Gosh I thought I really knew what I was going to say about slopers in general when I started this blog post, but now I’m just not so sure.

Do we need slopers? If so, why?  How have you, or I for that matter, gone all these years in sewing without hearing about them, now they are everywhere? And why does Fashion-Incubator say they aren’t really used in the professional garment making industry?

Well, let’s start out with WHAT THE HECK IS A SLOPER?

I’ve checked around the good ol’ web and there are a variety of definitions about slopers when it comes to garment making.  In some camps, a sloper is a two dimensional paper template (if you will be generous enough to grant me use of that term here) which does not contain seam allowances and conforms to your body dimensions.  In other camps, the sloper is the product you make with said two dimensional template, a fitting garment if you will.  Aren’t those called muslins? Or Toiles?  Yes, and how those are different I couldn’t tell you, having not been to fashion school.

To add to the confusion, there is an additional concept called the block.  This comes into play because it is based off the sloper, but more reflects the garment’s design, without seam allowances, still.

But they are all the sewing rage, you say.  And apparently you are correct.  People are throwing out the term willy-nilly, making themselves sound oh so knowledgeable.  But as Fashion-Incubator says, that only works on those that don’t know better or don’t read her blog. 😀

I first came across the term in a youtube video on adjusting a pattern.  In the video, the person referred to “my sloper” repeatedly and never told us what exactly a sloper is.  Talk about annoying! I never finished watching that video come to think of it.  And Now I find that many pattern companies are coming out with slopers, Threads magazine has details on making slopers, and BurdaStyle has a class on making 5 personal slopers to fit you and you alone.

First of all, do we need slopers?  It depends on what you are doing.  Are you making your own custom designed outfits and thus will need a basis for your patterns (and before your patterns, your blocks)?  Then sure, whip out your tape measure and get started on making your sloper.

Are you working from store-bought (or online) patterns exclusively?  Well then a sloper is just something some sewing enthusiasts are into and this fad, too, shall pass.  If you aren’t making your own patterns, then a sloper is not going to gain you anything.  Period.  I cannot find a use-case for slopers (trivet? art?) outside of pattern making.

Have I been ANY help at all?  No?  Didn’t think so.  The confusion reigns on this topic I’m afraid.

Here are some resources on and about slopers, if you do decide this is something you have to get in on.

BurdaStyle has several Plus-Sized Sloper Patterns, including this Plus Size Dress sloper.

Essential Stuff has some detailed info on slopers and blocks (in a whole series on garment creation).

Fashion Incubator has the best discussion of why you should stop using the word sloper.

Check out Gedwoods techniques and use of slopers and blocks. (also on the BurdaStyle Site)

And of course, the course I mentioned. 5 personalized slopers (and hopefully what the heck to do with them).


If you find another use for slopers beyond pattern making, leave me a note in the comments! I’m excited to hear what you guys and gals come up with!