Video: Contouring for Lowered Necklines & Cutaway Armholes

This video was uploaded to YouTube on 21 June 2022.

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Video Transcript

00;00;00;27 – 00;00;23;11

Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me…
Hi, this is Maria, and this is the first video in a series called Variations on a Silhouette. That will be a playlist on my YouTube channel, and the videos will be added to the playlist as I create them. So as I said, this is No.1: Contouring. The series will cover drafting a particular style of dress, but with different options.

00;00;23;20 – 00;00;45;15

It’s like, I will give you the building blocks so you can build your own pattern within the silhouette to your taste and preferences. So in video eight and Video ten, I will be walking you right through drafting to specific patterns step by step, using all the information covered in all the previous videos, but really by Vide0 8, you should have the necessary knowledge to draft your own patterns within this silhouette.

00;00;46;01 – 00;01;09;19

I can’t stress enough that this relates to woven fabrics not stretch, though I will touch on using stretch woven fabric, which is to all intents and purposes, treated as woven. But before we start on the contouring theory and examples, I want to cover two things. Firstly, the Block, you need to draft the patterns. And secondly, I want to give you an overview of the concept of the Variations on a Silhouette.

00;01;10;01 – 00;01;30;28

The actual contouring starts at about 8 minutes and 20 seconds. If you want to draft a dress pattern using the information I will be providing in this series, you will need a bodice block that fits you. As well as a Sleeveless Bodice Block. You don’t need a Skirt Block. You will just need your hip measurement to draft the skirt.

00;01;31;13 – 00;01;56;28

And if you’re going to use my method and instructions to draft your own custom Bodice Block, note that there are3 versions of my block making instructions on YouTube. Make sure you access the latest ones dated March 2022. That is the Bodice Front and Bodice Back videos dated March 2022. I will include a link below in the video description box. Now in the bodice block method I have created,

00;01;57;02 – 00;02;18;16

I have eliminated most of the assumptions that are contained in a lot of other block making instructions. For example, my instructions include the Bust Cup. So if you have a large bust, you will get the correct cup. You can also by my Bodice Block, step by step booklets that have the same information as the YouTube videos. Look in the video description box for links to my Ko-Fi shop and Google Play Store.

00;02;18;16 – 00;02;38;18

First, before we get to the contouring… an overview of all of the options within the dress silhouette that you’ll be able to draft at the end of this series. So the dress has an Empire Line. The Empire Line bodice finishes below the bust and the skirt falls from below the bust rather than from the waist. That’s why you don’t need a skirt block to draft this dress.

00;02;38;27 – 00;03;08;24

You’ll only need your hip measurement and the under bust measurement to draft the skirt. So these dresses and all the dresses I will show you after this, have an Empire Style line. They all have the same lowered V neckline and require the contouring in the neckline and the sleeveless also requires some contouring in the armhole. However, although they all have the same empire line, they are different in that number one has a shoulder princess line, so the darts from the block have been moved into a shoulder princess

00;03;08;24 – 00;03;35;00

line. Number 2 has an armhole princess line and number 3 has both an armhole princess line and a crossover front. So I will be showing you in Video Number 2 in the series how to draft these three different bodice styles, the empire line with a shoulder princess line, the Empire Line with an armhole princess line and an empire line with an armhole princess line and crossover.

00;03;36;14 – 00;03;57;26

Now I have defined silhouette as an empire bodice and a flared skirt, with or without sleeves. Now, strictly speaking, different amounts of flare in the skirt would be different silhouettes. But I am using the term ‘Silhouette’ very loosely. So these three dresses have the same empire line and one of the bodice options mentioned in the previous slide, they also have a flared skirt.

00;03;58;19 – 00;04;21;20

And by a skirt I mean there is a greater amount of hem circumference than the circumference at the Empire Line. It flares out from below the bust. So the skirts I’ll be showing you how to draft are: No.1: The basic A-line skirt. No.2: A panel skirt – so there are design lines in that skirt that meet the design lines in the bodice block.

00;04;21;26 – 00;04;43;13

There are six panels, three in the front and three in the back. And No.3: A flared skirt with pleats. The one I’m showing you actually is quite squarish and the hem isn’t really probably that much larger than the under the bust. But I will show you how to make it much more flared if you wish. So No.4, which is not shown here, is the wrap skirt.

