Confused on curves, need help

Plotters (or vinyl cutters with a pen) are basically CNC machines to draw the pattern out full scale on wide paper, by with what ever length it takes to fit the pieces in. For one it’s usually quicker to plot out a pattern than it is to print out a tiled pattern on an inkjet or lazer printer. And it’s DEFINITELY quicker to cut the pieces out as you don’t have to tape all the pages together. Plotters are also taking the place of draftsmen (which my civil engineering degree qualifies me as) & blueprint machines in architectural and engineering fields.

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Now I understand. Mostly because I’ve now just printed the pattern (front and back) at work and it’s 25 A4 pages :joy: so that should be fun.

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Aaahhh… @sjoerdg … Welcome to my world :rofl: At least I have my own printer and quite a large sitting room floor to work on.

Yeah… I’ve got a 6 x 40 foot desk… um cutting table at work. Usually lots of room, albeit lately it’s a bit cluttered. Lol.

I found taping row at a time, weighting down the pages with metal rulers helps keep the pages lined up and resisting the static.

We have a 72" Ioline plotter, but the driver is dedicated to the Optitex software… which we haven’t used in awhile. Don’t know if there is a Windows driver? It goes back to Windiws XP. We also have a "30 vinyl cutter / plotter that I want to to try with Seamly2D sometime soon.


I have a Silhouette Cameo 12" cutter that I use for scrapbooking & wedding cards, etc. - takes 9’ rolls of vinyl, but one has to have paper on some sort of sticky backing (like the rolls of vinyl). The quantity of patterns that I actually print, glue & make are minimal, so best I go by hand :grin:

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I still draft most of my patterns by hand… it’s just quicker. I have such a huge collection of patterns now, most of the time I either just grade or modify an existing pattern.

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Alright I decided to forgo the cutting off 25 pages. There is actually a plotter guy with same day delivery in my town. So I now have a printed out pattern. I’ll see about cutting and sewing something up this weekend :slight_smile:

I haven’t measured to check if the pdf plotted print is the right proportions. I’ll let you know.

I do understand the speed of drafting by hand. Although there it’s definitely a part of me that enjoys the digital fiddling and the idea of a mathematically ‘perfect’ pattern :see_no_evil:

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A good thing to do is make up a dummy draft block and pattern piece with a simple square of a given size - like 4" x 4" (or 100 mm x 100 mm). That way you can verify if the plot / printout is calibrated correctly.

I completely understand… otherwise I would not have spent a good amount of time over the past 4 years improving the code for Seamly2D. It’s still not at the point where it’s efficient enough to save me time, if even down the road. It just takes too long to enter a pattern, and with the nature of my business I usually need a pattern yesterday.


Yes, I’m with you on this, although, I’ve taken it a step further. All designs start with a basic pattern, that one adds to or cuts, turns, spreads in various manners to create the finished pattern. I now have a basic pattern which I keep intact as a master pattern & I use it when I’m creating a new design. So much easier than recreating the wheel with each pattern.

And I only learnt pattern making after I found the software, so I ‘grew’ with the software :slight_smile:

Although I have been doing a bit by hand (in a hurry) mainly because I have some rolls of paper that are wide enough.

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So. The plotter actually did a great job. So all is well on that front. Now comes the next step: Fitting and adjusting the pattern. But the curves all matched and it was very satisfying that it all worked out :slight_smile:

I definitely subscribe to Grace’s logic, as far as I can force my patterning future, to make some basic (master) patterns and work from there. I suppose you guys don’t have any great fitting books/resources you use in your work?

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:rofl: Thank you very much, @sjoerdg

I guess there’s no resource as good as creating your muslin, fitting it & adjusting accordingly.

Gina Renee Designs offer quite a nice ladies fitting pdf for free here that could probably also work for men’s trousers.

And I found these:

Adjustments for men

Perfect Fit Men’s Tailoring-patterns

Perhaps @Douglas can suggest something :slight_smile:

Oh! And always adhere to the rule… Measure twice, cut once. I always double check my measurements and if any measurement differs from the 1st measurement, I will check it a 3rd & 4th time. Once can’t be too careful when taking measurements.

We always do mockups in muslin or some fabric we have on hand, where will just throw the piece in rental. We (or more specifically one of my employees) also does a lot of draping in muslin… which we transfer to paper. Such as this dress:

I mainly deal with period wear, but anything by Mueller:

Fundamentals Menswear › M.Mueller & Sohn

2 books I’ve used for mens period wear are The Blue Book and The Red Book. The Blue Book is an earlier system where the coats use a “dropped shoulder”, where the Red Book is a newer updated system with a modern shoulder. Both these (as well as tons of other pattern making books) are available as free downloads from

Frederick T. Croonborg Blue Book of Men’s Tailoring: Grand Edition of Supreme System For Producing Men’s Garments (1907)

New supreme system for production of men’s garments

There’s a book - from the FIT in NY I think - we have on adjusting commercial patterns to fit. I also have an old tailors book that has a section on fitting & adjusting suit patterns… things like adjusting for shoulder slope and posture. I doubt the book in print, and I can’t recall the name, but I can check.

