Pattern Drafting Crash Course-Explanation Of Measurements & Diagrams Shown on a Lady
Now we get into the actual activity in preparation for drafting a pattern. This explains how to make the measurements correctly from yesterday’s chart.
Take ribbon and pass it around your doll’s waist, bust or chest, neck and hips. Fasten ends together. Choose to use either the top or the bottom of each piece of ribbon as a guide for where you are starting or stopping a measurement. You may also want to mark in pencil or pen the center front and back for reference too. This section of the book deals specifically with measuring different types of dolls and all of the explanations are included in one place.
1) Full Height Head to toe height with or without wig2) Bust /Chest Around the fullest part of the chest
3) Waist Around waist
4) Hip Measure widest area parallel with the floor
5) Center Front /Back Length Center neck to waist nape of neck to waist for back6)Full Length Waist to shoulder at neck over bust (determines shoulder seam) waist to neck over shoulder blade7) Across Shoulder From shoulder tip to shoulder tip on front and across the back at the fullest point. ONLY RECORD 1/2 of measurement8) Side Seam Length Bottom of armhole (about chest high) to the waist
9) Shoulder Length Shoulder tip to neck10) Shoulder Slope Center of waist to shoulder tip
over bust diagonally same on back. Should be almost as long as full length within about 1/4″
11) Bust Span (lady only) from apex to apex of the
bust (where a nipple might be)
12)Bust Depth (lady only) Measure from tip of bust (apex or Measure from tip of bust (apex or nipple) to waist straight down
13) Side Seam To Floor Side at waist to floor14) Back Waist To Floor Center back to floor
15) Crotch Depth Depth from waist to crotch level (if doll does not have an official crotch approximate the right area for it.)
16) Hip Depth center front to hip line
17) Side Hip Depth side waist to hip on side of doll (over the curve of the hip
18) Finger Span Around the fingers of both hands
to determine which is bigger Finger Span or Wrist19) Wrist Around the wrist20) Around Foot Around the circumference of the foot at sole level21) Upper Arm Around where the porcelain or vinyl meets the cloth of the rest of the body
22) Sleeve Length From shoulder tip to wrist23) Armhole Depth On back from center at the neck to chest ribbon
24)Waist To(A)Knee, (B)Ankle, (C)Floor, (D)Short Train (lady only), (E)Long Train (lady only)(A)Center front Waist to knee
(B)Center front waist to ankle
(C)Center front waist to floor
(D)Back waist to beyond floor for only an extra inch or so
(E)Back waist to a larger distance beyond floor for longer train 4-5″
25) Inseam From Crotch to ankle where pants would end. No seam allowance or hem added26) Outseam Waist to ankle along side of body
Waist arc Divide total waist circumference measurement by 4 and then add ease from section chart (waist is 4″ divide by 4 equals 1″ ease for doll is 1/4″ total waist arc is 1 1/4″)Hip arc Divide hip circumference measurement by 4 and add ease using section chart
Arm type Where the porcelain or vinyl meets the rest of the body determines minimum sleeve length
Leg typeWhere the porcelain or vinyl meets the rest of the body determines minimum skirt or pants length
Body type Cloth porcelain vinyl etc determines if you need extra ease
Finger type What type of fingers your doll has- a mitt, some fingers spread or individual fingers. Especially important for sleeve openings if the fingers are spread out then you have to adjust and use the finger spread measurement and not the wrist measurement if you have a porcelain or other fragile type doll and
a straight sleeve without elastic or other style of opening at the hem.
Guidelines are simply lines of undetermined length to provide a place to measure or draw a line to. They are not precise and do not have set lengths, most however, do need to be a squared (90°angle) angle from another line.
Here is the start of the actual drafts. You will need to reference the Miniature Draft Chart for the ease necessary for the draft. Right now I am waiting for the Miniature Draft Chart to post and will update the links to it after it does!