00;04;43;29 – 00;05;07;02

So the wrap skirt could be drafted with any of these three options. And I think I do actually have a wrap skirt for each one of them to show you later in the skirt video. So these four dresses have skirts with different hem circumferences. In the skirts video, I will show you how to increase the hem circumference that is, add flare, to each of the three styles I covered in the previous slide: A-line, panelled and pleats.

00;05;07;11 – 00;05;33;25

You’ll be able to make the skirt as flared as you wish within certain parameters. Skirt number one on this slide has a hem circumference of 220 cm – that is 86 inches. Number 2 – 260 cm, which is 102 inches. Number three, 300 cm, approximately 118 inches, and Number 4 – 500 centimeters, which is approximately 196 inches. Now, I experimented and tried to push the envelope.

00;05;33;25 – 00;05;56;05

I did actually draft a skirt with a hem circumference of a thousand centimeters, which is 393 inches. I actually drafted it at the same time as I drafted the skirt of dress number four. But after making dress number four, I decided not to make that skirt with the thousand centimeters, 393 inch hem circumference. So in this skirt video, I will tell you what I learned there.

00;05;57;14 – 00;06;14;28

So finishers relate to closures, how to get in and out of the garment such as zips, buttons, elastic, etc. but also how to finish off the neck line and armhole. Finishes go hand in hand with fabric because different fabric will lend itself to different finishes. So dress number one has a zip in the back and is fully lined.

00;06;15;07 – 00;06;32;14

Dress number two has buttons down the front and has bias tape finish on the neckline. And of course a button pocket as it does have buttons. Dress number three has buttons down to the Empire Line and elastic at the Empire Line. The button placket is purely a design feature. It’s not necessary to undo the buttons to get the dress on.

00;06;33;17 – 00;06;51;04

So dress number four is the same basic pattern as dress number one, but it has a facing rather than being lined and it doesn’t have a zip because it’s stretch-woven and I can get it on without the zip. Dress number five doesn’t zip or buttons. It’s a faux- wrap dress – ‘faux’ as in ‘false’. It looks wrap,

00;06;51;04 – 00;07;17;00

it could be wrap, but I didn’t actually make it a wrap. Dress number six is a wrap dress, but not with a tie. It’s got a couple of buttons instead of a tie. So in the series I will cover all those considerations and show you how to draft the necessary finishes. I will also be covering some details such as flounces and also covering the tiered skirt, which is a series of rectangles, and also the dirndl skirt not shown here, which is also a rectangle.

00;07;18;10 – 00;07;50;28

So I will go into detail for one of the details and that is FLOUNCES. There will be a video just on flounces. Fexample, adding a flounce to the skirt. Skirt number one has a bit of a flounce. Number two has double the amount of flounce and number three has a mega flounce. I will also cover flounces for the neckline and the sleeves and I will cover mistakes that I made such as a neck flounce on number one that was too narrow. Different widths of flounces, comparing the skirt flounce widths on all these dresses, some more successful than others.

00;07;50;28 – 00;08;21;13

So I will show you what I learned. And last, but by no means least fabric. So much that I have to cover regarding fabric. Limited though to cotton, linen, stretch-woven and viscose and/or rayon. So cotton – Number 3, linen – number 1 and 2, stretch-woven – number 4, and viscose – number 5. I have to say viscose is by far my favorite for summer dresses. But I have a lot to cover, such as fabric choice, considerations, fabric patterns, problems

00;08;21;13 – 00;08;49;16

you may encounter some tips, some advice, so that you can learn from some of the mistakes I’ve made and just learn some of what I’ve learned through trial and error. So now an introduction to Contouring. Hi, I’m Maria from, and that is Elvis. So this video in this video I’ll be covering contouring. Contouring relates to lower necklines and cutaway armholes.

00;08;49;25 – 00;09;09;07

So cutaway armhole is where you come in from the shoulders edge of the block and you draft an armholes that’s larger than the armhole that’s on the block. Now when you start lowering the neckline and or cutting away the armhole, most people will get gaping. The amount of gaping will be different from person to person, though there are standard amounts for the Standard Figure.

00;09;09;24 – 00;09;35;06

The reason that the gaping occurs is because of the contours of the figure, which is why it’s called contouring. So I will be showing you why that gaping occurs and then the steps you take in order to get rid of that gaping, And the steps are, in a nutshell: first determine the amount of gaping, put in a gape dart for that amount and then move that gate dart from the neckline and/or the armhole into an existing dart or dart equivalent, that in the design you are drafting.

