Wednesday, September 30, 2009

The difference between Ease and fullness and how to add them to a pattern

You may not be ready for my last posting but this information can be helpful no matter if you have a sloper or not. We are dealing with three things that make our clothes wearable.

1. Basic ease-just enough to move correctly. Drafted into every pattern. (see chart in last posting) Will my pattern fit?

2. Design ease is what is added to give a fashion a silhouette, a certain look, a style or just to add to our comfort. Do I look up to date and fashionable?

3. Fullness is ease added other than on the seams of an outfit and in only the appointed location for the effect desired.

Let me show you what I mean....... Lets do WEARING EASE

This is a cute skirt I was making and the top is perfect for adding wearing and design ease.


Lots of seams to work with.

Lets say on the skirt I need 4 inches added to the waist and 2 inches added to the hips. What could be easier with 12 seams to add to. Don't count the fold in the middle we don't want to touch that. READY for some MATH.

4 inches divided by 12 locations

.33333 or 5/16 of an inch per seam...EASY

The other thing I could do is turn the darts into ease, you'd have to measure the distance between the two pieces of the skirt front and back before you do any cutting out. That could means you add even less on each of the 12 seams. Just draw a line up the middle of the dart and cut your pattern out there.

See the dart ease and other waist area's where I've added my 4". there is no longer a dart, it is ease now!

The 2" for the hips will take some study. This skirt has Godet's and we will have plenty of Fullness around our knees so we want to be careful not to take the hip amount down into the knee area unless we need the over all ease.

Lets do some test math.

If I do add the hip ease on all 12 seams what would that be.....2 divided by 12 is .166666... that would be 3/16 of an inch. This would mean I'd have to subtract to the Godot also so that pattern piece will still fit. Much too fussy for me even at 3/16 of an inch!

Instead I would take my hip out only on the outside 4 seams. 2 divided by 4 is 1/2 inch, a piece of cake!

Hint: I could taper the waist out for the 1/2" of the hip and add back in the darts. Remember my waist has added 5/16 for the waist so I would be adding another some of the 1/2 for the hips to keep the seam line smooth. Using only the 4 side seams.

Adding the 1/2 to each side of the outside hip and bringing it up into the waist and down to the hem without using the Godet seam

As you can see in this picture I still have my dart. Remember by adding my hip up into the waist I have extra in the waist and have added that amount into the dart. Some of the dart is still filled in for my waist measurement. A bit of sharing going on here. A little ease a little dart!

We now have 4 inches added to waist and 2 inches add to hips.


Now it's your turn. Look at the top above.

How many seams can we do changes in on the top?

These are princess seams and they need to go neatly down though the bust point on the front. If you make changes inside the curve make sure you don't move it out of place. You also must note any change that take place in the armscye. The sleeve will then need adjustment. You have a back dart that can become ease also but you do loose form.

OH EVERYTHING that touches something changes it!

In the case of needing more ease in the bust this is the PERFECT place to make changes in.!

Did you get 8 seams and 2 darts for changes?

Even 6 inches divided by 8 is only 3/4 of an inch per seam.

I often need that 6 inches in my bust ease!


Time for adding FULLNESS

My first thought is when my daughters needed maternity tops made. I took a normal top and added fullness as so.....Remember yesterday's posting of the blouse? Here it is with fullness added for a tummy.

I cut up to just below the bust

You may want that little bit of fullness at the hip just take two cuts.

How about fullness at the wrist of a sleeve. This will be gathered up and my cuff pattern will stay the same size, giving me a nice blousing look at the cuff. If I did this on a short sleeve and cut into the cap it would become a puff sleeve.

FULLNESS is added where you desire and as much as you desire
These two forms of ease can be added using several different methods.
Here I have shown you the "SLASH AND SPREAD" method.
Nancy's notions has a book Fitting Finesse that teaches the Pivot and slide method.
They all get you the same results and you can explore to find a method that works well for you.
With SLASH and SPREAD you must true up your seams before cutting (remember truing is taking your french curve or ruler and making the seams connect smoothly.
One last Ease is DESIGN EASE as in the examples below.

See how the pant legs change shape here. Remember bell bottom pants?

All this is DESIGN EASE. We don't need it to move in our clothes. It's all about fashion. What else can you think of where you see Design ease?

Yes FULLNESS is a form of making design ease but it can also be fitting ease.

Where do you see added fullness in these two photos?

The best thing you can do to learn to deal with ease is to look at every pattern you can

study out how it is made and where you can add and remove ease. What is possible?

I have not addressed Knits in these two posting and there is a lot to say about sizing knits

It will have to wait for it's own posting.....

Sunday, September 27, 2009

How to use the vest pattern as a sloper/or how do I know what the ease is in a pattern?

