I am very excited - I think I have finally found the kind of drafting book that I would wholeheartedly recommend to everyone:
It came from the library! Earlier this week, on a whim, I thought I'd check out what the library had to offer by way of dressmaking resources. I knew they didn't have all the modern drafting books that were on amazon or Barnes and Noble, and certainly none of the make-your-own-pattern type coffee-table books that are very popular on blogs nowadays. But that was fine, because I was looking for vintagey old-fashioned dressmaking textbooks - the sort from before Photoshop, and (preferably) written by someone European/ Commonwealthy. I reserved a few random titles, and checked them out today.
I think you will like this book, especially if you are a novice drafter. I like this book. Let me tell you why:
- It isn't huge. It isn't one of those mega-volumes that people rave about because it is value-for-money comprehensive. This has everything you need, in concise little chapters, without the fancy terminology. Much as it is nice to have an encyclopedia of drafting adaptations on everything you could possibly want to (and not) wear, that's sometimes overwhelming for beginning drafters. It's more useful to have more attention paid to the basics, if you are a beginner. Besides, you can buy lots of books that teach you how to adapt patterns, but not a whole lot that teach you to draft from measurements. This one does that.
- The diagrams are hand-drawn, and very good. I love that!
- She starts with a SLOPER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Although she calls it the Foundation Block, which is what I'd always called it before coming to the US. Something familiar at last!! Immediately I felt right at home.
Here's an interesting point, albeit trivial to most of you: all the horizontal reference points are measured and plotted downwards (see the vertical arrows in the diagram above) from the shoulder line (for the upper block) or waistline (for the lower block). This was how I learned to draft, although some other resources do a combination of upwards and downwards plotting. If you remember, I used this latter method to teach you to draft the child's sloper, because I thought it was easier to visualize. I still like the everything-downwards way because it uses one main reference line for the upper block, which makes more sense in principle.
- This is the collection of "notes" from about 40 years of teaching this stuff. It's a curriculum! And it reads like she's right there in the classroom, teaching it to real humans -see point 1.
- Stuff is broken down into steps: even measurement points for the entire block/sloper are broken up into several diagrams.
- She doesn't tell long stories about Whys and Hows the way I do, but she explains stuff so you understand why you're doing whatever it is you're doing.
Here's an example of the Princess Line/Princess Seam construction:
Unfortunately, this was published in 1992 and is only available on amazon/Barnes and Noble in used copies. Read the reviews yourself here. No matter - I liked it so much that I went on ebay straightaway and bought one right off a London dealer, and paid the international shipping. Cost me US$26, which was a steal.
If you're a beginner drafter, you will like this book. It is the best book for beginner drafters that I've seen so far. Even if you're intermediate or advanced, I still say this is a great book for good, strong basics. I should point out that it's in metric, which might be inconvenient to some of you. I grew up drafting in metric, even though I do it in inches now, so it didn't occur to me as being odd, until one of the reviewers mentioned it.