00;09;35;12 – 00;09;58;21

So for example, this dress, the design did not have a dart in the neckline. So I moved that gape dart from the neckline into the Princess Armhole design line, which is a dart equivalent. So that is contouring in a nutshell. Now let’s get to it in detail. So this is my dressmaker’s dummy. Her name is Didi. The strips of tape are a proxy or a stand-in for fabric.

00;09;59;00 – 00;10;16;25

Using these strips of fabric, I’ll be able to show you the space between the fabric and the body, which I can’t actually do if I put a garment on her. Keep in mind, though, that this is just to give you an idea. It’s not an exact replication because your block has ease in it and these strips of fabric would really be reflecting the Moulage.

00;10;17;07 – 00;10;38;15

So again, it’s just to give you an understanding of the basic issue of contouring. So if we make a garment for Didi with her block to the outlines of her block, so for example, a high neckline out to her shoulder armhole joint and down to or past the waist, it won’t matter if there’s space between the body and the fabric.

00;10;38;23 – 00;10;59;21

You can add a lot of ease into a garment with a high neckline and out to the shoulder joint. And the space between the garment and the body will not matter. Now I’ve turned Didi a little to the side and you can begin to see that there’s some space between her body and the fabric strips. At this angle, although you can’t see a lot of the space at the top, you can see the shadows that indicate the space.

00;10;59;21 – 00;11;23;15

What is clear is that once you get nearer the bust, the space between the fabric and the body gets deeper. Here. I’ve turned Didi to her profile and the space between her body and the tape has become more obvious. I’ve colored in the space between the body and the tape to make it easier to see. The arrow show where the body and the tape starts diverging for each of those fabric strips.

00;11;24;12 – 00;11;49;18

At this angle, you can really see the space above the breast, near the armhole, and under the bust. This is a fiberglass cast of my body, though quite a few years ago now, I’ve actually put on quite a bit of weight since then. But anyway, my body is very Non-Standard in many, many ways. And I want to show you the difference between Didi and I when it comes to space between the fabric and the body.

00;11;49;18 – 00;12;09;01

Due to the contours of my figure, there’s a lot more space between the fabric and my body, Between Dadi and I, there’s also a lot of difference too, regarding WHERE the fabric starts diverging from the body and showing hollows of space. Again, this space does not matter when I make a garment with a high neckline and a close armhole.

00;12;09;01 – 00;12;30;29

Now you may think, well, the fabric will collapse against the body and there won’t actually be space, but that’s how the measurements are taken. So when I say that the measurement was taken from the high neck point over the bust to the waist, I didn’t press the tape measure against my body. This is actually how the measurements were taken and that is actually how the fabric hangs.

00;12;31;18 – 00;12;56;12

Now, let me clarify something, though. If I didn’t wear a bra, it would be a different matter. But I do wear a bra most of the time, and certainly for garments that I am drafting. Well, unless it’s for sleepwear, but that’s another matter. So, yes, the straps are showing how the fabric hangs when I wear a bra. So that space is indicative of the space between the fabric and my body.

00;12;57;00 – 00;13;16;16

Notice the difference between Didi and my dress makers dummy here. A lot of my issues are to do with a forward sloping shoulder and a rounded upper back. The other issue is the small upper bust and the large bust which is lifted up by a bra. And that creates that concave curve from the neck to the bust.

00;13;17;13 – 00;13;38;06

So hopefully now that you can see that space that is there between the body and the fabric, that you can see that when you start cutting down the neckline and cutting away the armholes, that gaping will occur. So we need to address the gaping that will occur. So I want to give you an example. Now I just want to say an aside.

00;13;38;06 – 00;13;57;14

I’m concentrating on the front at the moment when I’m talking about contouring because most contouring relates to the front. So I will cover contouring as it relates to the back later on. Now here is the top, which I made with my block. The top has a high neckline and a small close fitting armhole. So the pattern is drafted as per the outlines of the block.

00;13;57;24 – 00;14;19;23

The pattern pieces for the top are shown in orange, gray and green, though the whole pattern isn’t shown there. But as far as the neckline and the armhole goes, that’s what the pattern looks like. In comparison, here is a dress with a lowered neckline and a bit of a cutaway armhole. So the neckline and the armhole are not as per the outline of my block.

