(Wearing) Ease in the Bodice Block (Part 2: Bodice Block Essentials)

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Video Transcript

00:00:00:23 – 00:00:31:14

This video is part two of a series called Bodice Block Essentials. In this video, I will cover ease: what it is and how much is in the body’s block. I will show that the amount I read in my instructions is a standard amount. There’ll be 4 other videos after this one in this series.

00:00:31:20 – 00:00:58:11

I hope to post them weekly on a Sunday night. I recommend that you watch them all in order because they do build upon each other and if you start in the middle, you might miss out some key information from the earlier one. This series is also an introduction to Drafting the Bodice Block. I will be redoing the 2-Part Bodice Block video that’s currently here on YouTube because I have refined my system, and I will be putting that up after I’ve finished this 6-Part series.

00:00:59:07 – 00:01:18:01

The basic block that I give instructions for drafting is for making garments made from woven fabrics only. With this Bodice Block you assume there is no stretch. Only a little mechanical. Give in the crosswise grain. Now, for those who aren’t familiar with fabric. On the left is a graphic showing woven fabric. There are strands of fiber that are woven together.

00:01:18:08 – 00:01:43:11

It’s what’s called woven fabric. There are lengthwise threads and crosswise threads. The lengthwise, shown by the maroon strand of fiber in the graphic, is very stable. It does not give at all the blue crosswise strand – the cut edge of the fabric – often has a little mechanical give. It does not stretch, though, at all. Now the basic bodice block is used to make garments made from woven fabric only.

00:01:44:04 – 00:02:08:20

On the right is a graphic of knitted fabric. You can see that the way the fabric is constructed is different to woven fabric. The knit allows the fabric to stretch. So drafting patterns to be used with knitted fabric. You need to make a stretch block either from your body’s block or draft one from scratch. Making one from your bodice block entails taking out the ease and you need to make adjustments depending on how much stretch the fabric has.

00:02:09:03 – 00:02:31:00

I have written some articles and I had some written instructions for making a stretch block on my website, but no video yet. So remember, the basic bodice block is for woven non stretch fabric. Therefore, the ease I’m talking about in this video is the ease needed when you’re working with woven fabric. So what is ease and how does it differ to wearing ease?

00:02:31:06 – 00:02:51:01

Eases the difference between your body measurements and the garment measurements. You need additional room on top of your body measurements to be able to breathe and move. You can add a lot more ease than it is needed for movement. So there’s actually two different types of ease; ease that’s necessary and an ease that’s not necessary but wanted for the design.

00:02:52:05 – 00:03:12:23

So wearing ease is the ease is needed for movement, such as sitting, walking, reaching and bending. It is also, to some extent needed for comfort. However, sometimes people will put up with a certain amount of discomfort to be fashionable. However day to day clothes should be to some extent comfortable. I have to admit, as I’ve got older, comfort becomes more and more important.

00:03:13:09 – 00:03:35:04

Now, in the slide, the orange sliver is the additional measurement added to the width measurements so that you can sit down in the skirt. There is an additional measurement in the waist as well, but you can’t really see it. There’s also something called design ease that is ease above and beyond what is needed for movement and comfort. So design ease is added when drafting patterns.

00:03:35:04 – 00:03:56:10

In this skirt there is design is added to the hip, but in the waist there’s only wearing ease. So one garment can have only wearing ease in one part of the garment and extra fullness in another part of the same garment. This kind of ease is not included in the blocks it’s added when drafting patterns. So I won’t be talking about ‘Design Ease’ in the rest of this tutorial.

00:03:56:19 – 00:04:17:03

There is actually a block you can make with no ease whatsoever, and that’s called a ‘Moulage’. You don’t use it to make garments. Some people do make ‘moulages’ to test their measurements before they make the block, but it is very hard to do up and breathe. But some people do it. Now on the left is the Moulage, which is the block without any ease.

00:04:17:04 – 00:04:36:12

In the middle is the basic bodice block with ease. Now, the basic bodice block is drafted to be used with sleeves. If you want to make a sleeveless garment, you reduce the ease and raise the armhole. You could also choose to make a sleeveless block from the bodice block to save you making the same adjustments each time you make a sleeveless garment.

