## Devere’s Drafting Formula

One of the more difficult concepts to understand is how Devere varied the size of a pattern. He used a size 18 3/4 breast as the basis for all of his patterns, which is equivalent to a 37 1/2 chest. This is called the proportionate model. If you are lucky enough to have a 37 1/2 chest (and the other corresponding measurements are the same), you can draft the patterns as they are straight from the book, with a normal ruler . Unfortunately, very few people fit these measurements, so adjustments have to be made.

Let us suppose we have a gentleman with a 42 inch chest, and want to find the correct balance for a coat. On a 37 1/2 inch proportionate model, the balance is 2 1/2. But a 42 inch chest would make that larger. First, you need to find the correct ratio between the 42 inch chest, and the proportionate chest. That would look like this:

`42 / 37.5 = 1.12`

After getting the number of 1.12, we multiply that by the balance measurement (or whatever measurement we need to get):

`1.12 * 2.5 = 2.8`

Then, it’s a matter of converting that 2.8 decimal into inches. This comes out to somewhere between 2 3/4 and 2 7/8. As you can see, this method is not very accurate, and prone to mathematical errors. And it takes a long time when you have to do 20 or 30 measurements this way.

Luckily, Devere was a fairly smart guy. He devised a set of rulers, called Graduated Rulers. The graduated rulers are, “a series of measures, which are successively graduated larger and smaller than the common inch measure, and are used to draft patterns for larger or smaller sizes than the 18 3/4 breast.” What does this mean? Instead of doing those calculations above, you simply choose a correct sized ruler and then draft the pattern as it is in the book.

When drafting trousers, the ruler size is taken from your seat measurement, rather than the chest.

For example, you are measuring someone and they have a 48 inch chest. You would then go to your set of rulers and choose the one marked size 48 (or 24 inch breast). If you compared this to a normal inch ruler, you would see that it is a lot larger, yet it still has 12 inches to it.

Where can you get these rulers? In Devere’s time, these rulers could be obtained from Devere’s company, and came on paper, tapes, or on wooden rulers. Devere has long gone out of business, but luckily, the rulers are not too difficult to make yourself. I’ll save you that trouble though.

I have created a set of graduated rulers, sized 34 through 50, for your convenience. They are on 11 x 17 inch paper, so you’ll need to find a print shop to print these. They can usually be printed for a few dollars on nice card stock at stores with print shops such as Staples. They are in Adobe pdf format. When printing from Adobe Acrobat Reader or other readers, be absolutely sure to set Page Scaling to None. If this is not done, your whole set of rulers will be off. After they are printed, I would take a normal inch ruler and compare it to the size 37 1/2 graduated ruler. They should be exactly the same. If they are off, it was printed incorrectly, and you’ll need to check your settings and try again.

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## Trousers Measurements

You may be used to picking out your new pair of pants using just two measurements – your waist and inseam. Sadly, today’s ready made clothing does not usually fit as it should.

In the 19th century, and in fine bespoke tailoring to this day, several other measurements are used as well. You will see how they combine to make you a perfectly fitted pair of trousers. Do not try to take your own measurements. Instead, find an experienced tailor or seamstress (or your wife) to take accurate measurements for you.

In order to take the  measurements, you must first learn to take measurements with care and accuracy. Begin by finding out what your client’s wishes are before taking any measurements. The style and cut depend upon what the trousers will be used for. Do you wish to have a tight fitting waist, or suspenders? Will you be mostly sitting or standing in the trousers, or perhaps riding? Are the trousers to be loose as in the ‘peg-top’ style of the 1860s, or the much more fitted look of the 1840s? Breeches or full length? As you can see, there is a lot to consider.

After the style is determined, make sure the client is standing in a relaxed position, neither too erect nor too slouched. People are often inclined to stand stiffly, and this can interfere with the measurements and how the trousers will fit later. Try telling a polite joke, or amusing story to get the client to relax, then proceed to take the measurements.

Devere had a series of five principal measurements taken for trousers, plus three more ‘supplemental’ measures used for variation in fashion. Of the first five, all are still in use today except for the front measure. Take your measurements using a normal inch tape, using great care to ensure accuracy. Take each measurement deliberately, and without hurry. It can be helpful to take a measurement twice to double check your work.