When I made my Lutterloh vest I wasn't sure why it was important. It made up really fast and it did need some adjustment. Large bust adjustments and shorter shoulder seams, and a tiny bit wider hip size.

Let me show you how this finished vest pattern can be your friend in sewing the other Lutterloh patterns.

A normal pattern sloper front bodice has two darts. It takes extra fabric to go over the mountains of our body. In the bodice front you have the breast to go over in the back bodice you have the shoulder blades which are smaller. The front darts can be moved all around and even combined into one big dart or turned into ease.
How you move these darts changes where the ease is in your garment.
The bigger the bump the more length and width it needs and the deeper the darts must be.

Where darts can be moved to (also inbetween these points)

click to enlarge

In the skirt sloper it gets easier, the tummy in the front, the hind in the back.

You only need darts in the waist area for the skirt.

Now look at your vest pattern below. Where are the darts? Two in the front and one in the back that extends for the waist. How is the vest like the normal sloper?
Exactly like our normal sloper actually.
The front darts are in the shoulder and waist, the back has both darts moved to the waist.
The dart that goes all the way into the skirt area is just two darts connected
Remember from the chart above you can move darts around.

Your job will be to take special care to fit this vest snugly

I'll tell you why in a moment.


Basic sloper in flat pattern making (not Lutterloh)

click to enlarge

Vest pattern for sizing (lutterloh)

Most of you should have gotten this pattern in a handout. It is also online on several of the Lutterloh sites.

I prefer another pattern that came in the same handout as the above pattern. I like it for the dart placement in the front, more of the patterns have side darts than shoulder. The back dart is more correctly placed also and there is a sleeve sloper which I think is important! I don't use the collar at all I just cut it off of my sloper. And it allows me a jewel neckline with a little tweaking.

However the vest will work just fine and as most of you may have already made the vest I will continue with just the vest.

The first thing I want you to do
is take the bottom line of the front vest and draw it out past the pointed edge. We don't want that little opening if we are to use this vest as a sloper. When we are all finished this sloper should look like you all flattened out....I'm seeing a 1960's cartoon coming on where roadrunner rolls coyote flat.

If you have already sized and adjusted the vest pattern be sure it is snug with only enough ease to move in. Next you should remove the extra button band area.

Cut the pattern off right through the middle of the buttons.

Next thing I would do is bring that neckline up. That way I can note the distance I am willing to have necklines low and many have hallow upper chest and this vest will not show that but your patterns will. This of course is opt.

Before I go any further I'm going to explain what we are doing. If we fit the vest closely to our size and then remove any parts of the pattern that aren't "Us" (like button bands that double over themselves, hems etc) then we can use the the pattern as a sloper that matches our body shape

We take the finished sloper, put it on cardboard if you like, and put it under/over the Lutterloh pattern we are making and compare to see what kind of ease the pattern has. Yes ease, if you don't have any you need to draw a bigger pattern. If you want more then I'll show you how to add more to the pattern in another posting.

Don't panic I'll show you step by step.

So now some fitting hints

your pattern should fits as below

1. darts pointing at the bust point (not on it please)

2. waist the correct size

3. shoulder width correct

(let it stop right at the point of your shoulder where your arm attaches, bend your arm to find)

4. no baggie spots in the back or front

5. front meets the center of your body

6. the sides hang straight to the ground

7. The waist line is at your waist

(helps to draw it on your fabric for the sloper)

8. The fabric is not too tight around the hips

9. is the arm hole no more than 1" from the under arm?

You may have to raise up the underarm it is a vest after all

10. The vest is hanging straight down your body off your shoulders and you can move in the vest just enough to breath!

Time to test out a pattern.

Here is a blouse pattern front that I will compare.
It has one dart on the side and a button band and a very straight side line.
I will make my dart match the blouse.
1) I cut out the shoulder dart and taped the edges closed.
2)Then I made a cut right at the side. I tried to match the blouse pattern.
I cut until the pattern would lay flat.
Wala I moved the dart!

Place the vest sloper in the middle of the button band, match the shoulder and see what happens!

So what is happening between my tightly fitted sloper and the pattern.

1. I need more ease. There is no way I can move with the side of that blouse so close to my body! Even with the middle dart closed my hips are larger than the blouse hip.

I will add more to the 4 side seams. THIS IS THE EASE!

2. Look at the armscye. See how deep the vest armscye is? I did not adjust it and you can see the blouse even though it has a sleeve is tighter. I may drop it just a little and make my sleeve that much bigger. You will find this happens most in vintage patterns.

3. The shoulder width is perfect so my sleeve will fall where it should. I may have to slant it a bit for my slanted shoulders. I always do!

4. The neck is within the comfort zone I marked. You can't see it because it is behind the sloper. When I am doing this full size my sloper is colored cardboard and my pattern is in see though pattern paper and it makes this job easier.

