Friday, January 10, 2014

Drafting a Basic Bodice, Taking Measurements

My first experience with pattern drafting was when I was 15 years old and I drafted a pair of pants. I actually thought that since I was drafting the pants from my body measurements, they would fit perfectly without any fitting. They did not and I was very upset. Being 15 and not knowing any better, I thought that I had somehow made a mistake. Maybe I did make a few mistakes, but ultimately great fit is achieved through fitting. So as we go through this process, please keep my 15 year old experience in mind and try and be a little patient with the process and yourself.  
Below is my chart for taking measurements. As I drew this out, it occurred to me that it might be a great help to see me take my measurements. Let me know if this is something you would like to see and I will be happy to do so.
Front Bodice Measurements

1. Neck: Measure around your entire neckline at the base of your neck.
2. Shoulder To Bustpoint: Measure from the base of the neck at your shoulder to your bustpoint. Be sure to wear a well fitting bra while taking your measurements.
3. High Bust: Measure above bust from base of arm to base of arm.
4. Bustpoint to bustpoint.
5. Full bust measurement: Measure around fullest point of bust.
6. Shoulder to Waistline: Measure from base of neck at shoulder to bustpoint, then continue to wasitline.
7. Full Waist Measurement: To find your waist, place your hands on your hips and bend to the side. Where you bend is your waistline. Measure around body.
8. Hip Length: Measure from waistline to fullest area of hips.
9. Full Hip Measurement: Measure around hips at fullest point.
Back Bodice Measurements
1. Shoulder to Shoulder: Measure from shoulder point to shoulder point across back.  
2. Across Back: This measurement is taken across the back from the base of the arm to the base of the arm.
3. Center Back Length: Measure from base of neckline to waist.   

Tomorrow we will begin drafting a basic bodice top.

Tools for Drafting;
1.I cannot live without a 2" wide clear ruler. They are 18" in length. The ruler pictured below is my absolute favorite. I have quite a few.

2. A French Curve. A great little tool that everyone should have. A basic one is fine. They can usually be found at art supply stores.

3. Hip Curve. You can get by without a hip curve, but I believe that if you are going to do any amount of drafting, it is a tool that is well worth the investment. Mine is metal and is exactly like the one pictured below. Here is a link for ordering one of your own, http://www.amazon.com/Designer-Curve-Ruler-Aluminum-Construction/dp/B000V808HG/ref=sr_1_2?s=arts-crafts&ie=UTF8&qid=1389370547&sr=1-2

4. Drafting paper. When I was in school, it was recommended that we work with brown paper. I happened upon a roll of white paper at an office supply store and  loved it because I see through the paper and easily trace lines. I have never gone back to using brown paper.

I hope this will be a fun and interesting process for everyone. As I said yesterday, it's something that I really enjoy so I know I'll have a good time!!!

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  1. Thank you for posting this. Please continue with this series. I struggle so much with drafting and pattern adjustments--sometimes becoming overwhelmed with books and online tutorials. Hopefully I can get over this hurdle. :)

    1. I'm planning to work through the bodice, sleeve, skirt and pant.

  2. Looking forward to this series. I really enjoy seeing the different ways drafting is done to basically arrive at the same place. It helps to understand the concepts or ideas better and in turn I can figure out things once I know the goal or ending.

  3. YIPPEE! I love to learn, learn, learn. Would love to see you measure yourself. For one thing: HOW can you do that????
    Hugs, Joy

  4. Rhonda, this sounds fun. Getting my measurements done today!

  5. Having had to grade some patterns recently this is really useful. Thanks

  6. How fun! One question that came up when I was talking with a sewing friend: how snugly do you hold the tape measure when you take measurements? I've been taught to take measurements with a snug fit (not deathly tight but not loose), as ease will be added later. I'm curious about your thoughts on this.

    1. Hi Jean, I am going to do a post on taking measurements using myself as the guinea pig :) I do not take tight measurements. I like to have a bit of room to work with. If I want a tighter fit, I can make adjustments while fitting. I'm planning to do the measurement taking post on Monday.

  7. One of my goals for the year is to work on bodice fitting/drafting. So, many thanks for this! One question about the measurements: I've never been clear on what exactly is meant by the base of the arm or how to find the right place to measure from. Can you explain or demonstrate?

    1. Hi Clio, I am going to do a post on taking measurements, so I should be able to answer your question. Look for the measurement post on Monday.

  8. Thanks so very much for this series! I just recently become obsessed with learning pattern drafting and draping.

  9. Rhonda this series sounds great and so timely.
    I could not wait until Monday so I asked DH to take my measurements in order to trace the pattern this afternoon.
    Many thnks.

  10. i am a beginner and I am loving this series