Pop Quiz #473

Reminder: posting will be slow this week. I’m working with a trainee. He’s doing really well, exceeding all my expectations.

Okay people, here’s the quiz for the day. Here’s a jpeg of a pattern sample I found on the internet. The pattern maker’s identifying marks have been removed (he charges $75 an hour!); I have no desire to cause anyone embarrassment. The question is, explain why a pattern like this is a problem. It’s something rather obvious and not a trick question. Don’t read anything extraneous into it.

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  1. Barb says:

    Is it the notching? The ones on the lower pieces don’t differentiate between pieces, and there are none to indicate which lower pieces join which top ones.

  2. An important reason I would use a waist seam is to obtain shaping, but the only piece here that seems to have any shaping in the waist seam is the side front.

    I don’t think that’s what you’re asking, but it’s a reason I would hesitate to use that pattern.

  3. Andrew says:

    Yeah, I’d agree with Barb about the notching – they’re all in the same position along the seamline and organised with no way to discern front from back. Aside from that, the armhole looks very weird….

  4. /anne... says:

    I might be missing something, but the waist seam appears to point upwards where it intersects each princess seam.

    I’ve only done a short drafting course, so I could easily be wrong.

  5. Sue T. says:

    The grain line on each piece doesn’t run clear through from top to bottom as Kathleen stressed in her book. And one piece doesn’t even have a grain line.

  6. Lisa Bloodgood in Portland says:

    The upper left piece looks REALLY weird on its left seam and the piece next to it has a weird armhole and what everyone else said.

  7. mrsv83 says:

    Sorry if I’m not reading this right – I’m a beginning hobbiest. If those are princess seams, and the front overlaps, then there is no back. Or it’s missing half a front? Plus what everyone else said.

  8. Karen C says:

    To me it looks like a piece is missing, ie, the facing for the, what I assume, is the label on the front. Waist looks fine to me; shouldn’t be straight. OK, come on, let us know what it is so we can slap our foreheads.

  9. J C Sprowls says:

    The first problem I see is that the front princess seam and the back princess seam are too similar. It would be very easy to try to join the L Back Side to the R Front – offset notching will help alleviate that problem.

    I don’t know that I’d go nuts with notching (e.g. single @ FR princess seam, dbl @ side, tpl @ BK princess), dbl notches offset by 1/2″ along the BK princess seam should suffice.

    I’m kinda a stickler about grainline, so that one jumps out at me, too. Ideally, I like the grainline to also serve as the primary match stripe. So, I like to make them line up on their companion pieces (e.g. Upper Front to Lower Front, etc.). We can wait to place the secondary match stripe until the fabric dictates.

    I don’t know if that front armhole is wonky at first glance. Maybe a dart has been manipulated into it? I would wait until the style was sewn to comment on that. But, I do want notches in the armhole, even if there isn’t a sleeve – because it helps me to recognize the position of the pieces and to set the facings.

    I’d also like offset notches on the upper and lower pieces along the waistline seam. I see a lapel on the front, so I assume there is also a collar and sleeves. A notch @ CB would make setting the collar easier. And, if there’s a sleeve, I want a notch in the undersleeve to match the side seamline.

  10. ioanna says:

    I’m also gonna go with bad notching as the obvious wrong. How are you supposed to tell which piece is which if all notches are identical (between back and front)?

  11. Jenny Stratford says:

    My guess would be that the notching is incorrect as you can’t differentiate as to which piece goes where if the notching is in the same posistion on all pieces, and also that the grainline doesn’t run the complete length of the pattern piece. If I had handed in patterns like that to my drafting teacher would of handed them back to be redone again.

  12. colleen says:

    Is there a cutter’s must, possibly a sketch, for the desired end product?
    It doesn’t look like the patternmaker walked the pieces to insure seams could be sewn to one another.
    The pattern pieces aren’t labeled.
    Does the design really require four unique skirt patterns?
    If it is a women’s garment, where are the shaping features?
    I agree, too, that the notching should be used to differentiate front from back.

    I’m guessing it’s a women’s dress with the pattern pieces, starting at the far right:
    CB Bodice, cut 1
    CB Skirt, cut 1
    Back Side Bodice, cut 2
    Back Side Skirt, cut 2
    Front Side Bodice, cut 2
    Front Side Skirt, cut 2
    CF Bodice, Cut 2
    CF Skirt, Cut 2

    I’m looking forward to reading your analysis, Kathleen!

  13. Ann K says:

    Besides the notching confusion, many things about this pattern look out of proportion. It looks very close-fitting from mid-torso on down but fairly loose fitting in the upper chest. The square-ish shape of the front armscye could be an intentional design feature if it were also translated to the back. I’d love to see the sleeve draft. And why does the shoulder seam of each side piece appear to dip downward at its inner end?

