Saturday, November 29, 2008
Me and Mrs. Stylebook
I spent more than a week staring at the technical drawings in Mrs. Stylebook summer/2008 issue. Understanding dawned slowly, epiphanies occurred while washing dishes. This was my kind of puzzle! In the time it took me to look and look again at the book, along with the time I planted myself at Kinokuniya (thank you Bear called Owl!) trying to absorb information from Japanese sewing books and magazines, I formed some conclusions for myself about sewing from these sources:
1. It became obvious after a while that much of what I was attracted to had more to do with the photography and design of the magazine. I am convinced there isn't a whole lot to a shirt or a jacket when you get past the front, back and sleeves. These models are shown well lit and are not folded over on themselves. The garment details are clearly visible. The technical drawings are excellent. You can see in a pants pattern drafted from the pants sloper that they will sit below the waist or have wider legs and you'll know by how much. This is really useful information.
2. Some garments may not translate to more baroque proportions but that's an ever present challenge when evaluating garment designs.
The thing that intrigued me with the Mrs.Stylebook designs is that you draft a pattern from a sloper in your size. I found the Stylebook sloper on the intertubes, but having drafted a sloper from my personal measurements, I wasn't interested the least in duplicating that work. I wanted to see whether I could use the diagram instructions, modifying my sloper to come up with a pattern that would fit me. The answer was a resounding YES! With some caveats.
First of all, I selected a pattern that posed no challenges. I made a muslin. For the heck of it, I added pockets (and placed them poorly too) following the draft instructions from a dress pattern in the same issue. On the left side is my sloper or moulage. I made it using Kenneth King's excellent CD-book instructions. The innermost line is the actual sloper. The next and outermost lines have the ease added for dresses/blouses, jackets/coats respectively.
Next to the sloper is the pattern from the Stylebook diagrams with the red line to show where I started with my sloper, no ease added.
The sleeve is drafted using front and back armhole measurements after the front and back bodice draft are done. In this issue, there is a tiny diagram (page 202) that demonstrates how to do this. I can add that I spent some hours also looking up translations for kanji and katakana but__it's too late for that, they're too tiny and complicated for me to see the differences between them. Fortunately, Roman letters are included in these technical drawings as well as graphic symbols that tell you where different pieces are to meet up, what are notches and dots on paper patterns.
The caveat is this: I added the amounts indicated for hems. I'm 5' 4 1/2", it was not enough. Next time I'll add length by comparing where the sleeve ends on the model's arm and measuring on my sloper. I finished the hem and sleeve edges with the serger. I only put three buttons on the thing but the collar and neck band actually fit. It's good enough for studio duty.
Oh, and I got confused with what I added for the back hem and didn't add anything at all, so had to cut a strip to add to the back and made it fit the width by putting some little pleats in the middle (beats measuring). This wasn't part of the pattern design.
Ready for work!