This last week I have been busy pattern cutting for someone apart from myself (which is a very nice change). When I am making patterns for my own use, it can be easy to sink back into the familiar - dropped shoulders with loose and baggy silhouettes, because, after all, that is what I like to wear. But, when I got the opportunity to make this pattern, I was very excited as it was not my usual silhouette choice at all, which means I have to learn something new.
As the design is not mine, I'm not going to put it on the blog, but, basically it is a jacket with added volume in the back. The jacket will be printed all over, so the designer asked me to eliminate as many seams as possible (so that the print matching at the sewing stage is less daunting and we don't spend three hours trying to match the sleeve to the bodice).
The originally design had a back yoke, where I planned to add all the extra volume the designer wanted, but once it was decided that there would no longer be a seam there, it was time to go back to the drawing board.
And this is where third scale patterns come into the picture!
It is very handy to have a set of third scale blocks around (or ready to print straight off your computer when you need them), when you have a challenging pattern to cut, or pattern problem to solve. With these mini patterns you can make changes and adjustments to the patterns very quickly, to see if they will work, before spending the time (and precious pattern paper) doing them at full scale. They are also handy if you want to give a new technique a go, but don't really have a project to apply them to. At uni I learned all the basic principles by practicing them on third scale patterns and then sticking them in a folder for reference.
As I wanted to get rid of as many seams as possible, a raglan sleeve seemed like the obvious choice (I plan to do a raglan tutorial in the future, but for the time being, this is the basic principle. Cut your sleeve in half and stick the back sleeve to the back armhole and the front sleeve to the front armhole!)
By looking at the illustration of the jacket, I knew that the added volume needed to be in the circled area on the back pattern.
I drew in slash lines.
I cut in through the centre back seam and up to the shoulder (leaving a small "hinge" at the shoulder, so that the cut section remains connected to the rest of the pattern). By spreading these slash lines, more volume is added to the back of the jacket, without affecting the length of the shoulder seam.
To add more volume (and to balance out the volume added to the top section of the pattern) I also opened the slash line that runs towards the hemline.
But now looking at this transformation, I can see that it has caused the centre back line to be curved (and therefore would need to be a seam, rather than cut on the fold, to get a full back piece with no seams), so it is time to give another solution a go.
Simply stick it all back together with some tape and you are ready try a different approach!
This time I added one more slash line (at the neckline). As well as this, I decided to cut in from a different point - to avoid affecting the shape of the centre back line again.
Now when the slash lines are opened up, the centre back remains intact. The side seam is now longer than the original though.
When the patterns are this small you can easily play around with the pieces until you get the desired shape. You will quickly see how one change affects other parts of the pattern.
You can always add more slash lines along the way. I decided to add one in the sleeve to try and balance out the length added to the side seam to get this shape.
By opening up the sleeve, I distributed some of the volume there (which will balance the sleeve with the back), as well as preventing the side seam from becoming too long.
Once you are happy with the pattern, tape it to a piece of paper, so you will have it as a reference when you are making the changes to the full size pattern.
Smooth out any lines that have changed.
Cut out the pattern if you would like to see how it matches with other patterns (in this case the front of the jacket). You could even make a third scale toile, to see if you are satisfied with your pattern.
I have turned my third scale patterns into PDFs, just in case you would like to download them and give them a go!
Simply click on the images above and print them on your home printer. I have added a scaling box, but it is only important that they are printed to scale if you will then be blowing up your pattern to get it back to full scale (it is a UK size 10 pattern).