PATTERN TOOLS: The Hip Curve

mailChoosing the right tool(s) is essential because it speaks to the work that you do, and the respect you have for it. The hip curve tool is used to create the soft curves on a pattern for making clothes. It allows the eye to shape from the waistline to the thigh area. It also allows consistency with all of your hip shapes. I also use part of the curve to shape the knee area of the pattern, and just above the hem. It also has a nice line for the slight curve from the armhole at the shoulder just before it takes its deep turn toward the sideseam. This curve shape is everywhere. I never know when I will encounter this shape and fall under its hypnotic spell. You can see it in the adobe shaped mosques of west africa, at buddhist temples and other spiritual destinations. It’s in the slight curve of the horizon. It’s Picasso’s Blue Nude, Coltranes horn, Rothko used it in The Omen of the Eagle along with a few french curves. Ellsworth Kelly used it in his piece called Blue Curve. I see it in the softness of the round tables that line the cafes along the St Germaine des pres and the curve of the stairs that lead to the top of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia. Le Corbusier used it at Ronchamp. Richard Serra genuflects to it.

The wooden hip curve that I purchased at a garage sale some years back has the name Yoko carved in it. Then on the other side are some initials that read SGW. Could sound like the abbreviation for the town of Saginaw where these rulers were made. It’s not uncommon for pattern tools to have names on them. Working in a factory or design room people tend to borrow them and forget to return them. I wonder if Yoko and SGW lost these tools or they were just passed on. Well, I think it’s time for me to carve my name into it also.

If you can find a vintage wooden hip curve made by Luftkin of Saginaw Michigan, that would be a prize catch. Morley Brothers of Saginaw began manufacturing log scales in the late 19th century. “Scalers,” men who determined the amount of board feet in any given log, needed an accurate gauge for that purpose.

Lufkin Tape MeasureLufkin expanding rulerThe Lufkin Rule Company of Saginaw was founded to make log scales when lumbering dominated the county’s economy. The No. 1206 tape measure was made in the early 20th century. Lufkin’s Saginaw plant closed in 1967. Lufkin was acquired by Cooper Industries (CooperTools), which continued to manufacture Lufkin measuring tapes and rulers.

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3 comments on “PATTERN TOOLS: The Hip Curve

  1. itslynne says:

    How inspiring, thank you.

  2. Ann Schmitt says:

    I never really used that particular hip curve. I always use the metal one. My favorite curve has always been the armhole curve #24. It has a spiral shape that I find pleasing to the eye aside from it’s usefullness. Spiral shapes in nature and architecture are my favorite shapes….like a mushoom that has been sliced in half that looks like an Ionic capital of a column.

  3. I’ve learned something about your world. Thank you.

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