Author Topic: Balance - Practical Approaches  (Read 7752 times)

jruley

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Balance - Practical Approaches
« on: April 08, 2016, 11:50:34 PM »
Balance (for the purposes of this thread, front to back or "major vertical" balance) is clearly an important consideration in patternmaking and fitting.  An unbalanced garment will not hang properly on the body.  While many people can wear garments with standard or "proportionate" balance, everyone's body shape is different so adjustments are often required.

Various measures have been proposed to determine "balance" explicitly.  The earliest I know of comes from Louis DeVere's 1866 "Handbook of Practical Cutting on the Centre Point System":



He defines "balance" as the difference between the "curve" measure (yellow line) and the "bust" measure (orange line).  Both are taken between the nape of the neck and the "centre point", with the curve passing over the back and the bust over the chest.  Unfortunately the centre point is not clearly indicated on the human body and the "bust" in particular is difficult to measure accurately; so it's not a simple as taking the measures.  His concept, however, of increasing the "balance" for an erect figure and reducing it for a "stooped" one I have found works well.

In my sloper fitting thread peterle gives a modern definition of balance:

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Balance is a terminus technicus that means the length/ distance between the neck hole and the chestline. There is a front balance and a back balance.
Balance is measured vertically from the neckpoint( inner end of the shoulder seam) to the chestline, best over the peek of the shoulderblades/chest muscle). This is the minimum length the back balance must have.

He further notes that:

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This measurement is not easy to take and not easy to apply to the pattern piece. That´s why it isn´t used that much.


However, peterle suggests the essential concept of balance comes down to this:

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A garment is"balanced" when the chestline runs horizontally all around the body because the back balance and the front balance have the right length for the individual body.


In the pattermaking reference thread, TTailor offers another way of taking and applying balance measures:

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This is what I do.
Have the person being measured wear a close fitting t shirt, so you can see their shape.
Pin a one inch twill tape or elastic around the natural waist level. That means to me, at the navel in the front and the tape should have a slight rise towards the back.
I do not attempt to make the line level with the floor.
I measure then from the nape to the CF waist.

When I am drafting, I set up the basic skeleton of the draft chest line, waistline etc. I draw in the back neckline.
Measure the back neckline setting the tape on its edge to measure the curve. Lets say that measures 3 1/2 inches.
I mark a short line 1 inch below the waist construction line at the centre front. I put the measuring tape at that point, and starting at 3 1/2" I then measure up towards the neck point of the draft . I can then see whether the draft needs additional length, and I can make decisions on how I am going to add the length.

Another useful two mesurements are back length ( nape to cb waist) and front length (base of throat to CF waist)
If you set up your draft using the nape to waist, you can mark the short line 1 inch below the waist construction line in the front, then apply the front length to find the base of the throat, then apply the neckline depth as given in the draft. That should also give you an indication of whether you need to make adjustments.


While I have not really used this method, I can see a weakness it shares with DeVere's approach.  The front balance measure means nothing if the waist line is out of position.  So the "balance" really comes down to the difference between two large numbers: the nape to CB waist measure in the back, vs. the nape to CF waist in front.  If each of these is off by say, 1/4", and in opposite directions, the draft will be out of balance.


Finally, we have this, shall we say, unique take on balance offered by Greger:

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Balance has to do with raising one neckline and lowering the other, front and back or back and front. What it does have with the armholes is rotate them into there proper position. In other words, the "egg shape" has been rotated to fit the, since out of balance throw it out of kilter. Therefore, properly placed angle wise. A well designed pattern system the neckline and armhole shape work together - by fixing one you fix the other. So, another way to see if balance is correct is to glance at the armhole (each armhole has its own balance).

I'm still waiting for him to cite his reference, but it would be interesting to see if other professional members here measure or apply balance by rotating the armscye.  I can see how passing the back up or down on the front requires the scye to be re-cut at the bottom; but this is not the same thing as rotation.

Summing up, it seems to me the concept of balance is more important than the specific measures taken.  That is:
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A garment is"balanced" when the chestline runs horizontally all around the body because the back balance and the front balance have the right length for the individual body.

From a practical, not theoretical, standpoint: What other measures and methods do the professionals here use to achieve this?

TTailor

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #1 on: April 09, 2016, 08:26:22 AM »
I think greger means that when the balance is off the armhole shape does not sit in the correct place on the body. When you correct the balance, it rights itself.

