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20 June 2009 @ 02:54 pm
Using french curves tutorial  
Hi, here is how do I use french curves when drafting. It's on a basic block/sloper...just to give a major idea how to use them. It's only on side and back seams, I don't use a french curve on the front seam.

This is the block: note the marked width of the finished side and back seam at the waist. At the hips at the side seam, the lines will cross as the hip circumference is larger that the width of the whole draft.


On the back seam, I draw a straight line on the upper part, the ruler going slightly off the marked waist dart (usually 3-5mm).


That's the upper side of the back dart:


Next, I'm going to make the lower side of the dart, using the french curve. It's crucial to choose the right part of the ruler to use, actually the lower lines should melt into the straight vertical line.



Now, I have to smooth out the curves by hand. It's best done first with a dashed line...you'll find it's easier to get the shape this way, you have more control over your drawing. Then make a full line. It looks a bit wonky here, but that's going to be smoothed out when cutting out.


Then do the same with the side seam. The ruler should be put a bit further away from the final seamline, as there is a bigger difference between the waist and the hips here. Here it looks the same as on the back dart, but that's my mistake, I wasn't paying much attention when drawing this:-)

Again, you have to choose the right part of the french curve...the rule is the same, the transition between the curve and the "imaginary straight vertical line" should be as smooth as possible.

Actually there should be an imaginary "right angle" between the curve and hipline. Again, wonky here, I was really tired.

That's it! Just a little tip for cutting the pattern out:

When transferring the pattern to the fabric, you can use the french curve again to draw a smooth line where it is missing.
Jessicatextileowl on June 21st, 2009 12:55 pm (UTC)
So, why is cutting it in a zigzag a tip? I'm not understanding the technique just by looking at the photo.

Is it because it's the hipline and the two overlapped?
sartorbohemiasartorbohemia on June 21st, 2009 01:16 pm (UTC)
Yes, it is because of the overlapping lines. I mean the two side seams overlap in the hip area. If you want to cut the pattern pieces out, you'd have to retrace the whole pattern - which I find very time consuming - so I thought I'd share my way of doing it (actually I've learned it in my sewing class several years ago).
Jessicatextileowl on June 21st, 2009 01:32 pm (UTC)
Ah, and that does make sense in the time and paper saving sense. I'll have to remember it for the next time.

Thanks for the tutorial!
goatsfootgoatsfoot on July 26th, 2009 02:18 am (UTC)
Oh that's an EXCELLENT tip. THANKS!
Hex Onyxhexonyx on June 21st, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
akireeakiree on June 21st, 2009 04:00 pm (UTC)
Do you use the french curve to smoothj out / clean up the dashed lines?

I like the paper cutting tip! Thanks!
sartorbohemiasartorbohemia on June 21st, 2009 06:25 pm (UTC)
I used to, but found out that it's better done by hand...you'll be faster draw your own line than to search the right shape on the french curve ruler. As I said, the line looks terrible, but once you cut it out, redraw on the fabric and sew, it'll be perfectly smooth.
akireeakiree on June 22nd, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
I do always sketch out my own curves first then I use a french curve. I was just wondering if you'd found that you didn't have to.
earthabbeyearthabbey on June 21st, 2009 05:47 pm (UTC)
I haven't started learning corsets yet, just been reading this forum for a bit waiting to get my first inspiration to do one, so pardon if this is a newb question.

I have never seen a bodice pattern done this way. Where the side seams overlap like that. Is this what you do only for corsets or is this how you draft all of your bodice patterns?
sartorbohemiasartorbohemia on June 21st, 2009 06:40 pm (UTC)
No, it's common practice for any garments...actually, when you draft a sloper (or block??? What the heck is the difference?), you start with the bustline and then wonder how much to reduce at the waist and what to do with the hips.
That means that the framework of the pattern is as wide as the bust. As the hips are usually larger than the bust, the width of the framework is going to be too small - some seams will have to overlap - usually the side seam, sometimes the side back seam.

A corset has more pattern pieces, so there might be actually 2-3 seams that will overlap on the pattern.

Some pattern drafters prefer to space some of the pattern pieces just at the beginning, leaving gaps at the bustline to allow for the coming side seams. That's what Cathy Hay did in her corset drafting tutorial.
I don't do it this way as I find it more difficult to work with the pattern - checking bust and waist becomes much more complicated.
earthabbeyearthabbey on June 21st, 2009 09:16 pm (UTC)
Yah I have learned with space between them. I know that the ending pattern can be the same but the reason I was asking is because I don't know about corsets. So I wondered if maybe there was a different reason for doing them touching like that. I dunno....like because maybe there was some step in your corset drafting process which involved a step on one side that would affect the other...or something lol Sorry, I don't know how to explain what I mean!

But nevermind anyway since it's just a simply overlap and nothing significant ;)
akireeakiree on June 23rd, 2009 02:52 am (UTC)
A sloper is a basic/simple fitting garment to get the custom shape of body.

A block is can be any base pattern that other patterns are based off of.

You can have a bra block, but you don't have a bra sloper. You'd make a custom suit pattern from a sloper, but if you had a suit business you would make all your suits from a suit block and not start from a sloper all the time.
sartorbohemiasartorbohemia on June 23rd, 2009 06:06 am (UTC)
I got it! Thank you for the explanation!
katexxxxxxkatexxxxxx on June 21st, 2009 06:29 pm (UTC)
Ooh, I like the 'shark teeth' over the hip! Neato!
Eggie: Empresseggies_red_dres on September 22nd, 2009 07:00 pm (UTC)
What kind of curve is that? It looks like maybe a hip curve, but I only have the three pack from the art supply store. They don't have as smooth of curve blending. I end up moving mine all over the place, as it's so much shorter.

Thanks for this tutorial BTW.