You might be tempted to jump right into major adjusting, but it’s easiest to hold off on that until the end. When it comes to pattern adjustments, in general, I suggest this order of operations:
- Do length changes first.
- Transition between sizes, or make other width changes.
- highlight your final cutting line.
ONLY IF YOU NEED TO DO OTHER MAJOR PATTERN ADJUSTMENT (by “major” I mean you are cutting into the pattern):
- Trace off pattern and mark seam allowance(s).
- Make major changes to your traced pattern. If the adjustment goes wrong, you are able to return to the original for a new start.
Follow along as I make changes for the small dress form, and at the end, see the fitting I did with my own personal project.
Preparing the pattern
Just like you, this is the first time I will be sewing this pattern in my size, and the first thing I do with an unknown pattern is tissue fit. Tissue fitting isn’t like fabric fitting, but it’s close enough to detect any major problems with fit, and it’s faster. If it can eliminate the need to test with a muslin, it can save a lot of time. This video will show you how to:
- Tissue fit a pattern
- Mark and check the location of bust point in relation to the waist
- How to check for possible length adjustments
- How to shorten a pattern
Watch this video to follow along
Transition between sizes
This really nice guide that comes printed on your pattern shows you how to transition between sizes, and I think it’s very well done, but this video is specific to our pattern and shows you how to
- measure the back to mark the front
- mark the size you need at bust, waist and hip
- create a smooth transition between sizes using curved and straight rulers
Watch this video and follow along!
The full and small bust adjustment
For those of you whose bust measurement is OVER or UNDER a 2″ difference from your chest measurement, this next step is for you! If your bust to chest (also called a high bust) difference measures more or less than 2″, you will need to make an adjustment to the bust area of your pattern. Use this chart to decide how much fabric needs to be added, and as a result your dart size will increase or decrease as well.
This is the completed pattern for a D cup adjustment from the shoulder with pattern alteration notes.
- If your shoulders are narrow and your cup size large, you may want to pivot your pattern open from the armhole/side seam corner rather than the shoulder as I have done with mine.
- The waist dart does not have to be divided,but by doing so the bust area will come to a less dramatic point.
- If you are making view A, notice on my final pattern I made a note to myself that I will need to lengthen my trim to bridge that gap created by my slash and spread.
Watch the video to better learn how to make bust adjustments.
Adjusting the Jacket
In this video I talk about the princess seam placement for those of you with a full bust:
The PDF linked below was made to go with #LN1619, The Portrait Blouse, but is very detailed instruction on how to do a full bust adjustment with a princess seam, and was referred to in the video.
Click this link to download the guide: Do a full bust adjustment using LN1619, the Portrait Blouse.
Extend the shoulder
If your tissue fit makes you think that this shoulder isn’t going to give you enough coverage on your arm, then extend the shoulder and square it up or curve it out to match the side seam. This will add about 1 1/2-2″ more to the shoulder/sleeve depth.
Fitting my pattern
I’m making a size 16. I did a tissue fit and knew that the dart was not going to match up with my bust point. For your benefit, I made a muslin. I used linen because that’s the fabric I’ve chosen for my final dress.
The photo above is my first try on. No changes, exactly as it came out of the envelope.You can see that the bust darts do not in line with my bust point and the shoulder and neckline feel sloppy to me. Note that the shoulder on this pattern is plenty long as a sleeve. This is the way I intended the pattern to fit.
I took up the shoulder and that feels so much better. I marked my bust point with pins in and X so I would know how much to move the darts.
Then I added some under the bust dart shaping to tighten up the fit just a little more. SO much better! The waist and hip are going to be fine on this one. I will add back that length I took out at the shoulder and put it between the bust and waist.
I marked up the muslin with all the changes so that won’t forget anything. Now I need to transfer those changes to my pattern. If you’ve never done this before, this tutorial might help.
This next photo shows you how a dart should look that needs to move horizontally. Use a ruler to reposition the dart the exact distance from the first dart. I wouldn’t tip a dart like this from it’s original line towards the bust point because it will throw the dart awkwardly off grain. On this pattern, you are also moving the cutting line.
Get your pattern and fabric ready to cut and we will soon begin to sew!