Posts filed under pattern making tutorials

The Collins Top Sew-Along : Lengthening the pattern

collins_top_lengthen_cover.gif

I have a feeling this post in the Collins Top sew-along might be of interest to quite a few of you! When I was designing the Collins Top, I really wanted a top that worked with high waisted trousers and skirts. I wear a lot of high waisted garments, and I know a lot of you do too. But if you don't, you may consider lengthening the Collins Top, to avoid flashing too much skin when you lift your arms (it's happened to all of us, right?) The pattern is drafted for height of 170cm (5'7"), with the front hem finishing close to the high hip (approximately in the position where mid-rise jeans would sit) - the back hem is lower (due to the hi-low hem design).

Lengthening a pattern is a really simple adjustment to make, but due to the panel lines of the Collins Top, it does make the process slightly (just slightly, I promise!) trickier.

There are times when you can just add some length to the hem of a pattern (when the side seams of a garment are quite straight, for example, a pencil skirt), but in the case of the Collins Top (and other patterns like it), you will be wanting to add the length to the inside of the pattern piece, so that you can keep the shape intact. If you were to just add length to the hem of this pattern, you would end up with quite a lot of volume in the hem, which is probably not ideal in a pattern that is already a trapezium shape. Due to the shape of the panels, I understand that this can seem a little daunting. But I promise, it really isn't!


Getting started

We'll start by making the adjustment to the front panels and then once that's done we'll move onto the back. To start, take the CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece and the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece. You can use the actual pattern pieces, or trace a copy if you would prefer to keep the original pieces intact.

Lengthen the pattern piece

You will notice that there is a 'Lengthen and shorten' line on each pattern piece. Take the pieces you are adding length to and cut through each of these lines - separating each piece into two. 

Take a blank piece of pattern paper (the amount you need will depend on how much length you are adding to your pattern) and mark a grainline on the left-hand side of the paper.

Now mark two horizontal lines, close to the bottom of the paper. You need to space the lines apart by the length you would like to add to the pattern. For example, if you would like to add 10cm (4in) to the pattern, space the lines 10cm (4in) apart, making sure they are parallel to each other, and perpendicular to the grainline.

Now, starting with the CENTRE FRONT PANEL pieces, line up the bottom section of the piece with the lower line, and the top section of the pattern with the upper line. Make sure the grainline (in this case the centre front) lines up with the grainline you marked on the pattern paper. Tape or glue pieces in place. 

Re-draw the seams

We now need to re-draw the panel lines to fill the gap that was created by adding length to the pattern. To do this, take a ruler and draw a straight line from the stitch line (marked by a grey line on each pattern piece) at the top of the pattern piece, to the stitch line at the hem. 

Do the same thing for the cutting line (draw a straight line from the top of the cutting line at the top of the pattern to the cutting line at the hem).

You will notice that with your new seam, the notches have become slightly displaced. Extend the original notches until they meet the new seam line. 

At this point you can either cut off the excess paper on the pattern piece, or trace the new lines to create a completely new pattern piece. 

Repeat for side panel

Repeat the process for the side panel. In this case, you will need to draw the grainline in the centre of the pattern paper. Make sure you add the same length to each piece. For example, if you added 10cm (4in) to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, you will need to add 10cm (4in) to the SIDE PANEL. 

Re-draw the panels in the same way you did on the front piece. 

Move the notches so they are in line with the new seam lines. Cut out the piece or trace onto a separate piece of pattern paper. 

Check pattern pieces

Before going any further, check that the pattern pieces fit together properly and that the notches line up correctly. To do this, place one piece on top of the other, aligning the stitch lines as if you were sewing the pieces together (you will need to flip the SIDE FRONT PANEL so that it's right side down).

For more detail about how to go about checking that your patterns fit together nicely, you can check out this tutorial

Add length to the back panels

collins_lengthen_pattern_13.gif

To add length to the back pieces, you will first need to tape the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL to the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL. This way you can make the adjustment and then re-cut the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL piece, so that everything remains in proportion (you don't want to add all the length to the UPPER CENTRE BACK PANEL as it would really change the design of the top). To do this, align the stitch lines of each piece, one on top of the other, and tape place.

 

Cut through the 'Lengthen / Shorten lines' on each piece, in the same way you did for the front pieces. Add length to each piece (the same amount you added to the front) and then re-draw each seam line. 

Re-draft back panel pieces

Measure the stitch line on the panel line. On the original pattern (before the adjustment), the panel line cuts the seam about three-fifths down the seam line, which means we need to find three-fifths of this new panel line. To do this, measure the line and then multiply it by 0.6 (three-fifths as a decimal). 

Measuring down from the top of the panel seam, mark a point three-fifths down from the top (the measurment you found in the prvious step).

collins_lengthen_pattern_15.gif

Mark a horizontal line (perpendicular to the centre back) through the point marked in the previous step. 

This will be your new panel line. 

Before splitting the piece into two separate pieces, mark a double notch on the seam line. This means that when you separate them, you will have a marking for how they go back together. 

Cut through the new seam line - separating the pattern back into two pieces. 

Add seam allowance

Add 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance to each side of the cut line - moving the notches to meet the edge of the pattern. For more detail on adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial.

You will notice that on the LOWER CENTRE BACK PANEL piece, the seam allowance doesn't follow the same angle as the panel line. This is so that when this seam is stitched and the seam pressed down towards the lower panel, the seam allowance will sit flush with the seam and not stick out. For more notes on this and a detailed explanation of how to use this technique yourself, you can take a look at this tutorial

Check back pattern pieces

Again, you will be wanting to check that the pieces fit nicely together and that the notches are in the right place. You may have realised that the middle notch on the SIDE BACK PANEL will no longer be in the correct position as we have added length to the LOWER BACK PANEL piece. 

A : Place the SIDE PANEL on to the BACK PANELS, lining up the stitch lines, one on top of the other. First, check that they are the same length. If they are not, have a look at this tutorial on checking and truing sewing patterns, for how to adjust the seam. 

B : Check that the notches are in line (and if they are not, move one set of notches so they are in the same position). Mark a new notch at the point where the horizontal seam in the back panels meets the BACK SIDE PANEL.

And the last thing you will want to do, is also check that the front and back side panels match correctly (do this in the same way you checked the pattern pieces above).

Lengthening the sleeves

 

If you would like to add length to the sleeves of the Collins Top, you can do it in exactly the same way as we did for the body pieces. Here you can see an example of this. 

I hope this helps and you are feeling less daunted about adding length to the Collins Top!

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


You may also like:

The Collins Top Sew-along : Re-drafting the facing (required after full bust adjustment)

front_facing_adjustment_cover.gif

Over the last couple of days I have shown you how to perform a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the Collins Top to start off the Collins Top sew-along. The process is a little different to what you might be used to, due to the fact that the top doesn't have a dart or bust shaping through a panel and it also has a panel line. You can find the tutorial here (this tutorial guides you through the process of creating a bust dart in the centre front panel). If you would like to know how to make the adjustment without the dart, then take a look at this tutorial (you will need to create the dart and then redistribute the fullness of the dart to the hemline). 

In today's post, I'd like to show you how to re-draft the front facing piece. By making changes to the centre front panel and the side front panel of the Collins Top, the original front facing will no longer fit the pattern. You will only need to do this if you are making View B of the Collins Top (the sleeveless version) and have made a Full Bust Adjustment.


Getting Started

re-draft_front_facing_1.gif

To start, grab your CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece, SIDE FRONT PANEL piece, FRONT FACING and FRONT SHOULDER PANEL piece. These are the pieces you will need to create your new facing piece. 

