The Sloper

Since I want to sew things for myself in #The100DayStitch, inspired by #The100DayProject, I'm starting by draping a basic fitted bodice and skirt which I can fit and make into a sloper, which acts like a base pattern that you can manipulate to design other patterns, like a template. Darts can shift to other locations, become gathers or pleats, a bodice shape can become a button down shirt or tailored jacket, or a darling 50's style dress. 

At my core, I am more of draper than a flat pattern maker. In the former one works using the mannequin, manipulating fabric in 3-d space to create patterns. In the latter, one rotates and makes marks on paper using a sloper. It is faster to primarily use flat patterning methods, but you can take advantage of more pleating and the effects of bias when draping is your starting point. My training taught me both. Since I started in theater costume shops, I learned how to make one of a kind outfits for real humans that aren't necessarily standard size 6. It was faster for me to pad a dress form to that actor's measurements than to build a sloper for them. I also like draping because it is tactile and sensual. My fingers control the fabric, place the pins, and draw design lines that follow the contours of the body. There is an immediate feedback about how the design looks from any angle. The drawback is that it can be more labor intensive and can add time to a project when compared to flat patterning. In the fashion world, especially when using pattermaking software, the patternmaker is going to begin with a digital sloper instead of a dress form.