Sunday, 12 October 2014

Drafting The Male Sloper

Thanks to a kind group of friends who all chipped in together to buy it for me as a birthday present, I have a new little half sized mannequin buddy all the way from the U.S..



Isn't he a little beaut? Beautifully made and compared to my little 1/3rd female mannequin he looks positively gigantic. Well not quite, but definitely a bit larger scale than I have been working in.

Click to enlarge.
As I described in the Initial Steps post way back when, the first step in drafting these patterns is to create a basic sloper. The aim is to have a set of close fitting flat reference patterns that can be used to help draft the finished patterns. Once you have a basic sloper drafted you have a starting point to then make changes such as moving the location and direction of seam lines to change the design.

One of the benefits of drafting a male sloper is that the male form has considerably fewer lumps and bumps than a female form. It's therefore easier to draft the flat pattern shapes required, and no troublesome bust darts to try and remove. As with the female sloper, I did this by draping straight onto the form.

When I was first learning to drape on the stand (whether full-sized, half sized or one third sized) I found a lot of value in the youtube tutorials by tailor Sten Martin Jonsson. I'd suggest these videos as a good starting point if you are interested in learning the basic techniques.

I started by tearing a piece of muslin a bit taller than the neck to waist measurement, and a bit wider than the measurement around the mannequin from centre front to centre back. Once you fold under a neat straight edge at each end, and pin these to align at the centre front and centre back, then it's fairly easy to establish the side seams by smoothing and pinning the fabric in place. The key is to smooth fabric to eliminate wrinkles, while trying to keep the grainlines of the fabric running vertically and horizontally.

I then trimmed the excess away from the side, and clipped into the fabric around the neckline so that I could lay the back as smoothly over the shoulder as possible. After I'd marked the shoulder seam on this, I smoothed the front over the shoulder and trimmed and folded under the excess until I could line it up with the shoulder seam. During this process of establishing the shoulder seam it's important to keep smoothing and adjusting the fabric over the shoulder so that not too much excess ends up in the armhole or the neckline, so that neither gapes.

All I had to do then was mark around the armhole and the neckline and the main work was essentially done.

Establishing the shoulder seam and armhole. Click to enlarge.

Once all the seamlines are marked, including the folded edges of the centre front and back, it's an easy matter to unpin the pieces and lay them flat. I then use a straight edge or curved ruler to smooth out any wonky lines and the finished sloper pattern is complete.




A sloper doesn't have any ease, so it's important to get all the seam placements and sizing right. Once I had cut the pieces with seam allowance I sewed them together and made some minor tweaks to the armhole shape.



I still might tweak the armhole a little further because I think it's a little too round and the front of the armhole probably needs to be cut away a bit towards the bottom. However, the armholes in the patterns are a little different from a modern armhole in shape so it may not matter that much at this stage.


 

I also deliberately cut the sloper with a slightly raised waist more in line with the shape of the final doublet patterns. It's a fairly easy matter to drop or raise the waist line slightly as the pattern calls for it. I probably also need to make some arms for this guy so he can hill out his doublets properly...

Now that I have the sloper drafted, the next pattern I'll be tackling is the first men's pattern (and also the first of all the patterns in the book) which is f.13/f.13a, a man's doublet. It bears many similarities with the woman's doublet f.14/f.14a from Project #2, but has a curving padded 'peascod' belly.

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