Saturday, August 9, 2008

balancing patterns

Here's a kind of crappy sketch to illustrate the basic principle behind balancing a pattern - the pencil represents the front bodice pattern piece and the green line represents the back bodice placed over the top.

Doing it small, without the gridded dot paper I usually use meant that thiings ended up a little out of proportion, but I think you'll get the idea. Basically you want you back to be parallel with you front, but 1/4" tp 1/2" smaller. You lay the back pattern, face down, over the front pattern, liing up the center fronts and center backs (which generally will also be the grain) as well as the waist and bust lines. Tke your shoulder lines and move them so that they are parallel with each other with the front bigger than the back, but make sure as you move them you're not changing the measurement of the armhole or neckline.
Do the same with the side seam, again, making sure youre maintaining the same total original measurement. This is sometimes easiest if you draw a line directly in between the two lines, trace it off with a tracing wheel, and then re-draw your side seams, etc, the desired distance inside or outside of that line.
Theat's the basics, more to come.

14 comments:

Carly said...

Thanks for all that Hannah. Are there rules about how much bigger the front shoulder should be? And my curiosity gets peaked when you start getting into things like shoulder darts and pleats.

hannah said...

that was my next post -- dont worry, ill cover darts, pleats, and princess seams -- but yes, the front shoulder should be about 1/2 " bigger than the back, no more. If it isnt it throws the whole sleeve off and suddenly you have a unbalanced and misshapen arm -- coincidentally i had to fix that very problem today. Also, i think i'll do a post about creating a balanced sleeve -- theyre so easy to do from the start if you have the simple formula

Carly said...

I can't wait!

Chrispy said...

Ok I understand the principle but why balance them. Is it so they lay better on the body?

Great blog. We love hiking in the goat rocks also.

hannah said...

well...besides my initial "that's how it's done and if i didn't my boss wouldn't be happy" response, it looks better, lays better on the body, and when you've spent a lot of time looking at garments, you come to expect seams to be in certain places -- if i find a skirt at a store, and when i put it on, i notice that the side seams pitch to the front at the waist, im going to assume that its a badly patterned skirt and be less likely to buy it. that said, im embarrassed that i dont have better response....carly, why did you want to learn to balance patterns?

Carly said...

I was going to try to explain in the comments but I think I will post a whole entry so I can use pictures.
Stay tuned.

frimodig said...

Huh, usually when I balance a pattern the HPS of the front and back match, the front shoulder slope drops down approx. 1/2" from the back. The front is 3/8" to 1/2" larger than the back on the quarter. I'll have to 'speriment with this technique!

hannah said...

Frimodig, you make the front smaller than the back? interesting....i learned that the front should always be bigger than the back so that when you look at the piece straight on you cannot see the seam. Also, why do you make the front slope more than the back? I often feel like the way that I learned to do things is arbitrary and wonder if there are reasons for it, or reasons for doing it differently.

Liron said...

Hannah,

I learned that the shoulder line is longer in the back. I got confirmation for this from FI. The shoulder blade requires more fabric so the back shoulder line needs to be longer and is therefor eased into the front.

http://www.fashion-incubator.com/mt/archives/lazy_pattern_making.html

hannah said...

Liron -- easing the back shoulder into the front is a technique i use on coats, but not on everything -- i had actually kind of forgotten about it, because i didnt have a context to use it, but maybe i should try it on fitted wovens like collared shirts, etc. How much do you usually ease? At the place I'm at now, we never ease more than 3/8" in any situation, but i've eased as much as 3/4" (from the knee to the crotch point on tight tight jeans) and it seemed to give some nice room for my butt.

Liron said...

Hi Hannah

When we make the block for a woven bodice , we are required to take the measurement from the back shoulder line and copy that measurement to the front shoulder line minus 1 cm (3/8").

We are in the beginning, but I know it is supposed to be done only in garments that have sleeves, because the sleeveless top will allow freedom of movement anyway so this ease is not needed.

Dana said...

I'm a bit late to this post (found you through FI) but curious about one aspect of your balancing sketch. I understand the rational for the front being wider than the back except when it comes to the neck width.

If your back neck width is narrower than your front neck width, doesn't that lead to gaping? I've always made my back neck a tiny bit wider than my front to prevent gaping and to go over the muscle. But I also like my shoulder seams to be little bit forward. Seems to anchor the shirt on the body a little better and prevent that feeling that you have to tug your shirt down in front all the time. Curious about other perspectives.

hannah said...

dana
I don't actually make my back neck width narrower than my front neck width -- my sketch is just bad. I have a hard time drawing patterns in proportion when they're 1/8th size....
Because i am draping everything, i just let the fabric lay across the form as i want it to, and don't mess with the measurements of the front and back neck width - although when I learned to flat pattern, i seem to remember something about making the back neck wider than the front to prevent gapping.
What do you mean about having to tug your shirt down? I don't think I've had this issue and I'm curous what it's from and how your shirt is moving to am improper place...
hannah

dana said...

Thanks Hannah. Draping is such an under appreciated art isn't it. Would solve a lot of bad fit if more people worked that way. Has always been my preference cause I can immediately see the result.

Glad to hear your response on the neck width. If you're draping then you wouldn't have issues with gaping or the top shifting back when worn because you've naturally added the extra length in the back to go over the shoulder blades and put the shoulder seam in position. As a former tech designer, I'd see that kind of shifting a lot because of pattern making short cuts. Little extra vertical length back armhole to front coupled with a too wide front neck, gives you a top that isn't properly anchored on the shoulder.