The flat-pattern method of designing clothes necessitates starting with a set of basic pattern shapes called slopers. If you draft these, and then cut and sew them, you have what looks like a shell (a bodice), a sleeve, and a skirt. Typically, these are sewn in plain, undyed muslin and lack fasteners and finished seams.
Slopers serve as templates of your best fit. Future designs of specific garments start here; using them establishes crucial aspects of shape, such as armholes, waist circumference or torso length. Darts, pleats, tucks, or fullness are employed to transform the basic sloper shape into a new design, such as a bias-cut gown, A-line dress, wide-leg trousers, or a two-piece swimsuit.
I had the opportunity to learn the foundation of this method several years ago, while completing an apparel technologies diploma. Through the first semester of my coursework, we developed a set of personal fit slopers. I used them occasionally here and there at the time, and then some years went by, and also a baby happened. Recently, it occurred to me that the old slopers may no longer fit as they once did.
Additionally, I was interested in reviewing what I had learned in my coursework. I always appreciate opportunities to review old learning when I am no longer in a classroom setting. It makes me realize how strange school is, in some ways. Students are asked to absorb so much information, so quickly, that it is a wonder we emerge from school with real skills.
So in recent months, I embarked on a project of creating an updated set of slopers from scratch. It was completely worth doing, although painful at times. My measurements had definitely changed, but more importantly, I was able to review concepts and also gain deeper a understanding of the process than I had the first time I made them. I now have the building blocks to make new patterns that will fit me, along with a fresh perspective on the drafting process.