sloper blocks

Another question.
Just want to get an idea - from what material do you make your sloper blocks? Plastic, paper etc?
Thanks Katherine
Reply to
jones
Once I have them down, I use standard manila, like the pros. The trick to keeping it flat is to fold the sheets in half lengthwise and staple. And I store the pieces on pattern hooks.
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster
Dear Ursula,
Sloper blocks are basic pattern pieces, usually bodice with darts, sleeve, straight skirt, and pants. They are made with minimum ease from the wearer's measurements, and are the start of EVERY design, from bikinis to heavy winter coats. There are no seam allowances on these pieces; the design is manipulated, then the seam allowances are added as the last step. I couldn't work without mine, but mine are stored in my computer these days. There is a special tool for cutting a 3/4-inch hole in each piece, so that it can be hung. We called ours a rabbit, because that's how it was shaped. There are also special hangers for the pieces that fit through the holes, so that a complete set can be held on one hanger.
The pros us oak tag (manila envelopes). When used in the finished design to be cut, the oak tag was tinted green on one side, so that left and right sides were cut properly (no folded edges).
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
Yup. Comes in rolls of various widths. Better than say, illustration board, because it keeps a nice sharp edge which makes it easier to trace off accurately.
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Reply to
Kay Lancaster
Blocks are the foundation patterns. For instance, I have a very plain custom pants pattern... 4 darts, no pockets, about as generic as it comes. From that pattern, I can make jeans, pocketed pants of various descriptions, change the width of the hemline, make shorts, pleated pants.... and on and on.
I also have a custom darted bodice that I can use for generating a dartless blouse, shirt, swimming suit, princess seamed top or jacket, etc., etc.
And I have a sleeve block, from which I've generated shirt sleeves, blouse sleeves, jacket sleeves, darted elbow sleeves, cap sleeves and a bunch of other styles.
Add styling to the blocks and they become patterns.
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster
Now you've done it!!! If I were 20 years younger, I'd buy a roll. But my kids would probably think I has gone *completely* nuts when they found it after I die. ;-|
Beverly
Reply to
BEI Design
Dear Beverly,
Try Dick Blick or one of the other art supply stores online. I'll bet you can get sheets. Oak tag is different than cardboard. It holds an edge, is flexible, and easily cut with scissors or knife. I prefer a box cutter for cutting.
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
Probably what is similar here (in Oz) to "your" manilla is coloured (or plain) cardboard sheets they get for arts and crafts.
I've learnt a new word from you Kay - oaktag (must be an American word) :-)
Thanks again everyone. I am enjoying reading the replies.
Katherine
Reply to
jones
Dear Samantha,
Yes, I have Wild Ginger's Patternmaster Boutique. Before it was available, I taught pattern drafting with AutoCad and AutoDesk. I also taught fashion drawing by computer, using AutoDesk. But the idiots changed the program so that one had to be a physicist to use it.
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
"Kay Lancaster" wrote...
It occurs to me that I don't even know what these things are in German, although I spent three months in a clothes factory (practical training, I thought I'd like to become a clothing technician or whatever it's called, but I hated every minute in that place, so I gave up the idea and turned to working with wood).
Just to get this right: sloper blocks have the rough form of the individual parts of a certain type of garment (e. g. bodice, jacket, trousers etc. ). If you'd cut out fabric after them (plus a seam allowance), and put the parts together you'd get a garment that fits you, but it's just a basic form. So if you'd make the same garment for two different people, you'd need two different sets of sloper blocks? Or would you be able to use the same set for both, just tracing the stuff on different paper and then adjusting the parts for each person?
I suspect they are a rather individual thing, and that is probably why I've never come across them in that factory. They'd get the patterns for each size, lay out the fabric in many layers and then put a paper with the parts on it. Then comes the guy with a kind of saw and cuts out stacks of parts, and off they go into the lines where the busy bees sew them together as piecework. Sloper block are probably no part of the whole process. You'd find them in an oldfashioned tailor's shop, right?