00;14;20;02 – 00;14;40;23

Now, if, and I repeat, if I just drew the neckline shown, and drew the armhole as shown on my block, and then I made that dress up as per that pattern piece, it would not fit me. There would be gaping in the neckline and the armhole. Therefore I have to putting gape dots in the neckline and the armhole before finishing making that pattern.

00;14;42;05 – 00;14;59;11

So here I show the gape darts that are marked in the neckline and the armhole. Of course, you need to know how much of a gape dart to put in. I will cover the standard amount for the Standard Figure. And you could start with that if you wish, to see if that works. If it doesn’t, then you will need to work out your own individual contouring.

00;14;59;18 – 00;15;21;00

Alternatively, you could just work out your own contouring amount without trying the standard amounts. And here’s an example of what the pattern piece looks like after the contouring is done. So the orange pattern piece is what I have finished up with after doing the contouring compared to the one below, which was the original lines, design lines drawn on the block.

00;15;22;19 – 00;15;49;13

So now I’ll be covering standard contouring. That means covering the amount of gaping in the form of gape darts, and how that’s indicated on the block. To the left is a Standard Block – that is a block used to draft garments with sleeves – to the right is the Sleeveless Block. There are 7 contour markings on the Standard Block to the left, and these are the standard contour markings in the method that I learned anyway.

00;15;49;25 – 00;16;20;22

There are only five on the Sleeveless Block to the right. Now, this is because the contour markings No.1 & No.2 on the left hand block relate to drafting a sleeveless garment. So, of course, they are not shown on the sleeveless block because they are redundant. They have been done. I’m assuming that you have drafted your block using my method and therefore you already have a Seeveless Block so we don’t need to worry or cover contour markings Number 1 & Number 2, since we already have a Sleeveless Block.

00;16;20;28 – 00;16;47;06

I will be using the Sleeveless Block therefore, in the rest of this video, and covering contour markings number 3 to 7. Of course, if you make a garment with sleeves and you lower the neckline, you need to do the same contouring in the neckline that we will be covering using the Sleeveless Block. Now, having said that contour marking No.2. is not needed when you have a Sleeveless Block, as it’s already included in the sleeveless block…

00;16;47;21 – 00;17;10;29

…that only relates to the Standard Figure. And we’re supposed to be doing standard contouring. But I just want to flag that for some Non-Standard figures, some additional contouring may be needed. So for me, for example, I need to keep No.2. on my Sleeveless Block because I do actually need further contouring when I start cutting away the armhole.

00;17;12;01 – 00;17;28;26

On the left hand side is the block with the contour markings in color, and you should be able to see in the middle there there’s a circle, there’s a grey-dashed line with the circle and the middle of that circle is the bust point. Now, on the right hand side, I have highlighted just that circle and everything else is grayed out, so we can concentrate on that.

00;17;29;16 – 00;17;56;07

So this circle is the first contour marking to draw on the block. So you use the Bust Radius to draw a circle, to indicate the bust mound, with the bust point at the center. The blue arrow is the bust radius. The green dot is the bust point marked by a big green BP for Bust Point. And the pink circle is the bust mound.

00;17;56;11 – 00;18;19;00

So on the body, the bust radius is measured from the bust point down to the under bust where the breast tissue meets the chest wall. And of course, you measure that with your bra on. So the bust mound is the breast tissue. And to draw the circle of the bust mound, you measure the radius of the circle as shown, and you draw the circle from the bust point with that bust radius. For the Standard Figure,

00;18;19;07 – 00;18;42;02

the bust radius is 3 inches or 7 and 12 cms. If you’ve got a larger or smaller bust than standard, you might want to check your bust mound and draw in the radius using your measurements. So hopefully it’s clear by now that these markings are placed on the block to show you where gaping will occur, and these markings show you how much gaping occurs at different places.

00;18;42;15 – 00;19;01;06

And you take steps as you are drafting the pattern to remove that gaping, The color and the shading are just for emphasis, to make it easier for me to draw your attention to something in particular. Now the numbers 2 to 7 are placed in a clockwise direction, but I’m not going to address them in order, and it should hopefully make sense why as I progress.

