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how to make and use a sewing sloper or block?

 
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A long time ago, I took a class on how to make a sloper.  It's like a template of what your shape looks like in two dimensions. I was very ill that day and couldn't finish the class, but even if I had, I wouldn't know what to do with it.  But, maybe now is the time to revisit the idea.

Here are some links I found about making and using a sloper.

Okay, so here I had some links from Your Wardrobe Unlocked that linked to free bodice sloper pattern making and fitting resources.  But Your Wardrobe Unlocked has been absorbed into Foundation's Revealed and they have chosen to put previously free resources behind their (rather high) paywall and limit access to the free resources behind an email login wall.  

Here are some youtube videos instead



This one has some good stuff about fitting the block/sloper



and dart manipulation



What I found most interesting about this, is she has seam allowance built into her block pattern.  Might be something worth considering for mine.
 
r ranson
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I stumbled on this class.  Making a skirt fit is pretty easy, as I have some that I can trace the pattern off.  But I really like the intro videos and this person's approach to designing.

https://skirtskills.com/

Not sure if I can afford it, so I'll keep looking.
 
r ranson
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Another idea is Crafsty (soon to be formerly known as Blueprint) as they have online sewing classes.  Can I learn from an online sewing class?
 
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r ranson wrote: Can I learn from an online sewing class?

Yes, if you are the kind of person who learns well from online classes. The information is available in many different formats, it's more a matter of which works with your learning style. Personally, I read a book many years ago on sloper type design, saw how they were doing it, took apart a few items from thrift stores, and have done it freehand since. That's my learning style. Question is really "What is your best learning style?"

:D
 
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I've learned a lot of diy, from online classes.
 
r ranson
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Some things I want to read when I have more time (edit from the future - the crossed out links are now hidden behind the Foundations Revealed paywall)

easy pattern drafting: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/index-of-articles/costumemaking/paterns/65-drafting
Project planning for success: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/index-of-articles/costumemaking/design/426-project-planning-for-success
Boddice sloper: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/index-of-articles/costumemaking/paterns/535-drafting-1-bodice-sloper
historical pattern drafting: http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/index-of-articles/costumemaking/paterns/537-drafting-2-sloper-to-historical-bodice-pattern
Fitting: http://foundationsrevealed.com/index-of-articles/corsetry/230-corset-fitting/113-fitting-the-secret-skill


and slightly related, some stuff about drafting an Edwardian skirt
http://yourwardrobeunlockd.com/index-of-articles/historicalperiods/256-edwardian/238-edwardian-revival-skirt
http://www.tudorlinks.com/treasury/freepatterns/w191214cdgoreskirt.html
 
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r ranson wrote:I stumbled on this class.  Making a skirt fit is pretty easy, as I have some that I can trace the pattern off.  But I really like the intro videos and this person's approach to designing.

https://skirtskills.com/

Not sure if I can afford it, so I'll keep looking.

Ooh, thank you for this. I also like what I see. I have to give it some thought, but I might dive in
 
r ranson
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r ranson wrote:I stumbled on this class.  Making a skirt fit is pretty easy, as I have some that I can trace the pattern off.  But I really like the intro videos and this person's approach to designing.

https://skirtskills.com/

Not sure if I can afford it, so I'll keep looking.

.

I did some of the free introduction and this looks like an amazing class.  Registration opens soon.

But...

... it's beyond my price range at this time.

It looks like it's reasonably priced for what they are offering, but I wouldn't be able to take advantage of the FB element so that reduces the value to me.

Even though I have enough skirts at this time, I like the idea of learning this technique on something as simple as a skirt.  
That said, I don't have as many skirts that fit my ideal.  I like a skirt with a wide enough stride and have a five-panel (with a flat panel at the front - as it's better for working in) and a wide waist top thingy with some elastic gathering in the back half and ties for the front.  I don't know how to make that yet.
It's also a prerequisite for promised future classes by this person for bodice slopers.  

If anyone signs up for this class, can you let us know how it goes?  
 
