THE JIGSAW OF PATTERN CUTTING
This is just what I get really geeky about and almost the whole reason why the capalog was born!
SO WHAT IS IT AND HOW DOES IT WORK?
Almost all the clothes that we wear are made by using pattern cutting, the best way to explain it is essentially a 3D jigsaw made of lots of 2D pieces, where each 2D piece can change the final shape of the piece of clothing, by each individual shape & size and by the sort of material.
If you tweak one piece of the puzzle just by one thing, then you can potentially completely alter the final style from one to another.
For caps, each cap has it’s own flat pattern, generally made up of about 6-15 pieces or segments, if you include linings, peaks and headbands. So it can sometimes be a bit of pickle, making all the elements work together, like juggling 15 elements that are all exact measurements.. but it can also get obsessive too, testing and seeing the many many options!
Much like a jigsaw, where every part needs to be matched up to the right part and altered to fit exactly next to another in order to create the final style.
BUT SURELY A TINY DIFFERENCE CAN’T MAKE THAT MUCH OF A DIFFERENCE?
Well take the cap below e.g. The crown of this cap is made from 8 segments or panels. So that is 8 seams all the way round.
If every seam is altered by a couple of millimetres even, then you are times that by 8 & suddenly you are dealing with a huge change. You can go from a tight fitting streamlined flatcap to a really wide flatcap that is really classic, an old gents fave.
BUT the ability to tweak patterns is also just what can be played with to make the cap style more interesting and to create more styles. So sometimes altering the exact shape of all the segments can work to your advantage when patterning caps. As long as you tread carefully!
THE BIAS OR THE NEMESIS
The other elements that can change the shapes are the type of fabric and the fabric bias. The fabric bias in pattern cutting is either your nemesis or your friend. The bias is the diagonal direction of fabric, which generally stretches and can be awesome because it stretches over curves, if a pattern piece is going over a curved shape, (rather than a flat shape) it tends to be “cut on the bias”...
BUT it does also mean that because the bias stretches itself a lot, it can also be like the drunk friend you didn’t invite to the party that is just doing it’s own thing. I.e. a something that you need to monitor & factor in whilst pattern cutting and stitching pieces into place.
The other element which is more self explanatory is the type of fabric, the same style of cap made in different fabrics can change the cap style completely. If the fabric is cheap and stretchy for example, you can see it doesn't make such a nice object.
The fabric in the above pic for example is super stretchy, bloody lovely colours... but would be too stretchy for certain styles like basic caps and trappers, as it doesn't hold it's shape, then I can't guarantee head-sizes and when your sew a curved line it stretches even more, which does NOT make a flat peak.
For more info on fabrics have a gander on the Fabrics page.