00:04:36:20 – 00:04:56:19

Now on the right, the Moulage and Block are superimposed so you can see the extra wearing ease. Though it may look like the waist is the same, the dart is smaller in the block, so there is ease in the waist. There is more ease around the bust and armhole because that’s where it’s needed for movement. So movement is obvious, but we also need it for breathing.

00:04:56:23 – 00:05:18:18

Now, this dressmaker’s dummy, Didi is what I’ll call her from now on, is wearing a moulage, so there’s no ease. The pink line around the armhole on the toile that Didi is wearing is the Upper Bust. If I take my Upper Bust measurement when I’m relaxed and breathing shallowly, and then compare that measurement after I take the deepest breath possible, the difference is 3 inches.

00:05:19:18 – 00:05:42:03

Now, maybe I breathe more deeply than others because I do a lot of singing. But nevertheless, you do need a reasonable amount of ease for breathing as well as for movement. So the question is now, how much ease is needed in your basic bodice block? So here are the specifics: For a bodice block, to draft garments with sleeves, 5 inches in the upper bust and 3 inches in the bust.

00:05:42:21 – 00:06:00:09

A sleeveless block will have less about 3 inches than the upper bust and 2 inches in the bust. I’m not saying every block making instructions have exactly this amount of ease. For a lot of them, it’s in this ballpark. Now, of course, ease is a personal thing. Some people like more, some people like less. But these amounts are pretty standard.

00:06:00:15 – 00:06:20:19

You can start out with this amount for your block and if you wish to reduce it, you can. Now, I have had a few people ask about the ease They have said that it seems a lot and those people have said that most of the block making instructions have about two inches ease I will go on to show you prove if you wish that this ease is standard in the following slides and I will go into detail.

00:06:21:16 – 00:06:43:05

So what I’m going to do now is show you how much ease is in 2 other block making instructions, and then also talk about the amount of ease in the Vogue and Butterick ‘Shells’. I have drafted two bodice blocks using the instructions of two different leading authorities in fashion patternmaking using their measurements in their books so measurements for the Standard Figure.

00:06:43:21 – 00:07:11:10

Then I’ll measure and show you how much ease ends up in the upper bust and bust. So the block I’ve drafted using Helen Joseph Armstrong directions is a size 12 with a bust of 37 and 1/2 inches. The block I’ve drafted using Winifred Aldrich’s directions is for a size 10 with a bust of 33 inches. Now, just a note for those who might think that is very strange that a size 10 is 33 inches and then a size 12 is 37 and a 1/2 inches in the bust.

00:07:12:01 – 00:07:35:09

That’s because Winifred Aldridge is using a UK sizing system and Helen Joseph, Joseph Armstrong is using an American sizing system. I’m starting with the block drafted to Helen Joseph Armstrong’s directions. So first, let’s clarify what the upper bust measurement is for the block. The upper bust measurement is not in the measurement chart because it is an assumed measurement.

00:07:35:18 – 00:07:59:24

For those who have watched my pants block instructions will have seen that the Thigh measurement is an assumed measurement in most block making instructions. It is a proportion of the hip measurement, or it works out as a proportion of the hip measurement. What that means is for those who don’t have the same hip to thigh proportion as the Standard Figure will not get a good result when drafting their Pants Block. The same thing for the upper bust.

00:08:00:03 – 00:08:22:10

The upper bust is assumed to be 2 inches less than the bust. How do I know that it’s two inches? If you’ve watched my previous video in the Bodice Block Essential Series, remember that the bust-cup is determined by the difference between the bust and the upper bust. The standard figure has a B cup, a B cup has an upper bust 2 inches less than the bust.

00:08:22:19 – 00:08:50:11

Therefore, if the bust is 37 and a 1/2 inches, then the upper bust is 35 and 1/2 inches. So in the instructions, 3/4 of an inch ease is added to the back arc and a quarter inch is added to the bust arc. So adding the three quarters of an inch plus a quarter of an inch means one inch for the half block and two inches ease for the full block.