  14. Pam says:

    That last piece can get confusing. It should be halved vertically and instructed to cut on the fold. An inexpeienced sewer might cut two of that last piece instead of one and waste a lot of fabric. Well that’s what caught my eye.

  15. Anwen says:

    Notch problems. Funny waist (it’s not that it should be straight, but it looks like it will go up and down – the waist seam of the side front/side back pieces should surely be a continuation of the curve of the front/back piece, rather than dipping down again – at best it’s a weird design feature). The fact that there appears to be a single piece for front and back seems odd (I assume the first piece is some sort of overlay as suggested by someone else).

    Also, the first piece – what does that notch at the top correspond to??

  16. Els says:

    The first thing what I see is the wrong armhole shape at the second piece this should be a back armhole shape and not a front one. The peplum pieces of the side parts looked liked they are flipped over they do not correspond in length and shape with the center front and back part peplum sides. No center front line and facing parts. No bust marking nor bust shape at the side piece.
    Weird waist seam lines at the side bodice parts.

  17. Bo says:

    Much of what others have said is correct but also the back neck curve is much too deep. This is a jacket with a high waist seam but it’s frankly hard to tell if it’s a man’s or a woman’s because the princess lines are bowed in strange ways and there isn’t enough of a revers to make space for buttonholes.

  18. Rachel says:

    Notches, the skirt notches are all in the center, so you don’t know which pieces go together. The bodice pieces the notches are equidistant from top and bottom, again which doesn’t tell you which pieces go together and also makes it so you can sew piece “A” to piece “B” with one of those pieces upside down.

    That is what struck me first.

  19. kaaren hoback says:

    Nothing is labeled.No pattern number, no cut directions, so sizing instructions – nothing at all to define the patetrn. What is it? – a dress,or a jacket with long peplum as one poster says. Grain lines are a problem, as are notches, the waist seams roller coaster, armholes are whacky. I would never get that far I would reject this for lack of labeling.

  20. dosfashionistas says:

    First, the notches are so much the same on all pieces that a seamstress with nothing else to guide her could sew the side front to center back and vice versa very easily, and any of the lower pieces could be confused with any of the others.

    Secondly, the neck has a strange shape for a tailored garment. Both the front and back neck need to have a bit more curve to fit around the neck comfortably. The back neck seam is not even meeting the shoulder at a right angle, and it should.

    My third observation is that several of the seams that should be right angle intersections are not. I was taught that all seam intersections, with rare exceptions, should be right angles.

    Fourth, and this is obvious, one grain line is missing and the others should be centered or, in the case of the center front piece, be placed on the center front line. Or the center front should be marked in some other way, and it is not marked by either line or notches. I would have done both.

    Fifth is that The front and back do not look to be balanced. The back is no longer in the shoulder than the front, or it doesn’t look to be. In fact, the back armhole is shorter than the front, and that will be a disaster if there is a sleeve. And if it is a woman’s pattern, it has a very strange shape with no bust room. Which leads to Sixth, that the armholes are strangely shaped, and not in a way that is anatomically correct. I didn’t catch the waistline shaping that some of the others cited, but I concur with it. I can’t tell for sure without manipulating the pattern, but it looks like something is funny.

    There are pattern pieces missing, but I assume that isn’t the question.

    Now you are probably going to tell me that it is something totally obvious that I missed entirely.

    Do you suppose a $75 patternmaker just threw something up there he knew wasn’t right just to have a pattern pictured on his web site? I’d like to think there was some explanation. This has me almost tempted to come out of retirement.


  21. Kerryn says:

    Donna: I think the grain line is missing from that piece because Kathleen has removed identifying information from the pattern. Also – CAD patterns usually don’t have grain lines that run through the whole piece (not to say this is a good thing).

    The seam runs look a little strange but I couldn’t be sure at that scale. My biggest concern would be the notching – which a lot of you have already pointed out. If it’s important for the pieces to look so similar the notching should be staggered.

    I’m not sure if it’s convention here in the US but I was taught to do double notches for back pieces and single for the fronts as well as staggering.

  22. LisaB says:

    Before reading any of the comments, the answer I came up with was the lack of offset notching.

    After reading the comments, I see lots of other stuff that many of you have pointed out, including the missing grainline. How could I have not noticed that? I’m hoping Kerryn is right that it was part of what Kathleen removed; otherwise…yikes!

  23. The notches are incorrect because they do not specify the front from the back. The grainline is missing from the front or back side top panel, there is no labeling on these patterns. Hope I am somewhere close

  24. Julia Crow says:

    Could it be that there is a huge bust curve on front but side front has very little? I can see the notch & armhole problems when looking but that bust curve really jumped out to me.

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