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#19 Mark

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 01:23 PM

point 15 in the draft is not on the vertical line squared down from 12.
It states that point 15 is 1/2" from point 12 but places 15 closer to the CB- kind of in mid air- so maybe it is 1/2"down from 12 and also 1/2" in which would reduce the back neck size.

I agree that its really complicated and it doesn't have to be.


Placing point 15, "1/2" from 12", caused me pause. I decided that rather than on a square I should take the measure on the sweep, and that course put it right about where the diagram shows it should be. And the measure it provides seems to work out -- I'm assuming my "correction" is in fact what I call it, until somebody can show me how to make better use of the draft.

And really, considering what I've been struggling with, this is average -- you want complicated? Try the Keystone system (NYC 1895). The system takes five octavo-size pages, and four diagrams, to spell out the basics. Then a similar number of pages and diagrams reviewing its nuances and mentioning variations. And this only covers the front and back, eh -- we still have the sleeve etc. to discuss ... Absurdly elaborate, yes? One of the reasons I'm here is to better understand how this stuff compares to what's standard today.

#20 Mark

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:22 PM

If you get it drafted up and made- check to see if the balance is off- we talk a lot about the balance in jackets but no-one really brings it up when discussing shirts and I'd bet that this one is short in the front.


If the rest of the draft pans out without any more puzzles, I'll certainly make a sample, but please, if you can, explain what you mean by this anticipated shortness (you obviously aren't referring to overall length) or how to spot such a deficiency on a shirt, particularly. As you've just introduced me to this concept of balance, thanks, I grasp only that it addresses adjustments to neckpoint placement and the scye (fore-and-aft balance, then?) on tailored garments proper -- I'm generally ignorant in that area, forgive me. The concept, by that name anyway, wasn't raised in any material on shirtmaking I have read so far.

Meanwhile, to my unschooled eye the only peculiarity the general outline presents is the rounding of the sleeve bottom -- I've seen this before only on a couple of antiquated plans. A hollow here is common enough, and gives some elbow ease; most British specimens I have are simply cut straight across, and I know how the gentle S-curve works in this place. Maybe some experienced shirt cutter can offer a forecast of what effect a bit of rounding here might have.

#21 Nishijin

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Posted 21 May 2010 - 11:49 PM

Meanwhile, to my unschooled eye the only peculiarity the general outline presents is the rounding of the sleeve bottom -- I've seen this before only on a couple of antiquated plans. A hollow here is common enough, and gives some elbow ease; most British specimens I have are simply cut straight across, and I know how the gentle S-curve works in this place. Maybe some experienced shirt cutter can offer a forecast of what effect a bit of rounding here might have.


If you are refering to the "dress shirt" instructions, the sleeve is a 2-parts sleeve, similar to the one you can find on a coat. I find this idea strange on a shirt, it is difficult to cut and make, usual "straight" sleeves are fine on shirts !

On a coat, we have to cut sleeves this way to give them shape, so that they follow the arm's natural curve. As shirtings are much lighter, this is not needed.

You can manage the ease at the different levels by shaping the underarm seam and adjusting the pleats formed at the wrist.
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#22 Mark

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:13 AM

Bon soir, Nishijin,

You're looking at the wrong draft -- scroll up to the day shirt; it's a conventional sleeve cut on the fold.

That coat-style sleeve on the dress shirt, by the way, is a relic of Victorian-era attempts at incorporating proper tailoring principles into shirt design -- I've seen several examples of 2-piece "coat-style" sleeves for shirts in late 19th century drafts. These attempt a near-flawless "foundational" fit under the dress coat sleeve. This is no longer done by anyone I know of in the present day, but given my freakish tastes, I'll probably try it eventually.

#23 Nishijin

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 01:49 AM

Sorry, my mistake.

Have no idea for the "rounding" you asked about, sorry.

Missed a chance to refrain pontifying, and I had to fall on someone who knows shirt drafting history better than me... :pinch: :Secret:
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#24 Mark

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 03:50 AM

No sweat.

I'm suspecting the rounded sleeve bottom might create a little blousing at the cuff, and not much more. It's only a half-inch. That would do all right if you like to have your pleats around the center line of the sleeve.

But settling the bottom of the sleeve is a minor detail and ripe for adjustment. The author seems a bit vague, anyway, on fixing point 7 and on that end of the seamline in general. But I think spelling out the top clearly is what counts most for sleeves, and he's done that.

#25 greger

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 05:59 AM

Don't know the details, but 7 should be cut that way on this sleeve (something to do with putting the cuff in the right place
and/or controlling it, if I remember correctly). The lenght of the sleeve seam can be shaped, too. Don't remember if it is
the top side or underside (think underside).

