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Forum > Pattern Modifications, Design Changes & Pattern Drafting > How to use french curve, pattern/design ruler?

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How to use french curve, pattern/design ruler?
(which part do you use for which curve and how do you know length to make line)
sewing in the city
sewing in the city
Member since 4/25/10
Posts: 79
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Date: 10/31/10 10:57 AM

I do my own patterns (sometimes pretty much on the fly) and alter patterns here and there. I don't get how to use a french curve/pattern ruler and it seems like figuring it out would be helpful. Here are a few questions:

-how do you know which part of the curve/ruler to use for which part of pattern (hip, armhole, neckline, etc)?
-how do you know when you need to turn the curve/ruler as you're drawing?
-do any of these curves/rulers come with instructions about any of this?

(My apologies if this is clear to most people and should be in the beginners message board.)

MNBarb
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MNBarb  Friend of PR
Intermediate
Minnesota USA
Member since 4/3/10
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Date: 10/31/10 11:02 AM

Thanks for asking this question. I'm just going to be buying some different rulers to help with drafting and have this same question.

My sister used to draft patterns for compression garments for the medical field and said the french curve rulers made all of the math go away.

I hope you get some responses. I'll be watching. If I can get an armscye to fit better I'll be a happy woman.

------
Barb
"I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work." Thomas Edison
"I not only use all the brains I have, but all I can borrow." Woodrow Wilson

Annette Wright
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Annette Wright
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Date: 10/31/10 11:18 AM

It depends. If you are drafting when you measure distances and make points, then you connect the points. If at at all possible you want to connect three points at one time, so place the curve to where all three points are hitting the edge. Does that make sense?

Obviously connecting two points can result in any point, so always connect more than two.

There must be a guide somewhere though, it's a great question. I have books on drafting and altering patterns, but I haven't thought too much about it, I just do it, going for the logical curve (in my mind.)

------
Annette
http://needlesnails.blogspot.com/

nancy2001
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nancy2001  Friend of PR
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Date: 10/31/10 4:04 PM

It's very easy -- you simply find the part of the ruler that corresponds to the curve you're trying to draw. The Styling Design Ruler is the one I use and recommend, and the hip and armhole curves are indicated right on the ruler.


-- Edited on 10/31/10 4:10 PM --

------
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

frame
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frame
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Member since 2/19/04
Posts: 3383
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In reply to sewing in the city


Date: 10/31/10 5:29 PM

This is a good question. I have a similar ruler to Nancy's and sometimes the curves fit perfectly and sometimes I have to adjust them. I would love to see an online tutorial about using this tool correctly.

------
"framed" was taken
"I meant what I said, and I said what I meant." - Horton(Dr. Seuss)

JillyBe
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JillyBe
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California USA
Member since 1/20/10
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Date: 10/31/10 5:34 PM

I tend to use my rules with intuition, but in so doing, there is always that flicker of questioning my lines, and knowing that I'm just hoping/trusting that it will work out.

An online tutorial in using them correctly would be awesome. It could really help the confidence level in making that leap between altering the size of existing patterns to drafting something more fitted.

I'll definitely be following this thread for more tips! Oh, the tip about using 3 points is definitely a helpful one, thanks!

------
http://jillybejoyful.blogspot.com/
a blog about creativity, sewing, vintage sewing machines, and...... life :)

mastdenman
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mastdenman  Friend of PR
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California USA
Member since 1/12/04
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Date: 10/31/10 5:44 PM

I have this Nancy's ruler too, but the one I had and really liked was sold by American Fashion Institute/Designing with Dusan. I don't think they are in existence anymore though.

------
Marilyn

January 2009 to January 2010 81 yards out and 71yards in January 2010 to the present 106.7 yards out and 146.5 yards in. January 2011 to the present: 47 yards out and 69 yards in.

Sew4Fun
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Sew4Fun
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AUSTRALIA
Member since 6/23/04
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In reply to sewing in the city


Date: 10/31/10 8:12 PM

I use basically the same curved ruler as Nancy, only a different brand with both metric and imperial. It has a special name that currently escapes me. I'm sure someone else will remind me of the name.

Anyway, it's a combined hip curve, french curve and straight ruler all in one. The great thing about it is there is a part of the curve that mimics every curve you need to draw when pattern drafting. As Nancy said you find the part of the ruler that matches your curve.

As a general guide though, the longer curve from the bottom up is the hip curve, the middle section is the armhole and the top, most curved part is the neckline. HTH

------
Belinda. Melbourne, Australia
http://sew-4-fun.blogspot.com/

andye
andye  Friend of PR
Beginner
Virginia USA
Member since 5/9/09
Posts: 1881
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Date: 10/31/10 8:43 PM

I have the "Styling Design Ruler". It's labeled

Quote:

Hip Curve Nos 1-17
Armhole Curve 13-26


It's best to get a three point match on the armhole.
The ruler is inaccurate, and the the perpendicular grids tend to obscure. If you need right angles, get a C-Thru or an L-square.

Besides, the Styling Design ruler's straight edge is 16 inches long. Unless you're designing for children, a longer ruler is so much more convenient.

------
Bernina B330
Feet: 1,2,3,3A,4,5,7,8,10,13,16,18,20, 29,32,35,37,50,64,70,71,82,85,86, 92

nancy2001
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nancy2001  Friend of PR
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Alabama USA
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Date: 10/31/10 9:30 PM

For those of you who like to read, the Styling Design ruler comes with a very detailed and illustrated technical brochure that explains how to use the ruler to draft and modify patterns.

For those of you who, like me, don't want to wade through a lot of text, just glance at the pictures and then jump right in and start using your rulers. You'll soon figure out the way that works best for you. And the way that works best for you is the right way to use them.

You will also want to have other types of rulers and straight edges to help. But remember, these rulers merely tools -- not magic devices. You can't just plunk your ruler down and expect that it's going to give you the perfect unmodified curve for every project. You do have to move it around and use some judgment, which naturally develops as you gain experience and confidence.

I will say the Styling Design Ruler is well designed and has been surprisingly helpful to me in drafting jacket, tee shirt and pants patterns. I have compared the curves on the ruler to those on published patterns and have found they're often extremely close. So for a very modest investment of $12 to $15 you really can't go wrong.

------
No sewing project is ever a complete success nor a total failure.

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