My new toy

Actually, I’m testing whether I can upload files that become visible within my posts. It’ll be so much easier to explain things that way. Anyway, this is my new toy that I bought on ebay (the photo is hijaked because I don’t actually have the thing yet). Anybody who can figure out what this thing is gets some sort of prize but I haven’t figured out just what yet.
The size of the thing is misleading in the photo. The dimensions of the wooden case are 76″ by 7″ by 6″ if that gives you any idea of the tool’s size. If you want to know what this is, I’ll put the answer in under comments. There you’ll also figure out the utility of the thing too.

Get New Posts by Email


  1. kathleen says:

    This is a compilation and crude importation of all the comments posted at the original site for this document. Feel free to add your comments.

    3/17/2005 07:28:22 PM Kathleen said:
    Now this is a pantograph. WW2 military surplus and made in Japan. One would be hard pressed to find a finer tool of the era. While it’s a fine tool, it’s useful too. A pantograph is a drafting tool which mechanically reproduces an image to scale. In other words, you can size an image up or down by tracing with the stylus. A pencil is attached to another of the long arms and reproduces the item being traced.

    I’ve been wanting a pantograph in order to downscale actual pattern pieces into a scale that I put on the scanner and paste in as an image file. Full scale patterns are too large to photograph in detail and many of you have no idea what an industrial pattern really looks like. With a pantograph, I can show you. I just reproduce my pattern in minature.

    The big hang up on being able to show industrial illustrations (in real life) was the issue of scale and no other pantographs on the market (that I could find) were large enough to trace out a full size pattern. I had no idea something this large even existed so I am thrilled. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the benefits of the tool too and appreciate the mechanical beauty of hand operated tools in this era of bewildering technology. There will always be room for craftsmanship.

    3/18/2005 08:54:52 PM Jess said:
    Hi Kathleen,
    It’s me Jess the other twin, hee. That drawing tool looks interesting and I’m fascinated to know how you would actually use it. Have you ever tryed drawing a pattern in a program like Adobe Illustrator? I did it once as an experiment and what I did was draw it full size (vector drawing) and it’s very easy in Illustrator. Then it can simply be scaled down with the click of a button. Here’s a pants pattern that I did:
    Actually, that’s not one of my better patterns but the scaling down did work.

    3/18/2005 10:40:25 PM Kathleen said:
    heya Jess,
    There’s actually cad programs that do as you describe and a lot more. I don’t use one of those. I’m kind of an old-school anti-cad luddite for patternmaking. CAD is unbeatable for markers, grading, allocation, it’s not even a fair fight. But drafting, I only do it by hand. I consider it a craft and I’m a craftsman. I have to feel the paper or I’m not connected to it. A lot of things just have to be done by feel…maybe you have to shave off another 1/32th off of the facing so it turns just right and it’s hard to pick that up unless you’re working in full-scale. I am very picky about that.

    Now, I truly envy people who can generate artwork. I’ve seen your work and it’s really impressive, I so admire that. I know Illustrator is good and I actually have Iit but I just can’t ever seem to stick with it long enough and I get extremely frustrated. I really need it to do something for me. I bought this really cool book that was specific to fashion sketching with illustrator and I thought that would help me learn but the author assumed the reader already knew Illustrator so it didn’t help me much. Maybe you’d have some ideas. Anyway. I can’t draw and I really wish I could. If I had more artwork, I’d generate more stuff. I need a colorful leather vest design and I don’t want to do the artwork (sigh). I’m not a designer.

    I hate typing in blogger’s little response box.
    Anyway, about the pantograph. The problem is that most DEs will not have computer generated patterns and will be using hard copy. Now, there are conventions and accepted practices, that pertain to the presentation and format of hard copy patterns. They must be on a certain kind of paper with specific information written in specific colors and for very specific purposes. Most DEs don’t know these rules or conventions and a computer generated mini-piece won’t illustrate what the things are supposed to look like. It’s very hard for a DE to get a contractor if they don’t have decent patterns. I’m just trying to up their chances. It’s important to me that they’re accurate and their patterns look professional

    3/21/2005 01:48:29 PM Jess said:
    CAD looks like it would be really fun to work with but so expensive and having to buy one of those huge printers. I’m right the opposite of you I don’t like working with anything other than computer programs to draw but I do force myself to get out of that slump cause everything can start to look computery. I’ve never done any fashion illustration in Illustrator just technical drawings. Illustrator is really good for that.

    3/21/2005 01:51:17 PM Jess said:
    Just a reminder, BRAVO has been showing Project Runway reruns all day, hee.

    4/4/2005 06:41:52 AM Evie said:
    Kathleen, I was rather surprised to read you say you can’t draw – do you mean you can’t do full-blown colour fashion illustrations, or do you really mean you aren’t comfortable with doing even rough sketches?

    I was surprised, because drawing shares a lot of common processes with pattern making, both mental and physical. Have you ever come across “Thinking with a pencil” by Henning Nelms? I think it is very much your kind of book. It wouldn’t serve as an instruction manual, of course, but it would probably help you reclaim drawing – which is not only for designers, it’s for technical people too!

    4/4/2005 03:29:44 PM Kathleen said:
    Evie, -lol- I should have qualified that. Yes, I can draw rough sketches and even not so rough sketches but I resent the amount of time it takes to do it(the latter particularly). The reality is, I’m lazy and a whiner and my not-so inner 4-year-old resents that my renderings are not as effortless as my drafts. Iow, I want the ability to draw pretty pictures but I don’t want to invest the time -and practice- it takes to do it well.
    Anyone can learn fashion sketching so I am not deserving of any sympathy. I just like to kvetch about it while hoping to find a short-cut to competency.

  2. hah! wish I were in your situation, Kathleen. I draw pretty effortlessly, but pattern drafting gives me the sweats.
    I always spend as much time staring at the paper in consternation than putting pencil to it. (do you draw in pencil even, or just go straight to marker?)

    btw. what do you use to cut paper patterns? Is there some special tool that makes it easier, or do I just need to spend more time with a pair of scissors in my hands??

    if it were feasible, I’d draw your designs for you:) not on computer, though– I prefer ink and watercolor.

Leave a Reply

You have to agree to the comment policy.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.