Tuesday, February 1, 2011

pattern alterations

If flat pattern alterations bore you, you might want to skip this post!

In the last post I mentioned that I'd like to make a lace jacket to wear over the simplicity dress, and we had picked Vogue 2979, which has a really retro Grace Kelly look to it. Today I was home sick, due to an upset stomach all night, so I felt kind of run down but able to sit at my dining room table with pattern paper and a ruler. I decided a good project was to make this lace top fit me.

Here's my first muslin on my dressform. The front closure in this muslin is a separating zip. The real thing will have a row of buttons, but I wasn't doing that for a muslin. You can see that it really doesn't fit, especially at the top where it "floats" above the shoulders. It's also too tight in the lower bodice (darn holiday cookie eating! trust me, it was worse on me, that's why you're seeing it on the dressform. (; )


I rather expected the neckline issue, I have very small, somewhat rounded shoulders. To fix the float and get the muslin to lay correctly, I made a series of alterations that I make to nearly every pattern. Here's a comparison of the pattern pieces I ended up with compared to the original.

pattern piece comparison

I'll walk through each adjustment - you should be able to see the cuts or redrawn lines below.

bodice front

* slashed and overlapped the pattern from the shoulder seam to above the bust point
* redrew the upper neck curve
* inserted a half inch of length in the armhole
* inserted an inch of length in the lower bodice
* added 1/4 inch to each side seam
* redrew the waist dart

bodice back

Same alterations to the back

Yes, this is a little tedious, but necessary. I was taught to make these alterations to the pattern pieces, rather than draping or pinning directly on a muslin & then tracing the muslin, so this is the method I'm most comfortable with. Any of those, however, will lead you to the proper fit.

One thing that this string of ENDLESS MUSLINS has led me to see is that I really do need to make the same alterations to each pattern. Previously, I would scattershoot apply these techniques, and not always make them all together. Having done these to several patterns, from different pattern companies, over and over, I'm seeing how they all work together and getting a better idea of my body shape. It's been very educational and well worth doing even if there wasn't a well fitting wedding dress at the end of all this.


Joy said...

It is interesting to see your process. I have a process (though different, of course) I apply to every bodice, too, but I'm still tweaking it as my understanding of fit improves.

Gry said...

I also like to do the alterations on paper - then you know exactly what you did if you ever want to use the pattern again.

When you know that you will almost always have to adjust the shoulders, you could perhaps adjust the pattern before even making the muslin. If you can get someone else to measure you from the base of the neck to the point where you like your sleeve to begin, you could check the shoulder width on the pattern and remove the excess width. It might not work with all necklines, but could be a shortcut on some patterns.

I also think it is easier to simply make the shoulder narrower without making the slash and overlap. If you draw a line from the outer shoulder point at a right angle to centre back and then use a ruler to measure your shoulder width from the inner shoulder point to the line, you get exactly the same result as with slash and overlap (It is difficult to explain without a drawing).