Dissection: Make Your Pattern True
Last time we went over how to knock off a pattern from an existing piece of clothing. Now we'll clean up the pattern and make it usable.
There's a term we use in patterning called "truing". It means cleaning up the lines, making sure that seams match up (like side seams and shoulders) and writing down any information on how to use the pattern. In short, we're making the pattern stay true to the original.
If I use a pattern right after making it, the information is fresh in my mind and I don't need to remember much. If I know I'll be using the pattern again later, I will write myself notes so I don't forget how the pieces went together. If I plan on keeping the pattern for a long time and will re-use it, even more information needs to be written down. If the pattern will be used by someone else, I use pattern standards that the other person will understand. There are pattern making standards for theatrical and opera costumes, for fashion, for commercial patterns and for manufacturing. Naturally, they're all different. Many people are convinced there is only one way, which is their way, which is the right way, and it's different from the "right" way I ran into in the last 4 places I worked. People are like that. Smile, nod and learn as much as you can.
There really isn't one "right" way to create a pattern. There are many right ways. It depends on how the pattern will be used, who will use it and the purpose of the final product. But you don't need to learn all the right ways. Here is a method that fashion, theatrical costume, crafts and commercial pattern people will all recognize. They may say it's wrong, but they'll still understand it. So will you.
Seam allowances, by the way, are the extra bits added to a pattern so you can sew them together. They are the amount allowed for your seams. I took out the side seams and all the hemming when I started this project, so it was easy to use the original seam allowances by just tracing around the pieces. If you don't want to add seam allowance, label your pattern with NSA (which is shorthand for No Seam Allowance).
There are endless arguments about how much to allow and what makes for a correct seam allowance. Fashion people say one thing, costume people say another, and commercial patterns say yet another thing. Pay no attention. A correct seam allowance is the amount you need to use. Everything else is bickering.
Congratulations! You've now patterned a back. We'll tackle the front next time.
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A. Laura Brody
I re*make mobility devices and materials and give them new lives. Sometimes I staple drape.