And not just measure… over 40+ years I’ve made a lot of dumb mistakes, fortunately very few disasters. Always check to make sure you have “flipped” your pattern pieces the correct way or you may end up with all one side of a garment. Also check the nap… when ever I’m not sure I always layout piece in the same direction as if there was a nap. If you’re cutting multiple layers with different fabrics, make sure you mark the fabric with the narrowest width to place on top… nothing worse than marking out the widest, and you find out layers underneath are not wide enough to fit the pieces near the selvage. Even when layering from a single roll the fabric width can change - especially with wools - like happened with the recent movie job we did over the summer. I made sure to keep pieces at least an inch away from the selvage on the marked layer in case the width varied - which it did!

I did another job over the summer remaking a set of 2 chair covers… I took the pattern off an existing one. The fabric for the new covers was a cheetah print sort of weave and cost like $500 per yard!! Besides having to deal with a very complex puzzle of how to layout the pieces., which I literally spent like 2 days figuring out… with the yardage I had you can bet I probably measured a dozen times before cutting anything.


When I started this I did a little search, and Muller came out strong. So that’s what I went with. Glad to hear you use them as well :slight_smile: I made the pattern in unbleached cotton to see how it would turn out. Not half bad, although their idea of slim is rather debatable.

I’m learning I also might have a flat seat (there goes my ego), although I will have to test this later this week. I changed the printed pattern according to the instructions in Muller. We’ll have to see how it works out. Since they don’t sort of explain the logic behind their instructions I’m just following it blind to see if I ‘get it’ by doing it.

Any resources specifically on adjusting patterns would be appreciated. I do feel this talk has gotten a little off topic though? :wink: Do we need to re-categorize it?

Also. 500$ a yard for a cheetah print sounds intimidating and scary… I hope everything turned out alright?

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Glad to hear. Actually plotting a pattern should be more accurate than printing a tiled PDF, as there are no paper sizes, borders, and margins to mess up the scaling. Can’t count how many times I’ve printed out dozens of pages only to find out the default paper size was A4 instead of 8 1/2" x 11".

Just a note… in case your wondering - I’ve owned a costume shop for 40+ years, and besides the normal show rentals, we do a lot of custom work for theatre and movies… usually period related. As far as fitting goes… sometimes we have the luxury (ie time) to sew a muslin mockup, send it to the client, let them alter it and send it back so I can make changes before cutting the fabric. It’s also common that we add extra seam allowance in various seams in case a garment needs to be let out especially in anything being rented.

That applies to even hand drafting… since I have literally collected / drafted patterns for 40+ years, it’s more likely I grab a pattern I have and modify it VS drafting from scratch. Even if you don’t need period patterns, check out the Supreme Systems links I posted, as they literally describes drafting the basic block that all the styles are based on.

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Sounds like an awesome, rich, and diverse life you’ve lived so far.

Checking out the supreme system as I write this. How do you feel this differs from the Muller system?

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There are so many differences in the old period men’s drafting systems and the modern ones, not just style lines, but the old ones rely on a fair bit of fabric manipulation, more so than any modern drafts. Even the Muller drafts have evolved over their publishing history, becoming straighter cuts mainly. I recommend using a system that will get you closest to the style/silhouette and fit you are after, so I personally wouldn’t use an old system for a modern look. The old systems certainly are fun to look into, dissect how they work or do not, and are a part of my job making costumes.


The book is Tailoring Suits the Professional Way by Clarence Poulin… copyright 1953. No longer in print, but highly sought after in the used book market. There is also a section on drafting a skirt and womens jacket.


Thanks for the tip. Because you shared something about earlier I took a look there. You can borrow this book there as well. It’s fun to read through these old books, and see that they’re not that different from modern day books (as far as I can tell). The second hand prices for this book are rather obscene though :joy:


Probably the main difference - besides the earlier pre 1900’s drop shoulder design, is that modern coats are a 2 piece back, where as the period styles will have a fiddle back. That in part creates a more contoured fit than a modern style will have. But, yeah… the drafting concepts are very similar.

I’m one that subscribes learning about earlier techniques whether you’ll ever use them… I believe it helps one understand - in this case tailoring - by knowing where things came from. It’s like music… nothing is new, it all stems from something before. I’m glad you find the older books fun.


I should give an update :slight_smile: I’ve been making a few mockups from unbleached cotton to see how everything fits together. It seems I have a flat seat, who knew.

I do feel that with every little tinker session I seem to understand this piece of software better and better! And you guys have been a great help so far, not to mention mental support!

I’ve started on the adventure of a creating a contoured waistband, I’ll probably start a different topic on this soon, because it took a while to figure out.