Before taking the measurements, be sure that the trousers the client is wearing are at the proper height at the waist. Ideally they will be wearing period trousers of correct fit. But If they are too high or low, the measure must be taken from the level of the waist, and not from the top of trousers. The waist of a pair of trousers should pass horizontally around the body, at the level of the natural waist. A trick to remembering where the level of the waist lies, is to tie a cord around the waist. Take all measurements from that cord.

Following are the measurements and period descriptions of how to take them. Write each measurement in the space provided on the measurement chart included with this book.

## Principal Series

### 1) Side Seam

Or length of side measured from the top to the bottom of the trousers, starting from the top of the side seam at the hollowest part of the waist, and not including the waistband. This measure should be taken tightly, and it is the leg itself, not the trousers, which is to be measured.

When taking the first three measures, it is easiest to measure to the heel of the shoe, so as to be consistent. Then make a deduction based upon how you want the trousers to break. Some like the trouser legs to reach exactly to the foot, while others like to have a break or even folds at the ankle.

### 2) Front Length

Measured from the top of front, not including the waistband, to the bottom of the inner leg seam. In thin waists, the measure will generally be less than the length of side seam; it will be longer for stout men on account of the protuberance of the stomach, and by the difference it presents with measure of Side, it indicates the proper degree of slope to be given to the front of the waist. To take it correctly, the leg should be a trifle advanced as shown on fig. 1, and for very stout men, the measure should be kept close to the leg of trousers, just below the fork.

### 3) Leg Seam

Taken in the usual way and with the greatest possible accuracy, as upon this depends the correctness of the length of the trousers. To take this measure, hold the tape close up in the fork of the trousers, letting the tape fall naturally to the foot at the bottom of leg seam. We may observe that when using the looped tape, it should not be pushed up too tight, or the leg seam measure would become too long, and the trousers would be too long in the legs.

### 4) Waist

Measured in the usual way, underneath the waistcoat and rather tight; it will, for these reasons, be about 1 inch less than the waist measure taken for a coat.

### 5) Seat or Hips

This is the size round the seat at the most prominent part, just over the hip joint. This measure often gives the same figures as the breast measure of the man, but is more frequently a little larger, and like that measure serves to indicate the graduated measure to be used when forming the draft for the trousers.

## Supplementary Series.

These measurements are more for fashion than fit. I advise taking the Bottom measure, and proportioning the thigh and knee into a pleasing line according to the customers wishes.

### 6) Thigh

Taken as high up as possible. This measure indicates the allowances for fashion or the particular style required. In general, it is the left or dress side with is measured.

### 7) Knee

Taken according to fashion: when it is for tight fitting trousers the knee bust be bent.

### 8) Bottom

Also according to fashion, or the style required.

After all measurements are taken, you need to look at the client for disproportions. Are they stooped or erect? Thin or corpulent? Measurements can only tell us so much about a person. One must develop and train the eye in order to apply this information to a draft.

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## Muslin Toile for Fitting

Now that you’ve got a pattern drafted for your trousers, it’s time to cut and sew up a pair in cotton muslin for fitting purposes. By using the relatively cheap muslin, you can experiment more with the fitting without ruining your expensive cloth. Making this test pair also gives you the general sense and order of construction, and that familiarity will make constructing your final trousers a little easier.

Begin by laying out your pattern pieces on your muslin, ensuring that the plumb line is parallel to the edge of the fabric. Rather than using pins, which tend to distort the fabric, I prefer to weigh down my patterns with whatever I have laying around, such as rulers, scissors, or books.

Next, using a piece of tailor’s chalk, trace around all of your pattern pieces. Try to keep your chalk sharpened in order to leave a crisp, accurate line.

Here’s the trouser back after drawing it out. Note I also marked the position of the knee line to make sewing more accurate later on.

Cut out each piece after you’re done drawing them out. If you have wider fabric, you may be able to get them spaced more closely than I have.

To keep track of which side is what, I like to mark an X on the wrong side of every piece as soon as I’ve cut it out.

