The measurements you've taken need to be drawn on paper.
You will need
- The fabric you're using - must be at least 30% '4-way stretch'.
- Two or three large sheets of tissue paper - A3 or similar.
- Write-on Scotch tape or similar. (Sticky tape you can write on, but classic Sellotape would do in a pinch.)
- A pencil - mechanical is ideal.
- A normal 30cm(12") rule.
- A T-square - 65cm(25") or so.
- A large table with a long straight edge. (Ideally 2m(6') long and 76cm(30") wide.)
- It's good but not necessary to have a permanent marker that won't go though the tissue paper, like a felt pen. (Sanford Sharpies are unexpectedly good but hard to find in the UK; I'm told Papermate also sell 'sharpies' here.)
What to do
Plot your measurements
- Line up a couple of sheets of tissue paper accurately against the long edge of the table, slightly overlapping, so you get something about as long as you are, and use the sticky tape to stick them together near each edge and in the middle.
- Make sure your paper's long edge is aligned with the edge of your table, and use your T-square to make marks every foot or so along your paper. Make them half your body piece's width from the long edge, so that when you join them up (using your T-square as a long ruler) you can see whether you have a straight line running parallel to your paper's edge and half your body piece width in, or whether your marks are all wonky (in which case, check your table's edge for being straight by looking along it with your eye against the table's side).
- Assuming your line was straight and ran through all the marks, we can call it your 'side line' (blue and white line in picture). It represents a line running from your armpit to the outside of your ankle.
- Starting just in from one end, make a tick on the 'side line' for your ankle measurement and write the 'around/2' ankle measurement there. Measure along to your next measurement (by the 'increment' if you calculated that) and make a tick, writing your next 'around/2' measure there. Continue until you've plotted the tick for the top of your leg.
- The 'top of leg' measurements for your leg and for your body share the same tick on the 'side line', so write both the 'around/2' measure for the leg and the 'around/4' measure for the body beside that tick, then continue to plot the body data as you have for the leg.
- Now re-align your paper with the edge of the table (in case you knocked it while drawing the marks above), and use your T-square to draw lines right across the paper, as shown in the photo (I've coloured the first few pink): perpendicular to the 'side line' (blue and white), through the ticks you've made for your measurements.
- Starting from the 'side line', measure out along those lines for the 'around/2' and 'around/4' lengths you wrote beside the ticks. Put crosses there.
- Join the crosses with a smooth curve along the leg, as shown (green) in the photo. Don't follow the crosses slavishly, because the fabric will stretch to accommodate small inaccuracies: you want a smooth curve. (Note: The pattern in the photo is actually for a footed suit; your ankle will end immediately after the smaller bulge opposite the piece of paper, where I've draw the green line across and marked it 'foot'.)
- At the top of the leg, the cross furthest from the 'side line' should be your leg's 'around/2' measurement. In the unlikely event that it came from your body's 'around/4' measurements rather than your leg 'around/2' measurements, I'm not sure this pattern will work for you.
- Once you're happy with your leg curve (green), go over it with a permanent marker (if you have one), and then fold the pattern along the 'side line' (blue and white) and trace the leg curve (green) onto the other side of the paper, as in the folded-over photo. Note, you may need to stick an extra bit of paper onto the crotch, if the paper's too narrow (as you can see mine was).
At this point, I'm going to offer you a small choice:
So far, your suit will have a seam running along the centre front and the
centre back, and we'll be putting a zip into the one up the back.
- Join the crosses along the body with a smooth curve (yellow), as you did with the leg, but at the crotch point, where the two curves meet, use the leg's cross (the one furthest from the 'side line') instead of the body's cross.
- Make sure that the angle between the two curves at that point is a right angle as shown in the photos. Err on making the angle larger if you must err.
- Now go to the next page.
Removing the centre front seam
- Using your skill and judgement, even out the curve running from underarm to crotch (yellow) into a straight line (red) running parallel to the 'side line' (blue and white). (See 'folded' photo just above.) A rule of thumb is to ignore the smallest few widths and plot the line through the next measurement, parallel to the 'side line' (blue and white); if you end up chopping off leg all the way down to the knee, that's too much.
- This new line (red) is your 'centre line'. Continue it down until it's cut off the crotch and some of the side of the leg as shown.
- Draw a curve from the crotch point to smoothly join the 'centre line' (red) based on the points you've plotted. (It should look much the bit of the yellow line that the red line's chopped off in the folded-pattern photo above.)
- Between where this new 'centre line' (red) cuts off the body curve (yellow) and the underarm line, re-plot the body measurements as follows: Plot perpendiculars to the 'center line' (red), measuring twice the 'around/4' length to cross over the 'side line' (blue and white). Draw small circles to mark these new points. This step adusts the back seam to compensate for the new front centre line. You may need to stick more tissue paper on for this.
- Fold the pattern along the 'side line' (blue and white) again and copy the crotch curve from the crotch to where your 'centre line' (red) starts onto the other side of the paper, mirroring it like you mirrored the leg curve.
- Continue this mirror-copy crotch curve with a smooth curve based on the small circles. (Again, like the leg, don't slavishly follow the small circles and mirrored curve: you want a smooth result.)
- Unfold your pattern, and reinforce with sticky tape where the centre line (red) crosses from one piece of tissue paper to the other if you need to.
- Now cut the crotch off with scissors, and keep that piece. (See photo with false colour added.)
- Slide the crotch piece (rose/orange/white) over to the other crotch and align it so the yellow curves touch, and the newly cut edge continues smoothly into the leg curve, as shown (green). Use sticky tape to secure this to the main pattern piece.
- Slide a right-angled triangle along the newly cut edge of the crotch piece, until its edge just meets the back curve. That straight line should blend naturally with the back line near the old crotch point, leaving a right-angled triangular piece above it (white area in photo). Cut that off.
- The rose colour represents an overlap with the main pattern piece. The orange part of the crotch piece is the part below the continued back curve.
- If you don't have an overlap (rose) then fill the gap with some spare tissue paper (perhaps cut some off from beside the leg, a little lower down).
- Take the piece you removed (white) and fit it back where it originally was. (See electronically copied blurry piece which is actually a little too small in false-colour photo.) Where it forms something like a right angle with the centre line, mark that, it's called the 'slash point'. For me, this is usually in the same place as the 'top of leg' line.
- On your pattern, indicate that the centre line should be placed on the fabric's main fold by writing 'FOLD' beside it.
- Below the slash point, remove about 5mm along the rest of the centre line with quarter of a curve at the mark itself.
- Finally, fold the pattern or otherwise find the midpoint of the adjusted underarm line (which takes the centre front fold into account), and mark the NEW side line (blue and white) for the sleeve-making section that follows.