Skip to main content
Copyright, 1895, by F. S. Bisbeb.
American Tailor System
\ \ ^-
We want instructors and agents everywhere.
Write for our liberal terms. The work is pleasant and very profitable.
AMERICAN SYSTEM COMPANY,
P. O. Box 1743, Boston, Mass.
f^ /I //- r A
It is a woman's duty to always appear as well as she can, and make the most possible out of the
advantages with which nature has endowed her, bringing them so far into prominence as to over-
shadow deficiencies and defects. That ideas of beauty are twisted and contorted into outrageous
shapes is a deplorable fact, but that the world is being gradually educated up to a more correct and
higher standard must be very evident to anyone taking the trouble to note the various improvements
that have been brought about in the last few years. The greater number and the more noticeable of
these improvements have been in Dress Systems. The advance in this department of art has been too
frequently andably discussed to require mention here. In presenting the i77iproved American System
to the public, we feel confident that it will meet with a want long felt. We believe we here present the
most parfect system in use to-day, also the most simple and complete. We have taken great pains and
no expanse has been spared to make the instruction book so plain that any woman or girl will under-
stand the System by a few hours study. "Practice makes perfect," and after a few day's practice with
the Svstem, you will be able to cut correctly any garment worn by woman or child. The System is
absolutely correct. If the measures are taken coriectly, and the rules are followed as directed, the
garment will fit without the alteration of a single stitch.
F. 5. BISBEE.
In learning the improveS American System of Tailor Dress Cutting, the first thing neces-
sary is to familiarize yourself with the System. Carefully study each scale and note that every figure
and scale means something. The System consists of large patterns with scales and perforations for
producing patterns of any size. Each scale is lettered, so they are easy to follow and learn. Once
having become familiar with the System, you will find it adapts itself to all st^'les and changes of styles.
In furnishing this instruction book we have selected such garments as are mostly worn, and once
having become familiar with them, there is no reason why you should not be able to cut any garment
worn by woman or child.
For cutting cloaks, sacks, sailor waists, ulsters, mantels, and circular or any garment intended
as an over-wrap or outside garment, take the same measure as for an ordinary drafting, then add two
perforations in each scale and one perforation at waist scale and hip. To draft a full length garment
extend it the desired length from hip curve with the dart rule. Allow for seams every place except
armseye, and neck. In basting, always begin at waist line, basting first up, then down. It is very
important to follow this rule if a perfect fit is desired. Follow the tracing marks exactly, as a slight
deviation trom this will cause the seams to look crooked When taking measure for a very fleshy
person, take a measure from point of shoulder seam at neck to lower portion of bust and make upper
point of darts come to that measure, as the approved style of low dart as shown in the system will be
too low. in measuring a person, notice if they have taoer, medium, square, or round shoulders.
Directions for drafting different sized Sleeve linings, viz., for a 9 inch armseye take off
and add but one perforation at armseye and none at cuft", only extend it one perforation same as
under of large size. From 10 to 12 inch armseye add two perforations at armseve and one at cutl".
Extend under one perforation same as draft for large size.
For a first lesson we will take a plain basque. (In practice it is best to use plain light
colored wrapping paper at least 24 x 36 in size.) Diagram No. 1 represents the front of a plain basque.
You will observe it is the same shape as that part of the system represented in scales A to J. Begin
by taking eight measures, viz., neck, armseje, bust, waist, hip, front length, under arm length, and
hick length. We will take the measure of a medium sized woman. Mark them as follows :
Neck 13>^ Bust 36 Back 16>^ Waist 24
Armseje 14 Front 14 Underarm 8}i Hip 46
Take neck measure tight, armseje tight. stand at the back in taking bust measure: be sure
and take it over fulness close. Take waist measure tight. The under arm measure is taken from under
the arm straight down to waist line. The front measure is taken from the neck or throat as high as
you wish the dress to be when finished, and taken down to the waist line. For -back, measure down
the back from the prominent bone in the neck to the waist line. The hip measure is taken 4 inches
below the waist line around the form.
