Annaluisa Franco is the Coordinator of the department of Fashion at IED Firenze, with over a decade of experience teaching fashion to up and coming creatives. So it’s logical that she knows what tools fashion designers need, and which ones are missing from the market. Here she tells us how she uses these French curves and why she started making them. Hint: they’re for more than just patternmaking!

Annaluisa’s French curve and Hip curve, available for sale on MakeTank, are two tools that are part of a manual drafting tradition that is all but lost. They are still necessary, though, for patternmaking (or to alter extant patterns) to create the shapes and slopes of the body. The French curve is used for the upper body (armholes, necklines, waist) and the hip curve is used for patterns in the lower part of the body (ie hips) for skirts and pants.

We asked Annaluisa to explain the “birth” of her curves:

“I have seen similar curves made in plastic or cardboard however the choice to make them of plexiglass was not just aesthetic but also to allow for transparency so, when in use, the designer can still see underneath the curve to the pattern placement. The reason for creating the curves was that we simply couldn't find any in Italy. There are one or two patented (and expensive) methods for patternmaking here, so if you don't want to use their method there just wasn't any other choice because you can’t easily find the curves needed to use other methods. Since I am a DIYer, I started making the curves myself and found that they work really well and create smooth curves that wear well. My future projects include a couple of short intro videos to illustrate how to use the curves correctly for patternmaking.”

The curves are made in laser cut plexiglass according to Annaluisa’s design, and they can be engraved or personalized in various ways. We love the one she has on the big curve – it says “hipster curve”. They’re also made in every colour, so have a strong decorative element that can be put to good use if created in batches. For example, Annaluisa shows us a Christmas tree she and her husband, Troy Nachtigall (also a MakeTank vendor - see his store), made one year.

“We gave the curves as presents for Chirstmas to family and friends one year… we had them decorating a tree made of plastic cups, and they looked like colourful candy canes. Each curve had a name engraved on it, and on Christmas morning they all went looking on the tree for theirs.

The curves have also been used as rulers (of course), as decoration (hanging from a chandelier, hanging on the wall), and even as a paperweight. Annaluisa presented them in an exhibit at Angels bar in Florence in 2011 set up in modular combinations that generate heart shapes, flowers, human shapes and even fractals.

Can you think of another good use for Annaluisa’s curves? Let us know how you put your laser-cut acrylic french curves or hip curves to use by commenting on this blog or on the product for sale on our marketplace.

See all of Annaluisa's products on MakeTank here.


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