French Curve and Fitting Adjustments

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AAAAaaages ago I was sent a Metric French Curve to review by Minerva Crafts. I completely forgot to post about it on here but there has been lots of discussion recently online about measurements/size and making adjustments to fit our bodies. I hadn’t used a French Curve before – I have always just freehand drawn any alterations I wanted to make and I thought this would take my drawing skills to the next level. What I didn’t expect was it to give me loads of help in actually knowing how to alter patterns to suit my shape!

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Now let’s start off with establishing that I am not a pattern designer, I didn’t study fashion at University, I am largely self-taught (with a lot of help for my mum!) and so I won’t be drafting my own patterns any time soon. I am a home sewist and thought that adding a french curve to my tools could be a useful addition to my sewing arsenal but I wasn’t sure if it was more aimed at pattern drafters and may be I was kidding myself a bit that I even need this.

Now, even though I am considered to be in most pattern designers ‘standard’ size range I am no stranger to making alterations to patterns. I am a classic pear shape and so I always measure at least two sizes bigger at the hips than the bust. Until now, I have always just done that grading freehand, but would love to take my sewing and alterations to the next level. It was making this alteration that I had in mind when I ordered the French Curve – grading out to the hips with a smoother curve than I can manage freehand.

I was surprised to see that the packaging for this French curve includes instructions for how to use it for loads of common alterations that home sewists might need to make to patterns. Not aimed at professionals at all, it includes tons of useful diagrams showing exactly how sewists like me can use this tool to make our alterations much smoother and more professional.

I had already planned to make the Tilly and The Buttons Arielle skirt and had waited for this curve to arrive so that I could grade the hips using my new tool! I got to it straight away, and I didn’t need any YouTube tutorials because I could just follow the diagrams on the packaging and drew a beautifully altered curve from size 5 at the waist to size 7 at the hips. I had to draw two lines to get the curve to mirror the Tilly shape but it was easy to do and I definitely feel like the shape I have achieved is a much more professional curve than the freehand line I would have drawn before.

One extra bonus was that I didn’t realise that it has seam allowance guides all around it for 6mm, 12mm and 15mm seam allowances. Next time I decide to tackle a Burda Magazine pattern or any other pattern that needs the seam allowances adding I will definitely have this on hand. As it’s transparent and all in metric I think this will make adding those pesky seam allowances a total breeze!

Using the diagrams on the packaging it is going to be so simple to use this curve for all sorts of alterations. It looks like it will be really easy to make sway back adjustments with this tool so that’s what I intend to try next! I know that my ‘standard’ size body has all sorts of shapes and curves that I can learn more about and learn to adjust patterns to fit me better going forward. Here’s the link to the full blog post on Minerva for anyone who wants the link.

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