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09 February 2010 @ 04:08 pm
Personalizing Simplicity 9769 - Method and Public Calculator  
So I've been working on my first corset, based on Simplicity 9769, and I've put together a spreadsheet I thought could be helpful to others here.  

For my first corset, I'm using the Simplicity 9769 pattern, but after reading the memories on it here (and based on my previous experience drafting for my 28I cup), I knew I was going to have to modify it pretty significantly.  Using the Foundations Revealed Corset Making Revolution as a rough guide, I took a boatload of measurements, measuring waist, bust, and underbust at the height of PMS bloatiness, and then again a week later.

I like the basic look of Simplicity 9769, especially around the back and sides, and I like where the seams are placed.  I want it to come down a bit lower on the hip, much higher on the bust, and to be more of a cupped bust.  Because I wanted to keep the seams in basically the same place, I decided to use percentages figured out by measuring the pattern pieces, and then apply those percentages to my own measurements.

Since Simplicity 9769 tends to run really big, I cut out my pattern along the size 6 lines, which is the smallest size on the version I bought, mostly for simplicity (heh) of measuring -- but I think this same process could have been done with any size, more or less.

A note for anyone looking to make Simplicity 9769 without modifying it: a size 6 with standard 5/8 inch seam allowances would have a 53.4cm/21 inch waist fully closed (ie no gap).  The pattern says to make a size 6 if you have a 23 inch waist, so once again probably too much ease in this pattern, no matter what the size.

Back to the drafting:  Once I had the pattern cut out I split piece 16, "side front and side back", into two pieces along the boning line closer to the front.  I did this so I could easy split the pattern into front measurements and back measurements, and be sure to keep the side perpendicular to the waist at all measurements.  I plan to put 16a (side front) and 16b (side back) back together when I draft my side piece, so I don't have an actual side seam.

The next step was to figure out all of the measurements for the pattern.  The waist is only marked on the center front piece (piece 13), so to figure out the waist location for each piece, I laid them on top of each other one after another (14 on 13, then 15 on 14, etc), lining up the triangles, and marked the waist that way, making sure it was perpendicular to the grain lines printed on the pattern.  I marked several other perpendicular lines on the pattern as well -- high hip at 7cm below the waist, ribs at 3cm above the waist, underbust at 7.5cm above the waist, and full bust at 18.5 cm above the waist.  These land marks are based on my own measurements (at 5'1" and short waisted), but seem to match the curves on the pattern fairly well.

Here's where it started to get tricky.  I put together a spreadsheet to calculate all the percentages for each of those measures.  So, for instance, the total measurement (for half the corset, not subtracting for seam allowances) for the waist is 45.7cm, with 24.9cm falling in pieces 13 to 16a, and 20.8cm falling in pieces 16b to 18.  Piece 13, center front, has a waist measurement of 5.7cm, or 22.89% of the front waist measurement.  I plugged all of the measurements for each pattern piece into the spreadsheet, and used a couple of lines (24 and 27 in particular) to check my math.  I also extrapolated low hip and overbust percentages (based on high hip and full bust, respectively), since I know I'll want those measurements for my lengthened version.

Once I had all the math for that, I plugged in my measurements, line 34.  I took the waist and rib measurements a bit squished (but not much), and left the hip and bust measurements as is.  If I want more compression/reduction there, I figure it's easier to take those in later.  Again these are all in centimeters, so that 10ths would be easier to calculate.  For each measurement I then took 1/2 and multiplied it by the percentage of the pattern that is contained in the front or the back (lines 30 and 31) to get my desired front and back measurements, while keeping the seamlines in the same place.  For instance, my desired waist is 64cm, half of which is 32cm.  In the pattern, 54.49% of the waist is in the front, and 45.59% is the in the back, which means that for my measurements, the front waist should be 17.4cm, and the back waist should be 14.6cm (again, half the pattern, as I'll be cutting two of each piece).  (17.4+14.6)*2=64.  

With those measurements calculated, I could then figure out the measurements for each pattern piece, customized for my figure.  Each of those measurements are highlighted in bold (lines 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, 19, and 22).  If I wanted to make Simplicity 9769 exactly as pictured, I would stop here and move on to drawing new pattern pieces based on these measurements.  But since I want to change the length and the bust shaping a bit, I need to do a bit of smoothing.  

This led to my second spreadsheet, based on the first.  Since I want to do a cupped overbust, I did a another full bust measurement where I curved around each breast and back in to the sternum, resulting in a 98cm bust measurement.  I also want to make sure that the bust is front and center, not under the armpits or gapping in the back, so I took another front bust measurement, from sternum to sideseam, and got 32cm.  Half of my desired 98cm is 49cm, minus 32cm is 17cm, which I plugged in for "Desired Half Back" (cell C33).  Again to help with the cupped overbust shaping, I moved some of the bust measurement into the center front piece (piece 13), adding 1.1cm to the bust measurement on that piece and subtracting 1.1cm from middle front (piece 15) -- when I draft this, I'll remove it from the edge touching 16, and may even end up moving that 1.1cm subtraction to 16a instead of 15, we'll see.  I also wanted a flatter front, so I smoothed out the measurements for center front from underbust down, making them all 4.0cm and moving those extra millimeters into piece 14 instead.

