The University of Delaware Department of Fashion and Apparel Studies publishes an online magazine called Fiber. Ongoing themes are sustainability and technological innovation. This current issue focuses on all things Italy. Buried in an article called Beyond Talent [I firmly believe talent and creativity are over rated], I find mention of a pattern making process called the Secoli Method based in Milan.
First of all, a theory was developed that put measurements of height and circumference as fundamental. From these measurements you can proportionately obtain all other measurements of the human body. Then, once the basics are developed, patterns are drafted based on them.
The Secoli method sounds identical to a system long used world wide. In the US, it was called “drafting to scale”. The Library of Congress is filled with books describing the process, complete with author created rules. Once the method was universal, Fairgate developed their L-square ruler to facilitate drafting to scale. Scale was so pervasive, it was the basis of sizing numbers at retail until meaning was wrested from technicians and into the hands of consumers. Previously I wrote
…old sizes were based on [an] arcane principle related to pattern making and sizes were designated based on something known as “scale”. Scale was a pattern maker’s reference to use that given number on the back side of an L-square (a scale of aliquot parts) to generate the proportionate measures appropriate to that size so these numbers were not arbitrary.
In the interests of modernity, instruction of the proportionates of drafting to scale was largely dropped from drafting books in the 1960’s, Aldrich being an exception. I’m a bit obsessed with scale only it doesn’t work as well now since most people aren’t height and weight proportionate. It works fabulously for people who are.
Returning to the topic, comprehensive instruction which comprises the Secoli process is available at the Secoli Institute in Milan. It’s a two year intensive program in drafting and design. Sadly, it would seem few students come from the US and Canada. It almost makes me wish I were much younger, wealthier and had picked better parents.
Note to she who shall not be named: Citing your source material is an imperative of intellectual integrity and transparency.