Understanding Aldrich

Winifred Aldrich’s books are said not to be books for beginners, and as a beginner, I guess I concur. Here is what has been my biggest problem so far (Children’s wear and babywear):

What does “1/4 chest plus 6 cm;” mean? Does it mean “first divide the measure by four, and then add 6 cm” OR “first add 6 cm to the chest measure, then divide by four”? Maybe obvious to somebody, but not to me. This terminology is “everywhere” in the book, and has been a teaser to me. Now I think I have found the answer, but I have to redraw some drafts.

It all started at my first draft; Overgarment block, size 3 months. First, I wasn’t sure what “overgarment” meant, was it like a sweater to wear over the underwear, or was it like an outdoor jacket to wear over the sweater? Later, I realized that it was the latter. Second, I didn’t know how much ease the drafts included in general. Anyway, the thing is that I thought that 6 x 4= 24 cm ease was way too much for a jacket to an 3 months old baby, and therefore I supposed it meant a total of 6 cm ease around the chest. And I continued in the way “first add/substract, then divide”, but always with a little question mark in mind. Recently, when drafting a body block size 4, the shoulder slopes became suspisiously steep, and I started looking for clues around in the book (children’s wear) to what method is right. And I came to the opposite conclusion: “First divide, then add/substract”. And yesterday I took a look in the Women’s wear-book, and guess what I found?!? P. 16; close fitting bodice block: “half bust plus 5 cm [i.e. for 88 cm bust: (88 ÷ 2) + 5 = 49].” Hurrah! So if there is consistency in this, then the answer is clear:

First divide the measure, then add or substract.

I searched around on the internet to find info about this issue, but didn’t find anything. That could mean that I’m the only one in the whole world who misunderstood the book, but if you too have found it difficult to understand, I hope this blog post will help you.

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