Copy the following to your paper before you start and fill
in with the correct measurements for the doll you are working with. The
ones in italics can be found on the Miniature Draft Chart
Full Length – Front
Side Seam Length
Side Seam Allowance
Center Length – Front
1) Full Length- a straight line the length of your
full length measurement
2) Across Shoulder- from the top of the full length
line across the amount of your across shoulder measurement
3) Guideline- square down approximately
1/2 of the full length amount
4) Center Length- measure from the bottom
of the full length line up and square in approximately
1/2 of across shoulder measurement
5) Shoulder Slope-from bottom corner
6) Shoulder- from tip of shoulder slope to across
Abdomen– area between the waist and hips around the belly button areaAbdomen arc– 1/4 of the total circumference of the fattest part
Apex– the doll’s nipple if she has one or the tip of her breast
Arc– 1/4 of complete circumference measurement
Banana dart– a dart that looks like a straight up and down bananaBasic block– your pattern that you drafted from your measurements it has no design to it
Bias grain– the diagonal of the fabric and your grain line is lined up with it for a different drape
Blend– making separate lines look like 1 continuous one
Bust– chest level on a child or man or the breasts of a lady doll
Bust arc– the distance from the flat ribs below the bust to the apex
Bust bridge– distance between apexes
Cap ease – difference between cap and armhole measurementCap– height distance from biceps to cap at center
Center back- center of the back usually where there would be a spine
Center front -center of the front of a doll where there would normally be a breast bone
Circumference– distance around somewhere
Clothbody– the body is made of cloth and is very soft and huggable.
Compositionbody– the body I made of a plastic substance and does not squish when you hug your doll
Crossgrain– grain running from selvage to selvage
Crotch– area where a drink and wet doll wets and where panties would normally go
Dartintake– the extra added to a pattern so that when you sew the dart it doesn’t end up too smallDartleg– one of the lines that makes up a dart
Dartpoint– the tip of the dart
Darts– used to fit a garment close to the body primarily for lady dolls but can be used on children or men but never on a baby.
Drape– holding and pinning a piece of fabric up to a doll and pinching the material until it fits then marking where darts are and making a basic pattern from
the fabric markings in a connect-the-dots style.
Ease– the extra bit of room that allows you to dress the doll without breaking herElbowlevel – elbow of doll
Fingerspan– the distance around all the fingers at the largest point
Frenchcurve– plastic tool used to draw curves various sizes are available including ones specifically for dolls
Grade– to enlarge or shrink an current patternGrading– the act of enlarging or shrinking a pattern
Grainline– center of garment running normally from top to bottom of piece
Hiparc– 1/4 of the total hip measurementHorizontal balance lines or HBL– horizontal lines used as a basis of where the bust waist and hip lie so that measuring is more accurate and easier
Notches– used at the armhole and top of sleeve to ensure that the sleeve doesn’t end up crooked when sewn
Porcelainbody– made of porcelain doesn’t squish and is very hard similar to a composition body only very fragile
Princessline– the style of a pattern where the bodice or skirt has been split into 2 pieces for each quarter of the body
Raglan– a style where the sleeve doesn’t come from the shoulder tip but from the neck shoulder junction as in a sweatshirtRightangleor RT angle– a 90-degree angle commonly found at necklines centers side seams and armhole bottoms
Rulers– measuring tool
Seam– sewn together pieces of fabric to form 1 pieceSeam allowance or S/A– allowance of extra fabric so that your sewing machine has a little extra to grab on to when it tries to feed your fabric through.
Sleeve cap -the curved top section of the sleeve from the front to the back
Sleeve ease– the added room needed to allow the arm to move if necessary
Straight grain– the vertical grain of the fabric
Style lines– various lines made on patterns to create a new look or design
Torso– the body part of a doll with out the head, arms, or legs.Truing the pattern– checking to be sure that all areas match up side seams are the same length, shoulder seams are the same etc.
Waist arc– 1/4 of the total waist circumference measurement
Wrist level– the bottom hemline area of a sleeve, level with the wrist of the arm
Here are some suggestions for some common items that can make drafting and sewing for smaller dolls easier!
Dryer sheet— can be used for any spot that requires interfacing of sorts as in collars and cuffs but should not be used for the entire garment. I have tried it several times and cutting it away sometimes ends in holes in the actual garment no matter how careful I am.
Tear away stabilizer— this is useful for china silk that is slightly heavy yet still slippery. The bad thing is that tearing it away sometimes will distort the stitching and fabric.
