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#19 Jake K

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:38 PM

Well there is another method of using blocks that I am more familiar with. Yes it starts with a standard block, but then you use a series of short and check measures to get the block "on" before first baste. So it's a bit like direct measures with a little origami.


Yeah, that is much better. I have no "one system" insistence. My attempted point was I think it's best to commit to major alterations from the beginning, before cutting. Once you have a block you know all the properties of you can really go to town on the table and turn it into whatever you want.

Which system do you use Jake? is it self varying or do you have to alter your patterns for attitude after the draught?


It varies. My systems are all hybrid and specific-customer-centric.

The current most common is a direct draft to my own reference lines, with positioning for posture and shoulder angle "fiddled with" at all stages of the process. You could argue attitude is taken into account by measurement also because I focus heavily on front and back scye width and depth (as I'm sure most here do). This is going to be effected a lot by posture. I also often compare my new drafts to my "known blocks" for reference along the way, especially if something is bothering me visually and I don't know exactly why yet.

Basically, "whatever works", but I commit to heavy alteration and big line moves before cutting, and am usually just fiddling with 1/4"s even at the first fitting.
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#20 jcsprowls

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 04:57 PM

Well there is another method of using blocks that I am more familiar with. Yes it starts with a standard block, but then you use a series of short and check measures to get the block "on" before first baste. So it's a bit like direct measures with a little origami.

Let me rephrase to check my understanding: you trace a stock pattern and you make some adjustments using short measures to mitigate as many fit issues as you can on the table?

<note: leading and rhetorical question>
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#21 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 05:20 PM

will I regret answering this?
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#22 Jake K

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 06:24 PM

will I regret answering this?


(just waiting for JC to reply "Of course not" with a new and innovative sarcasm emoticon)

The question was answered before it was asked, grasshopper :Star: No need for reply.

Edited by Jake K, 16 February 2011 - 06:27 PM.

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#23 Nishijin

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 07:48 PM

Well, all the fun seems to happen at night, here in Europe, with you fellows living in a whole different time frame...


It is very true that drawing a strict proportionnal pattern, with everything to scale, is the same as making a block. No difference at all. But it must also be said that this would only be a very beginner misconception of what drafting patterns is.
1/ All the drafting systems I know use direct measures for vertical lengths, the scale is used only for the reference points along the girth. Well, there is Rundschau that use proportions for the lengths too, but the system uses the stature of the customer, not only the chest girth, so 2 different customers with same chest girth but different height would have 2 different blocks. Plus usually, Rundschau asks customer waist girth... I've heard there are systems purely proportional to chest girth, but I've never tried any nor seen them.

2/ Keeping drafting at that, and then go to fitting, would be a beginner's work. All the tailor I know include consideration for customer posture and morphology while drafting. Even if you use a block pattern (or a pure proportionnal draft) as first step, you then manipulate it such as explained in Whife's book "Cutting from block patterns".
All the modern cutting manuals I've read have sections explaining how to manipulate a pattern for customer's peculiarities. (I say "modern", because I have XIXth c. basic manuals which don't, but I don't think they were never meant to be used "as is" by professional tailors, whatever the intro reads, but to lure them to paying cutting lessons).

3/ All the cutters I've seen drafting use at least some direct measures in their method. Some more than others, sometimes direct measures are checks for manipulations, while sometimes it's proportionnal that's a check for direct, but I would be surprised if any experienced cutter would use only proportions and then go to baste.



As this thread is intended to clear some misunderstandings from beginners' mind, I think these points should be reminded too.


And when all this is said, it still leaves fittings a requirement. Even if it's only for a few detail tweakings.
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#24 Lewis Davies

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Posted 16 February 2011 - 09:31 PM

I know a lot of
People who use both to the same
Result and at the end of the day as I was told a good
Tailor can make a bad cutter look good
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#25 jukes

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 12:30 AM

I know a lot of
People who use both to the same
Result and at the end of the day as I was told a good
Tailor can make a bad cutter look good


Absolutely, especially the cutters that carry out the wrong pattern adjustments for a figure type and the ones that cannot cut a decent sleeve.
Bespoke collars are all cut by the tailor, the cutter just leaves a piece of cloth.
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#26 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 05:21 AM

The question was answered before it was asked, grasshopper :Star: No need for reply.


just wanted to clarify :D
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#27 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 07:46 AM

Its very easy to bander about on direct systems and proportionate block systems, but as I see it unless you are a one man band and have the confidence to do everything yourself, there is no justification in rejecting one method over another.

