Monday, June 6, 2011

The Customarily Metric-ish System

 My brain cannot handle anymore math.

Well, I've done it.  At least I think I have.  I've drafted a basic baby pattern I've had in my head for a while now with the help of Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear and Babywear.  It's not anything new or innovative.  It's just something that I want to be completely my own, for what reason I'm not really sure yet.  I just wanted to try it. 

 I highly recommend the book despite the slightly creepy child illustrations (if you have this book you know what I mean).  Katherine h mentioned Winifred Aldrich's book when I asked about pattern drafting resources before and I know that Tanit-Isis has used the adult pattern book as well.  I'm definitely ordering the women's wear version.  It's more like a textbook than do-it-yourself book, though it is easy enough to decipher.  I learned more reading the introduction and jumping right in to the basic flat overgarment block than I have from reading through the two other pattern drafting books I've bought recently.  The only negative is that it's metric!  Though that's not a negative to most you out there across the globe-- only to us nutty Americans.  Why don't we use the metric system in America?  What in the world is the customary system based off of anyway?  

Do any Americans out there remember about 20 years ago when they told us in school that the U.S. was going to switch over to the metric system?  I was in third grade.  I remember my teachers being all flustered about it.  We did a few lessons on the metric system and then that was it.  We never switched over and no one ever talked about it again.  I wish we had switched, because now my brain only works in inches and feet.

Which is not good when you have an awesome pattern book that uses centimeters.

Especially when the conversion chart tells you things like 1cm = 0.393700787 inches (!!??)

I'll be honest, some of those measurements I did are in inches and some are in centimeters.  It's a hybrid measurement system I use- the customarily metric-ish system.  My t-square is only in inches but I have a little ruler that has centimeters. And some may be close-to-accurate guesstimates.   It looks right.... 

But like I said, my brain can handle no more math at the moment.  
I'll make a muslin soon enough.



  1. totally get the confusion. for me it's the same whenever I try out a tutorial on an American blog. I just stick to 2,5 cm = 1 inch which worked well so far but I never wanted to do something very fitted, so a little bit of inacuracy wasn't a problem. For every project that required an impecable fit, I stuck to my German Burda patterns. But kudos on making them yourself.

  2. I grew up in Portugal where metric is used but ever since moving to UK had to learn imperial, miles, etc. Very confusing! The sad thing is that because most sewing patterns have imperial measures I learned that way and if I need to convert to metric I'm stumped. Silly, isn't it!

  3. My favourite tape measure has metric on one side and imperial on the other. I only have to flip it over to see the equivalent.

    I love the metric system, but quilters tell me the units are too small for accurate cutting etc, which is why they have stuck with imperial. So whenever I have to do a crafty project, I have to stick with inches.

  4. I need a tape measure like that... And a t-square that has both, too.

    You know, I just assumed that most people use the metric system for sewing who use the metric system for everything else, but now that I think about it, I hear sewing bloggers talking in yards and inches a lot of the time. Not always, though- Do most sewists use the imperial/customary system?

    Just curious.

  5. my brain was metric formatted:) and I feel like most resources I come across are in imperial units! but I have a smart tape measure so I don't need much maths... at least not for that... but when self-drafting patterns there's plenty of other formulas involved, so I can't ever keep the calculator too far!