What is the one most important concept I have been learning about this year in my sewing journey? It’s the sloper pattern. As a new or beginning sewist, struggling to use a mass produced pattern to fit your (spoiler alert) not mass produced body can be frustrating, and I have learned that the sloper pattern can be the key to making it fit!
What is a Sloper?
So what exactly is a sloper? A sloper pattern is a base or foundation pattern to build on that will fit you or the measured subject according to their actual body measurements. A similar term is the block pattern, this means like a standard or average body size that industrial pattern makers use to make their patterns. It is also a base pattern but it’s generic versus the sloper pattern which is measured off of a real person for their specific use. The sloper pattern is a pretty exact measurement so it’s not like the commercial pattern that includes seam allowance for sewing a garment together. If you make one for yourself it will be your specific measurements, so if you were to make a piece of clothing using it exactly it would be fitted to your measurements. Sounds pretty interesting, huh?
Why make a Sloper Pattern?
Why do you want to make a sloper pattern? Maybe you are not at the stage of your journey that you can or are ready to make your own patterns. What would the use of a sloper be then? Did you already buy several commercial garment patterns to work on? So, not there is not point to make a sloper unitl you have finished with the patterns you bought, right? Wrong.
The sloper pattern you make can help you do much more than just start your illustrious pattern making carreer. First, measuring for a sloper pattering is great practice for the types of measurements you will be taking throughout your garment making adventure. The new thing I learned as I have been learning about slopers is that you can use them WITH a store bought pattern!! PPPSSSHHHHOOOWW!!!! Yes, that is the sound of my mind being blown. Once you have drawn up your sloper pattern you can copy or trace it to use with the pattern you are working on by overlaying it to adjust it’s genetic sizing to your specific size! You will be able to see how close to your measurements are to the pattern you bought before you even make one stitch.
How to make a Sloper Pattern?
How exactly is a sloper pattern made? First you have to know what parts to measure. Here is a list of the parts you need to measure for a bodice and pants sloper. Stay tuned for a video demonstration of measurements I take.
- Bust- around the fullest part of the chest
- Waist – around the smallest part of the stomach around the belly button area or a little above
- Hip – around the fullest part of the hip
- Chest – around the back at highest point in the armpit meeting on the chest above bust measurement
- Back width – from armpit crease to armpit crease over the back
- Shoulder – from side of neck to shoulder bone
- Shoulder slope – difference between the level of shoulder bone and level of base of the neck.
- Top Arm – around bicep
- Neck – width of the neck (not circumference but diameter)
- Wrist – around wrist
- Ankle – around ankle
- High Ankle – between calf and ankle
- Back length – nape of the neck to waist measured straight down the back
- Shoulder to Waist – measured straight down from shoulder over bust to waist.
- Arm hole – around arm at armpit level
- Hip Depth – straight line from waist line to line crossing hip measurement spot
- Waist to floor – side seam of leg from waist level to floor
- Body rise – when seated in a chair measured from seat to waist
- Bust to waist – straight line from fullest bust to waist
- Sleeve Length – shoulder bone to wrist
Tools you need to try it out
- Measuring tape
- French curve if you have one
- Triangle or L measuring ruler
Stay tuned for a video on taking measurements and how I drew out my first try at a sloper. There is lots to read online about making slopers, share what you find with me!