October 31, 2011

On slopers

This afternoon, I planned on taking a picture of myself wearing my usual sloper and, if possible, a version of the JJ sloper. However, last weekend was the end of daylight saving and with the clock back to winter time, there wasn't enough daylight left when I got home. I'll try again tomorrow but I may not succeed until Thursday...

Well, at least we can discuss slopers, don't you think?
As you will probably know already, a sloper is a basic pattern which (in our use. we're not talking about the garment industry blocks here, which are just slopers for RTW clothes) is fitted to the individual and used to make actual garment patterns. Your typical sloper is either very close fitting or has a 'small' to 'moderate' amount of ease and is shaped with darts. Some people prefer a 'no ease' sloper in order to have everything under control but in fact, almost every garment you'll ever make (in experience with the sole exception of a corset-style strapless top) will need ease, so a bit of ease in a sloper is not necessarily a bad thing.
If you are drafting your sloper from a set of instructions, those will often have you include some ease straight away, usually by adding to certain measurements. If you are using a ready-made sloper pattern (like the JJ sloper, which you can find here), you will have to fit it to you like any other pattern.

According to JJ's notes, her sloper includes wearing ease suitable for a fitted shirt, top or dress, so that should be perfect for drafting your dress. It is graded to Burda's bust and waist sizes, with instructions for a small bust alteration included on the pattern pieces. All sizes are, and this is important, drafted with one back length, 41 cm.
Why am I repeating JJ's excellent notes? Well, I want to make sure everyone reads and understands them. Because all of this does not mean you can just make it up in whatever size you usually make Burda patterns in and expect it to be perfect. The Burda empire uses it's own blocks as a base for all its patterns. Blocks intended for wearers with the sizes mentioned in their sizing table.
JJ took those sizes from the sizing table and drafted a set of slopers based on them. Because the sizing table only includes bust, waist and hip measurements, she must have had to guestimate certain other important bits of sizing information.
So, to get the best result from her sloper, you have to take your measurements, check them against Burda's sizing table and pick your size. If you know you have either a small or a large bust your could make a small or large bust alteration straight away, again based on the measurements. The same goes for back length. Personally, I know my back length (the measurement from the base of the neck to the waist, measured at center back) is 39,5 cm, so I would start by shortening this sloper by 1,5 cm.
Be prepared for more alterations though, no sizing table or pattern making method can reliably predict individual differences in things like bust height or shoulder shape and width.
I will post both my usual sloper and my progress on the JJ one here and in the Flickr group no later than this Thursday.
If you have a sloper completed, feel free to post it in the Flickr group as well. Just to show it off, or if you want help with your analysis of it.


  1. Found a bodice sloper drafting instruction on Burda Style if anyone's interested...


    This one is drafting from scratch, using your own measurements.

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