Water Soluble stabilizer— my latest discovery! This stuff is easy to use simply trace the pieces to the stabilizer and construct the garment. When ready to get rid of the stabilizer simply dunk in cold water and it all dissolves like magic leaving soft silk in it’s place. It is also handy to use in bodice construction as when you turn bodices sometimes pointy or even dull tools can poke through the fabric the stabilizer helps to prevent this thus avoiding the ruin of a lot of work! So far I haven’t found a downside to this yet.
The 2 stabilizers mentioned above are available in the machine embroidery section of any sewing or craft store and are usually very light weight. My current packages of both the Tear Away and the Water Soluable (Solvy) are by Sulky. No I do not sell the items mentioned I just use it and love it!
Machine basting patterns to fabric is a lot of work. I’ve found that hand basting is faster and less of a hassle as you do not have to pin the pieces to the fabric first. Slightly larger stitches are ok for this too as you want to be able to see to take them out later!
Best tools I’ve found so far are crochet hooks. A size 5 crochet hook has a blunt butt end that is smaller than a bodkin which is useful also but the crochet hook also has a rounded end by the hook that is great for getting bodice pieces to turn nicely too. This is especially important for half inch scale bodices!
Got small kids in the house? I do! Mischief makers both. Now being that I sew and do it A LOT I use needles and pins…. standard pin cushions don’t babyproof enough to suit me. My solution is to take the nice childproof prescription medicine bottles and put pins and needles in those. I have a nice fat one for pins and several skinny ones for various types of needles including sewing machine needles. This makes good storage…. and the kids can’t get into them!
Alternate to ribbon for measuring small dolls accurately is a twist tie.To measure simply place one end at the starting point and the other end you bend then measure the tiny portion before the bend against an accurate ruler.
I’ll be focusing on suggestions for design change ideas and alterations that can be made to one pattern I offer. This may include fabrics, color changes or physical changes to the actual pattern for a new look. If you have requests for design changes to a pattern I offer drop me a note and I’ll try to post them here. When or if I make examples of said changes I’ll make sure to post photos as well.
Time to sew? I wish I had time for sewing and I suppose I do I just have chosen to not sew in a while. There are a are a variety of reasons such as the garage is a mess, the floor is very cold, my suplies are a disaster zone but all of those are excuses and can easily be fixed. I’m now working on building a new routine to do writing each day with one site per day as a goal.
A secondary goal would be to get ahead writing and free up time further but first lets get daily down. I have time set aside to work on some ideas for a couple dolls and just need to sit still long enough with the right computer to do them. I also need to just go clean and complete some long term projects to fix the issues I have with not wanting to be out in the cold garage. Someone want to poke way me to get moving towards my goals?
So, curiosity gets me here… who are the popular dolls? Barbie, Bratz, Monster High, Gene, Kitty & Tiny Kitty come to mind. Tiny Betsy, Betsy and American Girls too but what about baby dolls? I have several nekkid baby dolls my now 13 yr old doesn’t want and am contemplating 2 roads… dress them and sell patterns for them or donate them locally. In particular two are Zaph Baby Borns, one a soft body and one a hard body, drink & wet doll.
I love dolls and have a hard time parting with them for any reason but I guess my teen has decided to “grow up”.
Fabric Depot is based in Portland, Oregon and boasts a wonderful acre of fabric, notions and craft supplies. To go into the store you should start when the doors open as you can be there for literally hours the first time. They have a variety of fabrics including tiny prints and natural fiber fabric suitable for doll clothes and miniatures projects. Their online site is a wonderful place to just sit and browse for hours and find many favorite fabrics that may not be available in your local fabric stores. Their staff has always been helpful both in person and via online or phone ordering and their prices are just right… perfect for spending just “a little too much but oh my it was on sale”!
Britex Fabrics is located in the heart of downtown San Francisco and boasts 4 floors of fabric, notions and trims. The fabrics are very high quality and you can again spend hours just looking. The last time I was in Britex I was a poor college student and could only afford one tiny piece of trim which I promptly used on one of my early miniature dresses. Sometime soon I hope to visit again!
I miss large fabric stores like Fabric Depot and Britex Fabrics but no matter what I LOVE living in Alaska… after all what is the internet for if not to order fabric from a distance!