Wednesday 18 November 2009

Blue Suit - cutting a new pattern

I’m getting a slight feelings of dejvue here, but having found the perfect blue fabric for a Tennant Suit AND with the new skills I have been picking up at college, I think it is time for me to start over on my suit pattern.

To quickly recap, at my college course I have learnt about cutting a Block – a master pattern designed to fit me, from which a majority of patterns to any style can be derived.
Instead of cutting a modern Block, I opted for one based on notes contained in The Cutter’s Guide to Lounge Jackets, (see right) a manual written for the tailors of the 1890s to use for making the latest fashions. This was perfect for me to use, as a lot of The Doctor’s costumes are turn of the century or Georgian in styling.

I followed the guide to plot out the basic shape, using my measurements, firstly at a quarter-scale to gain an understanding of how it is drawn up (see left), then later at full size (see below).

This was then traced to make a basic pattern, and subsequently a twill, or calico test.

Putting it on for the first time exceeded expectation as it fitted perfectly, and my tutor remarked that it needed little or no revision for it to be usable.
That stands as good testament to The Cutter’s Guide as a good source of material!

So, how does this help me advance my suit?

Well, after studying photographs of the suit, I am able to make a number of observations which when applied to the jacket Block, mean I can make a pretty accurate pattern which I can near guarantee will fit me.

Below is the most useful picture I found (I have it as a giant A1 poster, though with a different background), and the points I was able to extract from it (as well as other photographic material).

For the moment I am concentrating on the front of the jacket.
click picture to enlarge

Level of top buttonhole
This is roughly level with the bottom of the syce, or the underarm.
Level of the bottom buttonhole
This is a waist level. I can then equally space four buttonhole between the two levels.
Level of breast pocket
The bottom of this is lines up with the second buttonhole down.
Size of breast pocket
This is nine pinstripes wide.
Width of lapel
This is six pinstripes wide.
Shape of lapel
The pinstripes run parallel with the edge, and the point of the lapel is at right angles.
Shape of lower jacket
Though the front edge of the jacket runs parallel with the pinstripes, from the third button down it starts to drift away, before curving at the bottom edge.
The shape of the curve can be plotted using the pinstripes as a grid.
Position of outer pocket
The top edge lines up with the bottom buttonhole.
Width of outer pocket
This is twelve pinstripes wide.
With all these points and clues to take into consideration, I will cut a more accurate pattern than before, and hopefully get closer to the design I want quicker than I did first time around.

Fingers crossed!

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