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#37 jcsprowls

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 05:14 AM

Grading for men's tailored garments is different from men's sportswear. The more frequently used grading books tend to focus on men's sportswear, like: Jack Handford's Professional Pattern Grading for Women's, Men's, and Children's Apparel.

Jeffery showed me an image, once, from a textbook that I really liked. Let me get in touch with him to see if I can find that book to review it.

My "go to" reference book is: Pattern Grading for Men's Clothes by Gerry Cooklin. But, in real life, I don't follow it to the letter because real life markets have different fit expectations (i.e. sometimes the waist needs to get progressively looser and the front needs to get progressively longer on the upsizes). Grading isn't mechanically difficult to execute; but, sizing has been known to create heated philosophical debates and to ruin relationships.

Cooklin excels in how to develop a grade rule to distribute girth and length across the body. Cooklin also explains - briefly - that grading has business constraints that are inherent in a manufacturing environment (e.g. how many dies you want/need to buy, etc). Handford excels at explaining the mechanics of applying the grade rule in a sportswear context.
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#38 jukes

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 06:05 AM

Thanks jC, it will be for bespoke work.

#39 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:14 AM

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 ??)



I am working on some jacket grades at the moment. Are you working inmetric or inches?
The reason being if its inches you grade in 2 inch chest sizes
If it is metric you grade in 4cm sizes and you get extra sizes creeping in on the pattern range.

The most important thing to consider when grading is to understand what size chart you are working too.
I know i'm sounding pedantic, but it is crucial to the increments of the gradeing.

Give me an afternoon to write it all down and I promise you, you will be an expert by the end of next week!
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#40 MANSIE WAUCH

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 07:19 AM

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


Be careful with any grading from books. Its OK to give you an understanding of grading, but unless you know what sizes you are working too and the method you have used for drafting the pattern,the sizes will go wrong as you increase in the grades.

I will explain it more fully when I have got it written down.

Edited by MANSIE WAUCH, 19 February 2011 - 07:20 AM.

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#41 jukes

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 08:16 AM

I am working on some jacket grades at the moment. Are you working inmetric or inches?
The reason being if its inches you grade in 2 inch chest sizes
If it is metric you grade in 4cm sizes and you get extra sizes creeping in on the pattern range.

The most important thing to consider when grading is to understand what size chart you are working too.
I know i'm sounding pedantic, but it is crucial to the increments of the gradeing.

Give me an afternoon to write it all down and I promise you, you will be an expert by the end of next week!


Mansie thanks, whats metric, is that like an inch but different Posted ImagePosted Image

#42 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 09:53 AM

it's the Devils measure! :diablo:
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#43 jcsprowls

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Posted 19 February 2011 - 10:54 AM

Metric grading is - frankly - much more civilized.

Don't try to translate. Just, save yourself that headache. Grade in the same measurement system you draft in.
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#44 Jake K

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Posted 21 February 2011 - 02:24 PM

I am working on some jacket grades at the moment. Are you working inmetric or inches?
The reason being if its inches you grade in 2 inch chest sizes
If it is metric you grade in 4cm sizes and you get extra sizes creeping in on the pattern range.

The most important thing to consider when grading is to understand what size chart you are working too.
I know i'm sounding pedantic, but it is crucial to the increments of the gradeing.

Give me an afternoon to write it all down and I promise you, you will be an expert by the end of next week!


I've been without internet at my new place for the past few days, did you end up posting this yet? I could use a seasoned perspective from a cutter such as yourself as I re-evaluate my methods. TIA
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#45 zanzare

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Posted 21 May 2011 - 08:14 PM

hooo, my first post and I'm probably going to make myself unpopular with it...