Relocate the dart (temporarily)

If you have created a dart, we will first need to remove it (don't worry, we will put it back once we make the new facing piece), as where possible, it's best to not have darts in a facing (as it just creates unnecessary bulk). You could fold out the dart - like in this dart shaping tutorial - and then draft the piece, but it becomes quite awkward to do it that way as the centre front piece becomes three dimensional, which makes if really tricky to trace a new piece. The most accurate way to do it is to remove the dart, draft the facing and then put the dart back (don't worry it's less of a cumbersome process than what it sounds like). If you already removed the dart using yesterday's tutorial, then you can simply jump to the next step. 

re-draft_front_facing_2

A : Draw a vertical line (parallel to the centre front line) down from the apex point (the tip of the dart) down to the hem. Cut along this line, from the hemline, up to the apex point. Stop cutting when you are 1-2mm from the apex point. Now cut along the lower dart arm (the one highlighted in the illustration) towards the dart arm. Again, stop 1-2mm from the apex point, creating a small hinge. 

B : Close out the dart by carefully pivoting the lower corner of the pattern so that the lower dart arm overlaps the upper dart arm. Tape in place (I suggest using masking tape so it is easy to remove later on when we want to get our dart back).

If you would like further explanation on this process, check out yesterday's post, where I went into it in a bit more detail.

re-draft_front_facing_3

Take the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece and line the stitching line up with the stitching line on the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, as if the two pieces have been sewn together. Hold in place with a couple of small pieces of masking tape (or even pins). You are going to want to be able to detach these pieces later. 

re-draft_front_facing_4

Now, position the FRONT SHOULDER PANEL onto the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, again matching stitch lines as if the two pieces have been sewn together. Tape in place. 

re-draft_front_facing_5

Place the FRONT FACING piece on top of your panels, lining up the neckline, shoulder seam and centre front. You will notice that the front facing no longer matches the pieces it needs to (due to the full bust adjustment we made).

re-draft_front_facing_6

You can see that if we cut this piece we would be missing fabric at the side seam and under the arm. 

Re-draft the facing piece

re-draft_front_facing_7

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace off the original FRONT FACING piece in pencil (you are going to need to erase part of the line in a minute), being sure to trace the stitch line and the cutting line, as well as the notches. 

re-draft_front_facing_8

Place the traced FACING piece on top of your panels, again lining up the neckline, shoulder seam and centre front.

re-draft_front_facing_9

We will need to know the length of the side seam on the FACING so that when we make the new piece, it will have the same length side seam as the original, so that it still fits correctly with the back facing piece (that does not need any adjustments). Measure the side seam (on the stitch line) and take note of this measurement. 

re-draft_front_facing_10

Now, erase the lines that do not match the shape of the pattern underneath (the underarm and side seam), so that you can draw the correct shaping on the piece. 

re-draft_front_facing_11

To start, trace the side seam from the SIDE FRONT PANEL, making the line the length of the original facing side seam (found a moment ago).

re-draft_front_facing_12

Trace the armhole line as well as the side seam (both stitch line and cutting line) from the pattern underneath. 

re-draft_front_facing_13

Join the endpoint on the side seam with the bottom edge of the facing. You want it to be a nice and smooth curve. 

re-draft_front_facing_14

Transfer notches, cut out the pattern piece and add grainline and cutting instructions.

Go back to your CENTRE FRONT piece and remove the tape from the dart so you can put the dart back in place. 

And voila! You have a new facing piece that fit your adjusted panels. 

See all the posts in the Collins Top Sew-along.


you may also like:

The Collins Top Sew-along : Full bust adjustment - removing the bust dart

full_bust_adjustment_cover.gif

In yesterday's post, I showed you how to do a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on the Collins Top pattern to start off the Collins Top Sew-along. The process is a little different to a usual FBA because of the panel line in the front piece, as well as the lack of dart or bust shaping in the pattern. 

In yesterday's tutorial I showed you how to add a dart to the centre front panel of the Collins Top to get some extra width across the bust, if your bust measurement is larger than the B cup In the Folds patterns are drafted for. 

In today's post, I want to show you how to remove that dart, if you would prefer to keep the pattern dartless.

If you have done a little pattern making (or pattern adjusting) yourself though, you will know it is not as easy as just removing a dart. You cannot actually remove a dart, but you can relocate it or redistribute it. So basically, what we are going to do in the case of the Collins Top, is that we are going to relocate the dart to the hemline and then use it as extra fullness in the hem. I have done a tutorial on this process in the past, so if you would like to take a look you can have a look at this tutorial.

I know that the Collins already has quite a bit of ease in the hem (it is a trapeze shaped silhouette after all), so I will also show you how to remove the extra fullness later in the tutorial too. Please bear with me, it is quite a long tutorial, but the process isn't complicated. Just take it one step at a time.


Getting started

remove_dart_fba_1

Step 1 :

Use the first Full Bust Adjustment tutorial to add a dart to your Collins Top. You will only need to follow steps 1 - 14 of the tutorial to get to where you need to be to follow this tutorial.  

Remove the dart

remove_dart_fba_2

Step 2 :

To remove the dart, cut in from the side seam, along the lower dart arm towards the apex point. Stop cutting when you are 1-2mm from the apex point.

remove_dart_fba_3

Step 3 :

Cut up from the hem of the top, along line 2, towards the apex point. Again, stop cutting 1-2mm from the apex point, to create a small hinge. 

Close the dart

remove_dart_fba_4

Step 4 : 

A : Now, swing the side section of the pattern on the little hinge you created, so that the lower dart arm moves towards the upper dart arm. 

B : Continue swinging that section of the pattern around, until the lower dart arm meets the upper dart arm. Once the dart arms are aligned, tape in place. 

remove_dart_fba_5

Step 5 :

As you will know, if you have made pattern adjustments before, there is really no such thing as removing a dart. By closing the dart in the side seam, you are opening up a "dart" at the hemline. You will see that indicated in the illustration above. By closing the dart in the side seam, we have made a large dart in the hem. 

Tape some pattern paper behind the working pattern to fill the gap created in the hemline.

You can choose to leave the top as is - now with the trapeze shape more pronounced or you can choose to remove this extra width from the side seam. If you have chosen to keep the extra fullness, continue working your way through the tutorial. 

If you would like to remove the extra fullness from the side seam, skip the following steps and jump to step 14.

Re-draw the panel line

remove_dart_fba_6

Step 6 :

Measure the opening at the hemline (making sure you take the measurement on the stitch line (1cm / 3/8" up form the edge of the pattern) and take note of this measurement.

remove_dart_fba_7

Step 7 :

We will distribute the added fullness to either side of the panel line, so you will need to mark a point on the hemline at the centre of the opening. 

remove_dart_fba_8

Step 8 :

Draw a straight line from the point you just marked on the hemline, up to the point where the original panel line intersects the armhole. There you have your new panel line!

Mark balance points

Balance points are pointers on your pattern that help you put pieces together correctly, as well as help you when you are sewing a very long, or curved seam.

If you have sewn one of my patterns before, you will know I love a balance point! I really love using them as they basically give you a little reinforcement each time that you are assembling your garment correctly. I loved when one of my pattern testers once said "The notches are like little ticks you get all the way through the process to let you know that you're on the right track." That's exactly what I am going for with all the notches!

remove_dart_fba_9

On the Collins Top, you will notice that there are two single notches on the centre front panel line, so that you know which side of the SIDE FRONT PANEL should be sewn to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. During the process of the adjustments, we lost those two notches. So now it's time to put them back.

remove_dart_fba_10

Step 9 :

Mark two notches on the panel line. It doesn't really matter where you put them, as these two pieces will be sewn together.

Trace your new pattern pieces

remove_dart_fba_11

Step 10 :

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace your new CENTRE FRONT PANEL piece by tracing around the original neckline, and then down the new panel line. Trace along the centre front line and hemline. 

Add seam allowance + notches

remove_dart_fba_12

Step 11 : 

Add seam allowance to your new pattern piece. You can trace the seam allowance from the neckline, armhole and hem and then add 1.5cm (5/8") to the panel line. For more detail on adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial

Transfer the notches onto your new pattern piece, from the working pattern. 

remove_dart_fba_12

Step 12 :

Finalise the pattern piece by adding cutting instructions and grainline.

For more detail about adding cutting instructions to your pattern, take a look at this tutorial.

Side front panel

remove_dart_fba_13

Step 13 :

Repeat process for the SIDE FRONT PANEL. You will notice that you will need to redraw the side seam with a straight line. Draw the line from the top of the original seam line to the bottom of the original seam line. 