I always take my measurments with a waist tape in position specifically so I can assess balance.
You need a fixed position to measure to and from.
Arbitrarily choosing a point at the side of the neck or the side waist for instance isn't going to work because you do not know where it lives on the draft you make.
There are methods that have you calculate the back neck width, chalk that on the person and measure from the chalk marks to the waistline.
I find the nape a static point that most people can locate properly.

I always make as many adjustments that I can based on both the measurments and the photos when drafting for first fitting, but then again, I cannot go through a long drawn out trial and error process at work. I need to be pretty close to spot on for the first go.

jruley

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #2 on: April 09, 2016, 01:11:13 PM »
I think greger means that when the balance is off the armhole shape does not sit in the correct place on the body. When you correct the balance, it rights itself.


So, one of the effects of incorrect balance is an armhole that is misshapen?  For instance, if the back balance (peterle's definition) is too long, the collar will press against the back of the neck, and the back of the armhole will stand away from the figure.  The cause is the excess length of cloth, but the effect is an armhole that looks misshapen.

It is dangerous to confuse cause and effect.  What I took Greger to mean is that the cause of improper balance is that the armholes had been rotated in the draft, and that you could fix a balance problem by rotating the armhole in the draft.  If that's not what he meant that's my mistake, but I think he could have explained it better.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #3 on: April 09, 2016, 03:06:16 PM »
The armhole will be a different shape if the balance is added to the space between the shoulder and the chest line.  That needs to be accounted for in the armhole draft. 

Whether it wears incorrectly is another matter.  It may not be a problem.

The Unicut shirt draft contains a sleeve draft that accounts for this.  Many shirts are made without altering the sleeve draft at all except adding extra armhole circumference.  I suspect posaune's drafting system does it automatically.

While I understand the idea of repeating discussions there is an awful lot of information brought to light in this thread on the Cutter and Tailor:

http://www.cutterandtailor.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=4030

BTW the method of measuring vertical balance presented by Schneidergott is very simple:

A tape secured at the waist, front is measured from the neck point as is the back.  The difference is recorded as the balance.  Depending on other cirumstances you may chose to add the amount to the deficient side or subtract it from the excess.  As greger said the observation of the side view might indicate that the excess etc is located in different parts of the profile.

I would suggest that the profile would be most conveniently divided into the space between the shoulder and chest and the chest and the waist.

Greger also has mentioned Poulin's book where balance can be given or taken at the shoulder seam: pg 49 in the 1973 edition.

I would like to look at that one a bit more closely because I expect it interacts with Lateral balance which we have not even begun to discuss.  You can find a description of lateral balance in King -Wilson:

http://movsd.com/BespokeCutter/index.php?topic=166.0


 or the Fitting a shirt - Balance thread that I posted on this forum.

http://movsd.com/BespokeCutter/index.php?topic=61.0
« Last Edit: April 09, 2016, 05:09:50 PM by Schneiderfrei »

posaune

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #4 on: April 09, 2016, 07:40:51 PM »
Balance:
I bind a waist band  (and hip band) around the customer and look if it is level. If not the draft will be complicated, special attention. What you miss then will later cost more time.  Then I view the customer from all sides. I look to have some guide lines in the back ground (my eyes are not good for 3D) like table or door frame to compare to her posture. Good are pics here.
I write down what I see. I measure the CB, CF and side seam point left and right to floor and write it down.
I take the body height , controll the waist band and take now all my measurements with a routine, I have developed over the years to minimize the faults. What is very important  - I speak a lot  - sometimes rubbish to my client - so that she can relax an d get her used to my touch.
After all this - while the client is still in  "gears" - I calculate what her theoretical porportional measures should be. (I have my computer at my side with a prepared excel tabel.  At the gewand-site Sven has a Rundschau-Calculator for men - which you can download. It was used in the 50-70 before electronic calculators where used) Now I see where the balance measures are out of balance and how much.
And I remeasure.
example: a bust about 80-90 cm and a height about 168 has a backlength about 40, the corresponding Frontlength is 43.5. The optimal balance is 3.5.
If this is not the case I must look why it is so and deceide if it is a problem in the upper body or in the lower body or both.

lg
posaune


TTailor

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2016, 08:58:01 PM »
I think greger means that when the balance is off the armhole shape does not sit in the correct place on the body. When you correct the balance, it rights itself.


So, one of the effects of incorrect balance is an armhole that is misshapen?  For instance, if the back balance (peterle's definition) is too long, the collar will press against the back of the neck, and the back of the armhole will stand away from the figure.  The cause is the excess length of cloth, but the effect is an armhole that looks misshapen.

