Ok. I’m smiling now because I just decided to delete a very long, rambling post about the problems following my first vintage Haslam Dresscutting System (HDS) Master pattern, and how it just could not, would not work…and rewrite it as I just figured it out! And this, Dear Diary, is why I keep you and pay good money to renew you when you expire! I bet I just saved myself hours in actual work trying to figure this out. So, here’s the revised post, complete with the solution to my delimma!
Against my better judgement, being anti-social-media and all, I joined FaceBook to have access to a Haslam Dresscutting System FB group. I wanted to ask “Can I use my own sloper, created from a Moulage class or do I have to specifically go thru the HDS and create and use their Foundation?”
Of course, I got 2 answers back:
1.) “Yes. It’s not hard but you need their Foundation to create the right silhouette.”
2.) “No. I tried theirs but couldn’t get the fit right so I used my own sloper and it works just fine.”
This left me grokking:
1.) I’ve never, ever chosen a pattern because of the shape. I have always chosen a pattern to make because of the design detail.
2.) My sloper fits me. I’ve got all the bugs worked out and I know it like the back of my hand.
So I wrote a long post about how I wasn’t sure of this pattern method. I was stuck on the fact that the master pattern instructed you to come in at the waist 1”, Center Back 1/2”, and then there’s a 1” dart…all told, counting both sides…one would be taking in, the back alone no less, a total of 5”!! You take in the front similar amounts, too. And I was stuck wondering “How is this ever going to work??? It can’t!!!” Then, at the end of the post, painstakingly going over every picture I took of my sloper with the changes according to the Master, and dissecting out why it wouldn’t work, I wrote this:
“I’m wondering if the HDS has one creating a sloper where coming in 5” at the back is a good thing. Looking at the pattern, the “sloper” seems very square where my sloper is already shaped at the waist and whatnot. I’ll soon find out if my suspicions are correct or not. You know what?… I just gave another look to the pattern instructions and indeed…the center back and the side seams have been squared off, every corner is a right angle. Comparing it to my existing sloper…if I were to draw a straight line down from the under arm to the bottom waist…then coming in 1” at the waist would be correct. I remember already making the 1/2” at the waist on the Center Back in Moulage class. So…well….this changes everything!!”
And then the light went on. The answer was right here in front of me this whole time. Look~
The Master is the printed paper on the right. If you look, the sloper, the HDS Foundation if you will…is completely squared off. The dotted lines representing the side seam and the center back lines. They go straight from the underarm to the bottom hip level, and then on the other side from the neck straight down center back. Now…looking over to my sloper that has been traced onto pattern paper, it already has that 1” off the waist at the side seam. Another difference is that my sloper curves smoothly from under arm to the waist, whereas on the Master Pattern, again it’s a straight line from underarm to waist. So that’s cool.
On my traced out sloper, I came in another 1” from the waist…and then wrote “Nope!!!” In red ink.
Ok! This gives me a whole new starting point! I will scrap what I did yesterday, which is just tracing my sloper and then adjusting for design details according to the Master. I will use the back dart on my sloper rather than the 1” dart the Master advises.
So, to continue with this new realization:
This is the Haslam Dresscutting System (HDS) pattern I thought I’d start with, but just the top, without the pleated skirt. And why this? I lurve the way the side crosses over Center Front and buttons on the left side, the princess seams and that V-neck! (It V-necks in the back, too. See line drawing of the back.) The pleats in the shoulders….just lovely!! It never occurred to me that when I was finished I’d have itty bitty teensy weeny nipped in waist!! So, I do not care whatsoever about the silhouette of this. Mama wants those design details!
Alright, moving on. I traced my sloper and then followed the directions of moving seams up and out or in as directed by the Master. I did end up with the princess seam. I will start over again from scratch but with the knowledge that the darts and side seams on my sloper are correct. I will only adjust what seams needs adjusting for design. This time will go better as I kinda sorta know what I’m doing now.
I can still write about the back. Because interesting, the first time I traced my back sloper and then tried the adjustments, 4.5” down from neck, over 2.5” on the shoulder, I did not account for the shoulder dart and the line creating the V-neck in the back seemed a little extreme.
I retraced a new copy with the shoulder dart closed and smoothed out the back armscye from the new dart-less shoulder.
Redrew the down 4.5”, over 2.5”…and oh, yes, it looks much better now. Closer to the Master
Finished tracing the rest of the sloper on and began marking the changes. Here is where I kept thinking “This is not going to work. This is not going to work!” I continued writing on how and why it would not work when the epiphany hit me about the straight, squared off lines on the Master and my shaped sloper. And I deleted the long rambling post getting me to here! You’re welcome!!
I did notice that I was left with a very tiny back shoulder length- that did not agree with the front shoulder at all, it was off by 1/2”.
I redrew the shoulder seam, adding 1/4” to either side. I’ll have to remember this when I go to make the mock up. Who knows…should I have added the whole 1/2” to one side or the other instead of splitting it between both sides?
Anyway, just in size alone, now they are in accord. Just guessing, after making a mock-up, I’ll opt to smooth out the armsceye at the shoulder. Looks a bit sharp to me but we’ll see. Also, the neckline is VERY sharp!! Is it supposed to be that sharp??? We’ll see about that as well. Perhaps adding the entire 1/2” to one side or the other will take care of the sharpness.
So that’s the first step taken into this Haslam Dresscutting System. First steps are always the hardest. Now I have a jumping off place. I have a crazy day tomorrow and we’re going to a friends house for dinner tomorrow night. The soonest I can get to work on this is Sunday. I’m curious as to how the first muslin will turn out. Of course, there will be more changes but I’m moving on it.
Now, back to those vintage dresses and what I see when I look at them: Design Details.
The fabric here. Blue Oriental characters on cream silk!!! The colors! Those pleats against the straight front panel, using that self same fabric for the coat lining and the flower closure at the neck! Does it only close at the waist and the neck? Leaving it to slightly pull open and let the dress peek out??? So…incredibly…breathtakingly…mind blowing beautiful! Someone made that and gave deep consideration to every stitch. As a sewist myself, I wonder how many seams were sewn that the seamstress said “Not good enough. Unpick it and do it again.” until it was perfect.
And this sweet little green silk gown. How many hours did it take to complete the embroidery on it? I can see a seamstress getting into the zone and letting the day go by working on this. The subtle handkerchief points at the hemline with the lace inserts! I wonder what that red is on the bottom…is it a lining? Or binding like at the armscyes and neckline? Also looks like maybe the lace covers up French darts at the waist. And how gorgeous is that lace V? Coming right down into the empire outline the lace makes coming across from the French darts?
Now that’s what I’m talking about! It’s details like these that I would happily spend hours—nay, days!—doing to my creations. My shape is what it is and for my age…I don’t think it’s all that bad. I have good posture, nice square shoulders and since Raymond moved out with his heavy cream sauces and his home made Tira Misu desserts…and RD retired and cooks more in line for how a little retired couple should eat, i.e. healthier & leaner, my weight is coming down. So, I don’t have any serious problems with my shape. At least not enough to drastically change it with shoulder pads and waist corsets or girdles!!
But those details! Must. Have. Those. Details. Cannot live without them.