Ensure you have the following pieces cut out before continuing:

• 2 Fronts
• 2 Backs
• 2 Waistbands
• 1 Fly

## Construction

Construction begins by laying the fly in position on top of the right trouser front. I’d say as shown, but if you look carefully at the photo you’ll see I’ve accidentally put mine on the left.

You should also transfer the mark at the bottom of the fly. I like to mark with an X for more precision. All sewing will stop at this mark.

Pin the fly to the trouser front. This is about the only time I use pins in my sewing, as I find them to be inaccurate. But for this mockup, they work well.

Sew the seam from the top edge down to the mark at the bottom of the fly using a 1/4″ seam allowance.

Press open the fly seam.

### Side Seam

Lay the back piece on top of the front along the side seam. Line up the bottoms and the knee marks and pin that section.

Moving to the top of the side seam, pin the very top. You’ll notice there is some extra fullness in the back piece — it’s slightly longer than the front side seam.

Distribute the fullness by using the ‘divide and conquer’ method of pinning. Place your first pin in the middle between the top of the side seam and the knee mark, distributing the fullness equally on each side.

The continue subdividing the sections until you have a small amount of fullness between each pin. Feel free to use more pins than I have.

Place the two pieces on the sewing machine, back side down, and sew the side seam with a 1/4 seam allowance. The feed dog along the fuller bottom edge will help distribute the fullness more evenly.

Press the side seam open. Here’s what you should have so far (repeat for the other side as well).

### Waistband

I like to attach the waistband now while the trouser legs are still flat, before sewing up the inseam.

Pin the waist band to each trouser leg, right sides together.

Around the top of the side seam, I often need a few extra pins to get everything to lay nicely.

Trim the ends of the waistbands. There should be a couple of inches at either end for constructing the final trousers, but we don’t need that excess for the muslin version.

Sew the waistband with a 1/4″ seam allowance. Rather than pressing the seam open, press just the waistband upwards, which will both hide the waistband seam later on, as well as give a bit of extra strength to the waistband.

### Inseam

Next, we’ll sew the inseams together forming a tube. With right sides together, pin from the cuff to the knee line.

Then pin the top of the inseam together to keep things in place. You’ll notice there should be a lot more fullness to ease in here on the back piece.

Pin out the fullness evenly using the same method as for the side seam.

Sew and press open the seam. You should have two opposite legs in the form of tubes at this point.

### Seat Seam

This next step can be a little confusing at first, so take things slowly and don’t be afraid to undo your pinning and try again.

Take the right leg assembly and turn it right side out.

Insert the right leg into the left leg, which should still be inside out.

Find the inseams of both legs, align and pin them together. Then find the bottom of the fly (that X you marked) and pin those together as well.

Pin the top of the seat seam together, followed by the rest of the seat seam, keeping everything neatly aligned.

Sew the seat seam, beginning about 2″ from the bottom of the waistband, continuing through the inseam area and ending as precisely as you can at the mark on the fly. Hold the seam allowance of the fly out of the way as you sew that area.

If you’ve pinned everything in the right order it should be very easy to sew the seat seam. If not, you may have to sew in the other direction or from the other side.

At this point, turn the trousers right side out and press the seat seam. You should have a pair of finished trousers ready to try on to check for any fitting issues.

Here’s how mine turned out. I’m fairly happy with them, though I ended up narrowing the cuffs a little, and will hem them later.

I’m happy with the side views. Note the way the trousers come up quite high in the front, making me appear . . . slimmer.

And finally, from the back. There are a few wrinkles across the seat, which could be a symptom of an incorrect seat angle or other error, but I’m thinking it’s actually due to pulling the trousers up too high in the back. I’m going to see how it looks in the wool before I make any alteration. It may not be possible at that point but I’m willing to take the chance.

In the video you can get more of a feel for how everything fits.

If you’d like some help with the fitting process, post a photo of your draft, and then of your self from the front, side, and rear in the Facebook group, or you can feel free to email me at james@historical-tailoring.com

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 1 Cut out the muslin fabric. 2 Sew the fly. 3 Sew the side seams. 4 Sew the waistbands. 5 Sew the inseams 6 Sew the seat seam.

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## Trouser Hem Length and Width

One of the most common alterations, it is very simple to adjust the length and width of the hem. Just be sure to leave about 1″ extra at the bottom for finishing the hem later on.

