Wednesday, August 1, 2012

How to add shape using a french curve ruler

       Ever seen one of these deally-bobs before? My mom bought me mine...and it sat collecting dust for ages. I didn't see the point of curved ruler, and I didn't have a clue how to use it. As expert sewers go, I'm sure I still don't have a clue how to use it! Ha! So, I'm going to show you how I use it, whether it's how the books say to or not. This ruler has become indispensable to me, because I don't use patterns to sew. This ruler makes sure that everything I sew has the correct amount of curve...and ten months from now, I can make another of whatever and it will turn out exactly as the first one did. 
      Almost everything I make starts out as a rectangle as wide as the garment needs to be and as long. By adding curves, and curved cut outs (neck holes, arm holes) it becomes the garment.

       This dress is going to be my example. It was constructed the same way I explained in this tutorial.(only without the sheer insert obviously) A dress has got more curves to work around than just a top, because it goes past the hips. For a dress like the above, I want curves in the sides, and the center back. I cut the front part of the dress on the fold, and the back has a center seam.  We are essentially going to use the curved ruler to cut a dart into the dress, without sewing a dart into it. For a side curve, I would first measure down from the top along the side where the armpit should fall...normally about 8 to 9 inches from the top. Then about 9 inches below that, I would mark a little dot about a half inch from the side. 

      Then I would play connect the dots using the one inch mark to about the nine inch mark on the french curve.

      Now I would flip the curve and trace the other half of the curve. By doing that, I get a completely symmetrical curve, that angle is precisely a half inch in the center of the curve.

      Once you cut that off, it doesn't look like much. Trust me though, these little cuts make a world of difference on how well something will fit.

      Now, for the back panels, I would cut the same curve into the side again. I would also cut a longer one about 6 inches below the neck on the center seam. The reason for that one is, your back is not straight. If you look into a mirror, your back curves like an "S". To have the dress follow the curve, you must cut one into it.

       This fabric had enough of a stretch that these little cuts was all the shaping it needed. Any other curve, such as an arm hole, or a hi/low hem line can also be made using this ruler.

       By flipping it around, you can get any curve you want, and more importantly, get the measurements of any curve. Measurements are the key to being able to reproduce something multiple times. I know that all is a bit technical, but I hope it's helpful to someone. At the very least, try drawing some curves out on paper first to see what variations you can come up'll be wanting to try it on fabric in no time!

Psalms 103:2   Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits: 
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  1. o that is interesting but a bit over my head...(ya i'm kind of dense), but I want to figure this out. I'll be back!

  2. are you following me? i'd love you to.