Drafting a Larger Block (aka sloper)

Last post I touched on a possible approach to drafting a block in a size larger than the given size chart in Aldrich.

Size 12 is used as an example in the instructions, here’s the 12 with the 30.

Blocks 12 and 30

Blocks 12 and 30

The 12 has the bust dart moved to the underarm position. There is an increase in height built in to the size increases, one element that might need changing for an individual. Changes in height are relatively easy to make, usually distributed between the length from the nape to the underarm line, and the underarm to the waist.

Aldrich size charts have an addendum for ‘short’ and ‘tall’, giving a plus or minus 2cms for nape to waist, a plus or minus 0.8 cms for scye depth. Individuals might choose a different arrangement to keep the armhole at a comfortable depth.

See how the larger sizes also have more length in the front bodice above the bust? This is a frequently needed fix. Here’s a toile being sorted by the fantastic mrsmole. Scroll down for where more fabric goes in above the bust. Only the toile stage of a personal block can guarantee to sort all fit issues, ( putting fabric in where it’s needed and taking it out where it isn’t), but taking measurements on the body and comparing them to the draft gets you some of the way.

Aldrich is a good system, but the instructions are on the terse side and the explanations minimal. A problem for many working on their own is measurement taking. The armhole depth, back width and back nape to waist are critical, but hard to get right on your own. It can help to work a ‘standard’ block first.

Lets look at what a size chart above 30 might look like.

difference per size
bust + 5cms                                 132 / 137/ 142/ 147/ 152/ 157
waist + 5cms                               112/ 117/ 122/ 127/ 132/ 137
Hips+ 5 cms                                137/ 142/ 147/ 152/ 157/ 162
Back Width + 1.2                        45/ 46.2/ 47.4/ 48.6/ 49.8/ 51
Chest + 1.5                                  45.5/ 47/ 48.5/ 50/ 51.5/ 53
Shoulder + 0.3                            14.9/ 15.2/ 15.5/ 15.8/ 16.1/ 16.4
Neck + 1.2                                    47.6/ 48.8/ 50/ 51.2/ 52.4/ 53.6
Dart + 0.6                                    12.4/ 13/ 13.6/ 14.2/ 14.8/ 15.4
Nape to Waist + 0.2                   43.6 / 43.8/ 44/ 44.2/ 44.4/ 44.6
Front shoulder to Waist +0.5   46/ 46.5/ 47/ 47.5/ 48/ 48.5
Armhole Depth + 0.7                 26.3/ 27/ 27.7/ 28.4/ 29.1/ 29.8
Waist to Hip +0.2                       22.9/ 23.1/ 23.3/ 23.5/ 23.7/ 23.9/

It’s extrapolated from Aldrich , using the size difference between 28 and 30 to create more sizes. There’s inbuilt fudge in this approach, because maybe the average increase in, say shoulder length, isn’t the same for 30-40 as for 28-30. As we know average and personal measurements are rarely the same. When there is a big difference between a personal measurement and the standard, the drafting system could give a result that still doesn’t work well. The back shoulder is drafted onto a line one fifth of armhole depth measurement minus 0.7. If you use a much shorter shoulder length this results in a sharper slope, which might not be useful.

Shoulder slope

Shoulder slope

You can, of course, input the bespoke measurements right away and draft from those. If you can take those measurements accurately in the right place and level and understand how they relate to the draft this could be your choice. I like to look at a ‘standard’ block in an appropriate size first,which helps to throw light on wherethere are individual differences .

My diagram is in half scale, measurements from my extended chart bust 157 cms, which is around 62 inches. Aldrich drafts the bodice to the hip line, which is pretty usual for drafting systems. It relies on having the ‘standard’ difference between waist and hip. For many figures, it’s actually easier to work the bodice to the waist only.

Size 40 Bodice Block

Size 40 Bodice Block

The bust point in the Aldrich drafts is placed 2.5 cms or about an inch below the armhole depth line. Often this needs to be moved, similarly the balance between the front and back block may need changing, for different cup sizes. Sometimes, just taking a standard block in a bust size a little smaller than the personal measurement and doing an FBA results in the right fit. Next post, how this would look on the 40 Bodice.





About jay

I design and draft patterns
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3 Responses to Drafting a Larger Block (aka sloper)

  1. maryfunt says:

    Very interesting experiment in drafting and you make several important points. I find it much easier and more accurate to draft from measurements when fitting the plus size figure. Extrapolating all the dimensions sometimes result in a toile that fits the circumference of the figure but leaves the neck and shoulders much too large. You are spot on that the most difficult part of drafting from custom measurements is the taking of those measurements; a task that is nearly impossible when working on yourself.
    I’ve worked through Aldrich’s method as well as those by Kenneth King, Suzy Furrer and Elizabeth Allemong. King and Furrer draft by mostly the same method and I’ve had excellent results with their system. Allemong’s book isn’t that well known but she emphasizes the importance is accurate measurements and the first two chapters of her book are devoted to measurement taking. She also measures the front and back of a figure rather than dividing the front and back by an arbitrary method. This produces a very accurate sloper when the figure has more bulk in either the front or back. Her sleeve draft is also the one I prefer.
    I agree with you that having standard measurements to compare yours to is very helpful. Since taking the figure measurements is the most difficult part, you know something may be off if you are working from measurements that differ significantly from the standard. For example: if you measured the shoulder as 15 cm. and the standard is 12 cm. you might want to recheck your work before wasting time drafting from inaccurate dimensions.
    It will be interesting to see how your size 40 compares.


    • jay says:

      I haven’t used the drafts you mention, but completely agree that if you can get accurate measurements of the back and front, with enough check measurements, it is ideal.


  2. fabrickated says:

    Yes I got the sharper shoulder because my shoulders are rather narrow. I had to draft to the standard size and then reduce at the outer edge. I agree with everything you say, and Mary’s points above, although I don’t have much experience with bodies apart from my own.


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