For the length, just add or subtract the amount necessary and redraw the appropriate lines. You’ll want to adjust the side seam and inseam to account for the new length.

Adjusting the width is easy as well. Leave the inseam as it is, and measuring from the plumb line, mark the new width of the trouser hem, redrawing the side seam as necessary.

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## Trouser Darts

If you have a particularly thin waist compared to your seat measurement, you might want to add a dart to the back waist pattern. Sometimes, the difference between the waist and seat measurements are too great, and without a dart, you’ll get an ugly ballooning effect in the final trousers.

Here is an example on the pattern showing what I mean. In this diagram, the red line indicates what the pattern might look like if you have a thinner waist. This however produces quite a curve along the hips and side seam, which will show in the final product. Instead, it is better to draw the side seam at more of a proportional size, and take out the additional width with a dart.

To start, figure out how much extra material you added to get more of a proportional looking side seam and waist width. This can be done by eye or more scientifically with the graduated rulers and such. Post your pattern in the Facebook group and I can help you out individually.

If the additional width is up to 1″, use one dart of that width. If it’s over an inch, I recommend making two darts of the same size, the sum of which equals the total addition.

The deepest part of the curve in the back waist is usually the best location for the dart, or the fullest part of your seat. At this point, square down (it’s curved so rely on your rock of eye to get as close to square as possible), and draw a line about 4 or 5 inches in length. This will be the length of the dart.

Next, at the top of the line, mark the width of the dart, equidistant on both sides of the line. In this example I’m using a 1″ dart, so 1/2″ on each side.

Finally, draw lines connecting those two points to the bottom of the original line. These lines indicate the actual sewing line of the dart.

Here’s what your pattern might look like if you needed two darts. On occasion, when making trousers for women, I’ve even had to add slightly smaller darts to the front waist to get a proper fit.

Here’s a dart drafted out on my pattern. It’s probably best to draw this first on your original draft and transfer to the pattern so that you’ll have it for future pattern alterations.

Finally, cut out the dart along the outer lines, which indicate the seam line as well. Note that while the pattern is cut out, the dart is not cut out from the fabric itself, but rather merely marked with chalk.

Here’s a quick video of how I draft the trouser darts.

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 1 Draft the trouser darts if necessary.

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## Thin and Stout Waists

In our day and age, it is somewhat rare to find a man with measurements corresponding to Devere’s proportionate man, that is to say a chest of 37.5 inches and a waist of about 30 inches. For that lucky one with the proportional measurements, the waist line is drawn basically square across, or perhaps lowered by an 1/2 graduated inch. This is what is illustrated in my drafting instructions, as well.

For a man with a thinner waist, your Front measurement will be slightly shorter than the proportional 1/2″, resulting in a waist that slopes downwards at the front.

And for a man with a stout waist, as all too many of us have with all of that relaxed muscle, the Front measurement will be greater than the proportional, resulting in a waist that slopes upward, sometimes 2″ or more above the side seam construction line.

Here is a table giving the rough measurements that the waistline might be moved upwards or downwards corresponding to the size of the waist (half waist). You should compare this to the Front measurement you took and see how well things line up on your draft. If something is wildly off, this is a good place to check.

To apply this to your draft, you’ll simply take your front measurement and use that as the starting point of your waist line, sloping down or up to the construction line made by the side seam measurement. Then the rest of the pattern is drawn as usual based on this waist line.

Here’s an illustration giving many of the possible options so you can see how the pattern changes as the waist becomes thinner or stouter.

For men with very large stomachs, you may need to add a little roundness to the front of the fly, as shown.

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## Completing the Draft

Now that you’ve got the main part of the draft complete, it’s time to add a few details to complete the draft and also make construction a little easier later on.

The first thing I like to do is add a horizontal line to mark the knee position. This is simply done by dividing the leg seam in half, giving us the position of the bottom of the kneecap. This will later be transferred to the trouser fabric to aid in construction.

## Trouser Fly

Next up is laying out the trouser fly. I prefer to make my flies about 1 1/2″ in width, though that can vary slightly depending on your preferences and originals you may be copying.

Start by drawing a parallel line 1 1/2″ from the top fly edge. It is then tapered down to meet at the diagonal construction line coming from point A.

