Friday, February 24, 2012

Gadgetmania: Rulers Part II by Laura Bolcina

Friends, did you think you knew enough about rulers? Well, today, Laura - who covered almost everything straight last week - guides us through curves... Ahem...

Hello! I'm back with Part II of my research. I will introduce you into the world of curves and present you one very useful tool.

24 in/60 cm hip curve helps you draw numerous contours of the human form. It's commonly used to draw hipline, trouser contour, sleeves, lapels, hemlines, skirt seams, and more. You can also use it to true different style lines (e.g. princess style line), establish curved shape of godets, and establish flares on gored garment panels.

French curves are used to draw a wide range of smooth curves. There are many, but Fairgate or Lance 12 in/32 cm and 24 in/60 cm French curves are said to be able to replace an entire set of French curves. Use them to draw more defined curves, such as armholes, necklines, sleeve caps, pocket contours, cuffs, collar designs, and so on. You can even use them to adjust waist and crotch fit of garments, and to true curved parts of darts. Curve #17 (Dietzgen, Lance FC-1, Pacific Arc F-17) is also a very common French curve – it's my favourite for drawing necklines and armholes.

The main difference between hip curve and French curve is in the shape of the curve. Hip curve is not as pronouncedly curved; it has a lesser curve than French curves. Hip and French curves are available at Lance and Fairgate. They're made of aluminium and are known for its high quality. The curves are also available in plastic for a little less cost.

Flexible or adjustable curve is a substitute for all of the curves above. You can shape it in any curve you want and use it for practically anything. Flexible curves come in various lengths. Alvin Truflex flexible curves look like a good choice.

Folding measure or expanding sewing gauge (SimFlex) is used for spacing buttons/button holes, hooks/eyes, pleats, tucks, and more. It's a very handy tool, because it gives quick and accurate measurements compared to a regular ruler.

That's it, thank you for reading; I hope you learned something new! And thank you, Marina, for having me here. :)


Thank you, Laura! This is an amazing review of rulers! My question this week is how many curved or straight things are too many? But I have to admit, I love them all! 


  1. "
    Flexible or adjustable curve is a substitute for all of the curves above." 

     I would have to disagree with that.  Such curves are very handy for necklines (drawing and measuring), but to true a new curve (match up points and draw a new line) an engineered curve is better because the shape is built into the curve by the people who designed it.Most people I know have bought many hip and French curves before they invest in a flexible curve.

    I've also seen beautiful curves made out of woods like teak.  I wonder if they warp.

  2.  Thanks for another great comment, Browser! I agree that for truing engineered curves are a better choice. But overall, I think, Laura gave us an excellent overview of the rulers.

  3. There are so many out there. Since starting with pattern making and more recently with some quilting (just to see if I fancy it) I lost count of number of rulers I have.

  4. I love my hip curve, but do think it's time for a French curve. Unfortunately I haven't seen any made of metal locally. The SimFlex looks like a great boon! Thanks for these posts :)

  5. You're right. After all, I'm no professional. I'm just trying to learn as much as I can and spread the knowledge. I, too, probably couldn't give up all my curves for a flexible one.. :)

  6. Hi i must say wowww amazing collection for spring.Thank you for updating.I love skirts and bags.Let me introduce to you Miss Veronica Hearst 
    she has done a excellent work in this domain.
    she has a passion for the arts and spreading her appreciation for them throughout the United States.

  7. Marina, first of all, what a wonderful web site! I got this book from Harriet Pepin, "Modern Pattern Design," from 1942. It is a treasure, with patterns from that era (when women dressed very feminine, I think). I decided to look for the "Equipment" she lists and got to your blog. Many moons ago, when I still lived in Brazil, I did a sewing course, but never really followed up; I did sew before, using pattern magazines they still sell over there. With this book and after seeing your blog, I feel like trying it again. Take care and keep the good posts coming!



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