The Lutterloh Patterns have always used a symbols page to mark their sewing instructions and pattern pieces. We get lots of questions from users of these patterns that I hope to explain here.
Here is a photo of a symbols page from a 2014 supplement of Lutterloh patterns. The most recent addition to the chart is the bottom symbol that looks like an outline of a dress form which indicates these patterns are for very slim figures. You might wonder, how slim are we talking about? I wanted to be sure so I e-mailed Frank Lutterloh of Fashion Unlimited and asked for clarification. I was told that for these patterns to be the most effective they should be used for ladies with a bust measurement of no more than 90cm. The fuller figure symbol of the dark dress form will appear on patterns that are most suitable for ladies with a bust or hip measurement of at least 110cm.
The XXL system, which is a completely different system with it's own unique measuring scale, should only be used by those with a bust or hip measurement of at least 130cm. Many have found though that if they are close to the lower limit of the XXL set that the full figure patterns can work just fine with perhaps some more generous seam allowances. I am mentioning these measurements in centimeters because we should all be using the scale to draw the patterns so it's just easier to start with the number we will use on the scale.
Just remember that both design ease and wearing ease are built into all the Lutterloh Patterns. I have heard that some feel the full figure patterns have less defined curves overall (more ease). This would explain why many of the FF patterns will still work for the XXL size woman yet some who fit into the XXL size range find the XXL patterns too loose. I've also noticed that the slim figure patterns have less pronounced hip curves. However, they are also narrower all over leaving less room (or ease) for much bust or hip curve. With more distinct pattern size ranges for different figure types we will find some overlap into the patterns designed for each figure type but of course the average size pattern range will fit the greater number of people.
Now I'd like to address some of the FAQs that are posted as comments to our blog. Many of these can be answered with a better understanding of the symbols page.
The photo above shows both a one piece and two piece sleeve. In red I have marked a notch that you could mark to indicate the top of the sleeve where it will meet the shoulder seam. For the sleeve on the left, even though there is only one cross mark to place your pin, you will cut these apart on the bold, solid lines to create two sleeve pieces. The red line I have drawn in indicates where you would mark across the two pieces, and mark notches if you like to be sure they match, before you cut them apart.
Before you cut them apart you'll also want to mark the grain-line to get them the same for both pieces. For the one piece sleeve you would use the cross mark to line up your ruler. The grain-line on this pattern would also run perpendicular to the sleeve hem. For the two piece sleeve you can also use the cross mark to line up the grain-line but because the hem is curved that cannot be used as a reference. Make sure to mark the little "v" for the front of the sleeve and add seam allowances on any Lutterloh pattern.
This next photo demonstrates a fairly new symbol, added in this century, to the Lutterloh System. The red box is drawn around the straight of grain symbol sitting next to the 90° angle symbol on top of the dashed line at the waist. You'll see that the cross mark for our pin is turned sideways into an 'X" to avoid obscuring the dart, so we can't use that as a reference. So, all these symbols grouped together tells us we should draw the grain-line perpendicular to the waist. Normally the grain-line should run parallel to the center back or center front. Frequently these pieces are placed on a fold so the grain-line is obvious. When there is no fold we need to look for other indicators to find our straight of grain.
In the case of the bodice above, the green box is drawn around another example of the grain-line at a 90° angle to the waist because the side seam is not straight. On the bias cut skirt the 90° is replaced with a 45° to indicate the front and back pieces should both be placed with the straight of grain at a 45° angle to the fold or on the true bias.
The bodice photo is also a good example of multiple pieces drawn from one cross mark. The front (A), the front side (AC), the front yoke (AL) and the front button placket (LL) are all drawn as one piece and then cut apart at the bold, solid lines. You would want to mark the grain-line and any notches you desire, indicated by the red lines at the princess seams, before cutting these apart. The placket has the center front marked on its outermost left line, The yoke would have a grain-line perpendicular to the bottom line of that piece, the front grain-line can be aligned with either the waist or the bottom hem and the front side grain-line would be at a right angle to the waist. Again, be sure to add seam allowance to each piece separately.
If there are any other symbols that are perplexing you please don't hesitate to post a comment and we'll try to explain them a little further. However, I have to say, there really is no substitute for a good, solid understanding of sewing terms and how to apply them. To that end I'll include a short list of my favorite sewing reference books. Everyone should have at least a couple of these in their library.
General Sewing and Construction:
- Reader's Digest Complete Guide to Sewing
- Vogue Sewing
- Fitting and Pattern Alteration by Liechty, Rasband and Pottberg-Steineckert
- The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting by Sarah Veblen
- Fit For Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto
- Fast Fit by Sandra Betzina
I sure hope you've found this post useful. Keep those questions coming and happy sewing!
Ann in Calif.