So, I bought a new old book this week.
I've always been partial to ancient drafting books; the more out-of-print they are, the more likely they are to be superior drafting resources. Nothing against the new shiny drafting books you can buy off amazon - I just feel those tend to be: one, overflowing with information and two, overflowing with information that isn't quite foundational (or digestible) enough for learning the principles well. But that's just my opinion, okay?
So, anyway, this is my newest out-of-print book, first published in 1971. I got it from one of amazon's marketplace vendors, for $15 (after discounts and before shipping). I can't remember how I found it but I liked what I read in the reviews. When it arrived, I was tickled to discover the original title under which this book was published:The Oriental Method! How intriguing! I never knew there was such a thing.
Moving on to the introductory note, I read Ms Moore's first impression of this Oriental Method (see fourth para):
That sounded familiar, right down to the newspaper (and I thought it was just me being a cheapskate). Sounds like what we do in Singapore. And, apparently, Japan and Hong Kong. And, from what I've heard from some Vietnamese friends, in Vietnam, too. Maybe it's an Asian thing. Is that how it got its name? As opposed to, say, The Occidental Method of Pattern Adjustment? I didn't know whether to be amused or horrified.
Let's say I went with amused.
I took some time yesterday to
procrastinate further with the dress skim through the book and, honestly, the more I read, the more it felt like reading a manual of my own dressmaking methods. Except this was a manual with instructions. See - don't those first two paragraphs sound just as didactic as I do in my drafting posts?
Let me take you through the book now. First, I LOVE the spiral binding that allows the book to open flat like a real manual. Here's the contents section for an overview:
Some of the lovely illustrations:
The very important first section on measurement was impressive - 10 pages focused entirely on measuring. In addition to the obligatory Single Diagram With All The Measurement Areas Annotated:
there was also a breakdown of all those measurements so even beginners and those of us who cannot mentally multitask could follow along.
Then there were the fitting tips that are such gems to find -
plus some different ways to shape darts. Mum did this all the time with her darts and, as a young person, I'd always assumed she was just too lazy to get a ruler and draw them straight. Silly LiEr. When I finally understood what she was doing, it was an aha moment like no other.
Foundation blocks now. I am always very pleased to see french dart slopers because all I ever seem to see of the modern slopers are waist dart ones with maybe a shoulder dart. Nobody seems to draft armscye or french darts. Why is that? I mean, they are the loveliest for a nicely-fitted armscye. Then I think, "Does nobody's armholes gape, then? Everyone must be an A-cup in this country." Then I go to Target and there are all these DD-cup undergarments. Well. So much for my theory.
There, see - the hideous gaping armscye Before and After.
Now, sometimes (like when I'm procrastinating) I read sewing blogs and forums. And I keep reading about people bemoaning their back-fitting issues. And I imagine that their front bodices (and armscyes) must be amazing if they are only disgruntled with their backs. I mean, when I'm drafting for myself, I usually forget I even have a back because I'm working so hard on my front armscyes. Anyway, so here you go - back-fitting-problem troubleshooting guide:
Ah - my foundation blocks all look like this. Except my lines are rarely this neat or straight.
Sleeve-fitting guide next. You know what's especially interesting? That the bicep line is not equally divided- the front bicep is wider than the back. The modern sleeve drafting methods have you start with equal widths and adjust the sleeve cap curves to match the different front- and back -armscye lengths. This book recommends both methods and explains when to use each. My sleeve drafts are more like these asymmetrical ones i.e. I adjust both the curve of the sleeve cap and the width of the bicep to fit the armscye. And I used to feel guilty doing that. Hah!
We don't do this often in modern patterns but behold: two waist darts. Remember two smaller darts are better than one (if necessary) big dart?
Ah, my favorite chapter: princess seams. Ms Moore also covers princess seams which have additional darts.
And look at all the fun ways to use princess lines! Double princess seams and branched princess seams. I personally have never done them (yet).
Some additional chapters towards the end of the book - for children
and for men:
I had to laugh when I saw this chart at the end of the book. Remember this post and my mother's cryptic rule: "Buy the length"? Hey, Mum! It's safe to come out! I found others just like us!
So . . . this is the Oriental Way, huh? Hm. Slightly awkward name aside, it appears there is a method to my madness after all. Good to know. And now, if you've been hoping that I'd someday write a drafting book for women, there's no need to wait. Buy this one. It's better. And yes, it's perfect for beginners.
P.S. I finished the dress. And altered the husband's shirt. And turned out the closets for a garage sale. And got the kids to swim lessons and the doctor. And got a haircut. And took all these photos. Guess how I managed all that? Four words: Take out. All week. When you declare a moratorium on the from-scratch domestic food-and-beverage services, stuff actually gets done. I shoulda worn my superhero costume for extra kitchen snub points, though... and for the deliciousness of the irony.