00;19;02;15 – 00;19;22;28

So I’m going to cover numbers three and five first. Number three is for a cutaway armhole. Number 5 is for a lowered neckline. Notice that numbers 3 and 5 have the largest amount of gaping at the bust mount circle. So look at the heavy black lines, highlighting the width of the dart on the circle. So it’s widest at the circle.

00;19;22;28 – 00;19;42;02

Then they taper it to nothing as they move upward towards the block edge, which is the shoulder tip for number 3, and the neckline for number 5. And in the other direction, as they move downward, they both taper to nothing at the bust point. So where a design line crosses contour markings, it shows you the value of the gape dart at the place it crosses.

00;19;42;12 – 00;20;18;18

Here are four examples of designs with lowered necklines and cutaway armholes. So the little black ‘H’ symbol shows you the width of the gape dart needed. For example: (1) there is only the teensy weensy a speed of gaping. You probably wouldn’t even bother with that one. It’s negligible. Example number 2: there’s a significant gape dart required for that cutaway armhole. So hopefully you get the point where the design line crosses those markings, shows you how much, if any, gaping occurs. The further upwards towards the neck, the further out towards the shoulder, the less gaping occurs. At the edges, the gaping will be negligible.

00;20;18;18 – 00;20;43;01

So you won’t have to bother with the gate dartss as in examples numberd 1 & 4. So looking at the photo of Didi on the right hand side, you can see how most of the gaping occurs at the bust mound circle. The orange wedge that I have shaded shows you that there is more gaping at the circle, and then it tapers down to the bust point and it tapers up to the shoulder tip.

00;20;43;11 – 00;21;09;11

So I need to point out something. These are just guides. Didi is a bit different. Her tapering finishes well before the shoulder point. These are just guides. In the fashion industry. They might start with these amounts, if they use this system – different patternmakers may use different systems for contouring, but the bottom line is they would make a test garment and fit it on a fit model before they finalize the pattern. They might find the contouring they have done is insufficient or too much.

00;21;09;14 – 00;21;49;19

So consider these amounts a guide or a starting point. So now I’ll go through how to make the standard contouring amounts on the block for numbers three and five, starting with number three. The amounts are written on the left hand side are the amounts at the bust mount circle. And then, of course, it tapers up and down. So looking at Figure A – draw a line from the bust point to the shoulder tip. Figure B – where that line crosses the bus mount circle, measure inwards on the bust mound circle for 1/2 inch or 1.25 cms and mark point X. Figure C – draw a line from the bust point to point X. And Figure D – draw

00;21;49;19 – 00;22;22;07

a line from point X to the shoulder tip. So for Number 5 the neckline contouring. Figure A – draw a line from the bust point to approximately the mid-neck. Figure B – where that line crosses the bust mound circle, measure inwards on the bust mound circle for 1/4 inch… ah, .63 cm, round that up or down as per your choice and mack point X. Figure C – draw a line from the bus point to point X. And Figure D – draw a line from point X to meet the other at the middle neckline.

00;22;22;07 – 00;22;43;25

So I have already given you some examples of how you draw the design on the block over the contour markings, and you can see how much of a gape dart is required at the point the design line crosses the control marking. In the previous examples, the design lines only crossed one of the control markings as per No.1. – the pink example on the left, and No.3. – the green example on the right.

00;22;43;25 – 00;23;06;08

But you will also have designs where it crosses two contour markings or more. So No. 2 – the blue example in the middle – there will be two gape darts required in this design. And actually there’s actually a third contouring that would be needed for all of the three, and that’s at the shoulder line, which I haven’t covered yet and will cover next.

00;23;06;08 – 00;23;25;24

So the shoulder line on the body isn’t really a straight line. The shoulder dips down in the middle a little for most people. So for a garment with a shoulder line from the high neck point to the shoulder armhole joint, that doesn’t matter. That doesn’t matter that there’s a little bit of space underneath there. However, if you wanted to, you could make a curved shoulder line in that case.

00;23;25;24 – 00;23;45;04

But when you start drafting garments with straps or strappy, it becomes important or necessary to take that curving into account, otherwise they’ll be gaping. So if you look at the photo of Didi – the straight line and it’s in purple, the straight line is the block line. But you can see that her actual shoulder line, the dashed line, dips in at the middle.

