Lightbulb moment

This fascinated the sewing nerd in me.

Late night puzzle

Last night I was adjusting a bodice sloper for a client after first fitting. The bodice needed some ease added and just generally “relaxed” in main “construction zones” as I call them. These include Back width and Chest width zones. In the pattern drafting technique I am using, the Back and Chest width ease is in strict relation to each other and to the garment overall ease.

So last night I was adding ease to the Chest width area and I suddenly got stuck. My  client’s Chest width measurement seemed to be so small, that the front armscye would need to be cut out by 4 cm and the armscye length would end up being 62 cm long. And after this I was supposed to lower it ( following the fitting notes ). To compare, the relaxed jacket armscye I made earlier for the same lady was 55 cm!

That got me very confused. If I cut out the scye then I’ll have to raise it to control the scye length. If I don’t cut it out then the front will be too wide on her.

The revelation

I went back to my books and notes, everything I could get my hands on and suddenly I have come across this little picture

Chest width measurement

Looks unassuming, doesn’t it? All great discoveries seem that way at first.

Maybe it will help if I show you how Aldrich suggests measuring the chest width

Another chest measurement!

How about now?

The chest by Aldrich is measured above bust. This is the way I took my measurement. The chest by my old pattern drafting book ( which I use much more often ) is measured across the bust. Obviously,  across the bust measurement is going to be much larger if bust is present.

Valuable lesson

By the old book you can also calculate the Chest, Back and Armscye widths using your Bust measurement as a base. Here it is, all in cm

Nifty calculations

This will give you a good idea of what those measurements should be. Of course as you sew for individual figures some adjustments will be inevitable.

Have a great weekend everyone and welcome to new readers! :)

Lena Merrin
Lena Merrin

A dressmaker of many years, I enjoy drafting patterns and create custom garments.