A lot of people seem to be intimidated by the pattern diagrams in the Frances Grimble books that use apportioning scales to help you enlarge the patterns. This technique uses special rulers that allow you to draw out the pattern in your own unique size for a custom fit. Once you get the gist of how it works, this technique requires almost no math and very little thinking. I *LOVE* using this type of pattern, and I've had really great results with the dresses that I have tried in the past, so I thought I would make some video tutorials to show you all how easy they really are to use. Please excuse my choppy endings. My video editor refused to work with these files, so they are pretty rough around the edges.
The first video talks about how to select the correct apportioning rulers based on your own personal measurements.
The next video walks you through the process of drawing a pattern piece with your custom rulers.
Important things to note:
1. The apportioning rulers in the Edwardian Modiste book can also be used for Kristina Harris's books of 1890's dress patterns (links to all below). Harris doesn't include the apportioning rulers in her books, so this is a huge help if you want to use her patterns!
2. The Grimble and Harris books that use pattern systems from the 1880's and 1890's only use the bust measurement ruler for everything that you draw, including the sleeves. But the system used in the Edwardian Modiste is slightly different, and there is a somewhat complicated way that you are supposed to measure your arm length. Finding this sleeve length measurement is probably the most difficult step of the entire pattern drafting process, but there is a description of how to measure your arm length on pages 7-8 of the Edwardian Modiste. You then use your arm length for the vertical measurements in the sleeve pieces (just like we used the waist length for the bodice), while the bust measurement ruler is still used for the width of the sleeve pieces. Grimble advises that you can also use the modern technique for measuring your sleeve length (simply measuring from shoulder to wrist), and this will get you close enough. I haven't tried either of these methods with the Edwardian Modiste patterns, but I'll let you know when I do.
3. As I mentioned in the video, skirts are drafted with a different set of rulers from the bodice. You use your waist measurement for all the horizontal lines (i.e. the 28" ruler if you have a 28" waist). For the main vertical line, you measure from the waist to the floor to determine the length of your skirt, and then select the ruler with that measurement for the vertical baseline on your pattern (i.e. use the 41" ruler if you want your skirt to be 41" long).
4. For dresses with the bodice and skirt all in one, you will use your waist length ruler for the vertical line on the bodice section, and the skirt length ruler for the vertical line on the skirt.
5. Be warned that the hips on these patterns will probably be too large for most modern figures, but you can always take them in if you need to on the muslin.
6. Even when seam allowances are not marked on the pattern pieces, they sometimes ARE included on the patterns. The armscye is a good example of this - you might not need to add selvage to the armscye and sleeve-head on some patterns. But you won't know for sure if you need the extra fabric or not until you make the pattern up, so it is better to add seam allowances just in case. You can always cut them back off if you find that you don't need them.
7. The type of corset that you are wearing is very important when selecting the proper rulers. The waist position on my Edwardian corset is much higher than it is on my Victorian corset. If I am wearing the wrong corset (or none at all) when I measure my back length from my neck to my waist, it will completely throw off the fit of your garment - especially on these late Edwardian patterns where the waistline is intended to be relatively high.
Well, I hope this was helpful! Let me know if you have any questions on any of this. I am actually more familiar with using the apportioning systems in the Fashions of the Gilded Age and the Harris books, but I know that the Edwardian stuff is the most popular right now. But all of the systems are very similar, so once you get one under your belt, the rest are much easier. Now go forth and draft fabulous patterns! :)
(P.S. - if you would like to buy one of these books that uses apportioning rulers to draft patterns, feel free to use one of these links and I will get a little bitty contribution to my book fund. Thanks!)