U. - racking her brain for a German word for the whole thing. ;-)
Reply to
Ursula Schrader
Dear Ursula,
The patternmaker at your factory would have worked with these blocks. I'll try to demonstrate. A basic sloper block for a dress has one or two darts pointing to the bust point. The designer wants a princess line top, with the princess line going from the shoulder to the waist. In this case a waistline dart would be the sloper used. The patternmaker would place the sloper on a piece of paper, and would stick a pin in the bust point. Then the patternmaker would start tracing the sloper at the shoulder where the new design line would go; continue to the dart; pivot the pattern to close up that dart, continue tracing back up to the shoulder. There will be a little connection at the bust point. This is trued, or separated, which would become ease when sewing, and the pattern is now two pieces for the princess line.
But I doubt that this is done anymore, along with the "man with a saw." It's done quickly in the computer, and the patterns aren't even put on the fabric. The fabric is on a vacuum table, and a laser cuts through as many as 300 layers.
The term is "engineer." And you're right about slopers being individual things. That's why RTW is so ill-fitting for many of us. Stock sizes simply don't fit real people. And the way RTW patterns are graded is also curious. The sizes are changed by adding (or subtracting) 1/8 inch at a time in several places, both vertical and horizontal. But even when we gain several dress sizes, our shoulders don't change. So when a person purchases a size 24, after being a 14 for most of her life, the shoulders hang down to her elbows. Obviously, I didn't teach grading. I don't think it works.
Teri
Reply to
gjones2938
"jones" wrote in message
Katherine in Oz you can buy the genuine oaktag from the TAFE college shops where thehy teach fashion/sewing courses. You'll have to pay more then the students since you won't get the student discount but that is the only place I've seen the genuine stuff. I've considered buying it but not done so as for a homes sewer it really presents me with a storage problem.
My slopers are done on paper and I keep them in old boxes that once held Avery labels. I also use them to store my most used patterns or ones that will be long time projects like my tailored jackets and I cut open the pattern envelope and stick the envelope to the top of the box.
I find these boxes invaluable as they are very sturdily made and as they only have the capacity to hold about a tenth of a ream of paper so they are perfect for limited amounts of pattern pieces and they slide nicely into my sewing room bookcases.
Reply to
FarmI
Not rough... actually quite polished. It's not like a wood blank that you've glued up for say, a bedpost, but haven't taken to the lathe to turn. It's a basic, basic pattern for a garment. No buttons, no trims, no design features just a very minimalist pattern.
There may be some styling done -- for instance, the basic block you start with is typically a fitted garment with darts, and just enough room to allow you to breathe and move and sit. The neckline is high and round (jewel neck), the sleeves are long. It looks like something out of the 1950s, but ultra plain. This pattern will be balanced, perfected, honed... it'll sew together like a dream because you've made sure everything is perfect -- every seam line will match, every seam will fall in the correct place, every grain line will fall precisely. Because when you start making, say, a princess-seamed garment from that darted basic block, you want the princess seamed block to fit just as well as the original block did. If something's off on the original, it'll get more off as you make other blocks and designs from it.
Nope. My blocks are custom blocks because I have some fitting peculiarities that I want addressed from the start. I make clothes for my family (and some other custom patterns for people with other odd fitting needs), but I don't make generic garments to fit the vast majority. I'm the person you want to know, though, if you suddenly need a leg brace and now you need one pants leg larger than the other, but still "looking right". I will make you a custom block that fits *you*. I don't do production patterns. You and whoever sews for you can make style changes on that custom block I've made for you.
If I were making patterns at, say, ABC pattern company, I'd be using a basic block that fits the target person they want to sell to -- let's say she's 5'6" tall, 36-24-36, B cup. They'd have mannequins that size available to me, and fit models (real people with those measurements) available to use for fittings. If I were working for XYZ company, their target market might be women 5'2", 36-30-38, D cup, and my most basic pattern would fit that fit model.
The resizing to different size women (2-4-6-8-10 etc.) would be done in the grading process-- which is done after the clothes that have been designed and approved (let's say this company is going to sell princess-seamed jackets, dartless shirts, and A-line and pencil skirts next season. The patterns for those would all be made and approved in the fit sample size before those patterns are graded and the whole size range sent to production.
Nope, you just never saw the front end of the process... the designer and the patternmaker and the samplemaker and the fit models. You were dealing with the production end of things.