True the seam allowances on your new pattern pieces, and check the SIDE FRONT PANEL and the SIDE BACK PANEL still match together properly at the side seam. 

Add grainline and cutting instructions (SIDE FRONT PANEL - CUT 1 PAIR).

And you're ready to start sewing!


Remove fullness from the hem

If you would prefer to remove the extra fullness from the hemline of your Collins Top after your Full Bust Adjustment, then this part of the tutorial is for you!

remove_dart_fba_14

Step 14 :

A : On the stitch line, measure the length of the opening at the hem. Take note of this measurement.

B : Measuring in from the side seam, mark a point the distance found in step A. For example, if the opening is 10cm, mark a point 10cm in from the side seam on the stitch line. 

remove_dart_fba_15

Step 15 :

A : Re-draw the side seam by joining the top of the original side seam to the bottom with a straight line.

B : Now draw a straight line from the point marked on the hemline (in step 14B) to the point on the line you just marked, at the point where you closed out the dart. Extend the line a few centimetres (1" or so) beyond the intersection point. This line will become your new side seam. 

Note : If we simply drew a stright line between the top of the side seam and the new point on the hem, we would lose too much width across the bust from the side seam. 

remove_dart_fba_16

Step 16 :

You will notice that the new side seam deviates from the original side seam a little bit at the top. We need to check how much has been added so we can add that same amount to the front sleeve piece. Take a ruler or tape measure and measure from the original side seam to the new side seam, on the stitch line. In the example, the new side seam is 1.9cm away from the original side seam at the underarm point. This means I need to add 1.9cm to the sleeve piece as well. 

To complete the front and side pattern pieces, draw in your panel line and then trace off the pieces. You can find out how to do this by scrolling back up to steps 6 - 13.


Making the adjustment to the sleeve piece. 

remove_dart_fba_17

Step 17 :

A : Trace a copy of the FRONT SLEEVE pattern.

B : Draw a diagonal line down from the underarm point on the stitch line down to the hem. 

C : Cut down the line from the top towards the hem. Stop when you get 1-2mm from the stitch line at the hem. Cut up from the hem towards the point where you stopped cutting. Leave a 1-2mm hinge in place.

D : Swing open the pattern with the hinge, opening up the sleeve curve by the amount you need to add to the pattern (this is the same technique you learned earlier in this tutorial). For example, 1.9cm was added to my side front panel (step 16), so I will open up this piece by 1.9cm.

remove_dart_fba_18

Step 19 :

Take some scraps of pattern paper and fill in the gaps on your pattern piece. Redraw the armhole curve (and seam allowance) and the hem line (and seam allowance). There you have it. Your sleeve piece will now fit into the armhole on your top. 

If you are making View B of the Collins Top (sleeveless version), tomorrow I'll be going through how to make adjustments to your front facing to fit with your newly adjusted bodice.


You may also like:

The Collins Top Sew-along : Full bust adjustment (FBA for a dartless bodice)

full_bust_adjustment_cover.gif

Welcome to the first tutorial in the Collins Top Sew-along! In today's post, we're talking Full Bust Adjustments (FBA), which is one of the most frequently used adjustments. A few of you have already contacted me about how to do a FBA on the Collins Top, so I know this tutorial will be helpful to a lot of you!

During the Acton Sew-along I showed you how to do a FBA on a princess seam, but for the Collins Top you'll need a slightly different technique as it doesn't have a princess seam (or a dart).

You will be able to use this tutorial on any pattern that has a flat front (doesn't have a princess seam or dart).

We'll be making the FBA by adding a dart to the CENTRE FRONT PANEL only. We will do this by adding a dart to the front (with the side panel and centre front panel as a whole piece) and then removing it from the side panel - leaving you with just a small dart in the centre front panel. If you like, you can then close out the dart altogether and redistribute the fullness to the hem. You can find out how to do that by looking at the next post in the Collins Top sew-along


WHEN YOU'LL NEED TO DO A FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT 

Most indie pattern companies (including In the Folds) draft for a B cup bust. There are of course exceptions to this rule (such as Cashmerette and Colette Patterns), so make sure you check on your pattern before assuming the bust cup size.

In terms of the Collins Top, it is a loose style which means it is a little more forgiving than more fitted patterns (such as the Acton, for example) so in some cases you can probably get away with not making a bust adjustment. For example, if your bust is smaller than a B cup, it is unlikely you need to bother doing a Small Bust Adjustment. I have an A cup bust, but have not made adjustments to any of my Collins tops. Also if your bust is just slightly bigger than a B cup, it is also likely you will be okay without the adjustment. By checking the finished measurmentes, you will see that there is a lot of ease in this pattern. 

Check the finished garment measurements and go from there. 

WORK OUT YOUR CUP SIZE

Your cup size in sewing patterns may not always correspond to the bra size you wear. To be safe, check your measurements before deciding if you need to make any adjustments to the pattern. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_1

To do this, measure your high bust measurement (the area above your breasts, under your arms) as well as your full bust  (the fullest part of your chest) and then take note of each measurement, as well as the difference.

If the difference is 2.5cm (1") your bust is an A cup, 5cm (2") it's a B cup, 7.5cm (3") is a C cup and so on. 

CHOOSE YOUR SIZE

Now, go back to your high bust measurement and add 5cm (2"). This is what your bust measurement would be if you were a B cup and therefore the size you should be choosing from the pattern.

For example, let's say your upper bust measures 81cm (32"). Add 5cm (2") to this measurement to find out what size your bust measurement falls into on the In the Folds sizing chart (and what size you would be if you had B cup breasts). 81cm + 5cm = 86cm which corresponds to a size C. Your actual bust measurement is 89cm  though - 3cm (1") larger than the cup size of the pattern. This means you need to do a FBA and add this 3cm (1") to your pattern. 

As the bodice is cut on the fold, you need to take the measurement you will be adding and divide it by two. For example, this 3cm (just over 1") mentioned in the example, will be split between either side of the front bodice - 1.5cm (1/2") on each side. 


GETTING STARTED

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_2

Step 1:

Take the two pieces that make the front of the Collins Top - the CENTRE FRONT PANEL and the SIDE FRONT PANEL. The first step will be to turn these pieces into one pattern piece (removing the panel line) as this will make the adjustment much easier to manage. At the end, we'll put the panel line back in place, so there won't be any change to the design of the top (except for the addition of the dart - which can be removed later on, if you prefer). 

TRACE PIECES

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_3

Step 2:

Take the SIDE FRONT PANEL piece and place it on top of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, lining up the stitch lines (the grey line on the pattern), as if the pieces have been sewn together. If you are struggling to see the lines, it can help to put the pieces up to a window and see through the paper that way (or a lightbox, if you have one). Once the pieces are correctly lined up, use masking tape (or similar) to hold the pieces in place. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_4

Step 2:

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the piece - being sure to include all pattern markings (in this case: the grainline and notches). Also trace the panel line.

Make sure you trace both the cutting line and the stitching line - this is really important. In the Folds patterns include the stitching line on each pattern piece so that it is easier for you to make alterations to your pattern. I know we would all love to be able to cut a pattern in a straight size and for it to fit perfectly, but unfortunately that's not the way it is (I even have to make adjustments to In the Folds patterns so they fit my figure properly), so having the stitch lines can help you make adjustments more quickly and easily. When making pattern alterations, I normally suggest removing the seam allowance, but because the stitch line is marked on the pattern, you can leave it on. 

MARK APEX POINT ON THE PATTERN

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_5

Step 3:

The next step is to mark your apex point on the pattern. Your apex point is the peak of the fullest part of your breast... which basically means your nipple! This point varies from person to person, so you can work it out by holding the pattern piece up to your body and working it out, or by referring to a toile (if you have toiled your Collins Top before working on any adjustments). 

PREPARE PATTERN PIECE FOR THE ADJUSTMENT

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_5_1

Step 5:

Take a ruler and draw a line from where the panel line intersects the armhole to your apex point. You can label this line as line 1. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_6

Step 6:

Now draw a line from the apex point straight down to the hemline - parallel to the centre front. This is line 2. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_7

Step 7:

Draw a line from the apex point to the side seam. You'll want it to meet the side seam about 5cm (2in) down from the armhole. I chose to rule the line to the first notch on the side seam. This is line 3.

