Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Being Volunteered to Sew & Drafting a Sloper vs Vogue 1004

Here are the 10 neckerchiefs. I have Post-Its covering the
patch. I don't feel comfortable putting everything online.
One of the dangers of sewing is that family member sometimes volunteer your time and abilities, not realizing that there are different types of sewing. I spent two days doing something that should be easy, but of course I made it more difficult.

Mr. Toad recently volunteered me to do some sewing for our son's scout troop. I was to make neckerchiefs for new scouts. This shouldn't be a big deal.


The plan was to to make a template and mark the pressing lines. Since I have more than 10 yards of manila tag board--it is just like manila folders, but in a 4 foot wide roll--I thought this would be a very simple task. Ha! I was using Middle Son's neckerchief to make the template. I realized rather quickly that it wasn't symmetrical. 

Warning--I am going to use math speak, but for those who are not sure, I will try to explain. Please don't be insulted if you do understand. I am often surprised at how much I forget when I am not using what I have previously learned.

I once was a math teacher so I was getting frustrated. This should have been a simple isosceles triangle--90°/45°/45°. Unfortunately, it looked like it was more of an 87°-ish and the other two were not equal. I found this out by using a protractor--the half circle with the little lines with numbers. So, out came the compass--the pointy thing that opens and has a place for a pencil.


I began getting seriously geeky and my husband was telling me that this really didn't need to be so difficult. I was frustrated because this should have worked out easily. So, Mr. Toad took away my math tools and took out neckerchiefs he had from when he was a scout. He has a lot. He is an Eagle Scout and is part of our son's troop and was part of our Adult Son's troop.

These had the same errors! What should have been a right (90°) angle, was about 85° on all of them. To make things worse the other angles which should have been 45° each (90+45+45=180--all the angles in a triangle always add up to 180°) These angles were off by more than 5° from each other. I decide to do it my way.

So, I constructed a triangle the old fashioned way and made adjustments. Ugh. It ended up being 85°/47.5°/47.5° on the tag board. The tag board had all kinds of erasers and marks. I made lines to mark how far to turn the fabric while pressing. I also added a hole so that I could hang it on a wire hanger (there is a use for those things!) in my sewing closet.

This is the tag board template--well
a corner of it. The lines are for
turning and pressing the fabric.
The hole is to hang it for storage.
Once I had the template, I needed the fabric. I waited for Joann's to have a sale on their poly blend broadcloth and then bought 10 yards. I was using the same as what had previously been used. I normally would not have used this fabric, but having a non-bleeding non-ironing fabric for pre-teen and teen boys. I also had a 20% off on top of the sale price--yippee! I spent less than 20 dollars to make 25 plus neckerchiefs. 

Basically, the hardest work was making the template. I now just need to layout the fabric, plop the template down and use the rotary cutter to cut. I do use a big ruler and add as much as I can to make them as big as possible while still having the fabric folded selvedge edge to selvedge edge. Because they aren't 90° there is a slight sliver of waste between. 

After cutting, just press, turn, press, stitch, press, add a patch. I really am annoyed at the fact that these are not 90°. It would be so much easier. I think that the shorter legs/sides would have turned and stitched a little easier if they had been on a true bias instead of a skewed bias. Oh, well. I need to deal with it and move on.

I cut 12 today, but 2 had the ends cut off. I may be able to save them, but I would rather wait and see if they are needed. I will make more as needed, in quantities of at lease a half dozen.

Moving On....

Vanessa over at Sew Filled To The Brim inspired me to make a sloper. She is using Vogue 1004 to draft her sloper. Since I have had the same Vogue sloper hiding in the back of one of my pattern boxes, I decided, with her egging me on, to also make one. But, since I have been wondering what the difference was between a commercial sloper pattern and one made from only one's measurements, I am also going to use either How to Make Sewing Patterns by Donald H. McHunn or  Patternmaking for Fashion Design (5th Edition) by Helen Joseph-Armstrong.

If you have a preference or experience with either of these two books, please let me know in comments. I am open to using either.

Please excuse this very heavy affiliate link posting, but I wanted to show clarity without worrying about copyright issues and to make Amazon feel like I'm trying and not cancel my affiliation. 


  1. Yay! Now I can track your progress too!! And btw, I totally understood all the geeky math talk! Thanks for taking me back to geometry!

    1. Vanessa, it will great to keep track of each other, or keep each other on track!