My next step is making all the new pattern pieces, but I thought I would share with you guys what I've done so far.  I've uploaded my spreadsheet to GoogleDocs and made it into a template, here.  If you follow that link and click the "Use this template" button at the top, you should be able to get to a version of the spreadsheet you can edit yourself.  If you do nothing other than put your measurements into the bottom line, you should be able to use this to re-draft Simplicity 9769 to your own size, but I think this could also be used to modify the pattern more heavily, or even with a totally different pattern, if you were willing to measure all the pattern pieces again.

Quick and dirty version: spreadsheet to calculate a customized Simplicity 9769 here.  All measurements are in centimeters, and do not include seam allowances, so add those in after you've figured out your pattern measurements.  I'll post again once I have my mock up done to show you guys how it all came together.  Hopefully this is useful to someone besides me.  ;)
nomerclesnomercles on February 10th, 2010 12:15 am (UTC)
You're my hero.
glasscannon: Wingsglasscannon on February 10th, 2010 12:23 am (UTC)
(Deleted comment)
glasscannonglasscannon on February 10th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
No problem! :)
grinning_foxgrinning_fox on February 10th, 2010 03:27 am (UTC)
I actually was just settling in to bash my head against this very thing. I am super glad you posted, therefore! Many thanks =)
glasscannon: pixieglasscannon on February 10th, 2010 07:00 pm (UTC)
Hope it helps!
katexxxxxxkatexxxxxx on February 10th, 2010 10:45 am (UTC)
Wow! Super-useful!

Thank you. And you have NO IDEA how helpful making those spreadsheets nice and stripy is to a poor dyslexic sewist!
glasscannon: Enchantedglasscannon on February 10th, 2010 07:02 pm (UTC)
Hehe, I'm the exact same way (hence the color striping, lol). There are a couple of lines in there just to check my math, to make sure I entered a measurement as 7.5 and not 5.7, hehe.
katexxxxxxkatexxxxxx on February 10th, 2010 11:27 pm (UTC)
See, with a little forward planning, we can do ANYTHING!

It's funny how intimidating columns of words and figures can be. Putting them in nice coloured cages is so good!
Cathy Haypeacockdress on February 10th, 2010 01:43 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! May this produce many well-fitted corsets. Disclaimer - do still make a mock-up; it's the ultimate way to check your numbers came out right, and you may still want to tweak here and there to get it absolutely perfect. But if your math is correct, you'll be delighted with how well it fits on the first go. Kudos to you, and I'm glad the site was of use to you! Do keep us posted on how it turns out!
glasscannon: Victoria Handsglasscannon on February 10th, 2010 07:06 pm (UTC)
Yep yep, definitely always do a mock-up. The idea behind this is mostly to take some of the guesswork out of making the mock-up -- Simplicity has so much ease it's basically impossible to correctly choose your pattern size, much less adjust for different hip or bust sizes. Especially since I'm reshaping the bust, I'll probably end up doing more than one mock-up this time, but my hope is that this will take out a lot of the guesswork in the long run.
katexxxxxxkatexxxxxx on February 10th, 2010 11:29 pm (UTC)
I don't think I'll EVER get a handle on putting ease in a corset pattern! That is just so loopy...
Alicedragonwort on February 18th, 2010 02:48 am (UTC)
Thank you!
I was actually doing something quite similar to this on a corset that I recently drafted. I knew the shape I wanted, but I only had a drawing and a photo. So I did percentages of an enlarged drawing. I make the finished look so close to that of the drawing I was amazed, and it fit quite well. I think I still need to work on my cup shaping and front waist, but I got the backs figured out.

Thank you for posting this.
demi_g: Romanademi_g on June 11th, 2011 09:38 am (UTC)
The link on Google Docs isn't working for me. It's not letting me use it as a template. I tried cutting and pasting your version into Excel but it doesn't have the formulas you used for the calculations. Is there another version lurking around somewhere? Thanks!
glasscannonglasscannon on June 11th, 2011 04:40 pm (UTC)
Hm, thanks for letting me know, I'll take a look at it. I still have the master excel sheet on my computer, so worst case I'll make a fresh Googledoc version. I'll see what I can do once I'm back at my computer later today.
glasscannonglasscannon on June 28th, 2011 05:07 pm (UTC)
Sorry to take so long to get back to you. I think Google may have changed how they handle templates. I *think* it's working now, but if you have any more trouble with it, send me a PM with your email address and I'll email you the original spreadsheet, so you can put your numbers in that way. Sorry about that!
demi_g: Withnaildemi_g on June 28th, 2011 05:22 pm (UTC)
It's still not working, so I'm sending you a PM. Thanks for your help!!