|A draft-at-home blouse pattern like the one's available in my etsy shop.|
This question is referring to the draft at home patterns that use a ruler to scale a tiny pattern up to a full sized one, similar to the Lutterloh system.
This is a concept much easier to explain with pictures so should you decide to try one of these patterns, to make your lives easier I have put together a tutorial for you.
What you will need:
Your bust measurement,
Paper ( I use a roll of tracing paper that is 36" wide),
A thumb tack or push pin,
A small piece of cardboard,
A ruler or yardstick,
A French curve will also come in handy but isn't a requirement.
First you'll want to print out everything. You should have your pattern and your measuring bands printed and ready to go. (Make sure that you print your measuring bands at 100% scale.) Once you've taped your measuring band pages together, you need to choose the measuring band that is closest to your bust measurement. If you're working with a tap pants pattern, use your waist measurement.
These patterns come from a 1930's French system so it uses centimeters. (Here is a link to an easy conversion calculator.)
For this example I'm using my bust measurement, which is about 36" and I have chosen to use the largest size closest to that, 92 cm. If you're off by a fraction, round up to the nearest size.
Once you've chosen your measuring band, cut it out. Make sure that you cut close to the edge of the outer lines of the band. This will help make your pattern as accurate as possible later.
|The end of my measuring band, trimmed close to the edge on the size I plan on using.|
Next tape your piece of cardboard to the edge of your table, making sure you have plenty of room on both sides for you to draft later. Think about how large your pattern pieces might be once full-sized and take that into account.
|The piece of cardboard, about 2" square, is used to stick your push pin into, so you don't ruin your table.|
Next you'll want to position your paper at the edge of your table, just over the cardboard piece. Then place your printed pattern centered over your cardboard. Tape it in place and use something like tape or weights to keep your drafting paper from moving round as you work.
Next you need to pin your ruler to your pattern. Start by finding the small cross on the pattern piece closest to your drafting paper.
Now the ruler is free to swivel on the pin in any direction and you're ready to start drawing.
Grab your pencil and starting at one end of the pattern, find the first number given on the design. You can see above that the first number on the left is 27. Line up the edge of your ruler with the line above your number and then find the matching number on your ruler.
Make your mark on your paper and then move on to the next number. The X's marked are the main corners and edges of the patterns. The O's usually indicate the edge of a curve. If you find a number like 32 1/2, just estimate where it would be as there are no fractions given on the bands.
Keep moving along and mark off each number until you have a bunch of dots that roughly outline the pattern shape.
Now you get to play connect-the-dots! Using your ruler or french curve, just outline the curved and straight lines until you have a full sized fully drafted pattern piece.
|The dots that outline my pattern edges, before they are connected.|
|A French curve comes in handy for drawing a smooth line along the curves of armholes and waistlines.|
|The full sized pattern piece after the dots have been connected.|
Now all that's left to do is add the seam allowance. Seam allowances are usually not included in these patterns and this one is no exception. To add seam allowances quickly, I use my handy ruler tool from Fabric. com.
|Photo from Fabric.com|
I swear, this is the best $0.35 I have ever spent!
Repeat the same process for each pattern piece, using a new piece of paper each time to draft your pattern onto. Make sure that as you draft each new pattern piece, your desired pattern piece is on the same side as your drafting paper.
Things to remember:
- Your pattern pieces may need to be lengthened to your height requirements. For instance, trouser and skirt pattern pieces might look a bit short until you lengthen them.
- These patterns don't have sewing instructions and were intended for at least intermediate level sewers. However, the pattern pieces are usually laid out in their boxes in relation to how they're to be put together.
- These patterns also don't usually include things like facings and pocket pieces. It was assumed that the average seamstress knew how to draft these things on her own. Here is a quick and easy tutorial by Colette Patterns on drafting a facing.
- Though this system can be pretty accurate, there are sometimes discrepancies in vintage patterns. There is also human error to take into account. Always make a muslin of these patterns before using your intended fabric to make sure the fit is right.
- I highly recommend using tracing paper to draft these patterns. Once your pieces are drafted, it's easy to lay them out over each other and get an idea of how seams will fit together. (FYI, I buy my tracing paper by the roll here.)
- You can find all of our draft-at-home patterns and measuring bands at Mrs. Depew Vintage.