Lots of people believe a pattern should not increase in length just because one’s girth has increased but it should and I’ll prove that to you today. We’ve debated it before but I can’t find it now (probably owing to well known tendency for comments to disappear on word press blogs). The particular context I recall is a discussion of trunk grading in European jackets so if you know where that is, let me know. The topic came up today in a discussion with a client who said her linings never fit well until she followed the “how to draft lining patterns” section in my book (pgs 154-157) -which illustrates this same principle. I meant to follow up long before now. I even bought the stuff to do it with.
For a crude proof, I bought two balls as props. You have no idea how long it took me to find balls that met the specifications I had. Namely, that each ball had to measure the same length from tip to tip. We can call this total absolute height. Each ball measures 8.25″ in length (thanks to Jennifer for the edit). Larger images are here and here.
Each ball also had to differ -hopefully dramatically- in girth. With the child’s football and soccer ball above, that is readily apparent.
So, we have the same height (absolute length) measure for each ball. This compares the height of a person and has nothing to do with girth. The girth or circumference of each ball -which relates to one’s waist, hip or chest size- is going to be dramatically different when I compare the results of using the measuring tape directly on the surface of the ball. We would call this the tape-on lengthwise grow or direct length as opposed to absolute. In the case of the football, the tape-on length from tip to tip is 10.375″. The soccer ball is 13″. Do click through for those photos.
Conclusion: the length grade for a size 16 (or whatever) should be longer, sometimes dramatically, than that of a size 2, even if both women are the same height. If the garment is fitted close to the body, the differences will be greater than something like a muu-muu that stands away or apart from the figure but even the latter will be longer for larger sizes.
You can replicate this experiment at home or the cheapie solution is to take your rulers to the dollar store and measure balls there. I didn’t have the nerve to do that so I paid on the order of $13 and some odd change for the privilege of writing this post (accordingly, I will be annoyed if I read a re-hash of it on someone else’s site or in a magazine without attribution as is increasingly happening if you’re wondering why I’m not posting as much lately).
Questions? Discussion? Will we continue to debate the necessity of grading length into larger girth patterns? Inquiring minds want to know. Hope your weekend is dandy. Cooler too.