Pattern Drafting Failure
Her voice comes into my head now, when I realise I haven't used it and now the hundreds of hours of pattern cutting knowledge I'd once accumulated seem to have fallen out of my head while writing my book and madly English paper piecing everything in sight. I can now see there would have been real merit in taking some time out from those things occasionally to do some maintenance pattern drafting, but I'd thought it would be like riding a bike. It's come as a shock to find my bike feels so rusty I can barely turn the pedals, and that as I've stood with my old tools to hand - french curve, tracing wheel, flexible ruler - it's taken me a while to remember even the basic principle of drawing a vertical line to denote the centre front or centre back of my pattern.
I recently bought a jumpsuit (this is only my second jumpsuit, but I think if you find a nice one, they're such good things I can imagine never wanting to wear anything else again), but I knew even before I wore it that they'd used the wrong kind of jersey with no stretch recovery, and that it would seat horribly. And it does.
You might question why I've kept it if I could see the fault before wearing it, but there are three reasons: before sitting, it's basically the best jumpsuit I think I'm ever likely to find in terms of fit; I can wear it judiciously on days when I will mainly be standing up or am with good friends who tell me how great it looks from the front and accept my wish to move through their house with my back to the wall, but also subsequently of the sight of my behind when I stop bothering to use the 'wall cover method of movement' after a few glasses of wine (this one has already happened and I had a thoroughly lovely time wearing it); finally, because I want to use it as a basis for recreating the pattern so that I could make many more versions. It's actually the third reason that was the deciding factor in keeping it.
Rubbing off the patterns from garments already in my wardrobe used to be something I could do with relative ease, so it's come as a shock to find myself struggling with this now. The trouser part of the jumpsuit was fairly plain-sailing after various forgotten drafting principles had slowly come back to me, the arms too, but the bodice has proven to be something of a disaster and has sat on my cutting table threatening to be abandoned entirely. But I so don't want it to be, because it would be so good to have a version to wear on sitting-down days, which in truth are far more a part of my life than standing up days.
Just in case there are any dressmakers out there who can help, here's my problem: when I rub off a pattern like this, I end up with a completely dartless bodice block. I transfer the points were any sewn darts sit and then study the inside of the original garment to work out how big they should be. The darts in this garment are quite big - totalling 4" each along the side seams and 2" each at the waist, and although I'm finding it easy enough to put one dart into my dartless block, two is presenting something of a nightmare for me as it then upsets with the line of the first dart. I think I could fudge this if the darts were smaller, but they're massive and refuse to be fudged. If anyone has come across a tutorial for putting both a waist and bust dart into a dartless block, I'd be eternally grateful if you could tell me where, as I can only find one or the other.
My only other option seems to be to take the jumpsuit apart and then literally trace the pattern pieces off (literally is in italics as my sister always teases me when I use this word, so it delights me to highlight it for her, even though she may not read this far as she prefers non-technical posts), but I'm loathe to do this as I don't want to take a perfectly good-but-with-saggy-bottom garment apart and risk it not going back together again quite as perfectly.
It feels like I'm ending this post on with a depressingly unexciting dressmaking cliffhanger and I can't think of a way to dressing it up as anything more, so I'll just sidle away from this blog post, back against the wall style...