Do you work on a stand or cut from a pattern?

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Deb

Do you work on a stand or cut from a pattern?

Post by Deb »

Just curious - had a conversation with a friend the other day, she was having problems with a garment cut from a pattern and wanted help. I asked her if she had a tailors stand to work it out on and it had never occured to her to use one.
Personally I tend to work at least 75% of my patterns on a stand, despite the fact (for my sins) I have been trained in pattern cutting.
So for all the seamstresses here how do you work? and what do you prefer?
Even before being trained to work on the stand, it always seemed to be the right way, so much easier to see the shape and how it worked.

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Post by Gothic-Haven »

Is that Cheltenham Debs?
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Annie the Pedlar
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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

After knocking out Tudor costumes for a number of years I can now draft the pattern from people's measurements and 90% of the time there's very little if anything to alter on the toile......
but.....
I've had my first order with no bodies to try the costumes one. Ed and Marian explained the bondage method - old teeshirt on customer and run around them with duct tape (apparently they have duct tape parties in America :o ) It was a 99% sucess. The lady's bodice was 1/2 an inch too tight......
then I got asked to make a polonaise (1745ish) and I could not figure out the trainy thing at the back....
until.......
I stuck the dress on my tailor's dummy. (I had to mend it first due to buying it secondhand with broken legs.)

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Shadowcat
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Post by Shadowcat »

Both! I have a series of patterns I made at college, where I learned to drape patterns, and I use those to remember the shapes of the pieces. Ditto using the books of patterns I have. I sometimes scale up patterns from the books, but even then I make a calico toile and alter before using.

I virtually never buy commercial paper patterns except for modern clothes. I have never been taught to draught flat paterns, and don't really understand it, although I do draft tailors patterns, using a tailor's measure.

I suppose I really use whatever method suits for the garment I am doing.

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Post by House of De Clifford »

i cheat..... get mum to do it!!!!!

Mum ( cheryl aka drachelis aka shadowlight designs) just 'sees' the pattern in the cloth, measures, does some calculations in her head then starts with her tape measure and chalk... it's just amazing i don't know how she does it?!

no patterns, no dummies!!!

i remember last summer i decided to make a houpelandde( sp?) so there i was, metres of fabric in the back garden on my hands and knees, with mum passing instructions down the phone..... bl**dy nightmare... i just didn't get it!!!! so gave up in the end,

now mum cuts out my stuff and I'll graciously sew it!!!!

Although I'm sure she'll post something on this thread too

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Post by MedicKitten »

If i have a sketch, i can draft pattern pieces from it. Dont know how. just do. The only thing i WONT meddle with is bodices. I'm too much of a perfectionist, and i want it to fit just right, so i'll mock up a basic draft and fiddle...for about a month. Yes, we americans do some pretty splended things with duct tape, but the resulting dummies tend to collapse unless filled pretty tightly with rags. NOT helpful for bodices.
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Post by sally »

I tend to work out a rough pattern on paper (A4, well scribbled over) to get my layout right, then cut a little bigger than I need and fit on the body. The duct tape method is fab for tight things, used that once or twice for unusual items. I'm fairly incapable of following a commercial pattern, much happier fitting as I go along

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Claudia Aliffe
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Post by Claudia Aliffe »

I do both, and use shop bought patterns and make my own.
This is a local shop for local people...

Deb

Post by Deb »

Gabi - yes tis me

Annie - alsways wanted to make a mantua, is that similar to a polonnaise? I'm not too up on that period of history, but saw it in a fashion history lecture and fell in love with it

Don't like paper patterns, if I have to draft a pattern I tend to do it in calico (it lasts longer), taught to pattern cut, had it recommended as a career, but hate it, I would much rather work on the stand, especially for fitted garments.
Have used the gaffa tape method, had no problems with it. I actually own what my old tutor calls a scrunch dummy,a bizarre metal mesh contraption that works wonders.

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Drachelis
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Post by Drachelis »

As Miranda said - I see the pattern in the cloth, measure and cut with most things and they usually fit perfectly. I find that I use a great deal of geometric theory - my maths teacher would be rpoud that I have found a use for something I hated at school.

When I am making a new design - I will make a prototype - I research - then let it fester in my mind for a while , then cut out a pattern to fit one of my tailor's dummies (varying sizes) or if a chaps design on Ming ( whose size doesn't vary - well not really). - only difference is the dummies don't squeek when they get stabbed with pins. If it is a complicated design with loads of pleats and things it might take me a couple of goes before I have the required cutting in my head - sometimes I then cut a pattern - sometimes not. I will always put a garment on a dummy ( nearest to size) to check that everything hangs how it should and embelishments are right.

I will make to a stock size for of the peg but take innumerable measurements when doing specific made to measure commissions but use a toille when I am going to have a number of fittings. .

So really to sum up - It all depends on the grament and the requirements whether I will pin to a dummy or not.

By the way I like the duct tape idea fort a toille - I have always sewn my client into calico and then cut them out of it when making bespoke garments with a number of fittings.


