What is a sloper?
A Sloper is a basic pattern that will fit you exactly. No design ease, bare minimum wearing ease, no design features. As basic as it gets. The sloper will fit you like a second skin. It is used as the building block for drafting patterns for all the clothing you want.
You can make a bodice sloper, a skirt sloper, and a pant sloper. These classic blocks can be stored and then altered to make other styles. If you have a sloper, you can add the extra design elements you want , and add necessary ease and get a garment exactly as you want it.
There are 2 methods to make a sloper – one is to make a body double with cling wrap and the other is to draft the pattern on the fabric.
Cling wrap method
This is a foolproof method. In this, you will wrap your body with many layers of cling wrap and then cut it out, and then lay it flat to make the pattern. When you lay it you will have to cut out the darts for it to be flat – this way you get the darts that are needed to give the sloper its 3-dimensional shape.
As this shell has been fitted perfectly on the body, this can give you the exact measurements of your body. much better than if you took measurements and then drafted the pattern on paper. But this may not be for everyone. Though it gives an exact replica of your body.
Draft paper pattern for the sloper
For making a sloper, take the basic measurements on your body. Wear a skin-tight dress or best, wear just the underwear. It is better if someone else can help you in taking the measurements – you can get the most accurate measurement of the back, etc this way, without any distortion.
When you make a sloper for the bodice, it is advantageous to make it long-sleeved and hip length.
The basic measurement you need to take are :
Bust round, Back shoulder width, Around the waist (natural waist), Hip round, Center front length, Center back length, Bicep circumference, sleeve length. Learn how to take body measurements properly here.
With these measurements, draft the basic fitting shell. Add the bare minimum wearing ease.
When you draft it on the paper, you will be making it with the bust dart and waist dart in the front and the waist dart in the back. You can draft a sloper with the basic neckline and shoulder slope, shoulder, bust and waist darts, fitting armholes and sleeve cap.
Buy commercial sloper patterns
If you want professional help in making your own fitting shells you can buy from professional pattern making companies : Most pattern making companies have standard sloper patterns within usual pattern ranges ; some have softwares which will make slopers in your measurements – like Wildginger , Cochenille.
Related posts : Sewing Pattern sites.
Draping a sloper
In this method you will cut enough fabric for making a bodice and then drape it on your body or a dress form in your size.You can use thin muslin for this. You should drape this on your body and then mark the exact measurements on the fabric. Copy this to a cardboard.
What to do with the Sloper?
You will have to preserve the sloper you have painstakingly made onto a cardboard. It will have heavy use and you can avoid wear and tear this way.
Use this basic flat pattern as the base for drafting patterns that fit you, with different design elements that appeal to you. It will give you a customized dress pattern made just for you.
After you have drafted the sloper you can base your clothing patterns on this. When you draft the final pattern you can add extra allowances for walking ease, design ease for things like gathers, frills, pintucks, ruching, add width for openings, for hemlines, change necklines, armhole lines, sleeve types, add collars, slits, different lengths, etc.
Related posts : Sewing tips and techniques.