Saturday, April 10, 2010


Last night I finally found my tailor's curve in the chaos of my sewing stuff and was able to finish off this sloper I started in February. My husband gave me an issue of Mrs. Stylebook for my birthday in the fall, and I've been itching to make something from it ever since, but first I needed to make one of the slopers.

If you're unfamiliar, Mrs. Stylebook gives you directions to make two different bodice slopers: a basic, loose-fitting one and one that is meant to be fitted with darts. The magazine is filled with well-illustrated instructions for making patterns from one of the two slopers. Add so much length here, add width here, move a dart there, and, voila! a new garment. Pants and skirt patterns appear to be drafted directly from your measurements. There is also a pull-out sheet of a number of patterns to trace, just as in Burda or Ottobre. Two other sections are a pull-out booklet of illustrated sewing techniques (very cool) and a section on style advice, which is easy to understand just from the pictures (practical and slightly humorous).

The sloper you see above is the loose-fitting version. Once I'd gone through the mental process (which took a good amount of pondering, studying of illustrations and googling) the actual drawing up of the sloper on paper took about 15 minutes. It's essentially a mathematical formula into which you insert your bust and neck-to-waist measurements.

Next I will sew this up in muslin (well, actually in gingham) to test the fit and make the necessary adjustments. I'm anticipating making my standard shoulder adjustments, but I haven't decided yet whether I should adjust the paper a bit first or just do a fabric version to start out.

Then I'll test my new sloper on a simple shirt pattern.

Here's a photo of the magazine cover. The cover photo is not really indicative of the patterns contained in the magazine. This one seems really frumpy, and it actually doubles as a nightgown. No wonder.

Mrs. Stylebook is, I'm guessing by the photos, intended for 20-40 year olds. Two similar magazines I've seen are Female (for teens-30s) and Lady Boutique (meant for middle age and up, although there are a lot of classic styles that would be fine for any age, I'm sure). Oh, there's also a Child Boutique with patterns for younger children (boys and girls). I've seen all of these for sale on Ebay or Etsy.


  1. Huh! I'll have to look those up. I am much more interested in making my clothing NOW then I ever was. Knowing more about how to "do" it would be great. The dress on the cover.....I'm not a garment designer........but it looks like it was designed by Omar. You know? Omar? The tent maker.


  2. You found an algorithm! Fabulous!

    Re: shoulder adjustment - try measuring the distance between the apex of the bust (one side) to the shoulder point (same side) and draft this on your sloper. It's unusual in that it's a diagonal-ish line rather than vertical/horizontal. But it should give you an accurate shoulder slope to start with, before even sewing it into a muslin. The loose-fitting sloper and the snugger-fitting sloper should both have the same shoulders (unless, erk, the loose-fitting sloper is made for shoulder pads? Bring on the Vikings!).


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