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_8

Step 8:

Draw the last guideline (4) perpendicular to line 2 about 12cm (3in) up from the hemline.

Cut

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_9

Step 9:

Now it's time to start making that adjustment!

A: From the hem of the top, cut up line 2, towards the apex point. From the apex point turn and continue cutting, this time along line 1. Stop when you are about 1-2mm away from the armhole line (stitch line).

B: Cut in towards the armhole stitch line from the seam allowance, stopping about 1-2mm from where you stopped cutting in step A - creating a small "hinge."

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_10

Step 10:

Cut along line 3 from the side seam towards the apex point. Stop 1-2mm from the apex point, again creating a small "hinge."

Add width to the pattern

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_11

Step 11:

Take a piece of pattern paper (about the size of your front piece) and draw a vertical line in roughly the centre of the paper.

By this stage you should know how much width you need to add to the bust. Take this measurement and divide it by two (you will add half the extra width to either side of the front piece, so in total it equals the whole amount you need). Draw a second line - parallel to the first - this distance away from the first line. For example, if you need to add a total of 5cm (2in) to the bust, you will be drawing the line 2.5cm (1in) away from the first. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_12

Step 12:

Carefully place your pattern piece on top of the paper underneath.

Now that you have cut through the lines, you will be able to manoeuvre the pieces so that you can the extra width you need to add around the bust. Carefully place the pattern onto the guidelines you drew in the previous step. Line up the the left-hand side of your pattern with the first line (line on left side), and carefully tape in place. Only tape above line 4, as in a moment we will be cutting along that line.

Now, carefully spread open the cut (line 2), spreading the side of your bodice until the apex point intersects with the second line (right hand side). As you do this, you will see a dart open up at the side seam (line 3). 

Add length to the pattern

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_13

Step 13:

Cut along line 4, detaching that piece of the pattern. Move this section down until it is in line with the rest of the pattern (horizontally). Tape or glue in place. You can see that this adjustment has not only added width to the pattern, but length as well. When making a full bust adjustment you need to add extra length so that there is enough fabric to comfortably go over the breasts, without making the garment too short. 

Create a dart

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_14

Step 14:

You will see that through making the adjustment, you have made a dart at the side seam. Draw in two dart arms, one from each side of the opening on the side seam to the apex point.

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_15

Step 15:

We will call the dart arms the 'upper dart arm' and the 'lower dart arm.'

Re-draw Panel line

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_16

Step 16:

The next thing we need to do is work out what this adjustment has done to the panel line and if any adjustment to the line needs to be made. To do this, we will need to fold out the dart as if it has been sewn. To do this, fold along the lower dart arm.

You will notice this tutorial has shifted from illustrations to photographs. Unfortunately my illustration skills leave me hanging a bit when it comes to illustrating three dimensional techniques, so I thought the clearest way to illustrate this technique would be through photographs. I used a print out of one of the illustrations to keep things consistent, and hopefully not confuse you too much!

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_17

Step 17:

Take your working piece to a corner of your table. By using a corner, you will be able to fold out your dart as if the piece has been sewn. Align the apex point (the dart point) with the corner of the table, and move the folded line (lower dart arm) towards the upper dart arm. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_18

Step 18:

When the lower dart arm is in line with the upper dart arm, finger press (making sure the dart is sitting flat) and then tape or pin in place. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_19

Step 19:

You will notice that the panel line is no longer a continuous line, and it is also no longer straight. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_20

Step 20:

To rectify this, take a ruler and draw a straight line from the top of the panel line (the point that intersects the armhole) to the bottom of the panel line (where the line intersects the hem). This can be a little awkward to do, having the pattern still on the corner of the table, so just be careful and take your time to get it right.

Before removing the pin, take a tracing wheel and run it over the line at the point where the dart is folded (this will transfer the date shaping to the bulk of the dart). If you don't have a tracing wheel, simply take a pin and make pin points every 2-3mm along the panel line over the folded dart. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_21

Step 21:

Unfold the dart.

You will now have the correct dart shaping marked on your piece (so that when your dart is folded and then sewn, the dart will sit flush with the panel line).

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_23

Step 22:

Take a ruler and join the dots to finalise the dart shaping.

For more detail on the process, check out this tutorial on How to Add Dart Shaping

Finalise the centre front panel piece

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_23

Step 23:

Take a spare piece of pattern paper and trace off the centre front panel, being sure to trace the new panel line and not the original line.

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_24

Step 24:

Now, mark the dart. You will want to make the point of the dart about 1.5cm (5/8in) from the apex point (inside the dart), to avoid the dart point sitting right on top of your nipple (not a great look).  

Add seam allowance

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_25

Step 25:

Add seam allowance by tracing the original seam allowance on the neckline, armhole and hem and then adding 1.2cm (1/2in) to the panel line.

For further explanation about adding seam allowance to a pattern, check out this tutorial

Mark notches

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_26

Step 26:

Mark in your notches by tracing the original notches and then adding one at either dart arm. Add another notch on the panel line (this will act as a balance point for when you are joining the FRONT SIDE PANEL). You can place it wherever you like as we will mark it on the FRONT SIDE PANEL piece a little later in the tutorial. 

You will also need to mark the dart point. I like to mark dart point 1.5cm (5/8in) inside the dart so that when I am sewing it, I sew 1.5cm (5/8in) beyond the marking and the marking gets hidden inside the dart. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_27

Step 27:

Finalise the pattern piece by adding cutting instructions, marking the grainline and the centre front. You can then cut out your pattern piece, ready for fabric cutting!

For more information on adding pattern markings, take a look at this tutorial, which covers all you need to know about notches, grainlines and cutting instructions.  

Finalise the SIDE FRONT panel

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_28

Step 28:

Move back to your working piece.

Cut along the panel line (being sure it's the new panel line and not the original panel line) - separating the piece into two, so that we can focus on the SIDE FRONT PANEL.

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_29

Step 29:

Cut along the dart arms that intersect the FRONT SIDE PANEL (we will be removing the dart from the FRONT SIDE PANEL, as we only need the dart in CENTRE FRONT PANEL) to create two separate pieces. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_30

Step 30:

Tape the two pieces together by lining up the cut edges. You have now closed out the section of the dart that was on this panel. 

Create a new pattern piece

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_31

Step 31:

Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the new pattern piece. Your side seam is likely to be a little disjointed since making the adjustment (like mine is in the example). Re-draw the seam by drawing a straight line from the top to the bottom of the seam - on the stitch line. This is called "truing" a pattern.

Add seam allowance

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_32

Step 32:

Add seam allowance in the same way that you did on the front panel. The side seam has 1.5cm (5/8in) seam allowance and the panel line has 1.2cm (1/2in).

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_33

Step 33:

Transfer the grainline and add cutting instructions.

You will notice that we have lost almost all the notches in the process of making the adjustment. I'll show you how to get those back now. 

Marking notches

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_34

Step 34:

Place the SIDE FRONT PANEL on top of the CENTRE FRONT PANEL, lining up the stitch line - as if the two pieces were being sewn (this is when transparent pattern paper is really helpful). The CENTRE FRONT PANEL will be right side up and the SIDE FRONT PANEL will be right side down. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_35

Step 35:

Transfer the notches from the CENTRE FRONT PANEL onto the SIDE FRONT PANEL. Only transfer the notch from the lower dart arm, not the upper dart arm (as when the dart is sewn, the dart will be what lines up with the notch on the SIDE FRONT PANEL).

True the seam allowance

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_36

Step 36:

While you have the pattern there, true the seam allowance at the hem (so that when the seam is pressed it will sit flush with the hem).

For more detail on why we do this and how to do it, check out this tutorial on truing patterns

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_37

Step 37:

Now we can true the top of the seam allowance by aligning the top of the panel seam (above the top notch) with the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. You will notice that the rest of the seam no longer matches up. This is because of the dart. When the dart is sewn, the angle of the seam will change and match perfectly with the SIDE FRONT PANEL.

