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Author Topic: De Vere and Seam Allowances  (Read 2174 times)
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Jim_Ruley
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« on: August 22, 2007, 03:23:56 AM »

I think I may have finally figured out DeVere’s approach to seam allowances.  In the "1840's Men's Patterns" thread, Ian McWherter reminds us of the following statement in DeVere's 1866 manual:

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"In cutting out the garments in the cloth, it must be borne in mind that the seams are not to be allowed for. All the allowances requisite for the various seams, are given to the pattern by our systems of drafting, without any calculation."  (Economy of Cloth, p. 117)


Taken at face value this seems pretty cut and dried (although he doesn't tell us HOW MUCH seam allowance is included).  However, in other sections of his book DeVere refers to the pattern lines as “seams”, and when he presents a back with no seam in the middle no adjustment for seam allowance is made.  How can this be?

The answer seems to be found in his earlier 1856 work that is available on-line at the following link:

http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/h/hearth/browse/title/4399907.html

Here’s what DeVere has to say about seam allowances there:

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When using the measures to draft any pattern whatever, there are certain differences to be made in the measures according as the parts of the coat corresponding to each of them are stretched hard or taken in, and also if these parts must fit tight or loose.

As a general rule, for woolen cloths we allow for the seams in the length of the cloth and not in the width, because cloth is nearly always elastic in the way of the woof, and often stretches more than is required for the seams.

So evidently DeVere believed that whatever width was lost in the seams would be recovered by stretching during “making up”.  Therefore, the lines on his coat drafts represent both seams AND pattern piece edges.  (For example, the 7-1/2 inch back would be stretched back to that width after assembly.)

However – if you are using cloth that does NOT stretch, or not much, it would be prudent to treat these lines as seams and add an appropriate allowance.  Seams can always be tightened, but if cut too small at the beginning the garment is junk.

Hope this is useful,

Jim Ruley

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Dean McElroy
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 01:04:16 PM »

..yes,very useful..as it pertains to cloth and seem allowance..thanks,as I read along in my studies it will be of help. Smiley
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K Franklin
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2015, 02:46:32 PM »

So regarding Devere and seam allowances, here is yet another example of him stating his system adds it in.

"Starting again from the top, apply the measure of FRONT LENGTH, with 3/4 of an inch added, to rule the bottom of waist: this 3/4 is allowed for the shoulder seam, and the turning in at the bottom."
Devere, Louis, and R. L. Shep. "PART THE SECOND. WAISTCOATS." In The Handbook of Practical Cutting on the Centre Point System (1866), 40. Rev. and Enl. ed. Lopez Island, Wash.: R.L. Shep, 1986.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2015, 07:28:18 PM »

I would read the preceding paragraphs on page 40 carefully before reaching that conclusion:

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"The Forepart and Back drafted like figs. 2 and 4, and corrected if required by fig. 5 and 6, are the wrapper or envelope of the body.  It only descends a little below the natural waist, and it buttons from top to bottom.  It has now to be completed, or modified according to the particular style required; giving it any of the forms indicated on Plates 15 and 16; or if any of the supplementary measures of Opening and Front length have been taken, we apply them directly to the draft, as shown by fig. 7".

This makes clear that "Front length" is a supplementary measure, not part of the basic system; so sheds no light on whether or not (nor how much) seam allowance is included in the basic drafts.

The fact that 3/4" is specified to be added to "Front length", and the fact that this is stated to be "for the shoulder seam and turning in at the bottom" tells me clearly that "Front length" does NOT include seam allowance.

As always, YMMV and "the art of cutting is in the fitting" (Robert Doyle).
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K Franklin
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2015, 08:00:23 PM »

Very true. What is rather annoying is that in the 1856 book Devere is VERY clear about where he adds for seams. I.E.

"When using these six measures to shape the waistcoat, we have to allow certain quantities for the seams, and the ease to be left in certain parts. These allowances, explained by fig. 5 are:-
Breast, 2 1/2 inches more then the measure, for the seams and the ease wanted in that part of the body
Waist, 1 inch more for the seams.
Front, 1 inch more for the seams and the turning-in at bottom.
Bust, 1/2 inch for the seams.
Side, equal to measure.
Curve, 1/2 inch for seams
For waistcoats we allow for seams in every part, calculating them after the kind of material":
Compaing, Charles & Devere, Louis, "WAISTCOATS." In The Tailor's Guide; A Complete System of Cutting Every Kind of Garment To Measure, Containing upwards of Five Hundred Diagrams,  London, England.: 53-45, Simpkin, Marshall, & Co., Stationers' Court., 1856.
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2015, 08:19:23 AM »

Those interested in following this discussion in detail will want to look at Plate 18 from the 1856 book.  The two halves of the plate are available at the following links:

http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=hearth;cc=hearth;idno=4399907_1152;node=4399907_1152%3A3;frm=frameset;view=image;seq=37;page=root;size=s

http://hearth.library.cornell.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?c=hearth;cc=hearth;idno=4399907_1152;node=4399907_1152%3A3;;view=image;seq=38;page=root;size=s;frm=singleframe;print=1

In practice, you don't have to add the quantities specified by DeVere to the measures; he's already done it for you in the "Well Proportioned" draft shown in Figs. 1 and 2.  To prove this, add the maximum widths at the breast line for the forepart and back:

10-3/4 + 10-3/4 = 21-1/2

Compare the "proportionate" breast measure (18-3/4) plus the 2-1/2 inches for "seams and ease":

18-3/4 + 2-1/2 = 21-1/4

So the draft is 1/8" oversize front and back (which was corrected in the 1866 edition!) but this is "close enough", especially considering that Compaing originally worked in centimeters.

If the client is not "well proportioned" DeVere shows how to proceed in Fig. 6.  Read the discussion on Page 54 of the text:

Quote
"We first rule the full length with the bust, of which we suppress 2-1/2 inches for the width of the back-neck.  This length of bust is placed between A B, right to the measure on the construction-line; or between a b with 1/2 inch more for the seams. It comes to the same as giving 1/2 inch more between a b or the right measure between A B."

So yes, it appears that the specified quantities are included in the 1856 waistcoat draft. 
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Jim_Ruley
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2015, 08:23:49 AM »

Now let's compare the 1866 waistcoat draft, shown here:



This is similar to the 1856 draft, but differs in some detail:
1866 front and back are 1/4" shorter than 1856
1866 front and back are 1/8" narrower than 1856
1866 back shoulder point has been lowered to 3-1/2 , vs. 3 for 1856
1866 front gorge point has been raised to 4-3/4, vs. 5 for 1856

Fig. 7 shows that the same measures (with the addition of "No. 6 Opening") are to be taken for the 1866 as the 1856 draft.

I believe the minor differences in the drafts are for changes in style, not substance; and it is evident that seams are allowed in the 1866 draft.  However, DeVere does not explicitly separate "ease" from seam allowance so it is still not clear how much is included.  It's also interesting that he made the later draft 1/4" shorter.

Based on this analysis, I would say you would be safe to assume 1/4" seams are included in both the 1856 and 1866 waistcoat drafts.  It can't be more than that, since the overall lengths include seams at top and bottom, and he added 1/2" to the bust and curve.  1/4" seams are problematic for many materials that like to ravel, so I still suggest adding at least 1/4" all round.  If you are fitting a custom vest, you of course will want to add inlays and make whatever adjustments your client's particular figure requires.
« Last Edit: October 15, 2015, 08:41:45 AM by Jim_Ruley » Logged
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