Next add a 1/4″ seam allowance all of the way around. I usually use a quilting ruler to aid in this.

### Buttonhole Layout

I usually just layout the buttonholes directly on the fly when I’m ready, but you can also add them to your fly pattern if you prefer.

Buttonholes should be about 7/8″ in length, or a 1/8″ longer than the width of your buttons, and spaced evenly starting about an inch below the top of the fly. Depending on your size you could have anywhere from 4 – 7 buttons. I’m pretty sure I even made a small pair of trousers a while back with only three buttons.

Each buttonhole should begin about a 1/4″ from the edge of the fly. They should also be perpendicular to the fly, so each buttonhole will be at a slightly different angle.

Also, be sure not to space the buttonholes too closely together, rather keep them roughly 1 1/2″ apart at least. You need room to get the buttons through with your fingers.

Finally, you’ll want to mark the bottom point of the fly on both the trouser front and the fly itself to ensure your sewing lines up later on. Mark as shown by the red dots, though make your marks smaller than mine as to be more accurate!

## Waistband

Next, we will draw the waistband, which is fairly simple. This is a basic pattern I’ve used over the years, and below you’ll find some more ideas straight out of period manuals that are drafted with the same general process.

First, draw out your baseline, which is equal to your waist measurement (half your full waist, remember).

Then square up at each end. On the left side, the front, I typically make that 1 1/2″ wide, narrowing down to 1″ to 1 1/4″ inch on the right, or back side of the trousers.

Next, draw the top of the waist band from the front edge, about halfway towards the back, keeping parallel to the original construction line.

And finally, connect the remaining section of the waistband with a gradually slanted line.

A quarter inch seam allowance is added along the top and bottom edges of the waistband. At either end, I like to add about 3″ allowance to leave room to turn the edges back later.

Finally, add a buttonhole about 1/2″ from the front edge of the waistband, centered.

Here’s a similar version from W. S. Salisbury from 1865. This one has rounded ends, and the top is a slightly curved line rather than being formed by two straight lines.

Next comes from Devere and is narrower in width at the front, I’d guess about an inch, and about a 1/2″ wider at the back with some interesting shaping.

Finally, for those with very thin waists, Devere shows a curved waistband, which will help give it a better fit over the hips and narrow waist. I’d suggest starting with a 1″ or 2″ deep curve and experimenting to see what works best for you, if you do indeed have that narrow waist.

## Back Buckle

Finally, to finish off the draft, here are a couple of back buckle patterns. The first is from Salisbury’s system, which I scaled up and slightly edited for dimensions to fit a 1″ wide brass buckle.

The second is based on a pair of trousers worn by Ulysses S. Grant. A client of mine was able to view the uniform and get me the measurements for the belt.

Rather than having you draft your own belts, I’ve decided to just give you the pattern, especially as they don’t change in size. They’re rather easy to draw on your own anyway with some basic geometry. A 1/4″ seam allowance is included.

## Seam Allowances

Now that you’ve got all of your pattern pieces finalized, it’s time to add a 1/4″ seam allowance around the trouser front and back. Begin by tracing the pattern pieces onto a fresh sheet of paper.

Next, using a quilting ruler or a pattern maker’s ruler (I actually just discovered these!), add a 1/4″ or 1cm (either works, just be consistent), all around, as shown in the diagram below.

This diagram also shows how the pieces should be laid out on the cloth. Plum lines are parallel to the fabric selvage, and fit so as to reduce waste as much as possible.

Here’s a video showing the complete drafting process and how I go from that draft, add the seam allowances, and end up with pattern pieces ready to use.

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## Drafting the Back

### Seat Seam

Draw a straight line from the fork at Point E, running through the waist seam at the 1/2 inch mark you made. Continue this line past the mark, one or two inches beyond the plum line. I find it good practice to overshoot a little here, and make the line longer than you need it. That way you don’t have to add on to the line, which can be prone to error.

### Hollow In

At a point 2 graduated inches from point E, measure in 3/4 of a graduated inch from the seat seam.

### Seat Seam

Draw a curved line using your French curves, connecting point E, to the point you just made, joining in a smooth curve to the seat seam construction line.