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_38

Step 38:

True the seam allowance in the same way that you did for the other end of the seam. 

Add notches to the side seam

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_39

Step 39:

Now it's time to add notches to the side seam. Take the SIDE BACK PANEL so that we can transfer the notches from this piece onto the SIDE FRONT PANEL (as these pieces will be sewn together and therefore need to match). 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_40

Step 40:

Again, line up the stitching lines, as if you were sewing the pieces together. Transfer the notches from the SIDE BACK PANEL to the SIDE FRONT PANEL. 

Please note : If there is a discrepancy between the lengths of the side seams (which there could be due to the alteration we made to the SIDE FRONT PANEL), use this tutorial to true the seams so that they are the same length. 

full_bust_adjustment_fba_dartless_bodice_41

And there you have it, the finished SIDE FRONT PANEL!

Now you can go ahead and make your Collins Top! The process will be the same as the instructions that come with the pattern, except you will need to start by sewing your darts in the CENTRE FRONT PANEL. 


I know that turned out to be a very long tutorial. What did you think? Easy process?


You may also like:

Posted on June 27, 2017 and filed under fitting, pattern making tutorials, sewalong, the collins top.

Notes on : Notching patterns

notching_sewing_patterns_1

During the Acton sew-along, I showed you a range of different alterations you may need to make to your Acton dress pattern.

As I was creating the tutorials, I realised that I probably should provide some information on how to notch patterns correctly. Sometimes, when making alterations to patterns, you may displace a notch or two, so today I will show you how to re-mark notches, as well as add notches to your own patterns (if you are drafting from scratch).

Just in case you have no idea what I'm talking about, I thought I'd start by letting you know what a notch is, and then how to use them. 

What is a notch?

notching_sewing_patterns_2

A notch is a small cut in the fabric (or a triangle on some commercial patterns) that help guide you while you are sewing. They are used to indicate seam allowance, dart arms, the location of design details, such as pleats, tucks, gathers, hems and pockets, or indicate key points on the pattern (like the centre front or centre back). Notches are also used to indicate balance points (points on your pattern that help you sew the right pieces together, as well as help you when you are sewing long or curved seams).

Why use notches?

If you are drafting your own patterns, you will be wanting to add notches to your patterns to make it easier to assemble the garment. If you are clever about where you put them, having well placed notches can help you assemble a pattern without instructions (which is handy if you are drafting your own patterns, as you won't have any!). Notches will help you know which piece is the front or back, what seam allowance is required and if there are any special design details such as pleats.

If you are designing patterns for other people, I think it is even more important for you to take the time to notch patterns correctly. I know the way I notch my patterns is an aspect that people really like about my patterns. They act as little markers along the way that let you know you are putting the garment together correctly. I remember one of the women that tested the Rushuctter pattern for me said she felt that each time she reached a notch, she felt like it was a little tick to let her know she was going well. As designers, it's not just about making patterns that help sewists make beautiful clothing. It's also about making a pattern that creates an enjoyable and memorable making experience, and I believe that attention to detail is a great way to do this.

Where should I place the notches?

I thought it would make the most sense if I showed you one of my patterns and where each notch was placed, and why, and then you can apply this method to your own patterns. It really is very simple if you just add your notches in a methodical way. The pattern I am using for the example is the Peplum Top that I made in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine, that can be downloaded for free here

Indicate seam allowance

notching_sewing_patterns_3

Start by using notches to indicate seam allowances. This is really helpful if you are using various seam allowances (which you should - find out more about seam allowances here) and struggle to remember what seam allowance is applicable where. Use a notch to indicate each seam allowance on your pattern. You will see in the example that I have used a notch to mark the shoulder seam, side seam and waist seam. You don't need to mark the seam allowance at both ends of the seam, just one will do. Consider the order of construction when positioning your notches. For example, I normally sew the side seams of a garment from the armhole down, so I will put the notch at that end of the seam. 

notching_sewing_patterns_4

You also want to avoid notching two sides of the same corner. This can weaken the pattern and the fabric. 

notching_sewing_patterns_6

Put notches in the same places on the back pattern piece, so that when you join the pieces, the notches will match. For example, when putting a notch on the side seam of the back pattern piece, I will put it in the same position as the front - which is at the top of the seam. The back pattern piece has a centre back seam, so I added a notch to indicate that too.

Add balance points

notching_sewing_patterns_7

The next thing to do is to add 'balance point' notches. These are the notches that help you figure out what seam matches with what, and which way the pieces go, as well as help you ease pieces together, or sew ver long seams.

In the example, there is a shoulder panel piece that is attached to the front and back shoulder seams. It looks almost the same at both ends, so without these notches it would be really tricky to know which way to put the piece in. On the front pattern I used two single notches to indicate the front and on the back one single and one double notch (double notches are generally used to indicate the back pattern piece or back of a pattern piece). 

notching_sewing_patterns_8

Transfer the notches from the shoulder seam to the shoulder panel. Do this by simply matching the seams together, as if they were being sewn, and transfer the notches onto the pattern piece (a tracing wheel can help with this step). You can also transfer the seam allowance notch at this stage.

notching_sewing_patterns_9

Do the same for the back. 

Notch centre front and centre back

notching_sewing_patterns_10

Use notches to indicate the centre front and / or the centre back of the pattern. As the Peplum Top has a seam in the centre back, only the centre front requires notches. 

Mark any other details

notching_sewing_patterns_11

At this stage, use notches to mark any other design details, such as pocket location, dart arms etc. In the case of the Peplum Top, it has a gathered piece attached to the waist, so I added notches so that it is easy to know how much you need to gather the panel (it is a pet peeve of mine when patterns don't have notches for gathered panels).

Putting notches on curves

You may have noticed that there were no curved seams to add notches to in the example. When working with curves, you need to "walk" the curve into the seam it will be sewn to and transfer the notches along the way. This tutorial goes into more depth if you need to notch your curves - for example: sleeves, princess panels etc.

So, what do you think? Are you convinced that notches will help you sew better?


You may also like:

Posted on February 10, 2017 and filed under pattern making tutorials.

Pattern hack : How to add a full skirt to the Acton dress

Hello, hello, I hope you enjoyed the Acton sew-along! Today I thought I'd show you a little pattern hack. A customer got in touch to tell me she was planning on using the Acton pattern to make her bridesmaids dresses (swoon!) and wanted to know how she could go about adding a full circle skirt, instead of the standard A-line skirt (view A). I thought it would be a good tutorial to share on the blog, as I'm sure many of you would love an Acton with a full skirt, while some of you may also be interested in how you add a full circle skirt to a pattern that doesn't have a straight waist seam - and this tutorial fits the bill for both!

Getting started

To start, trace a copy of the front skirt pattern piece with seam allowance - be sure to also trace the stitch line (the grey line on the pattern) and transfer the notches, grainline and drill hole. Cut out the pattern piece. 

Take a large piece of pattern paper and draw a vertical line down the right hand side. Label line as "Centre Front."

Take your pattern piece and line up the centre front of the skirt, with the line marked as Centre Front on the paper. Tape in place (only down the centre front).

Mark in your 'Cut and Spread' lines

We will be using the 'Cut and Spread' method to add the extra fullness to the skirt.

Draw two straight lines from the top of the skirt to the bottom - roughly splitting the skirt into thirds. 

Starting at the hem of the skirt, carefully cut up each of the lines. Cut up to the stitch line, but do not cut through the stitch line. 

Cut the remainder of each line from the top edge (cutting down towards the stitch line). Don't cut all the way through though, stop a few millimetres from the stitch line, leaving a 1-2mm "hinge" to keep the pieces together (if they do accidentally come apart, just tape back in place). 

Cut and spread

Slowly open up the hemline of the skirt by swinging the section closest to the side seam out from the cut. You will see that the small hinge created will allow you to open (or close) the cut lines by the desired amount. 

Open up the second cut line (closest to the centre front) and then play around with the openings until you are happy with how much you are adding to the hemline overall (and both are opened evenly). 

When you are happy with the result, tape or glue the pieces in place on the backing paper. 

