At the end of my craftsy course on drafting a bodice sloper, there is a lesson on using this sloper to draft a knit sloper. I watched the lesson, but admit, I did not like the technique presented. I am pretty happy with my bodice sloper though, and thought it was a good idea to use this as a basis for a knit sloper, only using a different method. I used several resources to draft my knit sloper
1. Craftsy class "Patternmaking basics: the bodice sloper with Suzy Furrer"
2. "Patternmaking for Underwear Design", by Kristina Shin
3. "Designing and patternmaking for stretch fabrics" by Keith Richardson
4. The now defunct website "Pattern school" by Stuart Anderson
Both the Shin book and the Richardson book outline methods for a t-shirt sloper, both of which I have tried. Back in 2009, I drafted the Richardson t-shirt. This pattern was okay, but I never got the shoulder / armhole shaping right. I think this was mostly due to measurement error...whilst doing the craftsy course, I found out that my shoulder point was in a different place than I had always thought. I used the Shin method to draft a t-shirt a couple of years ago, but I can't find a record on my blog, so maybe I never blogged about it. It was a close fitting t-shirt. I was pretty happy with it, but I never got the waist shaping spot on, and always meant to go back to it.
To get my knit sloper this time around, I started with the back bodice (zero ease) that I drafted in the craftsy class. I followed Suzy Furrer's method to get the back knit sloper.
I then followed steps 9 to 11 in the Shin method for the basic t-shirt block pattern, which derives the front block from the back. In the Shin method, the front is 1/4" wider than the back, compared to 1/2" in the Furrer method. When I was deciding whether to use 1/4" or 1/2", I found that I made an error when tracing the last rendition of my woven sloper, and it's front was only 1/4" wider than the back, so I went with the 1/4". The front armhole shaping comes in more than the back, and the front shoulder is lower than the back.
The Furrer method reduces the length of the block, to account for vertical stretch. For the basic adult swimwear block, Anderson advised 88% horizontal ease (12% negative ease) and no vertical negative ease (going off memory here...the site is no longer available for me to refer to). I decided to go with no vertical negative ease. Knits vary greatly in their vertical stretch, so I think I will just have to accommodate this on project by project basis.
The Furrer method uses 1/2" negative ease horizontally. The Shin method uses 10% negative ease horizontally. The Richardson method assesses the stretch ratio of the fabric and adjusts the block accordingly; stable knits are given 0% negative ease, moderate knits 2% negative ease, stretchy knits 3% negative ease, super stretch 5% negative ease and rib knits 10% negative ease. For 4 way stretch knits, he advises 5% horizontal negative ease and 10% lengthwise negative ease. This approach makes sense to me, so when I am happy with my knit sloper, I will mark lines for the different amount of negative ease, for different fabric stretchiness.
The Furrer method transfers waist shaping to the shoulder. I didn't do this, but have left the waist shaping marked on my block to remind me that I haven't done it. On my first garment using this sloper, I tried both with and without the waist shaping transferred to the shoulder and I didn't like the feel of the garment when I transferred it. I think this will depend on fabric choice also.
So, how did it all turn out? Well, here is a dress I made up using the sloper. The dress has a front seam, just because I was combining this lesson with another lesson on craftsy for a knit dress with an asymmetrical neckline. The gathers were my input, but I think they would look better if I moved that horizontal seam over towards the ungathered side a little bit more.
The fabric is a ponte from Spotlight. I don't like the feel of this fabric, and don't go in much for body con dresses, so I will never wear this dress out...I just sewed it to test out my draft. The fabric is a stable knit, so I used 0 ease both horizontally and vertically. I sewed in the waist shaping on the back.
In terms of the knit sloper
- the back torso length looks a little too long, but it is in my woven sloper also, and I don't really know how to correct this and keep everything else the same.
- the back also looks a bit tight, but there wasn't much give in this knit fabric, so I am not too worried about it.
- I think the draft is basically okay, but I will test it out for some simple designs, such as a tank top or camisole, in different fabrics.
Of course, if you have any advice regarding the sloper, chime in. Fitting is such a tortuous activity to undertake on our own!