Jan 31, 2011
Coming soon: Slope-along, Step-by-step!
Enter my good friend, the sloper (that's my back bodice pictured at left).
A sloper is the key to flat patternmaking — but it's also a handy thing to have around if you use commercial patterns. The basic building block from which all designs build upon, the sloper is based on numerous measurements taken either from a dressform or your own body. It's cut in thick brown paper or lightweight cardboard so you can keep it hanging in your studio or sewing room to take it down to trace every time you make a new pattern or to adjust a commercial pattern to insure a good fit. Drafted properly, a simple garment made from the sloper pattern should fit you like a glove — with darts that create a close fit around your bust and hips, and seams that fit exactly where they should.
I learned how to make slopers at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City, where I am slowly working my way toward a certificate in flat patternmaking. This week I return to the overheated halls of FIT (they have to keep the anorexics warm, I guess) for a class called "Misses' Sportswear."
We're assigned a new dressform at the start of every semester, so the process of making new slopers begins anew for me this week — which makes it a perfect time to pass along some of what I have learned there to you.
Starting next Monday (Feb. 7), I will walk you through drafting your own bodice sloper custom made to fit your body. I'll start with taking exact measurements (in more directions than you ever thought neccessary). Then we will draft the sloper on paper, cut it in muslin, adjust for proper fit, and finally cut in heavy paper or light cardboard for prosperity. The process will be blogged in a number of entries because it takes a few steps and careful attention to detail to make a good sloper. So bookmark this page and come back when you're ready. There will be lots of photos. Probably video when needed. I'll take any and all questions. And hopefully I can help you get on your way to a better fit in just a few weeks.