00:08:52:08 – 00:09:17:04

Now, remember that the width of the block is based on the bust, not the upper bust, because the upper bust measurement wasn’t required, it’s not used, it’s assumed. So therefore, if the width of the block is 37 and a half inches for the bust, plus the two inches ease, that’s 39 and a half inches total. But if you look at the block, it’s 39 and a half inches at the upper bust, not at the bust.

00:09:18:15 – 00:09:44:02

So if the width of the block is 39 and 1/2 inches at the upper bust, and we know that the upper bust measurement is 35 and a half inches, that means there’s four inches ease in the upper bust. Well, you would think so. In this slide, the pink arrow indicates where the bust line is. And so looking at this, you would think that the bust, therefore, has a little bit more than two inches because the bust is curved,

00:09:44:07 – 00:10:07:03

it’s down lower, and it includes a bit on the side where the side same angles out due to the bust cup. So you would think that the upper bust has 4-inches ease and the bust has a little bit more than 2-inches ease. Now, I drafted this block from all the measurements given in the textbook, and the textbook gave the bust arc and the backarc, and I drafted it to those measurements.

00:10:07:23 – 00:10:34:01

After I drafted it, I measured it. And for the upper bust, I got five and one eight inch ease. And for the bust I got three and a quarter inch ease. How is that possible? Now, when I first thought to do this, as in measure the block I had drafted and see what ease there is. I came up with this 5 inches in the upper bust and the 3 and 1/4 quarter that I just showed you.

00:10:34:16 – 00:10:54:00

And I thought I was going crazy. I mean, just do the math. The width of the block is based on the bust of 37 and 1/2 inches, add 2 inches ease. The block is 39 and 1/2 inches wide at the upper bust. Therefore, there is 4-inches in the upper bust and a little bit more than 2-inches is in the bust.

00:10:54:07 – 00:11:15:02

I checked it. I triple checked it. I redrafted it once, twice, three times. I might even have redrafted it a fourth time. I kept coming up with the same result. Five inches ease in the upper bust, 3 and a bit in the bust. Finally, I figured it out. The instruction said to use the ‘Bust Arc’ measurement and the ‘Back Arc’ measurement.

00:11:15:02 – 00:11:41:13

I took those measurements from the measurement chart in the book for that size, but the Front Bust Arc and the Back Arc DO NOT ADD UP TO the bust measurement. The width of the block starts out as 38 and three quarter inches, not the bust measurement of 37 and a half inches. So you may think like I did, well, that was just a mistake in the textbook.

00:11:41:17 – 00:12:00:12

Now, to be clear, it wasn’t just this size. Every single size had the Back Arc and the Bust Arc adding up to a significant amount more than the bust. At the time I was doing this, I had the fourth edition of the textbook and I didn’t know how to find out if it was a mistake. It was after I finished my making studies and I had no one to ask.

00:12:00:20 – 00:12:20:17

I was really wanting to find out how much ease was in the block and was really wanting to find out if this was a mistake. I considered writing in to the publisher and asking if a mistake was made in the textbook. And then I thought, What are the chances of a response? So then I noticed that a more recent edition of the textbook had been published in 2014.

00:12:20:23 – 00:12:44:09

So I spent $100. I really didn’t want to spend just so I could check the measurements in the new edition. And it was the same. Actually, the bust arc and back arc measurements had changed, but they ended up even larger than the bust measurement. So then finally in the measurement section, I found something that I had previously totally overlooked.

00:12:44:21 – 00:13:12:23

I noticed that the Back Arc and Front Arc are not supposed to add up to the bust measurement. Here are the instructions for measuring the Bust Arc and the Back Arc: It is for fashion students measuring a dressmakers dummy. So it talks about the ‘Armhole Plate’. It says the Bust Arc is ‘Cener Front. over the bust point, ending 2-inches below arm plate at the side seam’ and the Back Arc is ‘Center back to bottom of the plate.’

00:13:13:13 – 00:13:35:22

So they’re not measuring at the same place. So this would imply that the bust arc measurements in the book, the Bust Arc and the Back Arc were correct. And therefore that amount of ease that I was puzzled by, the 5-inches at the upper bust and 3-inches at the bust would be correct. This conclusion I came to was reinforced when I did the same test with Aldrich to see how much ease was in her block.

