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Dec. 5 - Dec. 9 The Week in Patterning - 52, Balancing Patterns

Alexandra Reynolds 1940's EvaDress Patterns The Week in Patterning Storyboard Vintage Patterns

As everything in life, sewing patterns are a balancing act-especially VINTAGE patterns!

After being folded for who-knows-how-long after having been treated who-knows-how by the one(s) who previously owned it and after warping the ease in the fragile tissue paper to create as careful a draft as possible, chances are a vintage pattern will be un-balanced at best.

When I first started drafting from vintage originals back in the 90's, I did so verbatim.  That is, I drafted each piece as it lay on my table (after CAREFUL iron pressing) without matching the balance between front and back, side seams, etc.

Over time as I work in a multiple range of sizes via CADware, I make the effort to balance as much as possible.

A clear example is in a look back at the side-seam progress of the next pattern I will roll out (post-X-mas).

The example below shows the redingote sides front and back for a stunning 1943 ensemble (larger views are had by clicking on each)!  The piece 'M' (side front) is shown in CAD lines over its corresponding underlay file which I drafted by hand from the original pattern.  Keeping in mind this range of CAD lines was generated from the coat side back 'P', one sees how un-balanced the two are yet they must align perfectly to create a well-draped garment.

To achieve a better balance, I noted the difference between the lower edge of 'M' relative to that of 'P' (having matched the straight of grain in each piece) at 1-1/8".  

When putting CAD lines down, I needed to add half that difference (9/16") to 'P' and subtract 9/16" from 'M'.  Once I reviewed a test print of the CAD pattern pieces in the pattern's original size (44" bust), I was able to begin the grading process (as shown in a range of colors) having first graded 'P' and then mirroring that file to create 'M' so the side contours of each are identical.

Katrina Kay makes a good demonstration of balancing various points of your pattern (link here)-although her aim is in plus-size patterns, the process really helps in any un-balanced pattern.   

2 minutes, 30 seconds in she illustrates what I am talking about here taking you further into centers front and back, armseye, etc. 



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