Over the last few days we’ve been talking about shortening and lengthening the bodice in the Acton sew-along (the principle is exactly the same if you would like to add or remove length from the skirt), and today I’ll be finishing off these posts by showing you how to shorten the bodice above the bust line. By referring to your toile, you should be able to tell where you need to add length - it could be from below the bust line, above the bust line, or even a bit from both.
To start, trace a copy of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and SIDE FRONT BODIE of the Acton pattern (it's always a good idea to trace a copy of the pattern, rather than using the original, in case you make a mistake. Although with a digital pattern you can always print another copy if necessary!), including all pattern markings (in this case the stitch line, grainlines and notches).
Normally I suggest removing the seam allowance when making pattern alterations, but when it's as simple as this alteration, there really is no need.
Draw a horizontal line (perpendicular to the grainline) through each pattern piece the location you need to add length. On the SIDE FRONT BODICE piece, extend the grainline so that it crosses the horizontal line and is on the top part of the pattern piece. As I said, for this tutorial I will be showing you how to remove length above the bust line. If you need to add length below the bust line, check out this tutorial.
CUT THROUGH THE PATTERN PIECES
Carefully cut through each line, separating each piece into two.
REMOVE THE EXCESS LENGTH
Work out how much you will be removing from the length of the bodice by referring to your toile. For the sake of the example, I will be removing 1cm (5/8") from the pattern. Draw a line parallel to the cut, 1cm (5/8") (or the amount you are removing) on the upper section of both pattern pieces.
Move the lower section of each piece up to meet the horizontal line. Use the grainline to help keep the pieces straight. Tape or glue in place.
RE-DRAW THE SEAMS
Redraw the seam lines that have been effected, by drawing a line of best fit through the original stitching lines.
Redraw the seam allowance lines (you may need to stick a bit of extra paper behind the pattern to make room for it, or even trace off the pattern onto a seperate piece of pattern paper).
And that's it, you're good to go with your new (and shorter) bodice! If you need to remove length from the back bodice, just follow the same process.