We are now ready to commence drafting. Laj the system on the paper an inch or
two from the edge in front, begin by marking like this at the edge of the System, at scale A 1332
(see Diagram No. 2). As 13>^ represents the neck measure, then dot in the same number (13;^) in
scale B. Then dot in armseye measure (14) in scale C. Then dot in bust measure (36) in scale D
and E, also (42) in scale E. We dot at 42 in scale E to add 6 perforations, to allow for underarm dart
at armseye, as you will understand later. Now mark in perforations according to bust number (36)
in scale F (for short waisted or fleshy forms mark high dart). All the above work is represented by
pencils in Diagram No. 2. Now take the dart rule and measure down from the mark made at edge in
scale A the length of front (14 inches) and draw a line down the front that length and mark a line out
from the system (see Diagram No. 2). Now mark opposite the underarm length (8>^). The under-
arm length numbers are found on right hand edge of system. All this work is represented in Diagram
No. 2. Now move sys em up so waist line of system will be even with marks made for length offront
and mark made opposite under arms length, (see diagram No. 3). That will bring centre of darts on
waist line of pattern. Now mark in star at waist line and also 12-12-12 in scale G, 12 being the taper
number, or dirference between the waist and the bust number. ( If the waist was 26 then the taper
would be 10, or if the waist was 22 the taper would be 14, and so on. This is the only calculation you
have to make, everything else is made for you, and this is very simple. To find the taper number,
simply subtract the waist number from the bust number, the difference is the taper number. But bear
in mind this taper number is a very important factor in Tailor Dress Cutting.) Next find the waist
number (24) in waist scale H and follow the line to the right until you come to the taper number (12) and
mark directly below in perforation at waist line. Now find hip number (46) in hip scale I and mark
down from line at bottom of system. Draw a line down from waist line and across the bottom to mark
made in hip scale 1. All this work is shown by pencils in Diagram No. 3.
We are now ready to draw outlines and we simply rule fi'om dot to dot with edge of system,
using that part representing the neck to draft the neck, the shoulder to draft the shoulder, and so on.
We find the desired curve for the shoulder at top of system. If a medium shoulder is desired, place
the word " medium" under dot made in scale C, etc. Place the arrow in armseye at dot made in
scale D and draw a curved line to dot made in scale C, then move the system down enough to let the
line continue out through the dot made at (36) in scale E, letting the line run across a little above the
dot made at (42) in scale E keeping the arrow on the dot made in scale D. Then draw a lire with
back edge of system from armseye curve to dot made at waist line in scale H. For hip curve, place
waist line of system at waist line of pattern and curve a line to dot made in scale I. Now form the darts
above the waist line with dart rule from perforations on the curved edge, where it reads "medium
bust' (see Diagrams 4 and 5). Now dot in center of darts on waist line. Lay straight edge of dart
rule on dot just made and the dot at top of dart and draw a line straight down 9 inches below waist line.
This gives us the lower point of darts (these lines are shown in Diagram No. 1). Use the straight
edge of dart rule in making darts below waist line. In laying off the underarm dart, it will first be
necessary to get the centre and dot on waist line between the side seam and the back front dart. This
gives you the center of the underarm dart.
Now look at taper scale J on front o( the system and you will find for a 12 taper this dart is
made 2'^ inches wide at waist line (measure one-half on each side of dot just made). If preferred,
you can make the underarm piece the same width at waist line as sidebody. Now measure in two
inches (or any desired width) for undeiarm piece at armseye from the dot made in 42, scale E and
dot, then measure in two inches more and dot. . The first two inches is for width of underarm piece;
the second two inches is for what you added in scale E for dart at armseye. Use straight edge of
dart rule for forming the top of this dart and the same curve for lower part as you did for forming
top of front darts, only curve in instead of out, (see Diagrams 4 and 5). Extend the point of this dart.
seven inches below waist line. Get this point and dot the same as you got the lower point in side darts.
To make the center back, lay that part of system represented by scales K to T on the paper
n le or two inches from edge, begin by marking at the underarm length, (8i.,), which 30U will find at
edge of centerback (on left hand side). Now measure up with the dart rule the length of back (16^)
from the mark made at S^., and draic a line doicn edge to 8^ (see Diagram No. 7). Dot opposite back
length, in scales K and L. Now dot in armseje number (14) in M and bust number (36) in scale N.
(All this work is shown in Diagram No. 8). Now move the system up so waist line of system will be
even with mark made at 8j^ (see Diagram No. 9) Keeping edge of system even with back line, now
dot as wide as desired for center back in scale O (for person of about this waist measure we use per-
foration 1). Find the hip number (46) in hip scale P, and mark on line directly below at bottom of
system. Draw a line down the skirl of back from mark made at S]4. and across the bottom to mark
made in scale P at bottom. (This work is shown in Diagram No. 9). For outlines, begin at theneck,
using the parts representing the neck, shoulder, and armseye same as the front. In drafting curved
line from scale N down to waist line, use dart rule, giving it any amount of curve desired (see Diagram
No. 10), but be careful and give the same curve to the side body piece when you draft that or they will
not sew together nicely. We usually use second perforation from point of dart rule.
