Following our recent adventures with plastic food wrap I wanted to test the outcome.
My fitting buddy Pia suggested I draw round the pattern, including the darts, and then make a fabric toile. She also advised a CF zip so it was easy to put on.
The moulding process produces a full pattern – in other words there is a left and right front, and a left and right back. This really allows you to create a perfect fit for your own asymmetric body. But after I traced them off I decided I wanted to look symmetrical, so I chose my better half. Funnily enough this was my left front and right back (that is the same side of my body – my non-dominant side. It is also the one without the shoulder injury. The differences were fairly slight but evident.
I used my pattern cutting tools – set square, neck and hip curves, to create a nice clean line. I added 1cm seam allowances at the shoulder and side seam.
I then cut the pattern on the fold, stitched up and pressed the darts, inserted a separating zip at the CF and sewed the front to the back. It’s early in the morning, and I have my Jammies on. But you can tell I am pleased with the result. Very pleased actually. It is so exciting. It fits massively better than flat pattern drafting and with no additional stages of iteration – back and forth – between paper and fabric. It fitted perfectly first time. I owe most of the success to Pia who knew what she was doing, but this is amazing. The shoulder and the armhole – areas that troubled me with the flat pattern cutting, have come out close to perfect. The waist line, and bust point, are exactly where they should be.
Let’s see how the back came out. Pretty neat, eh? Obviously the whole thing is tight as there is no ease in the block. But I can move and breathe. Overall I am delighted at the outcome. Pia suggested grading the toile up one size before using it to draft patterns. I am not sure what I am going to do next with it. I am tempted to make some T shirts with this skinny little pattern using fabric that stretches.
Two questions I know you will have – firstly how does it compare with the traditionally drafted bodice? As you can see the “close fitting” bodice from Winifred Aldrich is considerably larger than the wrapped bodice block. Obviously the dart positions are not quite the same – the card block has the bust dart coming from the neckline, whereas the draped block has it at the side seam. With both the front and back the armhole depth is lower in the wrapped bodice, and the waist line much more shaped (coming up more at the CF). The neckline is very similar. What this goes to show I think is that the draped bodice is a better and more realistic fit as it doesn’t depend on convention or measurements at all.
And secondly – could you use this technique for making a trouser block?
When we started the process I asked Pia if she had used this technique before. “Only on my head to make a hood” she replied. So if Pia can drape her head I am pretty sure it is possible to use the cling film method to wrap any body part you choose. Two readers have asked if you can use it to drape your lower half, in the hope that it will lead to the perfect pair of trousers. I am sure it will although it will produce something like a legging pattern I guess. You would have to create the trousers from here. But it would produce good pants (in the English sense of the word).
I would like to give the arms (sleeve) and legs a try. If some London sewists want to give it a go let me know below.