Re-draw the waistline

You will now notice that the waistline is looking a little scary! We will need to rectify that now. 

Re-draw the waistline with a smooth curve (on the stitch line). Be careful not to let the line stray too far from the original stitch line. The new line needs to be the same length as the original waistline so that the new skirt piece will still fit with the original bodice. 

Re-draw the hemline

Re-draw the hemline with a nice smooth curve. 

Trace the pattern

Take another large piece of pattern paper and trace a copy of the new pattern piece. Start by tracing the stitching line - centre front, new hemline, side seam and new waistline. 

Add seam allowance

Add seam allowance to the new pattern piece - either using the original cutting lines as a guide, or adding it yourself - 1.5cm at the side seam, 1.2cm at the hem and waistline. If you are wondering why the seam allowance sits at an angle on the side seam, check out this post

Add notches, grainline and drill hole

Transfer the notches from the original pattern, as well as the grainline and drillhole in the centre front. 

Finalise the pattern

Cut out your new pattern piece and add cutting instructions (i.e. "Cut 1 on fold"). Repeat process for the back pattern piece (opening up each cut and spread line by the same amount as you did on the front piece).

One last tip

Tip: Be sure to let your full skirt hang for a few days before you hem it. Due to the nature of a full skirt, some parts of the skirt are cut on the bias, which means they stretch (or "drop") more easily that other sections of the skirt, which means that if you hem it straight away, you are likely to end up with a wobbly hemline. Let your skirt hang and then re-cut the hemline before hemming. 

The Acton sew-along will continue tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying these posts and learning lots!


You may also like:

The Acton sew-along : How to grade between pattern sizes

For many women, your measurements will range across several sizes, and you will need to grade between sizes after you print your pattern. For example, in most patterns, my hip measurement is usually a size or two bigger than my waist measurement, which means I need to grade up from the waist to the hip to account for this difference. It's a really easy adjustment to make, and makes the world of difference when achieving a great fit (and that's one of the main reasons we all sew, right?)

So today, to coincide with the Acton sew-along, I thought I'd show you how it's done!

Print the pattern

acton_grading_sizes_1.gif

To start, take your measurements to work out what size/s you need. Print the Acton dress pattern. In the Folds digital patterns are layered, so you can just print the size/s you need. Check out this tutorial if you need some help with this step (please note : for the Acton, there is just a "Pattern Info" layer that includes the grid and tags). Assemble the pattern as normal.

Mark hip line on the pattern

acton_grading_sizes_2.gif

Mark the hip line on the pattern. You can do this by holding the pattern piece up to your body and marking your hip location. 

Grade between sizes

acton_grading_sizes_3.gif

In the case of the example, I am grading between a size C at the waist, up to a size D at the hip. To do this, simply draw a diagonal line from the size you are at the waist, to the size you are at the hip. As you can see in the illustration, the top of the pattern is still a size C (which means it will still fit together with the size C bodice), but at the waist it is now a size D.

Complete the pattern

acton_grading_sizes_4.gif

Now, there are a couple of options for what to do next. You can either continue the side seam on the size you have reached on the hip, or continue the straight line created by the diagonal line. You can see that the first option creates a shallow point at the hip, but when just grading up one size, it's no big deal - it won't effect the shape of the skirt.

acton_grading_sizes_5.gif

If you're grading between more than one size (or don't mind a little more volume in the hem), then you can just continue the diagonal line, until you reach the hem. 

acton_grading_sizes_6.gif

Complete the hem, by extending the original hemline (you choose which size you prefer at the hem line - according to the length you want) until it intersects the new side seam. 

acton_grading_sizes_7.gif

Move any notches that have been displaced by the new side seam... And you're done!

Cut out the new pattern piece and get sewing.


You may also like:

Posted on January 20, 2017 and filed under pattern making tutorials, sewalong, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Small Bust Adjustment

small_bust_adjustment_acton_1

Today, for the Acton sew-along, I'll be showing you how to do a small bust adjustment. Although the pattern I have used for the example is the Acton dress, you can adapt this tutorial to any pattern that includes princess seams. 

WHEN YOU'LL NEED TO DO A Small BUST ADJUSTMENT 

Most indie pattern companies (including In the Folds) draft for a B cup bust. There are of course exceptions to this rule (such as Cashmerette and Colette), so make sure you check on your pattern before assuming the bust cup size.

This means that if your bust cup size is smaller than a B you will need to do a Small Bust Adjustment, otherwise known as a SBA, and if your bust cup size is larger than a B you will need to do a Full Bust Adjustment or FBA

WORK OUT YOUR CUP SIZE

Your cup size in sewing patterns may not always correspond to the bra size you wear. To be safe, check your measurements before deciding if you need to make any adjustments to the pattern. 

small_bust_adjustment_acton_2

Measure your high bust measurement (the area above your breasts, under your arms) as well as your full bust (the fullest part of your chest / horizontal measurement across your nipples) and then take note of each measurement, as well as the difference.

If the difference is 2.5cm (1") your bust is an A cup, 5cm (2") it's a B cup, 7.5cm (3") is a C cup and so on. 

CHOOSE YOUR SIZE

Now, go back to your high bust measurement and add 5cm (2"). This is what your bust measurement would be if you were a B cup and therefore the size you should be choosing from the pattern.

For example, let's say your upper bust measures 81cm (32"). Add 5cm (2") to this measurement to find out what size your bust measurement falls into on the In the Folds sizing chart (and what size you would be if you had B cup breasts). 81cm + 5cm = 86cm which corresponds to a size C. Your actual bust measurement is 83cm though - 3cm (just over 1") smaller than the bust measurement of the pattern. This means you will need to do a SBA and remove this 3cm (1") from your pattern. 

small_bust_adjustment_acton_3

Just like when we did the FBA, we will also need to remove some length from the bust panel, not only width.

To work out how much length you need to remove, measure from your shoulder down to your bust point. Take note of the measurement. The pattern has been drafted to accommodate the following shoulder to bust length:

Size A - 25cm / Size B - 25.5cm / Size C - 26cm / Size D - 26.5cm / Size E - 27.5cm / Size F - 28.5cm / Size G - 29cm / Size H - 29.5cm / Size J - 30cm / Size K - 31cm

Select the pattern size you will be using and deduct your shoulder to bust measurement from the relevant measurement. For example, my shoulder to bust measurement is 24cm, my measurements put me into a size C bust (although my bust measurements tells me I need an SBA) which is designed for a 26cm shoulder to bust length. This means I will need to reduce the bust seam by 2cm. 

GETTING STARTED

small_bust_adjustment_acton_4

Trace a copy of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and CENTRE FRONT BODICE. I always suggest to trace a copy of the pattern, so if you make a mistake you always have the original to go back to (although with digital patterns you can just print another copy if necessary). Be sure to include all pattern markings (in this case: grainline, notches and drill hole) and make sure you trace off the stitching line (the grey line on the pattern) - this is really important. When making pattern alterations, I normally suggest removing the seam allowance, but because the stitch line is marked on the pattern, you can leave it on if you like. 

Mark the bust line

small_bust_adjustment_acton_5

A : Draw a horizontal line across the fullest part of the bust on the SIDE FRONT BODICE. Mark the point where the horizontal line intersects the stitching line at the side seam as point 1

B : Mark this horizontal line (in the same position) on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Mark the point where the  the horizontal line intersects the stitching line at the centre front seam as point 2. 

Remove length from the bust

small_bust_adjustment_acton_6

A : From the bust seam, cut into the line you just marked. Cut towards point 1 and stop right on the side seam stitch line. (This will help us remove length from the bust, but not the side seam).

B : Cut in from the other side of the line now (from the side seam), towards point 1, leaving a 1-2mm "hinge" to keep the two parts of the pattern attached (this techniques is called 'Cut and Spread' - for more info on this technique, check out this tutorial).  

small_bust_adjustment_acton_7

A : On the stitching line of the bust seam, measure down from the cut line the the amount you need to remove from the bust length. Mark with a dot or small line and label as point 3. For example, I am removing 2cm from the bust length, so I marked a point 2cm below the cut line.