For my part, I left my first employment where I was taught pattern cutting and went to work at another tailoring establishment. I was 21 at the time. When I left the first job I had a complete set of proportionate patterns 34 - 44inch chest, plus a couple of corpulent sizes 42 – 48inch chest. I had produced these at home and they had nothing to do with my old firm nor were based on their patterns. To my way of thinking, these were the tools of my trade. I started with these patterns and over the years as I progressed and improved my technique, the patterns were changed also.

From this basic set of proportionate patterns, I cut every size and style of coat and overcoat that came through the door. I can honestly say that in all my years as a bespoke cutter, I have never cut an overcoat pattern on paper, all my adjustments for style and size of overcoat was produced by using a larger block, or in the case of a very large size the pattern was increased as it was chalked in. (that is not to say that I never cut an overcoat pattern, I did many times as a tutor) I never cut an overcoat pattern at the board.

I worked from a set of measurements either, I or someone else had taken from the customer together with a description of the figuration of the customer.

If I dealt with the customer, I dealt with the fitting and re-cutting (if any) if another had taken the order and measurements, the fitting was done by them and was re-cut as per their instructions.

For many years I worked self employed as a freelance measure cutter, sometimes I was cutting up to, and sometimes over 20 suits a day, both ladies and gentlemen’s garments. I could not do it now, nor would I want too.

I have tried all the methods and used all the tricks. I am still learning! Every time I see a new pattern on the forum now, I sit and read it through to see if someone has come up with the 'Universal Master Pattern'. Not so, so far!

So think on, all you fellow Sartorialist's. :poke:
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#28 jcsprowls

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Posted 17 February 2011 - 10:27 AM

Tailor can make a bad cutter look good

Is the sewing operator the appropriate person for this? Fitting and draping are not typically within the realm of a sewing machine operator's skill - not at first.

Yet, it boggles my mind that so many companies give such huge responsibility and accountability to the entry-level staff. It's just the wrong expectation.

But, it doesn't stop there. People who want to learn sewing have the same misunderstanding, too. Operating the sewing machine, forming hand stitches and fitting garments are separate skills. If you try to tackle the whole mountain of drafting, cutting and fitting, too, you'll never enjoy learning nor will you progress or specialize.


A: there are no master pattern drafts - they need to be proven to become blocks (whether you buy commercial patterns or draft your own)
B: blocks *should* be reverified as time progresses (i.e. you fit five 40R and the shoulder is consistently too short, maybe your customer population has changed and you should change your blocks)

All the drafting systems I know use direct measures for vertical lengths

To my knowledge, only Mueller and Sohn uses proportions for length - English, Italian, French and Korean use direct measures for length. The only exception to that - which I am aware of - is the location of the "fashion waist". The Korean system places it at 1/2 the distance between C7 and the hem of the garment - a rough approximation of 2" above the natural waist, which I interpret as a "design suggestion".
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#29 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 12:23 PM

German systems uses proportions for length since 1945. Mueller started with this.

Tailor can make a bad cutter look good - is so true
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#30 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:18 PM

@ Mansie= no argument here, as far as I'm concerned you're the man for patterns. Personally, I never worked with proofed blocks, early in my endeavours I altered commercial patterns which is not the same. I like having direct measures as I can tell right off the bat if the numbers look "off" I'm sure you can do the samething, but I would need to really sit down and study blocks, where as I'm already used to direct-measures. I will not swear off blocks, I do want to have an honest go at them, but seems to me like the learning curve is steeper.

@ JC "Is the sewing operator the appropriate person for this?" How long do you think you would live if you called a crusty old bench tailor a "sewing operator" :p
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#31 jcsprowls

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:32 PM

Don't get fixated on just that morsel, otherwise you're throwing out the rest of the context.

Edited by jcsprowls, 18 February 2011 - 01:33 PM.

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#32 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 01:35 PM

I know JC, sorry I've been sick all week and now that I feel good just want to play :D
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#33 jukes

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Posted 18 February 2011 - 10:31 PM

I have always cut either straight from the cloth or individual patterns, however, as demand for work is increasing i really feel that now is the time to cut a decent set of block patterns. The problem is, the last time i attempted grading was at college many moons ago and to cut the patterns individually will take a while, does any one know of a good book or advice on grading - (Mansie - JC are you out there ??)

#34 Sator

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 02:07 AM

I've got a couple of books on grading. I must start to scan them sometime. One of the volumes in MTOC has something doesn't it???

#35 jukes

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 02:24 AM

Did,nt think of that, book 3 page 42, Thanks.

#36 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 04:54 AM

That's great for those who have the MTOC... I think I'm the only person without one
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