I promised procedural documentation as I move along, so you will get that. Let me start you out with a look at the tools on hand for copying and then grading the pattern. This is by no means a comprehensive set of pattern drafting tools, but it's actually more than I wound up using:
|Tools for making a copy of a pattern|
The sharp-eyed amongst you might have noticed that my scissors are labeled "fabric" and are clearly going to be used to cut some pretty rough paper! Don't fear, gentle readers - where my inexpensive red handled, "true left" Fiskars were once my fabric shears, I now own a very nice set of 8" true left Gingher shears.
I cut out the original pattern pieces in the largest size, as I will need to size the whole thing up significantly. The original tissues look like this:
|Tissue pattern to be copied|
|All six pattern pices copied|
|Closer view of one piece|
|Closer view of another piece|
I had one piece all the way done and another started when I began tonight. The remainder took about an hour with no interruptions, but I was a little amazed at how tough it was getting to stand over the table and do the work. I'm out of shape and out of practice!
Finally, I cut out the pieces; in doing, I also removed the seam allowance that is included in every commercial pattern tissue. I haven't the foggiest idea why the pattern companies have settled on a 5/8" allowance. It is, in fact, a rather awkward width to work with. Even as a novice I would have appreciated a less bulky, floppy, and well.... odd width. 1/2" would be a huge improvement, and when I redraw my pattern I will add 1/4" allowances. I don't need any extra as I am a skilled machine operator and the fit will be perfected ahead of time.
I took one additional step. I laid out the tissues with the copies on top, just to make sure I hadn't gone totally off or done something stupid:
|Left half (back)|
|Right half (front)|
As an additional check, I laid all the pieces edge to edge, as they would be sewn:
|the complete copied pattern|
Tomorrow night I will slash and spread the pieces to grade them to my measurements. This is a pretty big grade (3-4 sizes) and so I don't expect the fit to be perfect; I will be making a dummy to correct any problems. I am not planning to lengthen the pattern anywhere during the first fit, but I do expect length to be an issue, as well as fit at the bottom edge since the length is not at the same point on the body that are measured for size benchmarks. That's okay! That's why at least one and more likely two pattern mockups will be made.
That's all for tonight - more to follow!