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For a simple and comfy skirt I can recommend this:
http://www.crafterhoursblog.com/2011/06/dont-be-afraid-of-bias-skirt-tutorial.html

... but it is probably simpler than what you had in mind (no panels, just fabric cut on the bias with a very wide, yoga-style waistband).
I have two (bought) skirts in that style and made another one.

You can make them a bit more roomy by cutting the back piece wider and gathering it where it meets the jersey waistband.
 
r ranson
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Neat pattern.
Here's a fun thread.  https://permies.com/t/50841/search-practical-skirt

I know how to make a basic skirt.  The skill I'm looking for is the sloper skill - so I can customize the skirts easier to match my needs and the fabric.  I imagine the sloper skill would reduce trial and error.

 
r ranson
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a resource for princess seams

https://www.clothingpatterns101.com/princess-seam.html
 
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I learned a lot about bodice construction and adaptations in this book: Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time: The Ultimate Dressmaking Guide.

It comes with several basic patterns for bodices and skirts, and while I haven't actually made any of their dresses (still on my TODO list), it helped me understand how to adapt existing patterns to my body. Lowering a dart point for instance, or adding gore to a skirt. There's still a lot of trial and error involved for me (I've learned the hard way to make a muslin of all my bodices/tops), but I'm getting to the point where I understand where the changes need to happen for something to skim my body right.

I'd think that once you've done a good muslin of their basic bodice and translated the changes back to a flat pattern, you'll essentially have your sewing sloper.
 
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As one poster said, one option is to copy a piece of clothing you have. I was taught to lay out the clothing on a table on top of a large piece of paper. A newspaper can be the paper. Trace around it leaving a wider margin for any seams. Make sure to notice the parts or pieces involved in the clothing and trace each one. For example, a skirt may have a two piece back with a zipper in the middle and a waistband as well. Or a shirt may have a sleeve which is a separate piece so must be traced too. Notice the parts just as you would with a purchased pattern.This way you can reproduce anything you have. This is how folks lived in previous generations.
 Another alternative if you have something which is wearing out is taking it apart and using the actual pieces as a pattern. Just use a seam ripper to carefully dismantle. And if only one part , for example the front of a skirt is stained, is beyond repair. One option is to cut out a piece of that portion and reassemble the clothing to continue to use it.
 Another thing people do is to turn a collar after detaching and reattach so the top is inside. As the outside of the collar can sometimes be the only worn part of a shirt.
 
 
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My first husband was a big guy and bought his shirts at a specialty big and tall store at around $30 each in 1990s money.  One particular shirt he never wore.  When I asked him why, his response was that he didn't really like it but bought it because I did.  At that point I said I could make several shirts for the price of that single shirt and his response was "yeah, right."  So I tore apart a stained shirt, made a pattern out of masking paper and proceeded to make a shirt.  I used snaps as I was a bit intimidated by the buttonhole process at the time.  He was thrilled with it!  Unfortunately every time we went to a store with fabric, he picked out two or three for shirts and after about a dozen, my interest in sewing was gone for many years.

As for online classes, I have learned so many techniques for sewing, gardening and other projects from YouTube videos.  We've even saved money by doing our own car repairs thanks to YouTube.  I did do an annual subscription to Bluprint/Craftsy last year when it was crazy cheap and do enjoy the more in-depth approaches.  I also enjoyed the app, which they recently discontinued, because I could download the videos and watch when I didn't have internet access.  
 
r ranson
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Finally set some more time aside to try this sloper thing.  I really want it for a winter coat.  https://permies.com/t/171408

It looks like yourwardrobeunlocked and Foundationsrevealed links are all removed.  Poo.  But not surprising given that the owner is moving in a for-profit direction at the expense of removing the free samples.

Craftsy has some classes and I have a few months left of the subscription for that.  Hopefully this will motivate me to get this done.  

Just the biggest issue is my size changes so frequently that by the time I get the item sewed, it will be the wrong size.  That's very discouraging.  
 
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r ranson wrote:

Just the biggest issue is my size changes so frequently that by the time I get the item sewed, it will be the wrong size.  That's very discouraging.  



I don't have pics, one of the things costumers do is put laced panel side seams on things so they can be adjusted in or out for size. Helps with outfits many people wear. (Or one person who changes size!)
 