Special Notice. If person is round shouldered, draw the line in to dot made in scale K. Al-
most all forms require a small amonnt taken off center back from neck down three or four inches.
You will notice in Diagram No. 6 the line slightly curves in at the letter K.
In miking side body piece, use the same part of system. Dot in perforation according
to bust number (36) in scales Q^ and R. Now mark the underarm length (8^) on both sides of S3'stem
(these last two marks are guides to move the system up to). (All this work is shown in Diagram
No. 11). Now move the waist line of system up so it will be even with the last two marks made and
dot in the same place in scale O as you did when making centerback. Now find waist number in scale
S and mark in perforation at waist line. Now find hip number (46) in hip scale T and mark on
line below at bottom of system. Draw a line across the bottom from X to mark made at hip scale T.
(This work is shown in Diagram No. 12.) Draw outlines with edge of system representing arm curve
and underarm length. For hip curve, place waist line of system at dot made in scale S and draw
line down to mark made in scale T. Use dart rule for making curve from dot in scale Q^to dot in
scale O (see Diagram No. 10).
DIAGRAM NO. 1.
DIAGRAM NO. 2.
DIAGRAM NO. 3.
DIAGRAM NO. 4.
DIAGRAM NO. 5.
DIAGRAM NO. 6.
DIAGRAM NO. 7.
DIAGRAM NO. 8.
DIAGRAM NO. 9.
DIAGRAM NO. 10.
DIAGRAM NO. 11
DIAGRAM NO. 12.
DIAGRAM NO. 13.
For sleeves and sleeve=Iiningsas shown in Diagram No. 13. We take four measures, viz. inner
length, outer length with arm bent, around armseye tight, and around the hand back of the knuckles
tight. For practice, we will take the following measures :
Inner length, 17 in. Outer length, 21 in. Armseye, 14 in. Cuff, 7 in.
For coat sleeve begin by drawing to numbers representing the inner length (17 to 17) online
W. Find outer length (21) on outer edge of sleeve system in scale V and follow down the line to the
cross-line representing the armseye number (14) and dot. Then find outer number (21) on outer edge
of cuff in scale U and follow down the line to the cross-line representing the cuff number(7)and dot. Use
edge of sleeve system for outlines, always placing the outer number at cuff and dot made at cuff.
For dress sleeve lining:, using the same measure, draw on inner curve to numbers representing
inner length (17 to 17). Find outer number (21) in scale and follow down the line to the cross-line
representing the armseye number (14). Now add two inches (four perforations) and dot (online
18). Now find outer number (21) in scale U and follow down the line to the cross-line representing
the cuff number (7). Add one inch (two perforations) and dot (on cross-line 9). To make outlines,
place the outer edge of system so the numbers of the outer length (21 and 21) will be at dots made
in scales U and V and draw a line along the edge from dot to dot. Draw a straight line from dot at
cuff to dot made at inner length (17). For top of sleeve, place the star designating the size of arms-
eye (14) to dot at inner length and draw a line around to the outer length .
For under half. Draw inner length on curve W to the numbers representing the inner length
(17 - 17). Follow down the line representing the outer length (21) at armseye to cross-line represent-
ing the armseye number (14) and take o//" two inches (four perforations) and dot (at cross-line 10).
Find the outer length number (21) in scale U, and follow down the line until you come to the cross-
line representing the cuff number, (7), then lake off one inch (two perforations to cross-line 5) then
add one-half inch longer (one perforation).
Always use the system from the point at armseye for drafting the lop of under-half. T/ie lines
and dots of the two parts of the above dress sleene li'iJiifi are shown on the Sleeve System. For rules
for sleeve drafting see general directions on page 4.
DIAGRAM NO. 14.
Diagram No. 14 represents a plain skirt. Fold goods in center and vieasiire off ihe desired
lengths, leaving the fold in center ot front. Measure the front gore nine inches at top and eleven and
one half inches at the bottom. Take up a dart in each half of front, one, or one and one-half inches in
width, and three and one-half inches in length, to fit the form. Side gOreS are cut with selvedge on
the straight edge. Measure nine and one-half inches at the top and twelve inches nt the bottom.
