December 26, 2007
I have been in the process of grading my pants/pantalette patterns. I finally grasped some of what Handford is saying about grading direction. For whatever reason, he assumes some things are obvious but for neophyte hand graders they are not. I knew how the patterns should be graded based on my computerized grading experience but that experience didn't gel with his grading instructions. I will post more details about this when I get a chance to draw a simple diagram.
Instead, this post is about the scalpel tool in the lower right hand corner of the picture above. Once I transfer the pattern to the tag board, I cut it out using a scalpel. This tool is 100% times better than a traditional x-acto knife. It fits into the palm of my hand and gives me a lot of control for precise cuts - the blade doesn't bend and flex like an x-acto knife. There is also more length on the blade. This tools comes from my days of working as a book binder at a major university (a job I truly loved!). I managed to buy a box of replacement blades before I moved on with my fashion career and I have managed to be well stocked for several years! The other nice thing is it literally takes 2 seconds to replace the blade. Compare that with an x-acto knife where you have to unscrew things and wrench the blade out of a slot (very carefully).
Anyway, I spent a good amount of time searching the Net to find a more current source for scalpel handles and replacement blades. The maker of the handle has a horrible website - no images or ordering info. Just about every medical supply company was horrible websites with few pictures. I guess they all assume their customers know what they want. Not to mention some of the suppliers have this tool horribly over priced. One site had it listed for $40 (and this is a non-sterile, scalpel). I don't think I paid more than $10 for mine several years ago. It makes you wonder if the medical supply companies have raised their prices simply because they can and the hospitals just accept it.
Anyway, I finally found a reasonably priced site that had pictures. Unfortunately they did not have the *exact* handle I have. Mine is a No. 6 Bard-Parker non-sterile scalpel handle. It takes blade size 25. Instead this site has a No. 5 handle. It is similar, just make sure to buy the correct blades. I can't say whether this source is any better than any other supplier. They just get link love for having images and fair prices.
Another site I like is Hollanders (a place to satisfy my love for well made books). They have a very reasonably priced scalpel with 10 replacement blades for $6. It is a bit different than my handle, but it may be worth a try. You may be able to find similar tools at a hobby/art supply shop or even medical supply store.