LH5303: I spent a lot of time measuring

One the home dressmakers I’d admire the most is TerriK at Stitcher’s Guild. She calls her style ‘lagenlook’ but I disagree.  Lagenlooks appear to me to be in love with adding more more more along with long longer and longest. TerriK’s ensembles are layered with an underlying tone of simplicity and sophistication that I don’t see most logenlooks approximate.  I’ve asked her about the success of her garments. In short: she knows what she likes; she knows her body; and she does lots of measuring.

I found a similar theme throughout my sojourne into Pivot and Slide. Lots of measuring, comparing contemplating ease; and I believe I experienced some success with this idea in my last go ’round with LH5202.  Enough success that I wanted to expand target my ‘problem areas’.

I reviewed a couple of my Craftsy classes. Printed out the worksheets and took personal measurements all over again. (Fitting Solo is excellent for tips on how to measure oneself. The others all encourage you to find a sewing partner. (If only I could.)) So I had 3 or 4 charts with my measurements. Charts of Burda and Otto measurements. Printouts of the minimal measurement information provided by the Big 4. I merged my personal measurements into one Excel Worksheet.  I was relieved to find I consistently measured the same with nearly all measured spots. I mean, it’s real easy to measure the waist 4 times in 10 minutes and get 4 different results. I didn’t. I got the same result each time.

I knew I wanted to repeat and refine the success of LH5202 and so chose LH5203. Same designer.  Assumably same basic block and similar drafting routine. I know from personal experience that using the front armscye curve or the back armscye curve can make a difference. A designers personal drafting procedures and philosophy can make a difference in the final fit and whether one will be chosen over the other.

For example, I love to watch Isaac Mizarhi but I buy Diane Gilman because the DG2 draft fits me better.

Although I’ve made this pattern a dozen times, I took the time to read the back of the envelope and note several facts.

  • this pattern was designed for knits only specifying rayon, silk, wool, microfiber, cotton, fleece and blends.
  • it has a slightly dropped shoulder
  • Body measurements given were limited to Bust and Hip
  • Ease amounts were given (1″ bust and waist; 4″ hip)

I copied the bust and hip measurements to my worksheet and headed to the Sewing Studio to measure the pattern.  I looked very carefully for any marking or measurements. This is an elderly, very-classic pattern. It’s easily updated with hems, necklines and even ease. Still it is old and doesn’t conform to the new standard of lots of pattern noise i.e finished garment measurements bust point, waist , hip lines lots of things we dressmakers think we need. The tissue just doesn’t have a lot of additional information.  I proceed to use this pattern, though, because I had great success in the past when all I needed were BWL and NSA alterations. I traced size Large, again. Actually, I was relieved to be tracing the same size.  It made me feel that my estimation of a common block and drafting procedure was possibly correct.   So I took a lot of measurements.  Measures I wouldn’t normally even think about.  Like shoulder-to-shoulder; back between crease. I took  a total of 22 measures.

I inserted a new collum in my worksheet titled “Tissue LARGE”. Then started asking questions. How do my measurements compare with the tissue?  What’s the effect of seam allowances?  Is the ease as given on the envelope?  I did search for Loes’ standard measurement charts, again; and found nothing, again.  I’m hoping I’m just not doing the right search and someday will turn up a chart that contains all the standards. The shoulder is the area I’m having the most problems with and I see no hint of what Loes uses for the shoulder.  So what is a ‘slightly dropped shoulder’? is that 1/2″ wider; 1″? More? Less?  I compared both my shoulder to the pattern shoulder (always less seam allowances of 3/8″); the shoulder-point to shoulder-point and across the back. I gave the tissue measure a lot of thought before deciding upon my tissue alterations

  • -2″ Back Waist Length
  • Hem
    • I’m still uncomfortable with Tunic Length Garment.  I trimmed the pattern at the “fold hem” line after adding 2.5″ to the center front.
  • 0 Bust
  • 0 Waist
  • +3/4″ at back hip
  • +1/2″ at front hip
    • dividing by 4 seam allowances gave an odd, practically impossible result. I opted to ‘weight’ the division in favor my back hip because I usually have to add more back there.
  • +1/2″ Sleeve length
  • Shoulder
    • I left the shoulder until last even though the ‘experts’ all say to start here. I’m anxious about the shoulder alteration.
      • I need both a narrow and a sloping adjustment.  I keep wondering if I also need a forward shoulder adjustment.
      • My slash and smash NSA doesn’t completely solve the shoulder issue and introduces some change to the armscye and CF line.
      • My use of different shoulder-pad thickness did not solve the sloping issue
      • Kathleen Cheetham says that it’s possible you might need 2 or 3 different alterations to solve the shoulder fit riddle, but she doesn’t explain how to combine them or even in what order to do them.
      • Ditto Nancy Zieman and the Pivot and Slide.
      • Using Kathleen’s L-method resulted in redrawing the armscye which changed shape and length slighty.
      • I wanted to try something different.
        • a little more elegant
        • would solve all the shoulder drag lines instead of some.
      • I wanted something that would
        • narrow the shoulder -.5″
          • I usually make a 1″ NSA and did so on LH5202
          • Pattern shoulder and back measurements plus the idea of a ‘dropped shoulder’ convinced me to make this with only a 1/2″ NSA
        • increase the slope .5″



…and so I’m off to alter LH5203.  Keep your fingers crossed. Mine are.

Apologies for long post and lots of verbage.  I am working my way through the thought process by writing about it.  I want a record of what I thought, why I made the decisions I did.



2 thoughts on “LH5303: I spent a lot of time measuring

  1. Bev, I thank you for your complements, and thank you for disagreeing (which I do too) about the Lagenlook. I do wear layers, as you do, but that’s as close to Lagenlook (LL) as it gets. Layering is all about proportion and making/wearing layers in complementary shapes, weights and drape. You and I know that adequate design and wearing ease results in a much more attractive and comfortable wearing garment, but I don’t understand the attraction of uber oversized, multiple layered, balloon styles, esp worn with the pantaloons and harem pants espoused by the LL crowd that unfortunately make women who post photos of themselves wearing that stuff look 40-50 lbs heavier than they really are.


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