Take off one-half inch on the straightedge of top (see plate). Cut 'he back width with fold in center,
nineteen inches wide at top and bottom. These measures are for one-half of front and back. After
joining the skirt, take up the darts in front and put four shallow plaits in the side gore, placing the
first plait on seam of front. The side gore should measure about four inches after the plaits are taken
up. These measures are for average size and lengths.
DIAGRAM NO. 15.
Diagram No. 15 represents child's dress. In drafting for children, draft as for grown person,
onlj omit front darts and dot for size of waist in child's waist scale on front of system. Add on at
armseye for underarm dart if desired (not more than one inch). Draft, solid or French back.
For drafting waists with French back see page 23.
DIAGRAM NO. 16.
Diagram No. i6 represents front of French Jacket. Draft as for ordinary front with the excep-
tion of front darts, putting the amount of both darts into one. Extend the waist line (at scale H)
from one to two inches beyond the actual measure required, as seen in plate, and form underarm seam
with dart rule. For top of front dart, use perforation at top of "half fitting dart " on system. For
width of dart, dot in first perforation at right of star on waist line. Measure three and one-half inches
with dart rule and dot in nearest perforation. Use straight or curved edge of dart rule as you prefer
for dart above waist line, giving it any curve desired.
For Cutaway. Measure from inside underarm dart the width of front darts and dot. Draw a
straight line to armseye. Form curve as per plate.
For French Basque. Draft as for ordinary front with the exception of front darts, putting
both darts into one as in French Jacket, using curved edge to form top of front dait and itithovt
adding anything extra at waist line and using system in drafting outlines the same as plain basque.
DIAGRAM NO. 17.
Diagram No. 17 represents back of French Jacket. Draft same as for ordinary bacTc, wwltting
"Staler N and Q^and use whole width of back wai«t measure, thereby making a solid back. Take off at
■waist line what you added to the front and use dart rule for curves as for side form (The dotted lines
show the whole size).
For drafting bacic of French Basque. Draft same as for back of Fren^ch Jacket except taking
othinjj off at wai&t line, as you add nothing on at the waist line of the front-
DIAGRAM NO. 18.
biagr-am No. td fepres6nt« front of basque witf. fcfas Jarf. Draft same as Tor plain basqne.
Add ten pertorations in scale E instead ofsix, and add one and one-fourth inches on the back dart in
scale G Also extend the waist line and hip measure one and one-fourth inches. Place underarm
dart so the underarm piece will measure same ^idthatx^•aistlineas side form. Beforebastingunde, a, m
dart on to front, raise the tvaist line of front five eighths of one inch (see plate). In making center
back or solid back, draft same as for French back or. in other words, take off at armseve, waist line,
and hip measure what jou added to the front-
DIAGRAM NO. 19.
Diagram No. iq represents cape or circular. Measure around the bust outside the arms, and
measure down the back and front as long as desired. Take bust measure same as for basque, allowing
two numbers, as for cloaks. Draft as for basque, placing point of shoulders together, as in diagram,
at an angle to produce the desired width around the shoulders. Extend length as long as desired.
Draft all lines below the waist for children with but little spring.
Be careful not to get the Bust and Waist measures too large.
Be careful not to get the Hip and around the form measures too small.
If wrinkles run across the back and under the arm just above the waist the back
and under arm measures are too long. If they run up and down the back over the
shoulders, the width of back is too large.
Very few forms are perfect, and it is better to try to improve an imperfect form
by padding than to attempt to fit it by cutting.
So many are the styles and so rapid are the changes that no definite rule for
draping can be followed. Styles, and the form of the wearer and the quality of the
goods must be taken into consideration, also the amount of goods to be used. Stylish
drapery must have sufficient material, and practice will be necessary to become proficient
in the art of draping.
There is a satisfaction in knowing that you can cut a garment to fit, but "there
is no excellence without experience." Knowledge cannot be acquired without study
and study takes time, therefore take time and study this system.
Study how to take measures correctly, how to draft, trace, and cut accurately.
Then you will know how to cut a perfect-fitting garment. Diagrams i to 12, inclusive,
are the keys to this entire work. Study them until you become familiar with every
dot and line.
It has been our endeavor in placing this work before the public to make it the
most thorough and perfect instruction book issued for any system. We believe we have
succeeded, and that the work will prove a benefit for those to whom it is intended is the
earnest wish of
LiBRftRV OF CONGRESS
Q 014 061 911 5 ^