Criticizing Your Muslin Proof
Place the muslin up over the model form in such manner as to make the center front fold rest upon the center front of the model form. Because you have allowed seams, fold the shoulder and side seams under on the traced lines and pin these traced lines so that they will coincide with the seam lines on the model form.
Observe the results of your first effort. You may find that both sides of the muslin do not fit equally. This frequently occurs, even in new model forms. One seldom finds a model form in the industry which is entirely perfect. This imperfection is due to the variation of the linen fibres found in the craft linen which is used for the covering. In the process of manufacturing the model forms, the linen is sewed over the foundation and then the entire form is thoroughly sponged with water and allowed to dry. This induces the linen to shrink and eliminates the small wrinkles which might otherwise appear. It is during this process that the linen may shrink a little more in one place than in another and cause the irregularities. Should you find this to be true, in the future, use the side of your model form which showed the best fit as the basis for all your muslin tests whenever possible.
It is at this point that the criticism of an instructor becomes important. The steps used to shift the position of the dart are mechanical but the artistic results of this procedure must be determined. The angle, or position, of the dart should appear to follow the silhouette line of the upper portion of the body in a parallel position
A simple control dart may be shifted from one position to another position without changing the fit of the final garment. Only the shape of the pattern has been changed.
When the muslin has been tested, a cardboard sloper should be made. This is easily accomplished by tracing around the construction pattern developed during the completion of this final pattern. When finished, this new cardboard sloper should resemble Fig. 5, page 9, except that the area outlined by the edges of the dart should be cut away. This new sloper can be used as the basis for making many new designs later.
If the angle of the dart was adjusted in the muslin, similar improvements should appear in the sloper.
This new sloper would be called the shoulder control sloper. In basic measurements, it should be identical to original waistline control sloper. If the dart areas are closed in each, and one is laid over the other, they should also appear identical in form. Any discrepancies would be the result of careless tracing or cutting of the patterns.
In your first problem you learned one of the most important principles in professional pattern design, namely: shifting the control. You learned that the size and fit of the finished garment need not be altered by this process. You learned that the degree of the bulge in the new final pattern remained the same as that provided in the original basic sloper, or block. You also learned that, to shift the control, the new dart must extend to the bust point.
To give you further opportunity to study these facts, you will complete the final patterns and muslins for the following problems, all of which are based upon what you have learned. The same steps are used to complete these new problems. If you become confused, turn back to the instructions given on the foregoing pages and refresh your memory. When you have completed a few of these problems, you will have learned the routine.
This problem places the new dart under the arm. The underarm dart is used when the bodice of the garment is being decorated in such manner as to prohibit the use of the vertical waistline or shoulder darts without distracting from the design interest.
Note that the sketch shows this dart extending from the underarm seam to the bust point. This unpleasant feature can be remedied, as you will learn in another problem. Study the procedure illustrated in the diagrams, produce your final pattern, complete with symbols and seam allowances and cut your muslin. When the muslin is draped and pinned upon the model form, it is ready for criticism.
Making the Underarm Control Sloper
As the underarm dart makes it possible for the designer to have a working area in the center front of the construction pattern, and a basic sloper which provides for the control in that position is convenient, you will now make a cardboard sloper from the construction pattern produced in this problem. It should resemble the waistline and the shoulder control slopers except that the dart will be placed under the arm.
You will then have the three basic slopers which will be used for producing pattern designs presented in subsequent problems. Keep these slopers on hand for use when the diagrams indicate that any certain one is needed.
NOTE: Keep your muslin from this problem so that you may compare it with the muslin from a later problem. Through such comparison can be learned many important facts that result in superior fit in garments.
Although it is necessary to extend the dart to the highest point of the curve to effect the change in position, the finished garment is improved by shortening the dart in the finished pattern except in cases where an extra close fitting garment is desired and, in such cases, the long dart is shaped to conform to the actual contour of the figure. The simple shortened dart provides for a little extra "ease" which is desirable in the final garment.
Use the construction pattern from your previous problem and trace out a new final pattern. Shorten the dart as shown in the diagram at right:
- A to B equals 3 inches (new length of dart).
- B to C equals A to B.
- Correct underarm seam from C to D as indicated in accompanying diagram.
- Complete final pattern and muslin and observe the finished result.
NOTE: The appearance of the seam will vary according to the angle of the seam or the dart itself or the degree to which a dart is being shortened.
In the foregoing problem, you shortened the simple underarm dart to make it less conspicuous. A great many experienced designers place the control dart under the arm, but at an angle, pointing upward towards the bust, rather than across tn it.
Because this plan was introduced by the French designers, it has been called the French dart. This position makes it less conspicuous and at the same time, from a profile view, it flatters the wearer as it creates the illusion of her having a higher bust line than she may have. Therefore, this dart is frequently found in women's garments.
Follow the same procedure which you used in the previous problems to make the final pattern. Notice that the angle of the dart involves a different correction of the final underarm seam. Complete the muslin proof and observe results on the model form.
NOTE: A sloper might also be made from the construction pattern, but this type of dart is seldom used as the basis for a new design. It is a design in itself.
Compare the underarm seams in the muslins made from the simple underarm dart and the French dart. Note the resulting change in the grain of the fabric in the latter. The grain in the French dart muslin proof is straight at side seam. Many designers feel that the garment will retain its shape longer when the French dart is used.
A dart may be placed in any position as long as it starts from a seam and points to the highest point of the curve being considered at that time.
As a substitute for the simple shortened dart, in some instances, the dart-tuck is used. It is so named because it tapers like a dart but ends abruptly, like a tuck, or pleat. If you will scan the pages of fashion magazines, you will see the dart-tuck used frequently. The soft drape which is produced softens the figure and it is particularly pleasing when used in groups.
