While browsing Danielle’s website, I found this picture of a Chanel bias cut jacket.
Ostensibly, I’m supposed to be doing research for my upcoming participation in the carnival of couture but all I can think of is how these pattern pieces look in a marker. After all, what do I know about fashion? All I know how to do is to dissect it and this jacket struck me because the match stripe was done incorrectly! The match stripe on this jacket -while impressive as it lies on the bias- doesn’t line up. I’m glad to know that even couture designers are fallible.
Anyway, I thought I’d do a little quiz for you guys to see if you can figure out what the house of Chanel did wrong. Honestly, it’s not that hard. Here’s the quiz -the red line represents the the matching stripe which lies along the grain line. Which of these, A or B represents the correct layout of the pattern pieces? Below is “A”
Below is “B”.
Putting this another way by looking at the pattern pieces directly, which view is correct. Below is “A”
Below is “B”
If you said “A” for both of the examples, you are correct. This is just one reason bias garments are more expensive than regular ones; you have to get that grain line correct so you’ll need somebody with more advanced pattern skills. Fortunately, this is a mistake you’ll only make once. If by chance you thought that “B” was correct, I’d suggest printing the pieces out, folding back that front zipper seam allowance and laying the pieces side by side.
Now I’d like to go over the standard work or conventions of proper pattern piece labeling and identification. Below are the pieces labeled and identified correctly.
Please observe the standard convention of the information block precisely. The conventions of the information block are (and in this order):
- Style number.
- Piece Name. Please note that “Right” is designated with “R” and it is circled. Ditto for the left side.
- Cut quantity
- The directional “Face-up” is included, meaning the piece cannot be flipped to cut its opposite side.
- The size
Other marking conventions:
- Color coding: the match-stripe is marked and labeled in green (or purple) ink. All other writing should be in black ink only.
- Write “match stripe” on your match stripe.
- Note the use of block lettering. Please do not write in cursive, pass on the whirls and flourishes. Assume the person using the piece does not speak English.
- Use numbers rather than letters if at all possible (one reason styles are numbered, not named).
- You can be redundant. By this I mean you could also write the letters “R.S.U” meaning Right Side Up. “R.S.U” can be written either above the style number or below the information block but in somewhat larger lettering.
- You should put a large “X” on the back side of these pieces. “X” means “do not use this side”. Again, redundancy is encouraged. I also like to write “W.S.U” which means “wrong side up”. Some companies like to use green back pattern paper to prevent the wrong side from being cut; the green side being the wrong side.
A note about match-stripes and grainlines:
These are not necessarily the same thing! The grain line is always marked in black ink. A match-stripe must always be marked in contrasting colors because it indicates absolute matching and a grain line does not. A contrasting match stripe -whether it runs horizontally, vertically or at bias- is a defined match point and a grain line is not. A grain line only indicates the length of grain rather than the requirement to match any set point. In other words, according to standard work practices, if you used black ink instead of green and failed to write “match stripe” along it, your cutting people are not to blame if you don’t get a match stripe.
Lastly, if your match stripe falls along the grain line (as this pattern does) you only need to mark that. However, if your match stripe line does not fall on your grain line, you will also need to mark the grain line -in black ink- on the pattern in addition to the match stripe.