But I was wondering when I read this thread, as this place here is trying to stay professional in the sense of "bespoke tailoring", excluded all the high professional costume interpreters/cutters/tailors... and I read here about commercial patterns and graded block patterns?
At least in my opinion our job is to handle the body of our customer with care and sensibility for his proportions, his benefits and his deficits to try to reach the best result. So everything starts with the analysis of the body, the (for your own system) correct measuring and the drafted pattern with its modifications, as well as the drafted canvas. Maybe I am old fashioned, but this is what I expect when I hear "bespoke".
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong about using and altering existing patterns, but only if this is working for the customers stature and therefore experience is required. Especially in the beginning it's so important to draft as many patterns as possible to check the effects of the decisions you've made while drafting and for which kind of stature this is working.
:Talking Ear Off:
So, I am not talking about an experienced cutter/tailor/whoever, as they already (should) have the feeling therefore. (And also they have to check their methods once in a while, as proportions and statures are changing, a young slim and tall men nowadays has another posture as 50/70/100 years ago where the most cutting systems are based on). I just thought I have to point that out as there are so many interested people here who wants to get professional sooner or later.
:Talking Ear Off:
And where I am ever in the matter: Yes, it is possible to construct a sleeve and a collar for each jacket/coat... that fits, just in case that was unclear :Liar: :)

About the Müller System: I do not think it's a smart idea to calculate a length proportion based on a wide or vice versa (For example Rh = BU/8 + 10-11 = the thicker the man, the longer is his back; the thinner the man, the shorter? Hä?). If you have a direct measure, use it! Never stop to compare, never stop to learn!

Have a nice weekend!
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#46 jukes

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 02:23 AM

Many tailors work with block patterns, including a set of blocks that have been graded because they have never been taught to cut. (nothing wrong with that) They also have great success with them because they have an understanding of the manipulations required for different configurations of the human form, also the more one learns different methods of pattern manipulation (blocks or otherwise) the better craftsmen they will be in the long term.
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#47 Sator

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 09:43 PM

I read here about commercial patterns and graded block patterns? Have a nice weekend!


The pattern grading topics were prompted by a discussion about grading block patterns for bespoke use (and cutting by block pattern is a very valid way of deriving a working pattern). I don't think there is a single serious discussion in the entire forum about commercial patterns (except by some members for homesewers who are learning to make up garments before they learn to draft).

#48 Sator

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 09:49 PM

About the Müller System: I do not think it's a smart idea to calculate a length proportion based on a wide or vice versa (For example Rh = BU/8 + 10-11 = the thicker the man, the longer is his back; the thinner the man, the shorter? Hä?). If you have a direct measure, use it! Never stop to compare, never stop to learn!


No, only that the chest measure is a good basis to derive a working scale to calculate other proportionate measures. As always, if there are significant deviations from the proportionate, then this no longer holds valid eg unusually thin and tall, barrel chested but short. Nothing new about that.

The problem about direct measures is that they are subject to gross inaccuracy, both in taking them but more importantly in the way they are applied to drafts. Drafting by direct measures alone was abandoned long ago because it was just too problematic, and you take cutting back 150 years if you throw away proportionate systems.

#49 J. Maclochlainn

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 10:09 PM

Drafting by direct measures alone was abandoned long ago because it was just too problematic, and you take cutting back 150 years if you throw away proportionate systems.



Sorry I absolutely disagree with this statement! You make it sound as if direct measures never progressed past Hearn and Devere, The direct measures did progress and more solid points were pretty standardized over the years.

Edited by J. Maclochlainn, 22 May 2011 - 10:27 PM.

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#50 Nishijin

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Posted 22 May 2011 - 10:20 PM

Seconded.
I know tailors who draft mainly with direct measures, and I do it myself.
All the proportion-based drafts I've tried yet have given me as much work at fitting as direct measures, usually more.

I just use proportions as a check that my direct measures are not completely wrong, so when I have a strange measure I can check if the customer is built so or if I made a mistake.

Edit : there are way to make checks with direct measures, to be sure they are consistent : measures that have to add up to another one, etc.
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#51 Sator

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:16 AM

It's not for nothing that The Tailor & Cutter, Rundschau, ASZ, Schneidermeister, Poole, Thornton and many others abandoned direct measure systems a long time ago. Both Poole and Thornton were pretty dismissive of direct measure systems. Neither Panaro nor Bunka publish a direct measure system of cutting.

