In this post we’ll be covering some miscellaneous pattern adjustments, muslins, and cutting.
For bust adjustments, there’s a whole separate post also published today. You can check it out here.
There are some things we can adjust in the flat paper before we cut any fabric, but at the end of the day, numbers can only tell us so much, as we all carry weight, length and width in different places. So it’s always helpful to make a muslin (also called a toile).
When making your muslin, remember that you do not need to do things like finish seams. It’s meant to be a quick and dirty mockup so that you check the fit. Be sure to sew accurately, however, so that you’re getting a good idea of how a finished garment will look. You will also want to staystitch the neckline so that it doesn’t stretch out as you’re trying it on.
Often times you can get away with just making a muslin of the bodice. It’s useful to still put a zipper in the side seam so you can really see the fit. Remember, it can be a quick (baste it in so you can easily take it out to reuse it) and dirty (it doesn’t have to look good) zipper installation.
CUTTING BETWEEN SIZES
If you are falling into different size categories for your bust, waist and hips, one simple fix that you can do before you even make a muslin is to grade your paper pieces between sizes while cutting them out.
From the bust to the waist, use a ruler to draw a line blending the cutting lines between your two sizes, ending at the waist size at the bottom of the bodice. This will be your new cutting line.
Then cut the waistband in your waist size.
To go to a different size from waist to hips, start at the waist edge of the skirt pieces and use a ruler to blend out to the new size line at the hips.
Be sure to do any grading on all relevant pattern pieces (ex. both front and back skirt).
If you’d like to shorten a pattern piece [for instance, if you are short-waisted], draw a line above the lengthen/shorten line the amount you’d like to shorten it.
Crease the lengthen/shorten line and fold it to your new line.
Tape and blend jagged edges.
To lengthen a pattern piece, cut it apart between the lengthen/shorten lines. Put paper behind and tape one side down. Draw a line parallel to the lengthen/shorten lines the amount you’ll be lengthening.
Align the fold edge or grainline and tape down the other side along the drawn line. Blend jagged edges and trim.
Again, remember to do the adjustments on all related pieces (ex, front AND back bodice).
NARROW SHOULDER ADJUSTMENT
Because of the raglan sleeves, a narrow shoulder adjustment has a bit more going on than usual. You will need to make a muslin and try it on to determine the amount you’ll need to adjust, but first read the explanations below so that you know where to pinch and pin.
The narrow shoulder adjustment will involve the front and back bodices and the sleeve pieces. First, draw a line across the shoulder portion of each bodice piece, above the raglan notch.
Cut from the raglan edge all the way along the line, to but not through the other edge so that you create a hinge.
Rotate the hinges down. This is where you will adjust based on how much you pinched and pinned on your muslin. You’ll want to measure the adjustment amount on your pattern piece at the stitching line at the raglan edge.
Tape and blend edges. On the back bodice, redraw the center fold line to be straight (I didn’t in the photo because it will be redrawn below in another step).
On the sleeve piece, draw a line across top of sleeve above notches, perpendicular to grain line. Cut apart.
Overlap pieces the same amount that you adjusted the bodices. Tape and blend edges.
One final adjustment you can do for narrow shoulders, or alone for a gaping neckline, is to remove a wedge from the center back and/or center front. To do this, simply draw a line from the top at the adjustment point, blending down to nothing at the bottom.
On the front bodice, move the neckline dot away from center the same distance as your wedge adjustment. If you don’t do this, your wedge just takes some of the fullness out of the gathers and doesn’t change the finished length of the neckline.
On the back bodice, if your adjustment is more than about 1/2″ at the top, your darts will become slanted. To fix them, measure the wedge width at the same height as your dart point, and redraw the dart point that same distance over to the right.
Redraw the dart legs to the same points.
They will now be slightly different lengths. True them by adding extra paper to extend the shorter one to match the longer one (it will probably be a very small distance). Blend to the bodice edge and trim.
Trim your center fold edges along your new adjusted lines.
Once your muslin and pattern alterations are set, it’s time to cut your fabric! Refer to the cutting layout for your size and view. If you are cutting stripes or plaid, be sure to download the free pattern matching guide here.
One you have your pieces cut, transfer all marks to the fabric. You will also find it helpful to snip the center fold on the bottom of the both bodices, top and bottom of both yokes, and the top of both skirts.
We will be covering lining briefly in the zipper post. You can cut sleeves, bodices and yokes out of your lining fabric if you’d like a lined bodice, and also skirts if you’d like it completely lined.
Please comment below with any questions. We’ll be back a week from today, Monday Nov. 17th, to start sewing our Dahlias!