That puzzling distance at the knee


Linda asked me about that distance K K’ on trouser draft ( now shown in green ) I displayed in my knock knee alteration post.

This draft is taken from a book on menswear tailoring, and I have not seen this straight distance on any other draft before or after this book. It only confirms that there are as many ways to draft a pair of trousers as there are people willing to do it :)

The book says :

… find a knee level by dividing distance between seat line and hem line by two. Then mark a point 6 cm above the knee line and mark it K’. If the trouser pattern you require is not of a classic cut, then don’t mark point K’ and proceed usual..

This is it, no further information is offered on the subject,  barely enough to satisfy our curiousity!

Choices, choices

Before I did my balance adjustment I had a choice to make.

Which skirt draft to use as a base for my adjustment? Is there really a difference between the drafts? And if there is, how significant is it?
What a perfect time to do a quick comparison between Muller and Aldrich skirt block draft.

Aldrich is in red

For this experiment I used size 14 standard measurements ( from “Metric pattern cutting” ).
Both blocks are quite similar, but the there are some differences none the less.

I have discovered that Aldrich skirt block is better suited  for a rounder bum.


Well, see it for yourself.

The results of the experiment

First of all Aldrich skirt has more ease. It is 1.6 cm wider around hips.

Second, the side seams are moved towards the front. Some pattern drafting books insist you move the seams towards the front in every draft, but more often you have to do it if the back side needs extra width.

The Aldrich skirt’s front is 0.7 cm narrower than Muller and back side is 1.3 cm wider.

Aldrich skirt has two back darts instead of Muller’s one. Two darts will give a smoother curve over the bottom.

Aldrich skirt has 13 cm total waist suppression and Muller has 12 cm.

I guess in Muller’s days women preferred more structured, tailored, close-fitting clothes!

Before you ask, I went with Muller’s draft this time.


Vest pattern draft

My latest project ( and current ) is a simple lined vest, straight silhouette, minimum bulk and detail. I have almost finished it, some decorative stitching and closure are still left to do.

I usually begin with a design picture. It is easier to have the picture to look at while drafting

Design board
Design white board

This vest does not have waist shaping and bust dart is transferred into the armscye to create nice uninterrupted line. The fabric has some grey thread running through it which draws the eye up and down the figure ( and visually slimming ). Although the picture shows the shorter vest, the one I decided to make finishes below hip level ( a much more forgiving length ).

 I’d like to share vest pattern draft with you. It is very quick and easy to adapt your close fitting block to a very versatile vest pattern.

Stage ONE

And so I begin. The basic block is traced ( back and front)

Vest pattern draft stage 1
Vest draft stage 1

Neckline at the back is lowered 0.5 cm, neckline is widened 2 cm ( back and front ).

Shoulder is shortened by 1.5 cm ( front ) and 2 cm at the back ( the shoulder dart is eliminated ). The dart could also be transferred into the scye, this is particularly helpful for round shoulders.

Armscye is lowered 2 cm

Button stand is added 2 cm wide.

Style lines are drawn 6 cm down the scye.

Stage TWO

Vest pattern draft stage 2
Vest draft stage 2

The style lines are drawn all the way down to the hem. I made sure they are nice and smooth. Bust dart is transferred into the style line.

Neckline is drafted. This particular one finishes at original scye level.


Vest pattern draft stage 3
Vest draft stage 3

The pattern is cut along the style lines. Make sure the shoulder lines are equal, add seam allowances and it is ready to cut!

Here is my version, no waist shaping.

Almost finished vest

And what are you sewing? :)

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! :)

Fitting Aldrich pants

Fitting pants is a difficult job, especially if every fitting flaw shouts at you. I can’t help it, I always assess how clothes fit everywhere I see it – in shop windows, on models, on unsuspecting people on the street… It is a practice in a way – I see the flaw and imagine where it is on the pattern and how I would rectify it.  And when it comes to making a pair of pants for myself or my client I have to set myself limit on the number fittings and tweaks or it might never end.

For a long time “Metric pattern cutting” by Aldrich was my go-to book. The drafts are pretty simple, using standard measurements and all is very clearly explained.

Metric pattern cutting book cover

I have tried almost every pattern draft in this book and some of them are more successful than others. I find skirts and bodices fitting very well and pattern draft for stretch materials is excellent. On the sleeve pattern draft page I have a bright red “Do not use” sticker, I really don’t like that sleeve. and trousers, surprisingly, I have not tried until now.

So I have decided to draft a standard size 14 trousers by Aldrich ( the closest to my measurements ) without any alterations and see how they fit and what I would change to make them perfect.

So, are you ready? Here is my toile Fitting #1

Fitting #1 Front
Critique is welcome, please tell me if you see any problem areas, where they are  and what do you think should be done to rectify them.