00:13:36:06 – 00:13:56:08

And when I looked at the amount of ease in the Vogue and Butterick Butterick fitting shells. That amount of 5-inches in the upper bust and 3-inches in the bust seem to be consistent. Now, as far as measuring of the bust arc and the back arc, how that works in Joseph Armstrong system, that’s a complete puzzle to me.

00:13:56:18 – 00:14:24:04

I wonder also if any home sewers who use the textbook notice that the arcs are not supposed to add up to the bust measurement and that you actually start with a measurement significantly more than the bust. I wonder if they realize that. The issue is that if they had assumed that bust arc and the back arc added up to the bust measurement and they had used their own measurements, then they would have ended up with significantly less ease than you’re supposed to end up with.

00:14:24:09 – 00:14:48:10

So as far as the Arc go, dividing the bust into the front arc and the back arc, in my new system, I’m actually planning on doing this, but it makes more sense to me that the arcs are based on the one measurement – that the ‘Upper Bust Arc Front’ and the ‘Upper Bust Arc Back’ add up to the to the Upper Bust, and the ‘Front Bust Arc and the Back Bust Arc’ add up to the Bust measurement.

00:14:49:07 – 00:15:10:20

I hope you understood that. I think that would make a really good tongue twister. Anyway to move on… with Winifred Aldridge’s system. It wasn’t so complicated and it ended up with 5- inches ease in the Upper Bust and 2 and 3/4 quarters in the Bust. I did the drafting in centimeters as Winifred Aldridge uses the metric system, as do I.

00:15:11:04 – 00:15:36:07

And this actually is an image that I’ve used before, and I couldn’t be bothered redoing that graphic in inches. So basically it does end up with that ease that I’ve specified there. And I will just show you briefly in the next few slides. Winifred Aldridge’s system drafts half the front and half the back together, 5 centimeters ease is added to that half block and five centimeters is 2 inches.

00:15:36:16 – 00:16:01:12

Therefore, for the full block, there’s four inches ease added at the upper bust. Remembering that this is the armhole area, therefore this is the upper bust. Remember though, that this is based on the bust measurement. You end up with four inches ease on top of the bust measurement. So it’s ending up 37 inches wide at the upper bust – at the armhole level.

00:16:01:23 – 00:16:27:10

But the upper bust is 31 inches since it’s two inches less than the bust, therefore there is 6 inches ease at the upper bust. Well, it seems like that in the next slide I’ll show you how that actually comes down to five inches ease. Once the shoulder dart is closed and you re-measure, it is less. So it ends up at 5 inches in the upper bust and 2 and 3/4 inches in the bust.

00:16:28:16 – 00:16:52:04

On top of which, I did further research and looked at Vogue and Patrick Fitting Shells. They had 6 inches ease in the upper bust and 4 inches is in the bust. I think because it’s a Fitting Shell, they prefer to be a little bit more generous with their ease. So given all that, I’m pretty confident that the ease I use in my instruction – 5 inches ease in the upper bust and 3 and 1/2 or so in the bust – is pretty standard.

00:16:52:04 – 00:17:10:14

And when you use my instructions to create a sleeveless block from a Sleeved block, you end up with 3 inches in the upper bust and 2 inches in the bust, which again is pretty standard. But I’m not going to go through and prove that as well. Currently, the only instructions to create the sleeveless block from the sleeve block is on my website.

00:17:10:14 – 00:17:31:00

Written instructions. I haven’t created a video for that yet. So what does 5 inches is in the upper bust and 3 inches ease in the bust look like? The Bodice of this dress just has the wearing ease of the sleeve block. It’s fairly fitting in the in the bodice. I wouldn’t want it any tighter, especially with this viscose.

00:17:31:00 – 00:17:56:19

I’ve got plenty of room for my arms to move. Anyway, this is what the standard ease looks like in the Bodice of this dress. Obviously, the skirt has a lot more than just wearing ease in it. And this is what the sleeveless ease looks like in the bodice. And actually not the whole bodice because it is fitting just to the under bust and then it flares out from the Empire Line and I have extra design ease falling from my under bust.