Believe 15, 8, 10 , 9 to B can be shaped different, sorta reversed curve.

This is a better way to make a shirt. About the first button below the collar stand; divide your button spacing in half and take
that measurement to measure down from the collar stand and put first button there, th erest of the buttons go a normal spacing.

Alexander Kabbaz makes two piece sleeves, perhaps on most shirts, if not all. You can look him up on Ask Andy forum.

Edited by greger, 22 May 2010 - 06:03 AM.

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#26 Mark

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 07:46 AM

Now you're getting ME confused -- the sleeve I was wondering about, the plain-jane standard sleeve on the dayshirt draft, has only 7 points, no "15, 8, 10 , 9 to B" ... But again it's a minor point.

I think you too are looking at the evening shirt sleeve. I'm not even going to worry about trying a coat-style sleeve until I have nailed the basics cold. And fun extras like spliced neckbands and the continuous lap. But seeing as the topic has drifted onto two-piece sleeves of its own volition,

Alexander Kabbaz makes two piece sleeves, perhaps on most shirts, if not all.


Hmm -- now, there are "pieced" two-piece sleeves, seamed in back or on the half to minimize fabric waste, and then there are two-pieced "upper-and-under" sleeves like the old-time eveningwear example Whife sketches out -- which of these did you mean Kabbaz does, or is it yet another definition of two-piece?

I don't mind "pieced" at all -- if you're working with the narrowest (27"-36") goods sometimes you don't have much choice. Some old-time manufacturers had clever ways of working the sleeve placket in on line with the piecing seam, to make more use of it.

But the coat-style upper-under, I don't see its appeal in making -- an extra headache to set, and no easy run-and-fell of the body and sleeve in one go, or in owning -- you better resist raising your arms when wearing one if it's cut right, and they're a genuine bitch to press (for we who must do it ourselves). I do get masochistic with boiled starch on occasion, OK, but I wouldn't want to have to press those shaped sleeves regularly ... Any advocates for them out there?

#27 Mark

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 08:08 AM

Ahh -- blast -- your "15, 8, 10 , 9 to B" refers to the dayshirt's yoke/back config -- sorry, but you get a bonus tangent!

The lenght of the sleeve seam can be shaped, too. Don't remember if it is
the top side or underside (think underside).

Believe 15, 8, 10 , 9 to B can be shaped different, sorta reversed curve.


Yes, indeed, a thousand ways to skin a cat, but my evolution is progressing thus: Learn how to operate the machine -- learn how to knock off -- learn how to alter knockoffs and retail patterns -- learn how to create my own designs based on these -- learn the skills that will allow me to recreate all the vintage shirts I've worn out.

That's the stage I'm at now. I've seen modern repops of old shirt patterns, and they are almost as bad as the repops of the shirts themselves. I discovered old shirt drafts a while back, and that's where I'm at now -- trying them out, mostly by dead reckoning, to find ones that work reliably as-is. Once I have the sense that I'm drafting patterns as the designer intended, then the next step might be to play with their lines a bit. But the drafts first. They're the dino-DNA in my own private Jurassic Park...

#28 Terri

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 12:40 PM

if you can, explain what you mean by this anticipated shortness


Short front balance.
The garment, when worn, tips, or pulls up in the front. The back often is pulled up against
the seat, you may get drag lines from chest towards the back hip area. The front hem will
not only be shorter when viewed in profile but also angling out away from the body from the
chest to hem or the belly to the hemline.
Think of a stout man wearing an untucked shirt and what his shirt looks like in profile- that
is short front balance.

If a jacket was short in the front it would be corrected at a fitting and if the draft resulted in
a short balance consistently, we'd say there is an error in the overall system.
I've noticed this shortness on many period and modern shirt drafts that I have made up and
tried on people.
I don't know why it hasn't been fixed and it is astonishing to see the same problems in
modern drafts (Metric Pattern Cutting for Menswear comes to mind) that are supposed to be
used for teaching and industry. It's as though no one has ever made up the shirts and had a
critical look at how everything works, so the problem just gets carried along.

I think that this draft will produce this effect on even a regular figure-
I think the front pattern would need to be slashed across from CF to armhole and have extra
length added in right across.

I hope you give it a try, and see if it is short.

Edited by Terri, 22 May 2010 - 12:50 PM.

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#29 greger

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Posted 22 May 2010 - 06:48 PM

It looks short but, the yoke goes over the shoulder. The shoulder seam isn't across the top. It helps gets the front corner, at the sleeve, in the right place. I don't remember why, and I didn't understand it, anyway. I think it had something to do with the bone structure but, there was a reason why there.