It is dangerous to confuse cause and effect.  What I took Greger to mean is that the cause of improper balance is that the armholes had been rotated in the draft, and that you could fix a balance problem by rotating the armhole in the draft.  If that's not what he meant that's my mistake, but I think he could have explained it better.


I think he means that if you are following the draft and make the armhole shape as directed, it has a "correct shape" for the perfect balanced figure. So if the figure is undalanced and you correct the balance the armholes basically rotate into a better posotion on the body.
You cannot fix the balance by just changing or rotating the armhole shape, the change must happen either by lengthing or shortening evenly across the front and back, or by lebthening or shortening from a fulcrum, (adding wedges).

The thing is, the body in question can have a mutitude of corrections needed, and they all need to be addressed.
A draft can need many changes to work as well, and they can be Inadequate.

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2016, 09:22:20 AM »
posaune, could you give a bit more information to find the website that contains the Rundschau Calculator.  I bet I'm not the only one who would like to see that.

What great ideas about balance we are getting.

posaune

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2016, 09:14:35 PM »
http://www.die-gewand-sammlung.de/open_content/Massscheibe.pdf.

you pin one over the other and you cut the windows out so while rotating you will see what you need to draft your pattern quickly.
lg
posaune

Schneiderfrei

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2016, 11:38:20 PM »
That's great, thank you, that will be fun.

peterle

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2016, 01:38:29 AM »
I add my two cents to measure and apply balance:

Customer wears a shirt with fitting neck.
Like  Terri find the nape of the neck and mark with a pin, pencil or chalk. Measure the back neckhole of the paper pattern and apply it along the cusomers collar line. This will be the neckpoint. Mark with pins, pencil or chalk.

Now draw a horizontal chalk line somewhere between waist and hip of the customers back, directly vertical under the shoulder blade.
Transfer this mark to the front of the customer by means of a yard stick or something similar directly vertical under the chest. The front chalk line has to be exactly the same height from the floor as the back mark.

Now measure from the neckpoint down to the mark, running the tape over the shoulder blades. This is the back balance.
To get the front balance measure from the neckpoint down to the front mark, running the tape over the protruding part of the chest/bosom.

Comparing this two measurements will show a difference between front and back balance. For example the front balance is 3cm longer then the back balance. The actual measurements aren´t needed anymore, we only need to know the difference.

Now we have to incorporate this difference into the pattern:

Measure the back balance of the pattern starting at the neckpoint running the tape vertically to the waistline.
Now measure the front balance of the pattern, start at the neckpoint and measure vertically to the waistline.

Comparing this measurements will show wether the pattern has the same difference between front and back as the body. In our example: Is the front balance 3cm longer than the back balance?
If not, you have to incorporate it by slashing and seperating/overlapping/wedging like we did in the sloper thread.

jruley

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #10 on: April 12, 2016, 03:33:22 AM »


Now measure from the neckpoint down to the mark, running the tape over the shoulder blades. This is the back balance.

To get the front balance measure from the neckpoint down to the front mark, running the tape over the protruding part of the chest/bosom.


It sounds like you aren't running the tape vertically, but at some angle.  So how do you place the front mark width-wise?  Put another way, how do you know where the tape should cross the horizontal line you marked?   Should the distance from CB line in back be the same as from CF line in front?

It is interesting that you have the same idea as DeVere (although his measures are different):  Only the difference between the two measures matters.

peterle

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #11 on: April 12, 2016, 04:06:46 AM »
The balance should be measured over the most protruding part of the back and  the front because there the most length is needed. This is the shoulder blade and the breast muscle.

By the way, this is not my idea, it is the preferred method of the Rundschau System. They even carried a special balance measure tape, that was long enough and weighted on one end, so the balance could be measured from the floor. Makes the chalk lines obsolete.

jruley

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #12 on: April 12, 2016, 05:41:34 AM »
The balance should be measured over the most protruding part of the back and  the front because there the most length is needed. This is the shoulder blade and the breast muscle.


If you can find an illustration showing how the tape should be placed that would be helpful.  I'm having trouble visualizing this.

peterle

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #13 on: April 12, 2016, 09:05:39 PM »
here you can see the chalk marking and how to measure:
"Der Zuschnitt in der Herrenschneiderei" XVII Verlag M. Müller München 1965



jruley

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Re: Balance - Practical Approaches
« Reply #14 on: April 12, 2016, 09:39:39 PM »
Vielen Dank, Herr Lehrer!