Slopers, Bodies, and Blocks, Oh My!

Last week, we mentioned that we've been working on our first patterns, and that we've been getting our slopers set up. But what does that mean?


 A sloper, or body, or block, is a master pattern from which other patterns can be created. It is a basic fitted shell, which has basically no interesting design features, but has fitting darts for all the right spots. This allows us to avoid starting from scratch every time we make a new pattern, and we can be sure that the resulting design will come close to fitting the same way each time.


Once a design is considered to be complete, the designed pattern is then sized up and down, to give a fuller size range, in a process called grading. It's only possible to grade a pattern by a few sizes, however, before it begins to distort and fit oddly. This is why many clothing and pattern companies seem to have a limited size range—if the final pattern is a size 8, for example, it can be graded down to 6, 4, and 2, and graded up to 10, 12, and 14, giving a full size range of 2-14. 


So, to make a large range of clothing sizes, multiple patterns will need to be made and graded, which can become costly and time consuming. At Fig + Needle, having an extended size range is one of our top priorities. We have two slopers, one with a 34" full bust (C/D cup), which will create the smaller size range, and another with a 48" full bust (DD/E cup), to create the larger sizes.

As we test our patterns with real people (more on that in April!), we may make some adjustments. Either way we'll be posting update and eventually an official size chart with explanations on how to select the best size to fit your body!


Ping + Sandra at Work

It's been a whole month since we started the blog at Fig + Needle, and we've been so overwhelmed and honoured by the amazing and positive response we've received! We have a lot to do before we can release our first patterns in Fall 2018. Here's a small glimpse into what we've been working on.


Although we collaborate extensively on our  designs, Ping is in charge of finalizing the details of each pattern. By sewing samples and testing fit, she can better judge how each design will look, and make changes accordingly. She's also trying out different fabrics to discover what works and what really really doesn't. Aside from the blog, Ping is also working on our social media presence and cooking up some fun downloadables for release in a few weeks. 


Meanwhile, Sandra has been working on getting the larger size sloper pattern ready, fitting it to a dressform padded out to look like an actual human. She's also primarily in charge of managing the website, balancing the budget, and organizing all the "business end" details, so she feels like she's spent more time on her laptop than at the sewing machine, so far!

We're so excited for what's coming up, and are so grateful to everyone for all your support. 

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