### Completing the Leg Seam

The upper part of the Leg seam of the back forms a very slight curve. Start from point E, and join the leg seam of the front, a little above the place where the dress and non-dress sides meet.

Draw a line 1/4 inch above the Side construction line. This is used to determine the correct height of the back.

### Squaring up

Take your tailor’s square, and place it against the seat seam. Draw a line square from the seat seam to the point where it meets the side of the waist seam.

### Back Waist

Seam Curve this line to a point equal to 1/4 your total waist, measuring from the Seat Seam.

### Complete the Draft

From the point you just made on the back waist seam, connect to point B in a slightly curved line, meeting the straight line down to the bottom. Congratulations, the draft is now complete.

At this point you’ll want to trace each piece onto a fresh sheet of paper, and add .25 inch seam allowances around.

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## Drafting the Fronts

It is now time to begin the draft itself. Make sure you have a large enough surface to work on, so that the whole draft may be on the table at once. Dining room tables are great for this. Take each step slowly, being sure to follow instructions carefully. If something seems off, go back a few steps and check your measurements. Above all, don’t get frustrated! If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via my website.

### Plumb Line

Start off by drawing a long, straight line, referred to as the plumb line. This is a very important line, as it forms the basis for the entire draft, so if it is not straight, the draft will be off. The plumb line is also used to align the pattern with the straight grain of the fabric. Mark the right end as 0, which will be the cuff end of the trousers. The next few measurements are taken from that point.

### Mark Vertical Points

Starting from the bottom, mark the length of the Leg Seam to measure. Next, do the same with the Front Length and Side Seams, making a mark at all three points. For the proportionate man, there will be 1/2″ difference between the Front and Side measurements. For the rest of us, rely on what your tape measure says, and also check out my unit on fitting thin and stout waists for more information.

### Square Across

Next, take your tailor’s square and draw three horizontal lines from the Side, Leg Seam, and Bottom points. The waist line should be equal to 1/4 of your waist measurement. Note that the line at the Leg Seam extends across the plumb line to the left.

On the cuff line at zero, I usually make that about 10 common inches, or 8 1/2 graduated inches. It really depends on the style of trouser you are making and your preferences.

### Waist Seam

Draw the waist seam from the top of the Front point, to the top of the side seam, as shown.

There are now two choices, use the graduated rulers, or by the common inch. Using the graduated ruler corresponding to your seat measurement, mark out the following:

A – B 9 3/8″
A – C 3 1/8″
A – D 2″
A – E 4 3/4″

If you choose to use the common inch, it is more complicated. The calculations are:

A – B One Quarter of the Hips
A – C One Third A – B
C – D 1 1/8 of an Inch
C – E Half of A – C

As you can see, using the graduated rulers is a lot easier, as there are no calculations necessary. However, if you want to use common inches, the included spreadsheet will make all the calculations for you.

### Slope

On the Waist seam, measure 1/2 graduated inch from the plumb line, and mark this. This will give the angle of the seat seam, as you shall see. Be sure it is marked on the Waist seam itself, and not the construction line above it.

### Leg Seam

The Leg seam is drawn as a straight line from point D, to the plumb line at 0.

### Left Leg Seam

For the Left or Dress side of the Leg seam, draw a straight line from C down the line from the right side, at a point about 1/3 the length of the leg seam.

### Hollow of the Fork

Measure out a line at 45 degrees from point A. This line should be two graduated inches long, for the left or dress side, and marked at 1 graduated inch for the curve of the right or non-dress side.

Devere’s pattern is for a pair of trousers with ‘dress’. One side is cut slightly larger to allow extra room for the gentleman. Typically I won’t bother with the two different front pieces and just use the larger piece for both fronts.

### Right Crutch

Through the one inch mark you just made, draw a curve for the right side from point D, to a point on the plumb line 2 1/2 graduated inches above point A.

### Left Crutch

Draw the left crutch by connecting C to the 2 inch mark on that 45 degree angle, and join it at the top of the plumb line where it meets the waist.

Drawing these curves is a lot easier if you use those French Curves!

### Front Side Seam

The Side seam of the front is drawn in a straight line from the bottom, to point B, where it then goes on to meet the Waist in a nice graceful curve. The Fronts are now complete.