I wish I asked my granddad more about shirts. There were exact reasons for everything with clothes. He said the only shirts I ever saw that were correct were his, all others were drawn wrong and sewn wrong, not to mention fitted wrong. What I find amazing about American tailors is that one or two that I ever meet really knew how to make shirts (shirt making is its own group).
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#30 Mark

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 02:42 AM

The garment, when worn, tips, or pulls up in the front.
<snip!>
It's as though no one has ever made up the shirts and had a
critical look at how everything works, so the problem just gets carried along.

You raise some points to consider. The little angel on my shoulder says you may have something, and the whole shirt concept could do with a fresh and thorough reworking. But the devil on the other side is saying you'll be reinventing the wheel...

We'll have to see how the sample turns out, in time. I look at a shirt as a mostly 2-D potato sack for the torso, with a few refinements. It doesn't have to hang right, like a coat or a gown would, because wearing it tucked into the waistband obscures much of the effect you mention. The front tail is shorter (or rather, the rear tail longer for CYA purposes) by intent, and the angling-out you mention down the CF is the natural, expected effect of a two-dimensional panel laid on a three-dimensional chest. It disappears when tucked -- and our basic traditional shirt shape, unchanged for about 120 years, is designed to be tucked.

If you want to investigate further, I suggest looking to the "camp shirt" style refined mostly in the 40s and 50s -- that's when designers were first working on shirts intended for wear untucked and hanging free, and I'll bet they tried to address the issues you raise.

The Victorian perpetual improvers were apparently aware of some of the effects you mention too -- way back when, shirts typically had CF ease equal to CB ease, and the bosom piece was not simply laid on, but inserted into a cut-out section above the waist. Designers back then would take advantage of that cut at the lower sides and bottom of the bosom, right across the waistline, to add or take away a bit with what amounts to darts and wedges, and arrange the ease (which remained only below the waist), aiming to refine the fit.

But American giants like Cluett settled on keeping the garment basically flat both front and back, and wisely so in my view. The shirt they produced in 1905 is a ringer for the shirt we have today, adopted worldwide and basically unchanged because it's fairly simple yet effective and accomodating. I think some of the drawbacks you describe are just the result of its flatness, and the price to pay for its 2-D simplicity.

#31 greger

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 03:30 AM

Balance has to do with the neck being raise on the back and the front being lowered or the front being raised and the back being lower. It has nothing to do with the bottom of coats or shirts being short or long, although it will have to do with the bottom being level (like on coats (some tailors like the fronts on coats longer in front, that part would be added at the bottom, since it has nothing to do with balance). When looking at the pattern it seems like at 26 that it should be cut straight across on the front and the top part raised to match the back for balance, which would also change the sleeve. The shirt being short at the bottom has nothing to do with balance. Sometimes balance is done by slideing the back up or down, or with shirts adding or subtracting from the bottom of the yoke, but still the "shoulder seam" needs to be adjusted for the change so the goods fall correct.

Fitting a shirt requires changes. Shoulder slant, grith around chest, balance, etc. A general pattern will put the grith equal for side seams and the cutter will change that according to the customer, because some customers have more chest than back girth and some customers have more back girth than chest (prominent chest or rounded back). A good pattern system only gets you near the ball park. Wit and Wisdom gets one comfortablly inside, usually with a few fittings.
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#32 Mark

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Posted 23 May 2010 - 11:56 PM

Balance has to do with the neck being raise on the back and the front being lowered or the front being raised and the back being lower.

Ah, yes! Put that way, without mention of tipping and hems, I can say I am well aware of that particular dynamic, not that I fully comprehend it. It's always the main thing I look at in a draft, maybe with more apprehension than comprehension. But then I can't read it the way your experienced eye can:

When looking at the pattern it seems like at 26 that it should be cut straight across on the front and the top part raised to match the back for balance, which would also change the sleeve.

But take caution about reading too much from the diagram anyway: you're suggesting the breast height is insufficient, and I understand why. The correction would not be in the pattern produced but in the program -- the draft that computes the geometry. But I've already skewed the equation and incorporated such a change, because I'm assuming an error in the neckline formula, and a solution. And the presumed correction shifts the geometry of the whole front a tad, apparently in a direction contrary to what you think it needs, which might indicate my "correction" just creates further problems ... In any case I'm not assuming that the diagram reflects the result my course will arrive at.

My goal here is getting the draft itself to perform right, and not about correcting an unsatisfactory pattern it produces. I think I'll find the space and time today to at least plot the thing. More to come!