The difficulty is that no such thing as a perfect proportionate figure exists. So you really have to be able to eyeball deviations from the ideal and then figure these into your draft in terms of degrees of change in balance. I do not believe that direct measures accurately convey these disproportions/changes in balance to the degree that you can be reliant upon them to the point of building your drafting system of them. In fact, I have often found that what the tape measure says (over and over again on repeat measurement) and what you find you end up having to do diverge markedly from one another.

I agree with Ostinelli when he wrote that the main problem with direct measures is that their application fails to result in the placement of the measure in the correct place on the draft. In actual reality the lines of construction and where you think you are measuring fall on different planes. I think that the actual balance/proportions between measures is more important, and isolated linear measurements fail to convey this interconnectedness of measures. The other issue is that you are taking measures on a constantly moving, undulating 3D surface and then applying the measure to the draft on a straight line!

#52 Sator

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:24 AM

Sorry I absolutely disagree with this statement! You make it sound as if direct measures never progressed past Hearn and Devere, The direct measures did progress and more solid points were pretty standardized over the years.


W.D.F. Vincent was responsible for driving the T&C system to the ultimate abandonment of direct measures - something endorsed by Thickett and Whife. Poole and Thorton were equally damning of direct measure systems. If there has been new "progress" this would have to be much more recent indeed ie post 1970s.

#53 Sator

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 01:32 AM

I just use proportions as a check that my direct measures are not completely wrong, so when I have a strange measure I can check if the customer is built so or if I made a mistake.

there are way to make checks with direct measures, to be sure they are consistent : measures that have to add up to another one, etc.


If you are constantly checking your direct measures against proportionate calculations and you are taking deliberately biased measurements that are being directed by concious anticipation, as well as retrospective checks then you are not really using a true direct measure system. This is still a proportionate system with supplementary measures.

#54 Nishijin

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Posted 23 May 2011 - 02:07 AM

If you are constantly checking your direct measures against proportionate calculations and you are taking deliberately biased measurements that are being directed by concious anticipation, as well as retrospective checks then you are not really using a true direct measure system. This is still a proportionate system with supplementary measures.


I take and use direct measures. But I check by comparison with several proportionate systems. When I find a significant difference, I check that the direct measure was correct.

It happened to me several times that while drafting, a direct measures looked wrong, and I made corrections to something more proportionate. Each time, I had severe correction later at fitting, and result ended very close to the direct measures that I did not followed.

As said, I've given a try to several proportionate systems. I did not see a real improvement upon direct measures drafting. For all deviations from standard proportions, the system makes use of direct measures.
I think proportionate systems are good for styles with quite some ease in them. But more than 90% of my customers ask me a close fit. I then can't rely on theoretical proportions. Adjusting the proportionate draft to deviations give me more work than direct measures.

Another thing : proportionate systems have elements of style built-in. For example, height of waist. If I want a different style, I have to retro-engineer the system, identify what is anatomy and what is style, then change what needs to be, then try. A lot of work. Maybe it is OK for tailors who have "house style", but I don't.


Yet another example : until recently, I cut my sleeves with a proportionate drafting system (based on the measures of the armhole, of course). It always gave me unsatisfying results, and I have to tweak the draft to make it work.
I designed my own sleeve drafting system, which takes maybe 5 min more to make the first draft, but gives me a very good result immediately. I can make the style of shoulder I want, manage shape of the sleeve, and I have garantee that the sleeve will set-in easily (well, except for sleeve with a lot of rope, since those are always difficult to set). And know what ? It's based on detailed direct measures of the armhole.


I'm not saying I have the eternal truth, and I'm all willing to believe that with proper training in a specific proportionate system, with an experienced cutter, I could get very good results. But today, in my experience I get better results, fit-wise and time-wise, with direct measures than with proportions.

I also keep studying proportionate systems, and plan to make more experiment with them when I have time.
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