B : Gently pull the top section of the pattern down, so that it overlaps the lower section, until the cut line intersects point 3. Tape or glue in place.

Repeat process for the centre front bodice panel

It is now to make the same changes on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE piece, so that the CENTRE FRONT and the SIDE FRONT bodice pieces still fit together. 

small_bust_adjustment_acton_8

A : From the bust seam, cut into the horizontal line on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Cut towards point 2 and stop right on the centre front stitch line. 

B : Cut in from the other side of the line now (from the centre front seam), towards point 2, leaving a 1-2mm "hinge" to keep the two parts of the pattern attached.

small_bust_adjustment_acton_9

A : On the stitching line of the bust seam, measure down from the cut line the the amount you need to remove from the bust length. Mark with a dot or small line and label as point 4. For example, I am removing 2cm from the bust length, so I marked a point 2cm below the cut line.

B : Gently pull the top section of the pattern down, so that it overlaps the lower section, until the cut line intersects point 4. Tape or glue in place.

small_bust_adjustment_acton_10

A : Re-draw the centre front seam with a straight line (by joining the top of the original centre front stitch line with the bottom).

B : Re-draw the bust seam line with a straight line (by joining the top of the original seam stitch line with the bottom).

C : You will notice that you removed width from the pattern piece when you re-drew the centre front seam and added width when you re-drew the panel seam - which now cancels each other out. 

Remove width from the side front bodice

Now that we've removed some length from the bust, it's time to remove some width. Take your bust measurement and remove it from the pattern's original bust measurement (found on the sizing chart). For example, as I mentioned at the beginning of the tutorial, I am using a size C bodice - which has a 86cm bust. I have a 83cm bust measurement, so I need to remove 3cm overall. 

Remember, we are doing things on the half (as each piece is cut as a pair), so that means we need to remove half of this overall difference from the SIDE FRONT BODICE and CENTRE FRONT BODICE. I will be removing half of 3cm (i.e 1.5cm) from each side of my bodice, which means I need to remove half of that (8mm) from each of the front bodice pieces.

small_bust_adjustment_acton_11

A : Measuring inward from point 3, mark a point the distance you are removing from the SIDE FRONT BODICE. As mentioned in the example, I will be removing 8mm from the width of each pattern piece, so I will mark a point 8mm in from point 3

B : Now re-draw the bust curve, by drawing a line from the original stitch line, through the point marked in part A, and then down to the stitch line at the waistline. As you can see, the bust line is getting a lot flatter, which is what us small busted ladies like to see! 

Re-draw the side seam

small_bust_adjustment_acton_12

A : You will notice that the side seam is no longer a straight line, since we removed some width from the bust. Re-draw as a straight line by joining the top of the original side seam stitch line with the bottom.

B : This will remove a little more width from your bust width. Take a ruler and check how much this new side seam will skim off. 

Trace the new pattern piece

small_bust_adjustment_acton_13

A : Take a fresh piece of pattern paper and trace the SIDE FRONT BODICE. Start by tracing the stitch line. Be careful to check that you are tracing the new side seam line and new bust curve.

B : Add seam allowance to the pattern. You can do this by transferring the original seam allowance lines, or just add yourself - 1.5cm at the side seam, 1.2cm at the waist and bust seam and 1cm around the armhole. Transfer the notches and grainline. 

By this point we have removed width from both sides of the SIDE FRONT BODICE. For example, I removed 8mm from the width at the bust line, and then a further 3mm when I straightened out the side seam. This means that when I cut a pair of this piece, I would have reduced the bust measurement by a total of 22mm {(8mm + 3mm) x 2}. Overall I need to remove 3cm, which means I just have to remove 8mm from the CENTRE FRONT BODICE (half for each piece - i.e. in the case of the example, 4mm either side).

Remove width from the centre front bodice

small_bust_adjustment_acton_14

A : Take the CENTRE FRONT bodice, and measuring from the new bust seam line, on the cut line, mark a point the distance inwards that you still need to remove. For example, I need to remove 4mm from the piece, so I marked a point 4mm in from the new bust stitch line.

B : Re-draw the seam line intersecting this point. You will need to make it slightly curved to intersect. 

Trace the new pattern piece

small_bust_adjustment_acton_15

A : Take a fresh piece of pattern paper and trace the CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Start by tracing the stitch line. Be careful to check that you are tracing the new bust seam line and new centre front.

B : Add seam allowance to the pattern. You can do this by transferring the original seam allowance lines, or just add it yourself -  1.2cm at the waist and bust seam and 1cm around the armhole. Transfer the notches and grainline. You will notice that that we have almost lost the notches on this piece. Transfer the notches from the SIDE FRONT BODICE piece to ensure the notches are in the right place (if you're not quite sure how to do this, don't worry, I've got a tutorial on it coming tomorrow!)

All done! Can you believe it?! It was quite a long post...

Now, before cutting into your real fabric, I suggest making one more toile. Better to be safe than sorry, right?  


You may also like:

Posted on January 19, 2017 and filed under sewalong, pattern making tutorials, sewing patterns, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on princess panels

cover.gif

Over the past week or two, I've been running through a number of pattern adjustments (such as making a toile or lengthening or shortening the bodice) for the Acton sew-along. Now it's time to get to the juicy ones - the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) and the Small Bust Adjustment / SBA (coming tomorrow). 

When you'll need to do a Full bust adjustment 

Most indie pattern companies (including In the Folds) draft for a B cup bust. There are of course exceptions to this rule (such as Cashmerette and Colette Patterns), so make sure you check on your pattern before assuming the bust cup size.

This means that if your bust cub size is smaller than a B you will need to do a Small Bust Adjustment, otherwise known as a SBA (tutorial coming tomorrow), and if your bust cup size is larger than a B you will need to do a Full Bust Adjustment or FBA. 

Work out your cup size

Your cup size in sewing patterns may not always correspond to the bra size you wear. To be safe, check your measurements before deciding if you need to make any adjustments to the pattern. 

measurement.jpg

Measure your high bust measurement (the area above your breasts, under your arms) as well as your full bust  (the fullest part of your chest) and then take note of each measurement, as well as the difference.

If the difference is 2.5cm (1") your bust is an A cup, 5cm (2") it's a B cup, 7.5cm (3") is a C cup and so on. 

Choose your size

Now, go back to your high bust measurement and add 5cm (2"). This is what your bust measurement would be if you were a B cup and therefore the size you should be choosing from the pattern.

For example, let's say your upper bust measures 81cm (32"). Add 5cm (2") to this measurement to find out what size your bust measurement falls into on the In the Folds sizing chart (and what size you would be if you had B cup breasts). 81cm + 5cm = 86cm which corresponds to a size C. Your actual bust measurement is 89cm  though - 3cm (1") larger than the cup size of the pattern. This means you need to do a FBA and add this 3cm (1") to your pattern. 

As the bodice is cut on the fold, you need to take the measurement you will be adding and divide it by two. For example, this 3cm (almost 1") mentioned in the example, will be split between either side of the front bodice - 1.5cm (1/2") on each side. 

Getting started

Trace a copy of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and CENTRE FRONT BODICE. I always suggest to trace a copy of the pattern, so if you make a mistake you always have the original to go back to (although with digital patterns you can always just print another copy if necessary). Be sure to include all pattern markings (in this case: grainline, notches and drill hole) and make sure you trace off the stitching line (the grey line on the pattern) - this is really important. When making pattern alterations, I normally suggest removing the seam allowance, but because the stitch line is marked on the pattern, you can leave it on. 

Prepare the bodice for the adjustment

A: On the SIDE FRONT BODICE, draw a straight line from the bottom corner of the pattern, close to the princess panel (1) to the fullest part of the bust curve (2.) The points need to be on the stitch line - not the edge of the pattern. 

B: Mark a point (3) approximately two-thirds of the length of the armhole curve (the portion on the SIDE FRONT BODICE), measuring in from the side seam. Join point 2 to point 3 with a straight line. 

C: Draw a line from point 2 to the side seam (point 4), about 1cm down from the armhole. This line should be on the cut line of the pattern, not the stitch line. 

