson two-and-a-half (on the same paper as the first attempt) included not using precise tools or smooth, clean paper. A tape measure does not equal a straightedge. Lesson two-and-a-half, learned.
I started over, drafting out the pattern to the (much not the same as mine) sample measurements, making it pretty much match the illustration in the book. I used large sheets of blank newsprint from when we moved, paper that has been rolled up by the gross of sheets in the garage. Perfect for the task. I spread out on my cleaned-off sewing table with my cutting pad under the paper, taped the edges down, and began, using my quilting tools to draw straight lines. The sample draft came out perfectly! Excitement!
See? Easy as this! (Please note the letters, which, as I mentioned earlier, do not correspond with the measurement points given, except for "O".)
So I set the tiny sample aside. No, kids, my waist is not what the sample waist was. I took my own measurements and wrote them down next to the corresponding measurements given in the sample. (I had previously done this and recorded them as given on the measurement chart, only to find myself totally confused by the letters given -- see Lesson One.)
I started, got partway through, thought "This looks odd" and tried to make corrections and succeeded in making a giant mess, where I should have just worked my way through to the end. Lesson three, solidly learned.
So I started over, following the instructions, and achieved something that looks roughly like the one in the book, only bigger, with different proportions and not as much by way of darts. Hmmm. Photos will follow. I traced the pieces onto interfacing to cut out, so as not to harm my original piece of artwork (See, I didn't even HAVE to learn that the hard way!) and chose to be finished so I could go to bed at a reasonable time. Work tomorrow and all, you know...
I'll take photos of my completed drafts and include them later, but I have to keep you hanging for something. More to come...