Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear, Sixth Edition
By Winifred Aldrich
Pattern cutting and design 5
Tools and equipment for constructing patterns 6
Chapter 1 Sizing, standard body measurements and constructing block patterns 7
Chapter 2 From block to pattern 15
PART ONE: FORM CUTTING
(Cutting to create shape for the female figure)
Chapter 3 Fitted skirt blocks and adaptations 23
Chapter 4 Fitted trouser blocks and adaptations 43
Chapter 5 The basic body blocks (with bust darts) 61
Chapter 6 Basic adaptations of the bodice blocks – the bust dart 83
Chapter 7 Complex adaptations of the bodice blocks: dresses and lingerie 97
Chapter 8 Complex adaptations of the bodice blocks: jackets and coats 111
PART TWO: BASIC PATTERN CUTTING PROCESSES
Chapter 9 Sleeve adaptations 123
Chapter 10 Constructing openings and collars 147
PART THREE: FLAT CUTTING
(Cutting flat shapes for easy fitting casual and jersey garments)
Chapter 11 Easy fitting garments (woven fabrics) 165
Chapter 12 Basic and easy fitting garments (jersey and knitted fabrics) 185
Chapter 13 Close fitting garments (stretch and jersey fabrics) 199
PART FOUR: SIZE AND FIT
Chapter 14 Basic grading techniques 207
Chapter 15 Drafting blocks and fitting for individual figures 213
PART FIVE: COMPUTER-AIDED DESIGN (CAD)
Chapter 16 Computer-generated design and pattern making 227
Chapter Index 245
2016 Update to the 6th edition
This update contains changes to the coding system and measurements on the Standard Size Charts for mature women (pages 11 and 12). These charts have been updated to take account of the current larger size of the ‘average’ woman. The size charts for High Street Fashion garments (page 10), and the examples within the book, retain the original codes.
6th edition 2014
This new edition of the book has fifty extra pages. This has allowed new material to be added and the layout of many of the pages to be improved. Where possible, the instructions, diagrams, and illustrations for basic processes are placed on one page.
This expanded edition of the original book remains true to its original concept, it has an increased range of good basic blocks, an introduction to the basic principles of pattern cutting and an example of their application into garments. The aim is to give students confidence in their ability to develop their own style of pattern cutting.
This edition has also responded to the way fabrics and fashion have changed the cut and sizing of garments in different manufacturing processes. The popularity of casual wear, in jersey or stretch fabrics, has led to the expansion of fl at cutting with no darting to create the shape. However, students have to understand how to create shape through cutting alone, form cutting, and therefore the first section of the book still covers this technique.
The book remains written for beginners, students who are starting practical pattern cutting as part of
fashion degree or diploma courses or for students in upper schools who are studying advanced dress and textile subjects. It may also be useful as a simple reference book for freelance designers. Chapter 16 deals specifically with drafting the block for individual figures. This is useful for women who make clothes of original design or women who find mass-produced clothes an uneasy fit.
The content and structure of the book The book has been reorganized to separate ‘form’ and ‘flat’ cutting. Basic pattern cutting processes, used with both cutting styles is now placed in the centre of the book. Chapters one and two cover changes in body sizes and size charts, and the concept of working from blocks as a means of pattern making.
Part one… demonstrates ‘form’ pattern cutting. This method requires blocks that conform to the female body shape and takes into account the bust shape. ‘Form’ based blocks are particularly necessary when using fabrics that do not stretch in order to accommodate the body shape. This section includes basic blocks and adaptations for a wide range of garments, and demonstrates more complex methods of cutting such as shaped lingerie and formal outerwear.
Part two… covers the basic processes of pattern adaptation used for the construction of sleeves and collars. These processes are used with both ‘fl at’ and ‘form’ cutting methods.
Part three… demonstrates ‘fl at‘ pattern cutting for a very wide range of garments. The demand for easy fitting styles and knitted fabrics has created an expansion of this type of cutting, particularly for leisurewear. This section includes a comprehensive range of blocks and adaptations for garments of this style.
Part four… contains a chapter on simple grading techniques and also a chapter on constructing and altering blocks for individual figures.
Part five… illustrates the latest software offered by CAD suppliers (the use of CAD systems has increased the use of fl at pattern cutting techniques). There is an overview of the basic operation of CAD systems. Designers and pattern cutters need to understand how their own work integrates into the different sectors, particularly those of size ranges and costing.
Pattern cutting skills
Some garment patterns, particularly in couture design, are constructed by draping on the dress stand. However, pattern cutting from blocks or the adaptation of existing patterns is now widely used by the dress trade because of its accuracy of sizing and the speed with which ranges can be developed. The system of pattern cutting from blocks offered in this book attempts to make the student more fully aware of designing round the figure rather than seeing it as a body that possesses only a front view. Manufacturing has become more technical and segmented within companies and across the world. Designers in all fields of design need to communicate their ideas. For this, they need knowledge of the production processes and the acquisition of good pattern cutting skills.
Pattern cutting and design
The method of pattern cutting from body blocks is a means of constructing a constant shape of the body that also allows for movement. This means that there is almost no limit to the ideas that can be followed through into different shapes and workable designs.
However, the designer must always be conscious that the body is a three dimensional (3D) form. This can be difficult when relating it to flat pieces of paper or flat computer screen images. Pattern cutting should be used in conjunction with a dress stand. This allows the designer to check the proportion and lines as the design evolves. Pattern cutting can achieve a shape quickly, but more complicated styles should be made up into a muslin or calico toile and the result assessed on a model stand or a moving figure.
Pattern cutting by adapting shapes from block patterns can be traced back to the middle of the nineteenth century. As the craft developed, the basic rules evolved, but rules can be broken or changed if this comes from new creative directions. This concept of design has been responsible for the most exciting changes in shape and cut during the last century. Poiret, Vionnet and Chanel, sensitive to social and aesthetic influences, ‘promoted the body’ after it had been enclosed in structures for a century. Although their interpretations differed, they were the innovators of soft, easy fitting clothes. From about the 1930s, the strict recognition of fashion seasons, dominated by the work of top designers, dictated fashion from couture to High Street. This is now changing, social attitudes, environmental issues and instant media access to influences all impact on fashion and design trends. This means that the design, manufacture and marketing of High Street fashion garments today is complex and demanding.