Part 5: Another Block Making Method
It seems to have all the answers…
So I found a new textbook, and it looked so exciting. Such a lot of patternmaking information, and a block-making method that looked much more detailed than the instructions by Aldrich. If there were some assumptions in Aldrich (and at that time I thought there was. but couldn’t quite work it all out), I was certain there were none in THIS method.
Again, I approached my block making with excitement, thinking that THIS time I would have it.
Yep, you got it. Nuh, it didn’t happen.
I suspected as much before I even got to making the toile. The shape was really strange (though having said that, my actual block with the very square shoulders would strike a lot of people used to the standard shape as very strange, too).
The Block that I made
Here’s are a couple of images that will show my problem: In the first image is the Armstrong block that I made, with my measurements. It sure does look odd!
My final block compared to that block
In the image below, my block is in white on top of that purple Armstrong block; where they overlap is a light purple. While the Bodice Back is actually correct (yay!), the Front is way out!
It’s too wide across the shoulder, making the neck too big, the armhole it too high and too big, making the armhole gape, and the bust is wrong. (Again this is given my hindsight. I didn’t know what the problems were at the time!).
I figured that the strap measurement was wrong, but couldn’t figure out what it should be (the strap measurement, and no, not because the measurement was wrong!). I tried fitting the toile then making the adjustments to the pattern. I got something that was somewhere in the right ballpark, but every time I’d try to make a different pattern I’d have problems.
It was from about this point onward that I felt like I didn’t want JUST to have a block that fit. What I wanted just as much was to understand what I was missing, what was going wrong. I was determined to get that, to be able to translate that 2D pattern to a 3D figure in my head, and understand all the issues with measurements and block making instructions. I did continue making patterns and some clothes, but I would stick to some basic summer dresses (which was the main thing I was after really) until I was absolutely sure of my bodice block.
It was at this time I decided that I would not stress about it anymore; it would be a ten-year-plan. In ten years I would be making my own clothes. I would pursue it on and off, as I had already done, and plug away at it, again and again, until I got it.
And I had an idea: Although I was determined to figure out the perky problems with the block making instructions, why not have a well-fitting block in the meantime. Why not outsource it?
Interesting that you had problems with the block-making instructions. Like you, I have so many awkward differences compared to the ‘norm’. I have tried about eight different instructions, including Joseph-Armstrong, and none of them worked. Then I came across Teresa Gilewska and her instructions worked for me for the bodice. Hurrah! Haven’t done any other drafts yet but I will now start to investigate your suggestions. Thank you so much for spending all this time doing this website – coffee & cake coming your way!