Use a Proportional Scale as a Design Tool
When Louise Cutting creates a garment inspired by another she has seen, she makes sure the elements of her reproduction will work together the way they do in the original by using a proportion scale to duplicate the original proportions exactly.
Meet the proportional scale:
The disk on top is smaller than the disk beneath it, and around its outer edge are numbers that represent the size of the original element you want to replicate. Around the outer edge of the larger disk are numbers that represent the size of that element on the reproduction. In the smaller disk, there is a window that reveals two more rows of numbers printed on the larger disk. The numbers in the window tell the percentage of enlargment or reduction.
How it works:
In Threads Issue 145 in the article “Chiseled Chic”, Louise used the proportional scale to copy a sleeve detail from a designer dress onto a similar commercial pattern. Here’s how to do it:
1. First, enlarge the inspiration image on a scanner or photocopier so you can see the details and make them large enough to measure.
2. Measure an element of that image, e.g., the distance from the neckline to the hem. This is your “original size.” Then measure the same element on your body. This is your “reproduction size.”
3. On the small disk edge, find the original size you measured. Align that number with the reproduction size you measured. The numbers in the window show the percentage to enlarge every element in the original to make it proportionally correct in the reproduction. That percentage is the key to getting the elements the same proportion as the original.
4. Then, continue to measure specific design details on the original inspiration, e.g., the width of a pleat, the sleeve length, a ruffle depth, the shoulder width, and proportion—anything you want to capture. Multiply those measurements by the percentage you determined in step 3, and you’ll know what size to make those details on your pattern.
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