You saw the finished patterns when they came in already sized (graded) and printed on long rolls of paper with the grain lines already absolutely aligned with the edges of the paper, and the various parts and sizes nested carefully to minimize fabric waste. That roll of paper is called a "marker". That's all done on a computer now for most factories. The factory lays out stacks of fabric and then staples or otherwise adheres the marker to the top of the stack, and cuts and bundles the various pieces for the production sewing group.
In the old days, before markers, the head cutter would have spent days carefully tracing off each pattern piece in correct alignment on the stack of fabric. My husband knew a guy who inherited his family's underwear factory, and still traced all the patterns in chalk on the fabric. It would typically take a couple of weeks to get the best possible (least wasteful but still correct) arrangement down before cutting. And every time they changed fabric widths, it would take them another couple of weeks to get ready to cut because the "markers" were all hand-done.
Probably not in a tailor's shop -- those guys draw their patterns out directly on the fabric and start cutting, at least the ones I've seen work. But there were most certainly blocks available to the patternmakers in your factory that you just didn't see.
Sorry, can't help you there... my German doesn't go beyond reading scientific papers on botany.
The other interesting thing is that if you were a patternmaker in a factory, your basic blocks that you'd be working from might not be the most basic. Let's say you were a patternmaker at a men's dress shirt factory. You probably wouldn't be working with a darted basic block, you'd be working with a basic shirt block... no darts, back yoke of a certain depth, shoulder seam X inches off the shoulder point, a basic long sleeve, a basic short sleeve, collar stand of a particular height and shaping. This season, we're going to be doing prim little pointed collars held with collar pins. Next season, the collars are a little longer, but less pointed corners. The following season, the collars are buttondown. But you'll be using the company's basic shirt pattern -- its shirt block -- to work from, instead of going back to the most basic, ancestral, darted original block. Working from the company's shirt block saves the patternmaker a ton of time (and the company lots of money!) and makes sure the customers get the fit they were expecting. If they fire this year's patternmaker, the new one they hire will still be producing shirts that fit the company's target customer base because the company owns that basic block New Patternmaker will be working from.
As far as the custom end of things go, I just got a new custom two-dart bodice block for myself. It's all balanced and ready to go, but I don't wear clothes other than bathing suits that fit that closely. Here's what I'm going to be doing with it:
First thing I'm going to make is a dartless blouse block -- set in sleeves with a fairly roomy fit through the body, so I'm going to be adding some ease through the body and eliminating the darts (some of which is going to become ease). I'll also lengthen it so it's got enough length to tuck the bottom of the blouse into my jeans. When I want a blouse, I'll take that block and add collars, change the closure (I happen to like french plackets) add design ease, add pleats -- whatever I want that particular blouse to do.
The second block I'll make will either be a shoulder princess blouse block (with the darts converted to princess seams) or a jacket block with princess seams -- I need both, and I like princess seams, so which one I do first is up for grabs.
The fourth block I'll make will be a shirt block with a slightly dropped shoulder.
The fifth block I'll make will be a saddle raglan, made off the shirt block.
Those are all basic garment styles I wear a lot of... and when I want to do theme and variations, I'll get out the most appropriate block and start designing from it. I won't bother to make some of the other blocks I could -- like a traditional raglan -- because they don't flatter me or I don't like them.
But just like I have a library of basic blocks for myself, a garment company would have a library of basic blocks for their patternmakers to work with -- the difference being that the custom blocks fit just one person, while a company's blocks would be designed to fit many people.
Kay
Reply to
Kay Lancaster
Thank you FarmI, I may try the TAFE shop one of these days (after I organise this room) :-)
The boxes idea for patterns is good too. I just have them all together with a rubber band.
I am at the moment working on making a basic pattern, where I can alter necklines, length, sleeves etc and try not to keep buying more patterns.
Thanks again Katherine
Reply to
jones
Thank you all for taking the time to explain this thing to me. Wow, I had no idea! I think I need to mull this over a little longer. And I want to learn how to do it. I just checked my local adult education centre for a course that might teach this but I haven't found the right one yet. However, I'll keep it in mind.
U. - wanting to learn more than she has time for (DD is making her usual strange morning noises downstairs, so I gotta go) ;-)
Reply to
Ursula Schrader

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