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How to use a French Curve

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

Today I would like to show you how to use a French Curve. This little ruler is a MUST if you are going to start garment making for yourself. This tool is used to grade patterns, change curves (like necklines and armholes) and used to grade between different sizes. The majority of us are a tic-tac-toe of different sizes, so it is important to use the right tool to grade between those different sizes.

Here are my Tips for using the French Curve

  • There are different parts of the curve that line up with different parts of your pattern. The tight curve at the top aligns with your neck and armhole and the long gradual curve matches your waist and hip.

  • I Like to mark my sizes on my pattern first and then use the french curve to blend between each size.

  • You'll see this in the video, but I like to line up my curve with the size I am (let's say thats an M at the waist) and then pivot out to the size I am going to (a large at the hips). You keep the top of the ruler on the medium while pivoting out to the next size to maintain the curve.

  • Concave and convex. The pattern will have curves that go from concave (valley) to convex (mountain) So you will need to flip your ruler over to match up the curves.

  • Practice!!! This ruler takes some practice to get use to, but it is so worth it once you do. It will certainly take your clothes making to the next level.

Watch the live video to see how it is done:


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