What should you try to draft for the first time when you have little to no drafting experience?
If you said a Jacket, that was the wrong answer. I know, because that's what I did.
Drafting is the complex and rewarding but very tedious way of making patterns when you can't find a paper fashion pattern in the shape you want. I'm used to using McCalls, Butternick and Simplicity patterns and I've drafted one or two things before, but usually from guides online, never from the dreaded bodice block.
|Image from Laura After Midnight who has much more detail on drafting bodice blocks. Original image from by Winifred Aldrich.|
Once you have your bodice block tailored to you, then you can manipulate it. In this case I wanted to make the jacked and waistcoat Rosalind Lutece wears in Bioshock Infinite.
|Concept art by Claire Hummel (Shoomlah)|
With drafting, it is incredibly important you do a mock-up to test the fit and make sure that everything looks right. Jackets are actually very complicated because you do have to guess a little the size of the lapel, and the lapel and collar are separate but drafted off of each other so if you change the lapel, you change the collar too (the Cutter and Tailor forum as some really detailed bits about shaping collars and lapels if anyone else is a massive geek like me and is interested).
I only did two mock ups of the jacket bodice in the end, being mostly happy with the shape and length (it was about an inch or two too short, so I just added it on to the final pattern and drew in sharpie where I wanted some accents and buttons to go to make sure I liked the look. This is a pretty good idea if you've never sewn an unlined jacket before (or a lined one for that matter) because there are a lot of fiddly parts like facings that it's best if you have some practice on before you try it with your final fabric.
|This is actually Jacket Mark 2, when I fixed all the issues with the sleeve|
The first time around the shoulder was too long, arm hole was a little too small and the sleeve was too small and FAR too short. I cut off about 2cm from the shoulder and then redrafted the sleeve. And then drafted it again. And then drafted. It. Again. Over all I redid that sleeve 7 times because I kept mucking up the measurements.
|Sleeves. Harder than you think|
In the end I couldn't get the measurements to quite match up so I fudged it. I added a good 3 cm to the outer sleeve with and rounded the crown (top) a little more so that I knew the sleeve would DEFINITELY fit my arms, figuring I could gather the top of the sleeve if needed to make it fit. Success?
I then moved on to the waist coat. I copied the pattern for the jacket bodice, slimmed the lapel a little, changed the front darts so that there were two smaller darts on each side rather than one large one and shortened it dramatically with the plan of the bottom of the waist coat to just pass my waist. It came up a little short in the end, and while the fit was good I didn't like the lapel. It didn't have as much of a round neckline as I would have wanted and the shoulders were way to large.
|Images from Past Patterns and A Tailor Made It|
I shortened the shoulders, lengthened the hem a little, enlarged the arm holes and drafted a new lapel separate from the body of the waistcoat so it would have a bit more of a curve. I had planned then to go in search for fabric before I started drafting the skirt (which I plan to follow this tutorial) where I hit a massive road block. My initial idea had been to make the jacket, waistcoat and skirt all from linen, which was a popular Edwardian fabric. What I did not realise was that linen was £11per meter, and I was easily looking at 8 meters of fabric. Made worse, when I went and looked at some linen in my local fabric shop I realised quite how THIN linen was. It would probably still be suitable for the waistcoat but definitely not for the jacket or skirt. I got a few swatches of other fabrics but couldn't find anything in a colour which remotely suited what I was looking for. As a result I've had to put the Lutece project on hold until either I have more money or until I find a fabric that I'm happy with. It's a real shame because I was really looking forward to cosplaying her and I was really excited to do her clothing in period fabric but for now it'll have to wait. I am looking into a wool fabric but am very concerned about it being way to warm and expensive. In the mean time at least the patterns are done :)