Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Making The Grade

I'm still here.
Just busy.  Lots going on around the Jane household.

I also hurt my back (at risk of sounding like an old lady).  I actually think it may be sewing related, as crazy as that sounds.  I sit in the crappiest, broke-down desk chair with no back when I sew.  The table I use doesn't allow the chair to be too close, so I'm constantly leaning over.   I did some marathon sewing the other week and by the weekend I was out of commission.   I'm just now feeling better.  What sort of chair do you sit in when you sew?  I've got to find a better setup.   I'm wondering if standing would be nice. 

These photos are from a while back.  I drafted an 18 month size baby robe.  Special order for a coworker.  I say I drafted it because I did.  From scratch.  Again. 
 I thought it would be easier than trying to grade a pattern.  Grading doesn't make much sense to me.  I don't see how everyone can be evenly and incrementally larger.  I also don't quite understand how you know which seams to add more to and which less.  Do some seams require different proportions when grading?  Where do you get the measurements from?  Not that precise grading is a huge deal on a relax-fit baby robe, but I'm curious.   I need a robe pattern in between my big one and small one now.  I'm debating whether I should just take the difference between the two or draft another one based on 9-12 month measurements.

I'm sure there's some good information 'round the interwebs on grading.  Any links are appreciated!


  1. Man, those things are adorable! Major kudos.

    Since you have a bigger and smaller pattern, grading to something in between them should be simple---basically, overlap the two, draw a line between each equivalent corner, and mark out the midpoint (or however many intermediate sizes you want). Connect your new dots into a middle-sized pattern. I can't remember what pattern-drafting book you use---I know Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear has a section on grading that goes over how much to add to each seam for various basic blocks.

  2. I do have a completely unrelated link for you! I was thinking of you last night...insomniac that I am, I was reading library books in the wee hours. Specifically, I was reading Professional Upholstering: all the trade secrets by Frank T Destro. It looks way better than other upholstery books I have borrowed, so I am going to buy my own copy. I know you dabble in upholstery, so I thought I would pass the link onto you.

    Ps your baby gifts are cute and I am baffled by grading as well.

  3. More cute baby coats. I can't offer you any advice of grading. It's an area I haven't explored yet.

  4. Those are really cute - great job on the drafting & sewing :)!

    I made a post with links to grading info. a while back try some of them here: Making The Grade - How to Score an "A" in Pattern Class

  5. No idea about grading or drafting over here, but these are adorable again. Maybe you should start a business. I think you discussed this thought before but if I was a mom or needed a baby shower gift, I'd buy one, regardless of whether I could sew it myself.

  6. Tanitisis- Thanks! I use Metric Pattern Cutting for Children's Wear. I didn't even think to flip through it to see if there's anything on drafting, I'm sure there is. I've got to order the Women's Wear version. So much information in those books.

    katherine h- I totally need that right now. I need some motivation to get moving on the couch. I'll definitely check that out. J and I got an ottoman for a chair in our den. I think I may avoid the couch some more and work on that this weekend.

    Thanks, Bernice!

    Claire- Ah, perfect! That's just what I need. Thanks for the link!

    Katarina- :)

  7. I also know nothing about grading patterns, but I thought I chime in on the chair thoughts. My chair is nothing fancy, just a regular folding chair, but it's padded so it actually incredibly comfortable even for long periods of time. Every once in a while Threads will have an article about sewing room ergonomics, so maybe search their website for some helpful hints.

  8. These are very cute - as are the photos!

    I'd do what Tanit-Isis says re grading an intermediate size. I've never graded childrenswear, but I know the sizing is quite irregular because the body proportions alter so dramatically during childhood!

  9. Your baby robes are gorgeous! sorry i can't help with grading, i always make things from scratch too.

  10. Liza Jane whatever chair you use to sew must be the right height for your table and also the right height to prevent stooping. I find second hand office chairs are good. My favourite is a heavy one on wheels with adjustable height.
    Re grading I have never graded children's wear but I taught myself to grade women's clothing (just for myself or my daughter) by looking at multi size patterns and seeing where the differences in sizes where. You are right, not all seams are graded up equally, the most difference is in the ones that add width to the body, especially in larger sizes. I guess what I was really doing is customising.
    I do love your children's robes. I hope your back gets better soon.

  11. Ah just adorrrre your pics and your artistic sense! I see you got all the answers you needed which is great, i might need them soon too!:D Thanks for stopping by and commenting on my dress, I replied there:)

  12. Oh, these are the cutest! It seems you´ve already gotten some great advice on grading - good luck, and hope your back get´s better. I sit on a regular office chair when I sew, I also use it when I´m at the computer, and when I play the piano. Talk about multi-function! :-)

  13. Adorable robes! I want one for myself, they look so cozy. I only ever grade a size or two on Burda pattern sheets. Since they are multi-size, I follow the proportions Burda has used for the various sizes (less addition at the shoulder, more addition at the hip). If not starting with a multi-size pattern I'd be useless.

  14. Your kiddie robes are the cutest!!
    I can see you've got heaps of good advice on the grading, which is fab! I can only grade if I have the other nested sizes there to compare to... :)

  15. Liza Jane consider converting to a standing station. It's healthier for you and your back and doesn't require much more than a height adjusted table or some props. I use a sideboard from Ikea with a few props. Shoulder pains are gone, and I burn a few extra calories while enjoying an activity that is traditionally sedentary.