00;23;45;12 – 00;24;10;19

The pink arrow is pointing to the dip in the middle. So contour No. 4 is shaping the shoulder line. The shaping for the shoulder line needs to be done for the front block and the back block. So at the halfway point of the shoulder measure, down one eighth of an inch or quarter of a centimeter, that is measuring down at right angles to the shoulder line at the shoulder, halfway point and mark point X. Then draw lines from point X to the armhole and the neck line.

00;24;10;29 – 00;24;33;15

So you get the tapering lines and a dip in the middle shoulder. So this is a graphic from earlier where I was showing you the where the design line crosses the contour markings it shows you the gape dart amounts. What I didn’t point out at that time is that there is also some contouring at the shoulder line. If you look at the maroon arrows, they’re pointing to the contouring that is required.

00;24;33;15 – 00;25;03;27

So number one and two have a little shaved off the shoulder line. Number three is negligible, just the tiniest, tiniest weeniest bit. And number four doesn’t require any shaping. So the next contour marking I will cover is No.6. I have also left marking number two there just to show you it is the same shape as number six in that it is largest at the block perimeter. Unlike numbers three and five that will the largest at the bust mount circle and taper off to nothing at the perimeter of the block.

00;25;04;11 – 00;25;22;22

So two and six start from nothing at the bust point get larger as they move away from the bustpoint and are the largest at the block perimeter. Now I won’t actually be covering number two. It is, as I said, not necessary for the Standard Figure. But just be aware that if you have a figure like mine, you might need more contouring there when you are cutting away the armhole.

00;25;23;10 – 00;25;45;28

So number six relates to plunging necklines. When you get near or below the bust point, you will need this contouring. It is also necessary when you draft crossover styles and I will touch on that briefly in the next slide. So to mark this on the block, draw a straight line from the bust point to the center front. That straight line is that right angles to the center front line.

00;25;46;12 – 00;26;12;02

Then with that line at the center, measure three quarters of an inch, two centimeters. So that three quarters and two centimeters is centered on that line and draw a gape dart, tapering to the bust point. When drafting a V neckline that is very low and it gets to the bust point level or below, you will need to add in this plunging neckline gape dart and you’ll probably end up with two gape dots in the center front neckline as shown to the left –

00;26;12;02 – 00;26;37;09

the green style. When you do a crossover style as in to the right, note that the width of the gape dart keeps extending past the center front line so that it becomes larger as it extends into the extension bit. In the bodice block video, which is next in the series, I will cover this crossover style as it is one of the styles I’ll be drafting, but it will be limited to the crossover for the Empire Line, which is the style of the dress of the series.

00;26;38;26 – 00;27;02;12

This is an aside before we continue. If you find my tutorials helpful, please consider supporting me by buying me a cup of coffee on Ko-fi. Click on the coffee link in my channel header or in the YouTube description box below. There’s a lot of information and links to my Ko-Fi shop, etc. Now just a note for those who might think I make a bucket of money with YouTube advertising.

00;27;02;25 – 00;27;30;26

Currently I make $60 AUD a month on YouTube advertising, so your support would be greatly appreciated, especially if you do want me to continue creating more content. Other ways of supporting my work and helping me provide more content is to share my content, like, subscribe or buy my booklets through my Ko-Fi shop. So the last of the control markets is No.7. and that’s the Empire Line and it’s for the front

00;27;30;26 – 00;27;50;02

and the back. It needs to be put on the front block and the back block. So now this standard contouring is one that I learned in the Joseph Armstrong method, and it is part of the contouring that I learned. And this particular style is where the front of the Empire Line is higher than the back, so that the Empire Line slopes from the front down to the back.

00;27;50;13 – 00;28;12;10

Now, I think this style where you slope it down from the front to the back is a matter of preference and choice, really. I will cover it here because it’s what I learned with this method of contouring. But you could don’t have to do that. You don’t have to do the sloping down. And actually I’ll cover that in the next video on bodice block because I don’t do that shaping when I draft my Empire Line dresses.

00;28;13;08 – 00;28;29;18

So we’re going to do the front first. And an overview of what we’re doing here is we are drawing a line at the under bust where the Empire Line is. That line sits under the bust mount at the center front, but then slopes down a little to the side seam. It is three quarters of an inch lower at the side seam than at the center front.

00;28;29;29 – 00;28;53;10

So No.1. – Step 1, draw a line at right angles to the center front to touch the bust mount circle at the first dart leg. So that is the beginning of the bust line. No.2. – measure the distance from the center front waist to that under-bust line and that value is X. Take the value X and minus three quarters of an inch or two centimeters the value Y.

