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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Charting Frustration

Measurement chart = Frustration
Two measurements charts = (Frustration)2

In case you haven't guessed, I've run into a snag in drafting the first pattern block. It was coming together swimmingly (very clear instructions), until I had to form the armscye. On my draft, the location for armscye is wrong. I've double-checked my work, and it's not the drafting. Therefore it's mostly likely the measurements.

Getting accurate measurements is essential. But finding the body's landmarks is challenging, and locating imaginary locations (ie side-seams) is an exercise in self-doubt. When taking the measurements, I tried to be uber precise but it was tricky with my fingers crossed.

As I worked my way through the required measurements in The Practical Guide to Patternmaking for Fashion Designers: Menswear (aka Patternmaking: Menswear), I took comfort knowing  the book included a detailed Standard Measurement Chart in precisely the size I needed in case I messed up. 

With typical can-do! enthusiasm, my brain glossed over the fact that the Standard Measurement Chart has only 27 measurements, while the drafting chart requires 53. Alas, no one demanded a reality check and I was too full of optimism to do one.

As you've probably already guessed, I couldn't check the measurement I had taken against its counterpart in the Standard Measurement Chart because the Standard Measurement Chart didn't include it.

Annoyed with myself for not doing this sooner, I cross-checked the two charts to find out which measurements were missing. From the math, I expected they would have 27 measurements in common. By my count, they have 22 measurements in common. 

In other words, by my reckoning, the Standard Measurement Chart has 4 measurements that were not included in the drafting measuring chart. The drafting measurement chart has 31 measurements not recorded on the Standard Measurement Chart. Darn!

This made me curious. Could I draft the pattern block using the Standard Measurement Chart? 

After pondering it for awhile, I came to the sad conclusion that at this moment in time, I could not. While I can divide the full circumference measurements listed in the Standard Measurement Chart into the quarter circumference measurements required for the draft, I don't know how to extrapolate some of the others. A patternmaker with more experience most likely could, especially if they knew alternate methods of locating a body point on the paper. But I cannot. 

I'm at a roadblock. How do I proceed? Do I do my best guess? I have an idea of how to fudge it so my block draft will look more like the example (no way would the armscye work where it is presently located on my draft). I could probably correct it in the muslin/trial garment stage. Once I have the block finished and fitting properly, I won't need the measurements anymore; further patterns are developed from the block draft.

Or do I use a different drafting system to develop the block?

This is one of the flaws of self-learning. If I were in a class, with a knowledgeable teacher, the teacher would probably know how to correct my draft and deduce whether the mistake came from an erroneous measurement, a misinterpretation of the instructions, or a typo in the printed text. 

Working solo, I just have to figure it out myself. In the end, that's the best way, but man, these roadblocks are painful.

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