Friday, November 27, 2009

Sloper Drafting Resources

Hello all! Away for the weekend but we brought our Macbook with us!

I have been very interested in following up with the comments,
questions and requests regarding slopers and drafting that
I posted about here and here. I thought I'd start responding
to them sometime in January during the post-Christmas lull
but recently a reader sent me a fascinating video link that I
so enjoyed. So I thought I'd share it and ramble on about it
in my usual fashion. Also the demonstrator in the video wrote
this book that's been on my amazon list for the longest time.

It has great reviews but since I haven't actually read it,
I didn't want to blog about here yet.

Here's a book that's been making the rounds in sewing blogland:

I haven't read this one either but between the two, I'm
more inclined towards the first one because its
reviews say nothing about fashion.

Ha! That's what makes it promising, people. Drafting a
sloper is not about fashion, is it? I am looking for a
book that is about how to take measurements and
turn them into a 2-dimensional paper pattern that
fits my body. I am less interested in a book that shows
me how to make fashionable clothes. The reviews for
Patch's book also hinted at it being better for less
endowed figures. I'm thinking, "what sort of
patternmaking book discriminates between body
types?" But again, I've never read it, so I'll say no more.

And now, here's that fascinating videoclip
Chris sent me (thank you, Chris!)

Chris also asked if this was a good place to start
for sloper drafting. Short answer: Yes!
But I like rambling so I'll be honest and share
what I thought of this video:

  1. I loved how visually McCunn made the process of transferring measurement to paper. He even set up the flipchart at the same height as the model so you could see the correspondence of model's waist to sloper's waist etc. Clever!
  2. I loved the chain thingy he slung around the model's neck to get an accurate location for the neck measurements. See point 9.
  3. I loved that he made a sloper in just under 8 minutes! It takes me a lot longer (more like half an hour to 45 minutes).
  4. Once you establish the vertical line as he did, there are many different ways to begin to draw the sloper. McCunn began from the waist and worked upwards to the shoulder, so his horizontal reference line was the waist. When I draw mine, I have two horizontal reference lines - top of the paper, where the shoulder meets the neck, and the waist. So I am working with a rectangle of sorts when I begin. It's just how you've been taught, I guess.
  5. When I draft a sloper, I take all the measurements of the model and write them down. Then I draw from those numbers. Boring, and not at all visual. So McCunn's method of folding the tape measure and marking off points is funner to watch.
  6. I was mystified at what happened to the bust dart in his sloper, frankly. Bearing in mind that he was drafting a sloper (i.e. form-fitting) and not a dress pattern, there should be a dart that starts at the apex of the bust and opens into the armhole. But I've noticed that many other slopers are also missing that dart, and maybe that works for slenderer people, or those with lower cup sizes. I've always had to draw that into my own slopers - or risk immodesty at the sleeveless armholes.
  7. Maybe he ran out of time at the end, but I am also curious about how he drew the neckline and armhole in. Just a swish of the pen. Wow. To have that talent.
  8. The front of the sloper (which he drew - this video does not include the back) is, for most women over the age of 12, very different than the back. I would never, never draft the front bust by measuring around the bust and dividing by 4. Unless it's for a person who has breasts both in her front and back. I dunno - maybe on the planet Zorg. I'd measure the front and back chests separately and draft those numbers into front and back slopers, respectively. If you keep in mind that his sloper sketch is a visual demo of the sequence of steps of sloper drafting, (and he did say that the fit would be much better later) you'll be OK.
  9. A great point that came through in his presentation: accurate measurements are the most important first step in making a good sloper. His model has a ribbon thingy tied around her waist (mum and I used whatever string we could find lying around at the time). If you've taken measurements of a person's dimensions, you'll know how hard it is to locate the waist and measure from it! Also the best way to be accurate is to have someone else measure you, especially back measurements and anything from the waist down. This is probably another reason for why my kids get a lot more sewn clothes than I do! When getting measured for a sloper, wear underwear or whatever you will be wearing (thermals, camisoles, bodysuits etc) under the garment you're eventually making. In Singapore, it was too hot to wear any extra layer under our garments other than basic underwear. So we were always measured in that.

So yes, that video is a great starting point for visualizing
the process of turning numerical measurements into the 2-D
sloper. I'm glad I got to watch that. Other readers have left
comments to those two sloper posts I wrote, with lots of
great resources - books, authors and commercial patterns
to adapt, so please feel free to pick up tips and ideas there.
I have such awesome readers! Thank you for sharing!

Once you've drafted your sloper (or adapted a well-fitting
commercial pattern) and want to tweak certain bits, the article
I linked to in that first sloper post, is very useful.
Scroll down to its 'troubleshooting' section to find out how.

I promise, promise, promise, that when I do finally draw
a sloper, I will share all! Mistakes, too. Especially mistakes
because, ha ha, there are going to be lots.

Well, goodnight, all! I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving!
I ate too much. I always eat too much.


  1. Thank you for posting this. I'm completely drawn in at the idea of a sloper and really want to learn. I'm glad for all the advice you give. I especially am scared because i have very very large bosoms which make any kind of top hard to fit, especially store bought ones. They always have darts going right above my bosom or right below, never where they are supposed to be le sigh and most tops that are big enough to fit my bosoms are so large the rest of me looks like I'm wearing a tent.

  2. Thanks so much for your comments. I wondered what happened to the darts but thought I just missed some key thing that he did. I also wouldn't have given any thought to my front being different from my back, which upon reflection, makes me feel particularly dumb. Of course they're different! I'm so looking forward to your notes. Will you do slopers when you visit your mom?

  3. Funny that you mention those two books because guess what I just ordered online?

  4. Don McCunn also has a sewing pattern group on yahoo groups


Thank you for talking to me! If you have a question, I might reply to it here in the comments or in an email.