Pattern Puzzle: vintage 1930′s pt.2
Well wasn’t that fun? I tell you, in some ways it’s a lot easier sitting at the front of the class and having the answer key. I wouldn’t be opposed to playing stump the chump if someone wanted to submit a challenge for everyone, me included. All that said, I still had my work cut out for me because -you’re not going to like this- the pattern featured mis-matched seams. Yes indeedy. I still think the challenge was valid because this is something that pattern makers deal with every day. We have to figure out how things fit together even though there is no conceivable way they can. As you may have guessed, the solution appears right. It’s a bias cut slip.
First I’ll present the brave souls who submitted sketches. Laugh all you like but my hat’s off. I admire people who are sufficiently intact to have the guts to try it. Then I’ll explain the pattern issues involved and how they were resolved.
At the time of this writing, we had 18 submissions and four sketches. Our brave souls are Clara, Gale, Katherine, and Jasmin.
At right are Clara and Gale. Gale is new here so everyone be all friendly-like (hi Gail!). These are both nice samples; Clara’s is kind of space-age and she really went to a lot of work to engineer those seams together. Several people mentioned after seeing the solution that this gave them other ideas for design renderings that they ended up liking better. I think Clara’s falls in that category. I think Gales’s does too; in addition to making a fashioney sketch, hers was a dressier style. I like the back of it.
Our next two contestants were Katherine and Jasmin. I grouped theirs together as raglans – a lot of people guessed this was a raglan style because let’s face it, nobody had much to go on -again absent scale which counts for a lot. These are also workable and perennially popular styles.
So let’s hear it for our contestants, yay!
Okay, now for an explanation of the pattern rendition I posted; it came from a link that Elizabeth sent me. The original pattern is for sale in an eBay auction -there’s four days left on it if you’re interested.
It was more work than you’d think to put up what I did. First I copied and pasted the quarter scale picture of the pattern pieces from the eBay ad. I blew those up 200 or so percent. Then I printed them out on a sheet of paper. I cleaned up the lines as best I could and cut them out of oak tag. Then I digitized the mini pieces into StyleCAD. After that, I scaled those up 400% (in StyleCAD, it’s a one step button, very easy). The result is what I showed in the post.
Having done all that work -and because I really did want to see how it sewed up- I decided to walk and fix the pattern -it was pretty far off. In the process, I figured out a nifty way to make opposing interlocking seams match easier -it’s more easily done in CAD than by hand. The result is an in depth tutorial for the pattern correction in the forum explaining step by step how it was corrected.
To make the differences between the two versions clearer, below is a schematic showing how the pieces nest together -only half of the front and back are shown so you’ll have to mentally mirror the pieces. On the left is the before version that you all had to work with. On the right is the corrected version.
Going back to the issue of recreating patterns from very small scale illustrations. It is not so difficult to do as I did and tender a better result but it depends on the era the pattern was published and by whom. If the company reduced the pattern with the aid of a pantograph, one is more likely to get a close facsimile of the original style. This is important in the case of recreations etc.. However, with some styles such as this one, it can be a matter of guesstimating if the pattern was reduced manually -an illustration rather than an accurate scale reduction. One can still get pretty close and in any event, you have to do a test sew for fitting anyway because many vintage styles were cut to fit trimmer corset wearing figures.
In the interests of continuing to play this out for sew and fit testing, I will update the forum thread when the sample pattern is available for download, probably tomorrow. Initially it will only be formatted for a plotter but Ann will probably help me get it ready for 8.5 x 11″ printing. In any event, it will only be a alpha, not even a beta pattern so users beware!