00;28;53;26 – 00;29;14;26

So No.3. – taking that value Y from the previous step, measure up from the side seam waist and mark a dot. Then draw a line from that side seam point to the second leg where it touches the bust mount circle. So for the back, as I said previously, the Empire Line is lower in the back, at the center back than it is at the center front.

00;29;15;07 – 00;29;37;00

But first, to match the placement of the empire Line at the side seams, because, of course, the front and back must match at the side seams. First, looking at No. 5 – mark the side seam the same as the front – that is take measurement Y and measure up from the waist and mark a point, Number 6 – take measurement X (a reminder measurement X was from the center front waist to the under bust line)…

00;29;37;00 – 00;30;02;16

Take that measurement then minus 1.25 inches – one and a quarter inches (or three centimeters). Measure up from the center back waist for that value, which was X minus one and a quarter inches or x minus three centimeters, and draw a short line at right angles to the center back line. Then No.7. – extend that line to the first dart leg, measure that first dart leg, measure it from the waist up to that line.

00;30;03;08 – 00;30;26;20

And then No. 8, measure up on the second leg for the same value as the first dart leg and mark a point. And then draw a line from that point to the side seam. Now we still need to make the darts larger as the Empire Line is more fitting under the bust than the block. You can see that’s a lot of space between the body and the strips of fabric at the end bust level.

00;30;27;03 – 00;30;45;21

But just to make sure you understand what we did in the last few steps, we drew an empire style line that’s higher at the front and lower in the back. So it curves from the front down to the back and the distance from A to B, the back is smaller than C to D at the front and the side seam is somewhere in between.

00;30;47;04 – 00;31;05;01

Now to make a close fitting empire line for the standard figure, the dart width for both the front and back are increased by three quarters of an inch, or 2 cm – so the same on the front and the back. A total of three quarters of an inch or 2 cm. So half on each side of the current dart and the legs are redrawn.

00;31;05;01 – 00;31;29;28

So for those with nonstandard figures, you should just measure your under bust, decide how much ease you want, and then taking into account that ease, work out how much you need to increase the darts. If you’ve got a large bust and a small under bust, you’ll need to increase the darts more than these amounts that are here. If you want to close fit. Now with the Empire Line in my dresses, I actually don’t do a really close to it under the bus, but I definitely do increase my darts,

00;31;29;28 – 00;31;50;07

I do make it tighter, but just not super tight. I also don’t like increasing that back dart length, but again, this is kind of standard contouring for the Standard Figure. You can always change this to your preferences, especially if you have a Non-Standard Figure or even if you have a Standard figure you don’t want it that close fitting. So a summary of what we have covered in this video so far.

00;31;50;14 – 00;32;10;04

We’ve covered the contour markings showed on the block from number three to number seven, number one and two, redundant as they related to making a sleeved block sleeveless. And we didn’t need to do that. We started with a sleeveless block. Now, a reminder that contour markings 4 to 7 also apply to a sleeved garment. So you should transfer those markings to the sleeved block as well.

00;32;10;25 – 00;32;30;14

So hopefully now you should have an understanding of contouring that when lowering necklines or cutting away the armhole, gaping will occur. And you need to create a gape doartand then move that gape dart into an existing doartor design line. Before finishing this video, I will go through a couple of examples of moving the gaped out into an existing dart.

00;32;30;24 – 00;32;57;05

This is called dart manipulation and I haven’t yet done a video on dart manipulation. However, the dart manipulation you need to know how to do in order to draft the dresses will be covered in the bodice video, which is the next in the series. So even if you don’t understand dart manipulation to its fullest, you’ll learn to do what you need to do in order to draft the Empire bodice in the next video.

00;32;58;02 – 00;33;14;04

So in this example, the gape dart in the neckline is moved into the side seam dart. This is done by cutting along the neckline gape dart leg – the one that is closer to the armhole – and you cut it from the neckline to the bust point. Then you cut at the side seam from the top lleg to the bust point.

00;33;14;04 – 00;33;31;03

But you’ll have to draw a line first, as the dart leg doesn’t actually extend to the bust point, it finishes before the bust point. So you leave a little hinge, then swivel that loose piece of paper until the gape dart in the neckline is closed. Then you’ll need to add some paper underneath and stick the bits down so you have a stable pattern piece.