Cheryl
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Jenn
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Post by Jenn »

Depends on the period
for Tudor I try to work from a toile and measurements for reference but with later stuff say ww2 I tend to work from a pattern. I'd love a dummy but I think that's just asking for trouble with a toddler in the house. I always find making women's stuff easier since any woman reagardless of size is basically a bigger or smaller version of myself. Infact one of he first doublets I ever made I gave the poor man a bust as I more or less fitted it on myself

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Post by kate/bob »

If I had a dummy I would use it - that would stop me having to spend ages with fiddling around fitting calico pattern pieces cut from not very well fitting patterns.

My husband found a new found appreciation for my mother when she fitted the pattern for his gown, as she did so much quicker than I could and he was melting inside his doublet!

Making patterns is a real art and I wish I was better at it!

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Post by frances »

I am always astonished at the amount of maths I do when cutting out a pattern. Keeps the ole' grey cells moving I suppose.

What I really enjoy the most is buying something old and tatty from a costume sale, and then turning it into something that is superb. That is such a good feeling, all that recycling. I am not fond of cutting out from scratch - all that kneeling on the floor and losing the scissors under the pattern, and then the cat comes and sits in the middle of where I am about to work. And I never have enough fabric so spend ages working out how to use what I have to the best advantage.

I also love shopping. Did that yesterday in Oxford Street. Even boning and corset laces are fun to buy, I find.

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Post by Drachelis »

I - know what you mean about cutting out, Frances - I have two trestle tables put together with an 'oilcloth' over it in my cutting room - kneeling is beyond me now ( once I get down I can't get up) but I am always losing the scissors and the tape measures - I have multiples dotted about - another thing I lose is tailor's chalk.
Cats and cutting out ? Cobweb can be sound alseep but within 5 seconds of opening the cutting room door he is there - my own medieval tailor's assistant - - I usually have to throw him out and then there are the pathetic little paws under the door and the miaows - and when I do open the door he is lying right across the doorway with a reproachful look. Miko likes the room but usually only because Cobweb is in there - he's leading her astray.


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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

I cut out on the floor. I love the one I have now. It's wooden parquet. But like Frances I'm always loosing the scissors and have been known to chop my tape measure in half (it was lying under the fabric..

Deb

Post by Deb »

Glad I'm not the only one that hates cutting out - I have to cut out during the day, daren't do it in the evening, during the day only the dog is in and he either hides on his bed or runs for the garden.
During the evening first the owl causes havoc - tried cutting a new kirtle for myself one evening and she not only sat in the middle she started scrunching the fabric in her talons and she's nowhere near as compliant as the pooch. She also loves braid and if she spots any she dive bombs, grabs it and refuses on pain of sharp beak to give it back.
Tape measures have turned into a treasure hunt here, the owl loves them as much as braid and to add to the fun my darling partner surprised me at xmas by buying me a pair of rats - so owl goes back to aviary and rats come out for a couple of hours, they've eaten through 3 tape measures so far -AAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH. still it means I have to make sure things are put away so I don't lose as many things

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Post by Shadowcat »

Ah, cats! I have a cutting table, made from half a commercial cutting table, which swings up and fastens to the wall when I am not using it. But, and it's a big butt, (she's a bigggg cat) Shadow likes to sit on it because the warm air from the radiator comes up at the back. Also, her favourite fabrics? Linen, silk, velvet.........., but at least all she does is sleep, not knead or scrabble.

She makes it very difficult to cut large quantities of fabric though, as she gives me dirty looks when I try to unroll a length of wool for example. My husband says I spoil her - nobody here thinks that I do, do they?

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Post by Drachelis »

Of course you don't spoil her - cats were once worshipped as Gods and they have never forgotten - you are only doing what she expects. :D

Question : why do white cat moult far more than dark ones? I have had to discard fabric ( well for commercial use) because I caught Miko on it - very pretty white fur all over dark red velvet!!!


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Post by frances »

Dear Annie,

I larffed so much that tears came into my eyes. hehehe

I was cutting something on my lap, and accidently cut into the loose trousers I was wearing. My favourite pair too.

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Post by mally ley »

I use a mixture of methods.
Men's hose are easiest started with a good set of measurements, maths, and a large piece of paper. So are sleeves for that matter - there's something very satisfying about drafting sleeves - honest :lol:
shirts/shifts/smocks are done by eye - well, I might measure the neck if it's a stand-up frilled collar year ...
half kirtles, petticoats again by eye
bodies/bodices/corsets/etc on the body using a toile
I do have a dummy but as it is home to a collection of scarves, necklaces and hats it only gets used, if at all, for levelling skirts.

as for modern commercial patterns, I'm not a standard shape (especially for trousers) so having cut out a commercial pattern I then put it on and start repinning!