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Pearl Sutton wrote:

r ranson wrote:

Just the biggest issue is my size changes so frequently that by the time I get the item sewed, it will be the wrong size.  That's very discouraging.  



I don't have pics, one of the things costumers do is put laced panel side seams on things so they can be adjusted in or out for size. Helps with outfits many people wear. (Or one person who changes size!)



That reminds me - my motorcycle jackets - both the winter, heavy leather one and the summer mesh one have corset-type panels at the waist sides - and I use them, often. The summer mesh one is worn out velcro(ugh - but it worked, and I'm planning to replace it, this summer), and the leather one has a series of 3 leather straps with buckles on each side. It's a really nice feature that allows for weight changes, variations in wardrobe, and even just a desire for a little extra wiggle room.
Velcro-corset-on-sides-of-mesh-jacket.jpg
Velcro corset on sides of mesh jacket
Velcro corset on sides of mesh jacket
3-buckle-corset-side-on-leather-jacket.jpg
3 buckle corset side on leather jacket
3 buckle corset side on leather jacket
 
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I learnt flat pattern making from the books and got the initial ones made from my measurements. Still they needed lots of tweaking so now I gear towards modifying from existing ones (pattern/ Rtw taken apart) and draping directly on my body.

I feel draping is most successful for my tops because I can get the should seam position and slope right. It makes the rest of bodice and sleeves hang correctly. Maybe you want to give it a try, it's faster to do than drafting from scratch.
 
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r ranson
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So I got the book Pattern Drafting by Natalie Bray and immediately I kind of regretted it.  The book looks amazing and has everything I would ever need to know (albeit in jargon, but I can muddle through by looking up the words).

The problem is, the book is in metric and even though Canada gave up on the imperial measurement system half a century ago, many crafts are still taught and done in imperial measurements because why buy all new tools?  Most vintage tools are way better quality than the new stuff.  

So I have one measuring tape with metric on one side and inches on the other, so I made do and followed along with the instructions to draft a block.  

Here's a video on how to do it too.  



But also I really like the book if I can ignore the metric part of it.  This would be an epic book for anyone who has metric measuring tools and french curves and clear rulers and cutting mats and all that stuff.
 
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I hate this.

I'm on attempt 8 of fitting the block.  I just figured out where I am going wrong and need to go back to attempt 2 to see if I can fix it.

Armhole gapes so I raise up the shoulder.  Great.  That fixes that, but now the bottom of the armhole is too high, so in the next version, I adjust that, and repeat... Why is it getting shorter and the apex rising?  

yep.  

why does this have to be so difficult?!?
 
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R Ranson, I feel your pain.   This level of frustration reminds me of some of the beginning permie threads here where gardens started under the best of plans end up harvesting disappointment.  That's where I am with growing a food forest:  bamboozled. But only if I give up.  So I'm not going to give up trying to grow my own food, just like I didn't give up on making clothes that fit.

As a 6'2" woman,  all of my clothing is modified.   With aging, I can no longer modify enough, so I'm working on my own patterns too.   It's a race with gravity.   In fact,  this is a perfect description of life's changes to our bodies if we get enough time to experience it:   "Wardrobe Unlocked has been absorbed into Foundation's Revealed."

I've learned several sewing tricks and tips which help, but my greatest success was while living in Alaska.  I loved a cream fleece blanket enough to want to wear it all the time, so I made it into a coat.  I took measurements for the basics:  armholes, shoulders, length, waist and hips, then dove in.  I didn't overthink it.  It worked.  

So maybe think of your trials right now as doing piano scales.   It's not exactly pretty, but it will help when you get to improvising.  Your years of gleaned skills will bring you good results.   Keep at it!  

And thanks for this thread.
 
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I feel lucky to have an 'average' size and body shape, at least for a western European woman. So I keep some patterns from the Burda magazine (known as Burda Style in English) that fit me perfectly. With those patterns (dress and pants) I can make any garment I like to make for myself (it might have been of help that I did two whole years of study in textile crafts, including sewing and pattern making too)
 
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