#33 Terri

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 01:40 AM

keeping the garment basically flat

Yes, but you do keep it flat if you correct by adding in front length evenly by raising the whole front. It does add to the overall armhole measurement though, unless you lower the back a tidge and raise the front, thereby evening out the hang of the garment.
And I realize that it is hidden by virtue of being tucked in but why be satisfied with that?

Balance has to do with the neck being raise on the back and the front being lowered or the front being raised and the back being lower

Yes, exactly.

I just find it odd that it is just taken for granted that it is the way it is.
I've modified my shirt draft to eliminate it as much as possible.

because I'm assuming an error in the neckline formula,

I think that the issue of the neckline formula (that you think it really should be 5/8" rather than 1 1/4") could be another issue of leaving out information that they took for granted- very common in old drafting methods.
Nevertheless, something isn't working,
Good luck
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#34 Mark

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 06:42 AM

I think that the issue of the neckline formula (that you think it really should be 5/8" rather than 1 1/4") could be another issue of leaving out information that they took for granted- very common in old drafting methods.


Yes, it could be, but with lots of could-be and no definite answers I must use the good ol' empiric method. And yes, old drafts sure can be vague, and observe rules that have since been forgotten or changed --- I'm trying to learn more about this sort of stuff. In this case I would be grateful to hear from somebody with experience using Whife's systems. Vincent, in another case.

I've noticed this shortness on many period and modern shirt drafts that I have made up and
tried on people.


Period drafts: if you can recall or still have them, please mention them -- they might be among the two dozen I've got here, each of which begs a question.

Yes, but you do keep it flat if you correct by adding in front length evenly by raising the whole front.


Well, all I mean is that flatness is in a shirt's nature, drawbacks or no. The yoke adds the most crucial bit of 3-D when you wear it, but you know, the empty garment still lays flat and folds naturally somewhere at the shoulder. I've watched Asian laundries in operation, they press the whole thing in one go, sleeves and all, with a favored single sharp crease up the sleeve, across the yoke and down the other side. These are people who see flatness as a virtue.

And I realize that it is hidden by virtue of being tucked in but why be satisfied with that?


Conversely, why be bothered by it? I wear shirts like this, workwear relics, and people sometimes say, "hey, sharp shirt." I never hear them say, "I'll bet your front tail would hang kinda funny if you walked around trouserless."

I'll be happy just to get a neat rolled hem out of that damned hemmer with every try. A sloppily-done hem, though likewise invisible to the public, now THAT is unsatisfying, bothersome and worth lots of effort to improve. But if I can make a tunic shirt that performs the same as a half-dozen old RTW tunic shirts, I'll consider myself fortunate.

#35 jcsprowls

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 08:35 AM

I think Terri is getting closer to expressing the same sentiment I have: use modern drafts for modern bodies. I don't like historical drafts because they are poorly codified and imprecise, that is: they require much more fitting to arrive at a final pattern.

I feel like you need to start with a simpler, modern draft so you have foundations skills. You really need the context of fitting bodies or the drafting doesn't make sense. After you have that, you can attempt the historical stuff to broaden your skills, much more easily.

The mechanics of drafting is easy. Fitting is what refines your drafting method. If you don't progress to fitting garments, you never get beyond the theoretical.
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#36 Sator

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Posted 24 May 2010 - 10:06 AM

I think Terri is getting closer to expressing the same sentiment I have: use modern drafts for modern bodies. I don't like historical drafts because they are poorly codified and imprecise, that is: they require much more fitting to arrive at a final pattern.

I feel like you need to start with a simpler, modern draft so you have foundations skills. You really need the context of fitting bodies or the drafting doesn't make sense. After you have that, you can attempt the historical stuff to broaden your skills, much more easily.

The mechanics of drafting is easy. Fitting is what refines your drafting method. If you don't progress to fitting garments, you never get beyond the theoretical.


I couldn't agree more. I must confess that after collecting plenty of ancient drafts, with few exceptions, these days I find it too time consuming to spend much time analysing them. To make sense of them you need your own system that functions as a Gold Standard. Then you need to develop a critical method for analysing a cutting system and comparing it with your standard. If you are having to ask questions like "how do I get this system to work so I can get a wearable garment out of it" then you are in trouble. You are like a newbie vintage car enthusiast, who doesn't know how to fix an engine, but who has just brought a broken down old wreck asking "how do I get this car to start?"

Whife's systems. Vincent, in another case.


BTW, the draft at the start of this thread isn't Whife's. It is an older one that he just edited (which might have involved no more than correcting a typographical mistake). It may be little evolved from the Vincent era T&C system.




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