Taking the Back Width Measure
The Back Width measure is the second-most important measurement with Truly Victorian patterns. It is a rather hard measure to take, more guessed at than decidedly placed. But once you get an idea of where to measure to and from, it really isn't that much of a problem.
And the really good news is that with the TV sizing system, even if you get the back width wrong, you still have a pattern that fits. It also means you can fudge it if you need to make the pattern a little easier to work with. For example, if the math tells you that you need a size that is beyond the range of the pattern, you can adjust the back width to a number that gets you back on the chart again.
So what exactly does the back width do, if it doesn't matter what number you measure? It basically tells you where along the bust measure your armhole is placed. The armhole placement determines where the back ends and front begins and the proportions of front to back. This helps give you a different pattern that suits both 42AA bust and a 42DDD. The 42AA bust has more room in the back and less in the front, whereas the 42DDD has less room in the back and more room in the bust. The armhole placement can also be adjusted for manually, during a mock-up fitting, so making changes to back width measure can still be worked around if needed. As you will always have the 42" needed to get around your body, it will fit no matter what, but you might need to make extra modifications.
I love the historical idea of this measurement, and how it relates to the sizing system. Today, we just measure the front and the back and go from there. But in Victorian time, men (tailors) where starting to make women's clothing. And it would be a horrible breach of propriety for a man to be "fondling" a woman's bust to take measurements. So the idea was to measure the whole, from behind as discussed in the previous chapter, and then measure the back. When you subtract the back from the whole, whatever is left has to be the front by default.
So, how do you take the measurement? The first step is to find the point on the back of the shoulder where the arm seems to attach to the back. Many of the old manuals say to measure from dress armhole seam across the back, but if you don't have a dress already, that doesn't help much. Halfway between the bottom of the armhole, and the top of the shoulder, at the back of the arm, is the "sweet spot". Once you have found the place, measure across the back from one side to the other.
Created by • Last edit by on Jun 06, 2018
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