5. Looking at the length, I don't like any of my tops to go below my rear so this one is a tiny bit long. So I will shorten it a bit. It has straight side seams so I can remove that extra length at the hem line, nice and easy to do.

6. See the dart? It may be up too high for my shape. I need to paper fit for that dart placement. Why only paper fit? This is not a fitted top so it will have lots of room in it and I can just pinch the paper to point the dart in the correct location and then mark it when I'm done paper fitting. I often do this in the waist also.

That dotted line on the sloper is my waist location. 4" down from there is my high hip etc.

Now the above example is not really me or my size. Below you'll see an empire top I am working on. I drew out the pattern in my normal bust size. The dart has been moved to gathering at the empire waist.

That should be cute as long as it isn't too much gathering.

But as you can see in the 2nd photo the pattern I drew is much too small in the bust. I can do the bust adjustment and will have to do it no matter what but this really is too small so I will draw it again in a larger size and see what happens. Even if I closed the dart on my sloper it is clearly too small a top

The white cardboard is my sloper

The pattern paper is on the right

This is a V neck overlap empire dress actually.

You can see the bust needs more space and the top is not wide enough.

The under arm is OK because I keep my slopers at a sleeve less height and with a sleeve you need more space. The shoulder is good. The overlap could be a lot more so I will re do this.

Remember this is my tool to see where I fit in the pattern. Sometimes I can just add a little to each seam to give me more space in the garment. Sometimes there are just too many things happening and I will redraw. It's fast enough to do anyway.

average wearing ease in pattern making
This is not silhouette or design ease
see below

The larger your size the more ease you will need

The more casual your clothes the more ease you will want

To test your own clothes that you wear, pull all the ease to one side and pinch and measure. The ease is twice the measurement you took.

Wearing ease


Bust 3" waist 1 1/2" Hip 1 1/2"


Waist 1" Hip 1 1/2"


Waist 1" Hip 1 to 3" (measure while sitting for correct amount)


Bust 5" waist 3 1/2" Hip 3 1/2"

Including wearing ease and design ease

Deep step at a time.....

This is easy when you understand how it works....

Monday, September 21, 2009

Join Our Lutterloh Sewcial!

Announcing our long awaited
Vintage Lutterloh Sewcial!

In our ongoing effort to initiate discussion about using the Lutterloh patterns we would like to make a
special limited time offer!

From now until Wednesday, September 30th, 2009 we will be taking e-mail requests for the patterns needed to join in our first Vintage Lutterloh Sewcial.

The patterns will
not be posted to the blog so be sure to send your e-mail request before September 30th, 2009.

After the start of our sewcial on October 1st, 2009 no more requests will be honored (so please don't ask.)

So how do we start?
We will send the same patterns to each reader participating in the project all on the same day, October 1st, 2009.

Anyone requesting the patterns will be expected to participate in our Sewcial by sending comments and a completed photo of their project.

What are we making?

Once everyone receives their patterns we will all begin using them to create our own vintage 1930s and 1940s
inspired APRONS!

The holidays are just around the corner! These retro style aprons can make great hostess gifts for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah and of course you'll need one for yourself too!

We should remind everyone, these patterns are for your private use only and must not be posted on the internet in any form! This offer is not intended to be a free distribution of these patterns. We expect each recipient of the patterns to send comments on their progress. These can be as simple as a progress update or certainly any questions or helpful tips you encounter along the way. We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words so please feel free to e-mail us a photo if you need to demonstrate a question about your project.

What should we do when we're finished?

Once we start using our patterns there will be a four week time limit to finish our aprons. We would like to have a gallery of the finished projects so please send a photo by October 30th, 2009 in an e-mail as soon as you are finished. In your e-mail please include a note of your permission for us to post your photo on our blog.

If you don't think you have the time right now to participate in the project discussion, please do not request the pattern. Anyone requesting the patterns but not participating in the project will not receive any future project patterns. Please don't ruin this type of project for the people who truly want to use these patterns. As long as everyone requesting the patterns joins in and we are able to maintain an active discussion there will be other opportunities later.

Remember we are counting on you to keep this an active discussion so everyone can learn from our experiences! This is vintage after all and we will need one another to figure it all out.

Friday, September 18, 2009

My storage solution for Lutterloh patterns

I've been cleaning up my sewing room this week and decided that my semi-permanent storage for my Lutterloh patterns just wasn't working anymore. I thought I would share with you my more permanent solution.

Since I draw my Lutterloh on butcher paper the finished patterns just don't fold up as small as the tissue paper ones you buy at the store. I had been folding my patterns with the largest pieces on the bottom so when they were folded most of the pieces would be inside the larger ones. This was working fine until I discovered that I needed to put away another six patterns and they just weren't going to fit into the few envelopes where I had been stuffing my other Lutterloh patterns.

