Measurements you need for these types of garments.
- Shoulder width; joint to joint at the back x2
- Bust circumference x1
- Waist circumference x1
- Hip circumference x1
The reason for the calculus above is that you need to compare these 4 measurements, and consider whether the widest of them should be the reference for the width of the bodice. Be aware of that gussets will add to the bodice width, anywhere from the sleeve down to the hem depending on where you insert them. Gusset width is a matter of preference, some won’t have them at all and cuts trapezoid bodices instead. If you deside to put them in consider that shirts and tunics might need no more than gusset bottom width of 20cm, maybe less, and mostly 2 gussets will suffice. For a serk the bottom gusset width should be no less than 30cm, and 4 gussets looks good.
Gusset height should be determined by your body shape. Well rounded women often prefer to have them begin under the bust, slimmer women more often like them to flare at the waist or hip.
Making a serk:
The shoulder and bust width are the most important measurements because adding gussets will increase the waist and hip width.
Making a shirt or tunic:
If the hips are wider than the bust you could either make the bodice pattern a trapezoid or put in smaller gussets to compensate for the lacking width at the waist and/ or hips.
Alternatively, if you want a more tailored garment you need to take all 4 into consideration when drafting the pattern.
Movement allowance should always be added to the bodice pattern pieces. Add the desired width (described here) to the whole circumference. Divide the new circumference by 2 so you have one front and one back.
- Garment length
- Sleeve length A + B
- Sleeve gap
- Wrist/ hand
Once the width of the sleeve gap and the wrist/hand is established you should consider the fact that your sleeve length (measured from the shoulder joint to the wrist) might not be true if the bodice width extends past your shoulder. This is why we also note the measurement A from the spine across the shoulder, past the bent elbow and 4-5cm past the wrist. If you compare this measurment to the sum of 1/2 of the front bodic + 1 sleeve length you might learn that the sleeve needs to be shorter than you initially thought. This process is useful because it saves you some adjustment time…and it might even be your saving grace if you need to economize with your fabric.
The sleeves can be trapezoids or a tailored shapes. The upper edge should match the sleeve gap, the lower edge the folded hand (fig.2). The sleeve gap is easiest measured by measuring a T-shirt or similar garment that fits you.
Fig 2: the folded hand. Add 2cm movement allowance.
Even if you’re sure that your sleeve length measurement is correct you should add some 5cm; sleeves have strange ways of ending up shorter than strictly nescessary.
If your sleeves are trapezoids you will also need two square gussets 10x10cm for adding movement to the underside the sleeve.
Mark your pattern by writing on the pieces what garment they’re meant for, the bust width and how many pieces of each part are needed to make the garment. You can for example make do with one pattern piece which serves the purpose as both back and front, just draw two separate necklines onto it. Those of your pattern parts which are of the reversible kind can either be cut whole or on folded fabric as a half.