Measure Twice – Cut Once: Importance of Measuring

I am currently enrolled in a class for a patternmaking certificate, and our most recent charge was to create a basic bodice. This is done at the beginning of each of the three pattern drafting classes, and I think it's finally getting hammered into my thick head. Sort of.

These girls can make or break a design.

Here is my front basic bodice draft. 

The basic bodice is the building block for tops, dresses, even blazers, and from it you can evolve any number of fashion designs to create patterns for sewing women's clothes. But that basic bodice has to be exactly right, or it will all go terribly wrong.

Draping a pattern is an artistic endeavor. Drafting a pattern is not.

When you drape, where you actually create the pattern on the dress form, you are working with fabric to shape and mold it to the mannequin. It's pretty easy to feel creative, even when draping a basic bodice. Drafting, however, is just what it sounds like-all  numbers and letters and rulers and lines, and most of all, measurements.

We started out our first week of class by picking our girl, i.e. choosing the dress form. Each form has a number and that numbered form is my best girlfriend for the semester. She can make or break a design.

Once chosen, her measurements must be taken, which goes far beyond the standard bust-waist-hips to include obscure dimensions like the length from the high point shoulder to the apex. That's where it all went wrong for me.

Having taken my measurements at school and planning on doing my drafting at home, not having the correct measurement is a deal breaker. Somehow, my two measurements across the chest–one across the bust and one just above it–were in the wrong proportion to one another and that threw off the whole bodice.

It brought my homework project to a screeching halt until I could get back to my girl and re-measure. That would never happen in draping–I would just pinch here and release there and it would all magically fit. I'm not saying that one way of designing  is better than the other. I'm just saying that in flat pattern drafting, accurate measurements really, really count.

For tons of uniquely designed patterns for sewing women's clothing check out the Stitch back issues in the Sew Daily Shop.

Happy stitching!















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About Amber

Amber Eden is the editor of Stitch and She LOVES sewing and editing Stitch and She also loves dance, yoga, iced decaf triple espressos, and her two golden retrievers. She divides her time between Boston and New York.