00:17:56:21 – 00:18:17:12

The blue lawn is almost too fitting around the armhole – the purple is whiskers. And although the bodice is lined, it’s a very lightweight voile or voile,, whichever way you prefer to say it. So I couldn’t reduce this ease any more. I also have some difficulty when the tendons in my armpit they get very tight and I can’t wear the armhole tight there at all.

00:18:17:12 – 00:18:41:07

It gets painful. But anyway, this has about 3 and 1/2 inches is in the upper bust and about 2 and 1/2 or 2 and 3/4 quarters in the bust. Now, when I show you the garment that I was wearing with five inches on me, it looked fine when I put five inches on Didi and especially when I put that sleeve block on her without the sleeve on it, it looks dreadful.

00:18:42:02 – 00:19:01:18

Well, besides the fact that I saw the dots up too high, the main problem here is that the bodice is made for a slate garment and she has it on without sleeves. So it looks like this. Far too much ease. Yes, there’s too much ease for a sleeveless garment, but not necessarily for a sleeved garment for a person who needs to move.

00:19:01:18 – 00:19:23:23

Obviously, it doesn’t need to move. So just say you sew up a toile for a sleeve bodice with the sleeves and you have some problems with the fit. Sometimes, and especially if you new to it. it’s hard to know whether it’s the sleeve that’s the problem or the bodies. Now I had that problem. I’m a toile after toile after toile with a sleeve and I just couldn’t get it to fit.

00:19:24:05 – 00:19:44:04

I kept making changes to the bodice when I found out in the end that I just cannot wear a fitted sleeve with only two inches is in the bicep, which is what most instructions say to use. I just can’t … 3 inches is in the bicep is not enough for me. So the sleeve was the problem and I kept making changes to the bodice.

00:19:44:17 – 00:20:08:19

So another issue is if you try to fit a bodice that is meant for sleeves without the sleeves, you may think there’s too much ease and you over fit. Then you have even more problem with the sleeve. All right. The point that I’m trying to make, if you can follow it at all, is I think it would make more sense to initially make a sleeveless bodice and get the bodice to fit correctly before even thinking about adding the sleeve.

00:20:08:19 – 00:20:44:06

But I mean, starting out with the sleeveless bodice with a correct amount of ease for a sleeveless bodice. So you get the fit of the bodice correctly and afterwards add the ease for the sleeved block and make the sleeve and take it from there. I hope that makes sense, but definitely in my new system I’m planning on doing that, giving the option of people to draft either the sleeveless block or the sleeve block, actually both of them in the same drafting process so that the people with a hard to fit figure can choose to fit the sleeveless bodice first.

00:20:44:06 – 00:21:01:20

So we’re nearing the end. I hope you now understand ease and wearing ease. And you know, the amount of ease that I add is pretty standard compared to other block making instructions and commercial patterns. Five inches in the upper bust, three inches in the bust. The sleeveless blocks would be about three inches and two and a half inches.

00:21:02:22 – 00:21:23:10

So the next video in the series will be on Bust Cup Amounts. I’ve had a few people ask me exactly how that side seam angle that result in the bust cups, how that angle is worked out. So I’ll cover that in the next video and I will show or prove again that those amounts are exactly the same as doing a large bust adjustment.

00:21:24:01 – 00:21:51:19

And for those who are interested, here are my plans for the next year. Firstly, I will finish part 3 to 6 of the Bodice Block Essentials and I will re-do my bodice block system. I’ll remake the video and also publish some EPUB booklets. So the EPUB booklets will have the same information that’s in the video, but it will be one step, swipe, one step, swipe.. it might make it easier than pausing the video, etc., but the booklets will be for sale.

00:21:51:19 – 00:22:18:11

I won’t be supplying any more written stuff for free. The videos will be free. I will also be publishing the drafting pants booklet about the same time as the bodice block booklets, and then I’ll start doing drafting patterns, same format. I’ll publish a free video of a pattern and have an accompanying booklet for sale. Eventually I will publish more theory videos as well.

00:22:19:08 – 00:24:01:23

This is Maria from dresspatternmaking.com. Chao.
Beautiful Dreamer, wake unto me
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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