“Dress Cutting” by Margaret C. Ralston

Norma–Here are the instructions for taking measurements and drafting a basic jumper block and sleeve. They come from a 1932 book entitled “Dress Cutting” by Margaret C. Ralston. The title page of the book states that she was “lecturer in dressmaking and needlework, National Society’s Training College for Teachers of Domestic Subject, Hampstead, London.”

I haven’t tried this system but I do make a recommendation based on working with the patternmaking system I know. The method Ralston describes for taking measurements is to “take them loosely.” To make that work I’d think it best to add the same amount of additional width or “looseness” at chest, bust, waist, hip, upper arm and elbow. I’m thinking 2-3″ would work.

Even if you don’t draft the pattern for your block there are some interesting details here. I think the basic sleeve looks like a close fit. Unlike modern clothing where the sleeve seam is matched to the side seam of the bodice, this sleeve seam is 3/4″ to the front of the bodice side seam.

Let me know what you think.


Note: This posting is part of the 1930s Sew-along with Norma.


2 thoughts on ““Dress Cutting” by Margaret C. Ralston

  1. Thanks for posting this. It is entertaining me whilst I am away. I may not use it for this top but I think I might give it a try sometime with something a bit simpler.
    Have you ever come across Chinello Bally? This method reminded me of hers – she learned it from a Nigerian aunt & it is apparently the method commonly used in Nigeria – think she’s adapted it for her book because when I saw her do it on TV she was drawing directly on to the fabric. Beautiful garments though.

    Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.