Today I have a few specific fit adjustments for you, lengthening and shortening the pattern, moving darts, and a full bust adjustment. For all of these images you can click for the full sized view.
First up is lengthening and shortening the dress. I’l be showing the skirt here.
1. Start by locating the pattern piece you need to adjust. Depending on what piece you’re altering there may or may not be lines to denote where you should lengthen & shorten between. If there are no lines, you can draw in your own.
2. Cut between the lines. With a piece of paper underneath the pattern, spread the two sections the amount you need to lengthen your piece making sure to keep the grain line of the two pieces aligned.
3. Trace your piece off onto the paper and re-blend any jagged edges along the side seam and repeat the adjustment to any affected pieces.
You can also follow the above steps with any part of the pattern. Here’s an example of how you could raise and lower the armhole while moving the dart lower at the same time. If you need to lengthen or shorten just the bottom of the torso, perform the same steps with a line perpendicular to the center back running out through the center of the side seam.
If you find that the torso is the correct length but you need to move the dart here are some easy steps to do so. We’re going to be moving the dart down in this tutorial but if you need to raise it you can do the opposite.
1. Draw a line through the bust point parallel to the CF/grain line. Place a mark along that line at the point where you need to lower the dart. If you need to lower the dart 1″ you would place the mark 1″ below the existing bust point.
2. Move the legs down the same amount down from where they connect at the side seams. Reconnect the dart legs to the dart point.
3. You’re going to now need to fold the dart, since you’ve moved it the dart take-up is now in the wrong place at the side seam. Fold the dart so that the dart excess points down towards the waist and re-blend the side seam. Trim off the extra.
4. This is your new pattern.
Now lets talk Full Bust Adjustments. This is something that I don’t have a ton of experience with being that typically when I’m making a pattern, either for myself or a client, I know what bust size I’m starting with and the pattern is drafted for that. As I said in the previous post the Alder pattern is drafted for a B cup so if you’re a C you may be able to get away without a FBA. The illustrations are cropped for better detail but any vertical lines should extend to the bottom of the pattern piece.
1. Select your size based on your upper bust & waist measurements. Cut size.
2. Draw a line from the apex of the dart out through the center of the dart legs splitting the dart in half. Next you’re going to draw a vertical line from the apex down to the hemline of the pattern piece making sure to keep the line parallel to the CF / grain line. From there draw a line connecting the apex to the approximate center of the armscye. These are the lines that will form the full bust adjustment. Additionally you’re going to need a line across the torso, perpendicular to the CF / grain line in order to line the hem up in a future step. I made this one dotted so that it doesn’t get confused with the adjustment lines.
3. Slash through the waistline to the bust and up to the armscye taking care to cut to, but not through, the pattern at that point. You want to make sure that the two pieces are hinged together. Then slice through the dart line you drew to, but not through, the bust point. You’ll then open the vertical slit the amount of your full bust adjustment making sure that the two edges of the opening are parallel.
PLEASE NOTE: The illustrations here are drawn without seam allowances for ease of explanation. When clipping to the armscye clip just to the seam line (1/2″ on the pattern) and then clip to, but not through the seam allowance to the seam line keeping the piece hinged.
To find the amount of your full bust adjustment subtract your upper bust measurement from your full bust measurement. Take this number (the total adjustment) and divide it by 2 to get the amount you need to increase on one side. So say your full bust was 38 and your upper bust was 36 you’d subtract 38-36=2/2=1 so your adjustment would be 1″.
4. You’ll notice that when you move the side out for the adjustment the center front panel became shorter than the piece you moved. Cut along the line you drew in step 2 and align the newly freed piece so that it’s even with both the center front and the dotted line on the side piece.
5. Find the center of the dart legs and mark a line through the center of the dart (dotted line above). This will help you when folding the dart in the next step. Then draw your lines from the dart legs to the apex.
6. Fold the dart legs together with the takeup pointing to the bottom of the garment and re-blend the side seam. I like to score the top dart leg and center line lightly with an awl to help the pattern fold right where you want it to on the first try. You can either cut across the side seam / dart or mark it with a pattern tracing wheel and cut when the dart is open.
7. Unfold the dart and cut out your new piece.
That’s all, tomorrow we start cutting!