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Post by Lady Jane »

Hello to all fellow costume makers. I use some commercial patterns for customers and modify them, because here in Oz the folks couldn't afford me if I drafted from measurements from scratch. When no adequate pattern or parts need more period correct construction I have been using my college texts more often (Hunnisett and Arnold). My hubby built a 10 foot x 4 foot cutting table across one end of the sewing room for me, with 2 drawer filing cabinets under. I cover that with self healing cutting mats and use rotary cutters (like quilters use) for most cutting out. I can whiz around now without rulers, it's really great for multiple layers and it really is kinder to arthritic hands than scissors. I've never cut through my clothes accidently :lol: but did chop my favourite tape measure up once. My cat loves sitting in the middle of everything too, she knows that is where my attention is directed. She has been known to sleep all night on a white gown in the past, but now I know to roll work up and hide it. Her party trick is to remove glass headed pins one by one with her mouth from the garments, so I have to hide the pin tray too. :roll: My best friend is my tailors dummy, I put on padding where needed for each figure. I always start with underpinnings first on the stand, then skirt and bodice. So far not too many disasters in fitting, but don't sew for me very often as too difficult to fit yourself and I hate to think how much padding would be needed to shape the dummy like me!

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Post by Drachelis »

Hi Lady Jane,

My cat is just the same with glass headed pins - he just loves to pull them out of the pin cushion too - sometimes put pins into the arms of the sofa when sewing and if I am not careful he will pull one out and run away with it. I once came down one morning to find all the pins pulled out of the cushion all scatered on the floor. I tend to hide it now.


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Post by Annie the Pedlar »

Talking of arthritic hands....how many of us have them ? Or aching wrists and fingers?
I've just bought myself a new pair of cutting out scissors. They have a spring back open action and one handle is a straight line instead of having a hole in it ....... and they are bliss to use. :D

I also use rotary cutters but must get myself a bigger mat, I have a tendency to zoom off the end of the mat (its visually concealed by the fabric for those who haven't tried it) and slice up my floor. :?

Deb

Post by Deb »

That's a definite yes to aching wrists and fingers and if working on padding aching everything, I think it's our version of RSI.
Annie are the scissors Fiskars, cos they make wonderful spring loaded ones, in fact since college Fiskars are the only make I use

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Post by Shadowcat »

When you break the spring on your spring loaded scissors, and you will, believe me, send Fiskars an e-mail. They will very kindly send you a new spring (or few). They said to me that the spring will eventually break if the scissors are used as frequently as professional people need to.

I have arthritis, RSI and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. Do I get a bonus mark for all three?

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Post by Lady Jane »

Hi Annie. Lately I've had more trouble with my neck actually. Over 30 years of sewing till the wee hours in bad positions has caused arthritis in the neck which in turn effects the shoulders and hands (tingling, numbness and general achiness). I've tried raising and lowering chairs, adjusting sewing positions, all work for a little while then fail. Now I just take a couple of paracetamol when I need to meet a deadline and sew till I drop. Some days it takes several hours before the pain kicks in, other days about 30 minutes. Some days I can't sew much at all. Luckily I don't need to make my living sewing, I have real empathy for those who do and suffer arthritis and other tortures. Has anyone else found a good remedy? A total body transplant is not practical :wink: and I'm too young to retire from the sewing machine yet. :lol:

Deb

Post by Deb »

Lady Jane
I strained my hand , wrist, arm and neck finishing an akheton last year , tried ibuprofen gel it helped, but a friend recommended comfrey oil and it worked wonders, always keep a bottle handy now.

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Drachelis
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Post by Drachelis »

Yes - as my deafeated thread - I have tendonitis n my right hand thumb joint ( I am left handed) and pain in all my knuckle joints and wrists. I also get bad apin just between and above my shoulder blades and top of my chest if I am hunched over work.

I would imagine that it is an occupational hazzard seeing that we are al complaining about it.

Hey those scissors - I have a pair too they save the red marks at the top of the base of the thumb and they cut through most layers. I do find that the left handed scissors I have cut more layers but spring loaded is great for most uses.

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Post by Lady Jane »

Hi all. I wish I could show this thread to my physio, she seems to think I must be doing something terribly wrong to have all my aches and pains, but I know if I can avoid sewing for a week or so I don't get pain. We've had a very hot summer here in Oz and the air con doesn't quite reach to the sewing room so I couldn't sew so much- had a pretty pain-free time. Now I'm sewing for an historic house for an Open day in 2 weeks, as usual left it till the last few weeks so will have to sew pretty well full steam ahead. Not looking forward to it, have massage oil, heated wheat bag etc. all lined up ready for use on the neck. I'm even starting to find standing up to cut out a bit painful in the back area, so I find myself spending more time making fabulous looking patterns just so I can sit down ! By the way, I cut them in a non-woven material called Easy Trace which is ironable,translucent and does not tear easily, a bit like lightweight interlining. It also sticks with static electricity quite nicely to the fabric with only a few pins needed, much to puss's disgust.

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Post by MedicKitten »

I actually have a suggestion for all you carpal tunnel people. Believe it or not, most of the damage is done from the way you place your hands when you sleep. (thus says the hand surgeon i asked at work) SHE says that you should go to a drugstore/chemists and get a soft brace for your wrists to wear when you sleep so you wont curl your hands inwards. That allows the tendons to rest, and the tunnels to reduce their inflamation. Worth a shot, no?
Ita erat quando hic adveni.

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