Use the sloper indicated and produce this muslin is shown by accompanying diagrams.
NOTE: As a student of pattern designing, it is important that you observe these principles as they are being currently used by professionals. In a separate scrap book, paste clippings showing sketches or photographs of finished garments which illustrate the use of these principles for shaping the fabric to the figure. This additional research will do much to further your appreciation of the varied use of basic, simple principles in high priced garments found in our stores today.
Basic control darts in finished patterns may be shortened or made to end abruptly in a dart-tuck to soften immediate curve area.
More Information About Patterns
By completing the foregoing problems you mastered an important principle used in the art of producing a pattern, namely: the possibilities for shifting the control to a new position. You learned that this might be done to conceal the simple dart or to place the dart in a position which would harmonize with other lines of design.
The three basic positions for the control are: waistline, shoulder and underarm. Therefore, slopers which provide the simple control in these three basic positions have been made for future use. For speed in producing new designs most designers keep such slopers at hand.
Your next few problems will demonstrate the possibility of developing design interest with the use of these basic positions for control. These problems will also teach you the procedure used in such instances.
As has been mentioned previously, fabric is the medium of the costume designer. He must have a thorough understanding of the limitations of his medium. Taffeta and tweed are adaptable to certain means of control; jersey and chiffon another. As a student of Modern Pattern Design, you will soon learn that some principles of cutting offer possibilities for the use of crisp, bulky fabrics, while others will appear appropriate when handling soft fabrics which have fine draping qualities, such as velvet or silk crepe. Hence, a thorough understanding of principles of pattern making will give the designer more breadth and scope in his work.
But the texture of the fabric is not the only point of consideration. As a great many fabrics are printed, stripes or plaids, the designer must manipulate that fabric intelligently. An artist—a fabric designer—has already contributed his talent to the fabric, and the costume designer must carry on from that point. We see many examples of failure on this important point. We see examples of the use of striped fabrics which have been manipulated poorly—so poorly, in fact, that the figure of the wearer is actually distorted when the garment is worn. Hence, a thorough understanding of the adaptability of certain patterns to certain fabrics is equally important. This is particularly true in the case of stripes and plaids. The majority of striped and plaid fabrics are woven in design. By carefully observing the grain of the muslin when the pattern is being tested, you will learn to visualize how such patterns would appear when produced in a stripe or plaid. To illustrate these facts, in some cases, you will be asked to mark up your muslin into an effect of stripe or plaid so you may see the results more clearly.
Never lose sight of the fact that the ideal feminine figure has ideal proportions. It is a work of art in itself. If you are to contribute your artistic talents to furthering this beauty, you must not distort the natural figure. It is quite true, additional drapery of fabric is added to produce a fashionable silhouette which does not actually follow the natural contours of the feminine figure, but this new silhouette must also have pleasing form and line.
As you proceed further in this study, you will learn that control, aside from being a means to shaping the pattern, may be ingeniously introduced as a part of a complete design. The architect learns that doors, though decorative, must serve as a means to entering the building. He learns that although the winding stairway may be a part of the design of the foyer in the building, it must still serve as a means to ascending to the second story. The jewelry designer realizes that the intricate necklace must have a clasp. He may make that clasp the dominant point of interest, or he may make it a part of the design for the entire necklace and thereby reduce its importance. In later problems you will study the possibilities which pattern making offers for concealing the need for control within the design of the garment.
In the previous muslins the single dart was used to provide the necessary control for shaping the bodice front over the curve of the bust. If you will take the muslins from these finished problems and mark each one with alternating red and blue pencil stripes, re-pin the darts into position and drape them over your model form, you will readily see how each would appear if such a garment were to be made from a prominently striped fabric.
When designing garments for individuals who are not fortunate enough to have perfect proportions, the size of the dart might be unnecessarily increased and the distorting stripes would become increasingly unpleasant. It is for this reason that the experienced designer may see fit to divide the control, placing a portion of it extending from one seam and the remainder from another. When you select your clippings you will see many examples of this fact.
From the following diagrams, produce this pattern which provides for a division of the control between the shoulder and waistline. Also notice that both darts are then shortened to leave the area immediately over the bust quite plain. Mark up your muslin carefully, placing the lines on the actual grain, and then produce the muslin for trial upon the model form. Observe the improvement gained in the method.
Notice that the underarm control sloper is selected as the basis for this pattern as the new lines are to be introduced at the waistline and the shoulder.
NOTE: Women having extra large bust measurement or exceptionally small waistline for the normal bust would necessarily have a personal sloper providing an abnormally large amount of control. This principle of cutting, with variations which you will soon study, is particularly adaptable to such types of figures. Not only does the fabric manipulate more pleasingly but the lines produced by the darts have a slenderizing effect.
Remember that "control" is merely a term used to refer to the means which are being employed to shape the fabric to conform to the many curves of the body. Once you have become familiar with the many ways in which control may be provided, you will more readily see the possibility for distribution of the control to insure the best "hang" to the fabric.
For the sake of design interest, control may be divided into two or more small darts instead of one. This proves satisfactory for individuals having abnormally large bust development. In the above sketch this method is illustrated with the additional use of dart-tucks. If the medium being used lacked draping qualities, a group of shortened, simple darts could be used. Note that the soft drapery which appears at the end of each dart-tuck invites interest. Hence, this design would lessen the importance of an unfavorably low bust line by inviting the eye upward to the drapery.
The procedure for rendering these designs is quite familiar to you. Note carefully the appearance of the corrected seam edges in the final patterns.