From the Archives : Understanding Corset Patterns
If you want to start making your own corset patterns, it is necessary to understand the mechanics of pattern design and cut. Here is a quick run down of my own pattern cutting library.
It was my adventures in corsetry which led to my fascination with pattern cutting. I needed to know HOW a corset works - the engineering aspect. I am one of those types of people who needs to fully understand the reasons behind something in order to 'do it', and so I found this book in my Christmas Stocking one year. It explains in full detail the concept of the French Block - how to draw one, make one, fit one, and then how to design your corset or garment within it, for the French block (or sloper as it is also known), is the basis of all garment manufacture and design.This book explained very well the importance of measurements and how they relate to the paper diagram. Most importantly, this is the ONLY book I have which explains the Bust Point well (or even at all!). Let me just tell you ... the bust point is where your nipples are - it's different for everyone. The distance between nipples is VITAL because when you have drawn your front block, you need to know where the dart apex should be - so you draw a line which measures half the distance between your nipples, parallel to the centre front line, and there is the line upon which your bust point should be.Being a book about corsetry, it obviously only deals with the block for the upper section of the body, but this is the hardest part to grasp when pattern making because there are so very many possibilities and one of my other obsessions is how to fit the bust properly - my own having been a constant conundrum. This book includes instructions on how to make 2 styles of bra - not the type you may find on the high street, but a good basis to get started on your own designs and possibly to integrate into a corset.
As corsetry ignited my interest in general dressmaking, I decided, along with finding a teacher, that I needed a more general book and this is the one I was recommended. It's one of the industry standards for fashion students and is very very good. There are some parts of it which are a little hard to decipher but on the whole, this book is a brilliant introduction with clear and concise diagrams, instructions and explanations.There are chapters on all aspects of flat pattern cutting for all types of garment in a huge range of styles. The initial chapters focus on basic block building for bodice, arms, skirt and trousers, and then the rest has instructions on how to customise those blocks as required.
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