00;33;31;16 – 00;33;51;28

The side same dart ends up bigger and you’ll have to redraw the legs and finish off the edges as well. In this example, there are two gape darts that are moved into the side seam dart. No.1. just shows the two gaped up. The red dartis the cutaway arm gape dart and the green is the neckline gape dart.

00;33;52;24 – 00;34;19;16

In No.2. you cut the bottom leg of the armhole gape dart to the bust point. Then you cut the top leg of the side seam dart, after drawing a line to the bust point, but leaving a hinge. No.3 you close the dart and it won’t match at the edges – don’t worry about that – you’ll smooth it out later, and stick it down at the armhole, but not at the side seam yet, because the side seam will be opened up even more when we close the second dart. In No.3…

00;34;19;16 – 00;34;48;21

I have made the cut piece yellow just so it’s easier to see the overlapping etc. No.4 – now cut the neckline gape dart top leg to the bust point. Then you’ll be swiveling the piece as shown in orange and yellow. They’ll be stuck together. You’ll swivel them together and close the neckline dart. The side seam dart opens up more. You stick it all down with sticky tape onto paper that you’ve placed underneath and smooth out the neckline and the armhole curve. The side seam dart will also have to be finessed.

00;34;48;21 – 00;35;17;05

The dart point re-established, the dart legs redrawn and the dart edge finished off. That’s just an overview of moving the gate dart into another dart or design line, but that will be covered in more detail in the bodice video – that’s next in the series. But just now before I finish off, just a couple of notes about individual contouring. So on the left of the standard amount. Now if you have a Non-Standard Figure especially, you should work out your amount so that the garments you draft fit you properly.

00;35;17;08 – 00;35;38;26

Now there is no magic bullet. You could do it from garment to garment, making a toile each time you make a garment but that’s hard work. I would suggest maybe an easier way in the next slide. Now you can start with or try the standard amounts if you wish, and do so if you have a Standard Figure. But remember this, although there are standard amounts in the fashion industry, they would always make a toile.

00;35;38;26 – 00;36;06;23

They would start with this amount, but in the end they would do a fitting on a fit model and they would tweak it at that point. So don’t assume that standard amounts will end up giving you a perfect fit, even if you do have a fairly standard figure. It is best to work out your own individual contouring. So now I suggest you make one toile to test the neckline gaping and you mark three or four lines going progressively lower and end up at your bust mound.

00;36;06;23 – 00;36;24;07

I haven’t drawn the bust mound circle on this toile, but it will help you if you do that. Of course, you also need to draw in the back neck line, which I haven’t shown, but keep that back neck line fairly high. Don’t cut down the neckline as low as the front. You’ll be introducing an extra level of difficulty.

00;36;25;07 – 00;36;44;08

So on this toile, you can test three or four neckline levels ending at the bust mound, check how much gaping you have and transfer that onto your block. The main one is the bust at the bust mount. Remember, that’s where you will get the most gaping. But use those other ones as a test to make sure that you are doing it right. Now

00;36;44;08 – 00;37;04;06

ma second toile to test the cutaway armholes. Again, mark three or four design lines cutting away a bit at a time and check the gaping. Keep in mind that when you pinch out the bit of fabric test, how much gaping there is that you’re going to transfer that onto the half block. So if you do only one pinch, you need to divide that by two for the half block.

00;37;04;16 – 00;37;31;17

And if you do two pinches one on each side, make sure that they are symmetrical, that you’re doing the same amount on each side and you’re not doing more on one side and less on the other side, and that you’re taking one of those measurements. So it will be incorrect. Okay. And keep this in mind, too. It’s very unlikely, I think, that you will make 20 garments with 20 different neckline depths. Chances are, unless you really like to experiment, there will probably be only three or four neckline depths that suit you or that you like.

00;37;31;26 – 00;37;54;24

So just stick at the beginning at least two, three or four neckline depths or neckline types until you get to know and understand your contouring issues. You could also use that same toile and start cutting out further and further to make a narrower strap to yes, do less sewing and do more testing on the one toile. So the next video will be covering the bodice options for the dress.

00;37;55;03 – 00;38;23;27

And those bodice options are an empire bodice with a princess armhole design line or a shoulder princess design line and both of those, of course, as cross-over.

..Starlight and dew drops are waiting for thee
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day
Lulled by the moonlight, have all passed away.


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