January 09, 2008

Grading Pants Notes pt. 2

The following are my notes on grading infant-toddler pants. Having a copy of the Jack Handford grading manual will be helpful in understanding what these notes mean. Hopefully you have at least read the introduction and the instructions for grading a bodice. If you don't have a copy of the book, save these notes anyway - they may come in handy. This is part 2 of the series. Part 1 contains an explanation of direction arrows.

This will be a short entry and only partially about grading pants. Mostly it is about Handford's notation and what caused me confusion.

In this drawing I superimposed the direction arrows onto a bodice pattern. There is a similar drawing in Handford's book, page 6 and in Kathleen Fasanella's book, pg 174. All movements start from your point of origin which I have indicated in my drawing. Depending on how you set-up your grading, it will be helpful to draw direction arrows on your patterns.

Now notice the little black triangle under the point of origin. Handford uses this triangle in many drawings. I interpreted those triangles to mean the "point of origin" and that is where I messed up.

Compare the drawings for pants of women (pg 77), men (188-189), and children (219). You'll notice that Handford adds or drops those black triangles almost randomly. Some drawings have them, some don't.

The black triangles don't indicate "point of origin". Instead, I think Handford is borrowing the notation from geometry where it means "right angle". Your direction arrows should be perpendicular - at 90 degrees. If you look at the pants drafts (sorry no more drawings for today), you can see his direction arrows are drawn down the center of the pant legs with two black triangles - meaning the lines should all be perpendicular. In my head, I was seeing "point of origin" or (0,0) on an X-Y coordinate plane. Interpreting things this way caused me to move my pattern pieces incorrectly (my own dumb fault for trying to over analyze things).

Anyway, by nesting my pieces I found my error and realized Handford's direction arrows do not always show the point of origin on all of his drawings. They just show direction.

Clear as mud?


  1. okay, bear with me here and tell me what I'm not getting

    -----but before I get to that (sorry for digressing), I was struck by something I read on your site yesterday, about the errors Handford makes, presumptive ones mostly, when it comes to kid's wear, that one has worked their way through women's, then men's and have learned and internalized notation and thus, he is too brief in the children's section. Of course you are right. I felt stupid when I read that. I think you tried to tell me this before but I was too dense or not paying enough attention to understand the significance of your argument---

    back to my comment. I don't understand something. Yes it's true that Handford obviously didn't include the triangles on some drafts (pg.77 and as another example, see the sleeves section pp 53-62, NONE have triangles) but where he did include them, I would (of the ones I've seen), consider this the zero position (0,0) amid the cardinal points. So, are you saying the triangles don't represent the zero point or are you saying he mucked it up by not being uniform of his application of them?

    It's really interesting for me to read the perspective of someone who learned CAD grading first because, since I learned manually, Handford seems to make intuitive sense. Too bad you and me couldn't get together some weekend and hash all of this out.

  2. The use of the black triangles in his notation was both inconsistent and wrong, IMO. Having them on some drawings and not others confused me. It was also wrong because a triangle indicates a 90 degree angle in mathematics - at least that's what I remember from my high school geometry class. So in my head I was saying "right angle" instead of "point of origin".

    If you notice, Handford draws vertical and horizontal lines through each pattern piece, where those black triangles sometimes show up and sometimes don't. For me, it didn't follow that the point of origin occurs at the intersection of those lines. If you look at the pant grading instruction on page 219, the point of origin (start point) for grading starts at the center waist and around in a clockwise or counter clockwise motion. But the stack point for the nest occurs where the horizontal and vertical lines intersect.

    If you compare this with sleeves, things are different again (page 222). The grading starts at the top of the sleeve cap and you grade the one side. Reposition the pattern piece and grade the other side. but the stack point occurs in the middle of the sleeve.

    In my head, I place the pattern piece on a grid. Grade point 1 becomes the relative point of origin or zero position (0,0) because that is where the movement starts. I suppose the stack point could be placed at the zero point and grading point 1 would therefore not be. I used a ruler to grade and not a grading machine and perhaps this was part of my confusion. I also should say that my grading class at design school taught me that the point of origin, stack point, and grade point 1 were all the same thing. I had to unschool my formal grading lessons to realize that I was placing my stack points in the wrong place. Needless to say I much prefer computerized grading over hand grading any day. You can start grading at any point and just punch in relative coordinate changes and place the stack point anywhere you want.

    So perhaps, I shouldn't say Handford was wrong, just looked at the process differently. I definitely got confused by all the extra notation, zero point/stack point versus grade points.

    Even though these are some minor complaints, Handford's books is hands down the best book I have seen on the subject and the only one that even touches children's clothing. It was the first book that truly helped me understand grading.

  3. I appreciate the time you took to clarify this for me. I can see what you're saying and how it was confusing. I don't remember learning how to grade, weirdly it was just there, perhaps internalized from seeing nests on home sewing patterns? Fwiw tho, I intuit that the stack point, 0,0 and cardinal point 1 should all be the same, nothing else seems right. I would have worked around this discrepancy you found in Handford if I'd been following it line by line but it would have been confusing and a bit off-putting. Now that you bring it up, I think I've come across this elsewhere in his book, not that I could find it. I do remember re-assigning (renumbering) the cardinal points to match the stack point (point of origin).