Now that I have switched over to using Lutterloh almost exclusively I decided that my filing drawer for patterns had to be purged. This left plenty of room for my Lutterloh patterns which I folded neatly into their own individual 9" x 12" envelopes from the office supply store. I figured since I already copy my patterns to prevent them from damage then why not copy the fashion photo as well to paste onto the outside of my storage envelope? Here is a photo of one of my pattern envelopes complete with sizing notes.

You'll see at the top I added information about the supplement number and year the pattern was published. Below that I've noted the size it was drawn. We all know that from season to season our weight and thus our measurements can fluctuate. If you have the size the pattern is drawn marked on the envelope then you can see at a glance whether or not these measurements are close to your current size or perhaps you need to draw a new one. Since I've made up this pattern once already I know how much fabric I used so I noted that at the bottom under the fashion photo.

Sometimes you're in a hurry and don't feel like messing around with adding the information in your photo software. In this case I just print the fashion photo and hand write the pertinent information in later as pictured above. From this photo I only made up the skirt pattern so I only marked my bust and hip measurements at the top. There was no need to mark my high bust because I didn't use it. I circled the numbers for just the skirt pattern to tell me that's the only pattern in the envelope, I didn't draw the top patterns.

Notice that I didn't note my fabric requirement at the bottom. From my earlier post "Make it work" you may remember that I made my skirt from a remnant left from another project. If I were to buy fabric specifically to make another skirt from this pattern I would need to measure my fabric requirement from a new full width of fabric.

My Lutterloh patterns fit in my pattern filing drawer much better this way now. I can file them in categories such as skirts, pants and dresses and waste a lot less time trying to find a pattern I've already drawn. For now I'm just pretty happy to get these patterns put away and off my table. If you can think of any information that could be included on the outside of the envelopes or even a better filing system altogether I would certainly welcome your comments.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My patterns are too long

After you sew with Lutterloh for a while you get the idea of how your body differs from the patterns. Make notes to remind you, a recipe card is great, but if you write it on the pattern and then put it away you won't remember everything for next time.

Every pattern is too long for me. This can be too short for someone else, the patterns do not know the ups and downs of your body. Here is how I adjusted my sleep ware pattern.

1) On a Lutterloh sales video it said to take the hole you make in the pattern and use that as your length adjustment spot. Some times that works as in the sleeve below. This time it was close enough that it might have changed the front line angle so I moved 4 inches below the hole.

2) On the pattern I measure my length measurement. I had a body scan years ago and so I go to the waist to neck edge measurement which is 19". Please note that for the Pj I use the dotted line, the hem bottom is the length for a robe.

3) This is only the length to my waist, I do a quick check of my old Pj's and see that I like my tops about 5" below my waist. This is the location I put my line.

Some important things to consider: if when you measured your shoulder to waist you pulled that tape too tight you will leave your top too short. If you are large busted you need MORE length. You can take that tape measure and wind it up and over your bust to make sure there is plenty of length.

4) Make a line all the way across the pattern and cut it out

5) At this point you can make it longer by adding paper.Pull the bottom the needed distance from the top piece and tape in place or like me you may need this shorter. In this case I lay the bottom piece over the top and tape it so that the dotted hem matches the top cut edge. I left the longer robe length on as it made it easier to line up the dotted hem with the cut edge but it could just as easily been cut off at the beginning.

6) Now my top is the correct length but I must true up the side seam before I can consider it done.

To true something is to make it harmonious as one piece. You may get a larger difference from the two pieces being added than I did but the correction is the same. At the under arm make a line that goes smoothly to the hem. If this is a curved side seam you must curve the new one also. Mine is not.

7) Redraw in the pocket and the pattern is ready to cut out of fashion fabric.

Check your whole pattern for length issues.

I also found that the sleeve that should go just below my elbow was really going to hit my wrist.

I checked to see that the shoulder will drop 2" off my shoulder and then I measured the sleeve to see how much extra there would be.

My shoulder to elbow measurement was 14 1/2 inches. So I removed any that was beyond that.

This time the pin hole was a perfect place to make my cutting line.

I followed the same steps as above and before long I had a corrected sleeve pattern.

Here is the sleeve if you wish to click on it and print it. You can take out any amount just to go through the steps to Remove or Add some if you'd like!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Get ready....Set.......Go.......

We're off and running now! No, it's not a race.

It's time to see some of the fabulous fashions that have been made during our first Lutterloh Sewcial!

We hope you can all draw some inspiration from these lovely photos!


Pam from South Australia - pretty pink pajamas

Ann's PJs for her little friend

Sally's Eileen West inspired nightgown

Ursula's knit pajamas

Ann's "Queen Anne's Lace" inspired gown

Stephanie's completed nightgown

Barbara's vintage - short nightgown