Welcome to my series called Pattern Drafting theories, where I examine different components of pattern drafting and how I perceive them from paper to real life scenarios, asking questions and proposing solutions. Final conclusions of these theories will not necessarily be reached.
Today, we will be examining the usefulness of the Neck Measurement when drafting the Basic Bodice. The neck measurement is one of those measurements that are not actually used directly in the draft, but rather a percentage of it or approximation is usually used. In some cases, it is not used at all and rather a fraction of the bust or some other pre-determined measurement, the source of which is hardly ever disclosed in books is used.
Now, I personally do take the Neck measurement for the purposes of drafting, and presently I do rely on the 20% portion of the neck for my drafts. While this is not foolproof, it has proven to be quite reliable, as necklines and armholes can easily be adjusted during the Fitting phase.
So why is the Neck such an iffy situation in the first place?
Well, in drafting, you will quickly notice that oftentimes the measurement that you actually need for the draft isn't one that is easily taken directly off of the body. There are 2 parts needed to attain the curve of the neck, the Width and the Depth. Now, before we delve into the different possible ways of getting a somewhat accurate measurement for these two parts. Let's quickly examine the anatomy of the neck.
In my image above, you can see that from the top, the neck is a circle/oval shape (fig. A) and from the sides, a larger portion sits at the front of the body (fig B.). It follows that the two lines that we need are the width and depth as highlighted above. So, what is the best way to get them?
1. Take direct measurements off the model of the width and depth, keeping in mind that these are straight lines and not curved lines, since we only need the distances from point A-B so to speak. The only flaw in this method is that it could be too tight or simply inconvenient to take.
2. Develop a formula using the circumference of the neck. For example
IF Neck circumference = 41cm
THEN Neck Diameter is D = 41÷3.14 = 13cm (i.e. Neck divided by π)
Width of neck for drafting = 13÷2 = 6.5cm (Because we need half)
Depth of neck for drafting= 6.5+1 = 7.5cm (Because we assume the depth is longer than the width)
Added ease for movement to both the width and the depth = 1cm
Therefore width = 7.5cm and depth = 8.5cm
The main problem with this is that we are essentially estimating.
3. Use proportions. Divide the Circumference of the Neck into 2 equal parts and adjust the result to make the front portion larger. Then use only half of the front and back. The main issue is that this will give you the curved line instead of the straight grid that we would actually use. And how to apply this curved line to the draft creates even more issues than we are trying to solve. Trust me, I have tried it.
Of all the above, No.1 is probably the most accurate and No.2 is the most widely used, that is developing a formula, not necessarily this exact one of course.