About European Cut
A note from the author...
I wrote European Cut after long and extensive research of the European drafting methods. I believe that it is one of the most comprehensive books that teaches how to take measurements and draft slopers. Although the book is intended as a trade school or college textbook, the instructions are written simply enough for an experienced home-sewer to use. These instructions are easy to follow, but they are very detailed and must be followed precisely.
For whom this book was written...
If you are a professional dressmaker, a student of fashion design, or an experienced home-sewer, this book is for you!
The best clothes a woman can have, are clothes custom-made especially for her, based on her individual measurements.
A wealthy woman chooses a fashion house or an individual fashion designer to design and make her wardrobe. First, a sketch of her garments is made. Then, her individual measurements are very carefully taken and slopers are drafted to duplicate the shape of her body. This primary set of patterns has no ease added and fits snugly like a second skin. Based on these slopers, sewing or fashion patterns are made and her wardrobe is sewn. Such highly personalized service is exclusive and very expensive.
Many professional dressmakers make beautiful clothes based on commercial patterns. Those patterns, though, must first be adapted to fit the client's figure. This adaptation requires time and extensive knowledge, but it does not give dressmakers the freedom to design any style they want. The choice of style is limited by the commercial patterns available. If you are a professional dressmaker, you can also make custom garments. You must first learn how to make custom-fitting slopers. Then, you can learn how to design and make your own sewing patterns. You can use your own ideas to create original garments - or a photo as an inspiration to create a look-alike version of a designer original.
Students of fashion design, knowing the American method of drafting slopers, might want to learn the European method to design clothes with a European look and fit. If you are a student of fashion design, you can learn to draft either standard European slopers for upscale ready-to-wear clothes (the fashion industry will provide you with a set of standard measurements) or custom-made European slopers for your private clients.
Some discriminating home-sewers also have enough sewing knowledge to learn how to make slopers. If you are an experienced seamstress, you can take individual measurements and draft basic slopers. You can sew muslin samples, fit them, and make a final, correct set of slopers. When the slopers fit like a glove, you can use them as a basis for learning fashion design. But what if you do not want to learn fashion design? What if you would only like to have personalized slopers, so that you can use them to adjust your commercial patterns? Can you use this book? Absolutely! In fact, this is how I started before I learned flat fashion design.
Why this book was written...
There are three steps in learning flat fashion design for custom-made clothes. This book walks you through the first two steps – taking individual measurements and drafting slopers. The third step, making sewing patterns, lies beyond the scope of this book.
European Cut is a primer for future learning. Once you know how to draft slopers the European way, you can expand your knowledge by learning how to make sewing patterns through college courses or textbooks. Your custom-made clothes will be based on the European cut of the slopers, and have that much-admired European look and fit.
The American method of drafting slopers is fast and easy. I learned this method first and was amazed by its simplicity. I noticed, however, that the American fit was looser than the one I preferred. There was a visible gapping around the front armhole and loose folds below the seat of the pants. Also, I had trouble setting the evenly divided sleeve cap width into the uneven length of the armholes. Being born in Europe, I was used to the precise fit of Burda patterns. Since I was curious about the difference between the American method and the European method, I also learned the European way of drafting slopers. The fit was superb, but I was disappointed with the difficulty and complexity of the instructions in European textbooks.
It took me a long time but I rewrote the instructions for the European method to be just as easy to follow as the instructions for the American method. I am pleased with my efforts. I make my own sewing patterns based on the European slopers. I sew dresses that fit perfectly on my less-than-perfect figure, and I have no trouble setting my European sleeves.
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