I’m happily slaving away at the Gentleman’s Waistcoat, no pics until I put in the pockets and buttonholes. Meanwhile, I found another book. Yes, another one. I still don’t agree with the Palmer Pletsch approach to tissue fitting (wasteful, inaccurate, doesn’t help with my weird back issues, etc) but they make some tasty techniques books. This one is couture techniques, but also delves into the history of “The Couture” and the thought processes involved. Very well organized and indexed, to boot. Of course I’m devouring it from cover to cover and my very talented Fit Guru colleague is likewise devouring. We’re like a two person nerdy seamstress book club.
More to the point, remember my 1930’s coat?
Remember the center front grainline conundrum?
Basically, while tracing I discovered that the CF line and the marked grainline were not exactly parallel. When I cut my muslin, I chose to ignore this because I was unsure and could find no information on the subject. I assumed I was being picky and fell back on convention which is that the CF is perpendicular to the floor, and the grainline should run parallel to the CF. That worked out fine.
Last night I found a section in Couture the Art of Fine Sewing (pg 49) labeled “Off-Grain Openings.” It shows drawings of coat openings and skirt vents which do not completely meet at the bottom. A little bottom wedge where the two edges want to kick away from each other. I’ve seen this before but just assumed I was fatter than I thought.
“The amount that a specific garment needs to be adjusted off grain is dependent on weight- the weight of the fabric (heavy or light), of interfacing, buttons and buttonholes, and on the length of the garment (short jacket vs. full-length coat).”
So off-graining allows the garment to sit straighter than the straight of grain would allow. Eureka!
She gives the nitty gritty on how to adjust and generally by how much depending on your fabrics and interfacings. Her pattern adjustments don’t involve changing the grainline, but rather shaping the CF opening with a sort of wedge. Which is cool.
My CF is straight, but the grainline is inversely skewed. It comes out to be the same thing! So that answers the question I had about the pattern- it is not badly drafted or poorly copied (I didn’t think so), but rather a stunning example of fine couture technique which found its way into a commercial pattern. Now I’m aching to know which company this pattern came from, and exactly what year and the designer if I can find out such things.
You also off-grain the facing and the lining.
She does offer warnings that it may be a bad idea for stripes and plaid. Also, my coat is rather a wrap coat so the whole front-wedge effect is kind of moot. But still, very interesting. I think I’ll try it anyway.
The book also discusses the difference between Dolman sleeves and Kimono. Basically, Kimono are a type of Dolman sleeve. Dolman sleeves are cut as one with the garment; kimono sleeves are dolman sleeves cut at right angles to the garment.
Wicked. Now I’m off to sew that waistcoat!