Saturday, September 14, 2013

Half Scale and Minikin Patterns

Half Scale and Minikin patterns have been used since the turn of the 20th century or earlier, in both educational and commercial applications. Fashion designers draped miniature dolls or half, quarter or any of a range of size dress forms to perfect their ideas before committing to the full size model. 

La Bricoleus

These miniature versions allow the designer to view the garment in it’s entirety. By seeing the whole garment at once, the designer can easily correct any problems to ensure they don’t surface while constructing the full size garment.

atelier reverie larke

Madeleine Vionnet used miniature models to envision her designs.  "Vionnet's apparently simple styles involved a lengthy preparation process, including cutting, draping, and pinning fabric designs on to miniature dolls, before recreating them in chiffon, silk, or Moroccan crepe on life-size models. Vionnet used materials such as crêpe de chine, gabardine, and satin to make her clothes; fabrics that were unusual in women's fashion of the 1920s and 30s. She would order fabrics two yards wider than necessary in order to accommodate draping, creating clothes - particularly dresses - that were luxurious and sensual but also simple and modern. Characteristic Vionnet styles that clung to and moved with the wearer included the handkerchief dress, cowl neck, and halter top." Wikipedia

Madeleine Vionnet in her studio about 1920

Both the commercial Half Scale and Minikin patterns are printed in miniature. The Half Scale patterns by Simplicity include instructions printed specifically for the small scale whereas the McCall's Minikin is exactly the same as the full size pattern in every regard but the size of the tissues. 

But other pattern companies produced Half Scale patterns such as this Advance Pattern

Advance 6535 Vintage Pattern Wikia

Half Scale patterns can also be up-scaled to your size. How to Enlarge Patterns From Half Scale to Full Scale, published by the Center for Pattern Design is useful in understanding the various ways one can enlarge a pattern. There is even a section on how to utilize the images from the CoPA Archive to recreate patterns from their schematics.

Sandra Erickson 2012©

For drafting your own patterns, the small scale is perfect for working out ideas for flat pattern designs with minimal waste.  Visit TheSewingDivas blog HERE to see the process of working in half scale to make the Pyramid Dress by Julian Roberts Subtraction Cutting Method.

For more on this please visit Threads Magazine for Half Scale and 

To purchase Half-Scale Patterns of Representative Period Silhouettes visit Seeing Silhouettes

See how to cast your own Half Scale dress form  
Working with Half-Scale Patterns Video: 

1 comment:

  1. I want a half-scale mannikin desperately! My mannikin is taller than I am. And skinnier. Sigh. ;-)