The great resize: part 1

Easter means a lot of things to a lot of people.  In my case it means the joy of the Resurrection, but on this particular occasion it also means grid paper.  Lots of it.  I’m going to have squares before the eyes by the time I’ve finished.

My countertenor friend has not yet been successful in finding out the measurements of my tenor friend, a fact which doesn’t entirely surprise me, since neither of them tends to keep still for long enough. 🙂  This is all very well, and I am obviously grateful to him for trying, but nonetheless I need a mock-up for fitting next month.  That means I have to go by the best guess I have, which I obtained as follows:

1. Find photo of self + tenor.  Measure various vertical distances on both images, then calibrate to my height, which is (of course) a known quantity.  This gives a reasonable height estimate.

2. Find colleague at work who is about the same height as the tenor.  Ask his chest measurement, explaining why, because otherwise colleague will think I am insane.  Add 2″ to allow for the fact that the tenor is (fortunately) not as skinny as my colleague.

I’ve described the technique in a previous post, and I already had some sheets of paper printed up in carefully selected rectangular grids.  This morning, the first thing I did was to stick together nine of them so I had a piece of grid paper which was big enough for each of the pattern pieces.  While I was doing this, I discovered that the left and right sides of the individual sheets didn’t quite match up, but I’m not sure whether this was a fault of the printer or the photocopier.  It’s something to watch out for if you need to do this yourself, though.

The next job was to take the front pattern piece and draw in the actual stitching line.  This is the line that is going to be copied, and the seam allowances will be added in afterwards; if I don’t do it that way, the seam allowances will be distorted along with the rest of the pattern and cause small errors.  If you are very eagle-eyed, you will see that I have added a little room on the side of the pattern piece.  This is because I couldn’t get the grid to print at exactly 1 cm wide – it is a tiny bit smaller.  The extra room is to compensate for the fact that the piece will shrink very slightly widthways, as well as considerably lengthways.

The pattern piece taped to the resizing grid

The other thing you’ll notice is that I’ve lowered the base of the armscye appreciably, so that when the piece is shortened the scye will be about the same size as it was on the original piece.  (I may have to make further alterations after I’ve done the shortening.)  This is, again, sheer guesswork; I don’t know anything about the thickness of our tenor’s upper arms, but I do know he moves about a lot while he’s singing, so the safest thing to do is to assume that he has normal-sized arms for his chest measurement rather than his height.  It’s not the end of the world if the scye is slightly too deep, but it’s trouble if it’s too high.

The piece is now all ready for shortening.  I will copy the line I’ve drawn in onto a regular 1 cm grid, then replace the seam allowances and notches (you can just about see I’ve put in a perpendicular through the stitching line to show where each notch goes).  Once I’ve got that right, I will work the other pieces around it.

More to follow on this, either today or tomorrow.


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