Transfer guidelines onto centre front bodice

Before getting started on the alteration, you need to transfer the guidelines from the SIDE FRONT BODICE to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE, so that you will be able to make changes to the same areas on each pattern piece. 

A: With your pattern pieces side-by-side and correctly aligned (as if they were being sewn together), draw a horizontal line on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE in line with point 2. Label this line with a 5. 

B: Draw a second line (Line 6) 3-4cm below Line 5 (parallel). Transfer the position of this line onto the SIDE FRONT BODICE, just until the line intersects the line that runs from point 1 to point 2. For the time being, put the CENTRE FRONT BODICE to the side. 

Cut into the bodice

Before cutting into the pattern, place the pattern on top of a piece of pattern paper. This will make it easier when you need to stick the pieces down after you have made the adjustment (it will get really flimsy).

A: Take a pair of scissors and cut into the pattern from the seam allowance below point 1. Cut up to point 2 and then over to point 3.

B: Next, cut in from the armhole towards point 3, being careful to leave a 1-2mm "hinge" intact (it's not a big deal if you accidentally cut through, you can always tape the hinge back together). 

C: Next, cut in from the side seam (point 4) to point 2 - again, leaving a small hinge intact at point 2. Your pattern piece should be very malleable by now! All ready to make the adjustment. 

Make the adjustment

Gently spread the pattern open from point 1 - using point 3 as a hinge. Continue spreading until you have opened up the bodice by the desired amount. Remember, as the bodice is cut on the fold, you need to take the measurement you want to add to the bust measurement and divide it by two. For example, if I wanted to add 3cm (just over 1") I would add - 1.5cm (1/2") on each side. 

Be careful to check that the increase is consistent down through the opening. 

You will notice that when you open this part of the pattern a dart is created at the side seam (point 4). We don't need a dart there, but we'll deal with that later on!

A: Cut through line 7

B : Place a ruler on the waist seam of the pattern (on the stitch line) and continue the line beyond the pattern piece. Line up the detached piece with this line.

Remove the dart

Tape or glue the pattern down onto the pattern paper underneath.

Now it's time to get rid of the "dart" that we created in the previous steps. For ease, I will refer to the wedge created in the side seam as a dart, and will refer to the sides of the opening as the upper and lower dart arms. 

6_3.gif

 

A: Cut into the pattern through the upper dart arm towards point 2. 

B: Now cut towards point 2 from the opposite side of the pattern - leaving a 1-2mm hinge intact. 

step_7.gif

A: Close the dart by gently pulling the upper dart arm towards the lower dart arm.

B: When the upper dart arm is in line with the lower dart arm, tape or glue in place. You will see that a small wedge has opened up on the bust curve (the fullness from the side seam has been relocated to the bust seam).

Reduce waist back to original length

A: At this stage you will notice that by adding fullness to the bust, we also added fullness to the waist seam (the opening at point 1). In the case of a FBA, you are wanting to increase the bust measurement, without adding any extra to the waist - so this will need to be removed.

B: Remove the excess length from the waist at the side seam. Measure how much was added at point 1 and then remove this from the waistline at the side seam. Redraw the side seam with a straight line up to the pattern's original armhole. 

Make alterations to the centre front panel

It's now time to transfer the changes we have made to the SIDE FRONT BODICE to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE (so that they can be sewn together).

Take another piece of pattern paper and draw a straight line down the right hand side. Label "Centre Front." Take the top section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and tape or glue in place, lining up the centre front of the pattern piece with the line marked on the paper. 

step_10_2.gif

A: On the SIDE FRONT BODICE, measure the length of the smaller opening. Take note of the measurement.

B: Now, move to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and place the middle section of the pattern, the same distance down (as the measurement noted) from the upper section of the pattern. Tape or glue in place. 

A: On the SIDE FRONT BODICE, measure the length of the larger opening. Take note of the measurement. 

B: Now, move to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and place the lower section of the pattern, the same distance down (as the measurement noted) from the middle section of the pattern. Tape or glue in place. 

Trace the new pattern pieces

Your alterations are done! Now you just need to trace new versions of each piece. 

step_10.gif

A: Take a fresh piece of pattern paper and trace the SIDE BACK BODICE, starting at the stitch line. Be careful to check that you trace the new side seam and not the original side seam.

B: Add seam allowance to the piece - 1.5cm to the side seam, 1.2cm to the bust seam and waist seam and 1cm to the armhole seam (use this tutorial if you need some tips). If you are wondering why the seams meet at different angles - you can learn more about seam returns here. Transfer the notches. 

C: Label the pattern and add the grainline (you can work this out by placing the new piece on the original pattern piece and transferring the grainline). 

Repeat process for the CENTRE FRONT BODICE.

And that's it! Your bodice is bosom ready! 

Keep your eye on the blog for more Acton sew-along posts coming in the next couple of weeks. 


You may also like:

Posted on January 18, 2017 and filed under pattern making tutorials, sewalong.

The Acton sew-along : How to lengthen the bodice (above the bust)

acton_lengthen_bodice_1

If you have been following the Acton sew-along, you will know that we're now onto making pattern alterations! The bodice of the Acton is quite fitted, so making some alterations to get the bodice just right for you, is really important (if the pattern doesn't fit you straight out of the packet).

I know a lot of people get quite daunted about pattern alterations, but the ones required for the Acton aren't too scary at all, as it doesn't have sleeves or shoulder seams - which simplifies it quite a bit. I showed you how to make a toile a few days ago, and now from doing a fitting, you should know what changes you need to make. Lengthening or shortening the bodice is a common adjustment to make, so I thought I'd show you how to add length in two different spots. 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. 

Getting started

acton_lengthen_bodice_2

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. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_3

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 add length above the bust line. If you need to add length below the bust line, check out this tutorial.

Cut through the pattern pieces

acton_lengthen_bodice_4

Carefully cut through each line, separating each piece into two. 

lengthen the bodice

acton_lengthen_bodice_5

Take two pieces of pattern paper (this is a great time to use up some of your paper scraps!).

A : For the SIDE FRONT BODICE you will need your piece of paper to be slightly wider than the one for CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Draw a horizontal line straight through the (roughly) middle. In the centre, draw a line perpendicular to the horizontal line, creating a right angle. This will be the grainline of the new SIDE FRONT BODICE piece. 

B : Draw a horizontal line straight through the (roughly) middle. On the right hand side, draw a line perpendicular to the horizontal line, creating a right angle. This will be the grainline of the new CENTRE FRONT BODICE piece. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_6

A : Take the lower section of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and line it up with the horizontal and vertical line you just drew - the grainline matching up with the vertical line (you can now see why this line had to be closer to the middle) and the cut edge aligned with the horizontal line. Tape or glue in place. 

B : Take the lower section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and line it up with the horizontal and vertical line you just drew - the centre front matching up with the vertical line and the cut edge aligned with the horizontal line. Tape or glue in place. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_7

By looking at your toile, work out how much extra length you need to add to the pattern. For the case of the example, I will be adding 1.5cm (5/8").

On the vertical line on each pattern piece, mark a point 1.5cm /5/8" (or whatever length you are adding to the pattern) above the cut edge. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_8

Draw a line parallel to the cut edge of the pattern running from the point you marked in the previous step on both the SIDE FRONT BODICE (A) and CENTRE FRONT BODICE (B).

acton_lengthen_bodice_9

A : Take the upper section of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and place the cut edge on the second horizontal line, aligning the grainline with the vertical line. Tape or glue in place. 

B : Take the upper section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and place the cut edge on the second horizontal line, aligning the centre front with the vertical line. Tape or glue in place. 

Trace the pattern pieces to create the new pieces

acton_lengthen_bodice_10

Take two pieces of pattern paper to trace the new pattern pieces. 

A : Trace the stitch lines on the SIDE FRONT BODICE. Re-draw the armhole line and princess seam line, by finding a line of best fit between the original stitch lines. 

B : Trace the stitch lines on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Re-draw the princess seam line by joining the top of seam to the bottom with a straight line. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_11

Add seam allowance to both pieces - by using the original pattern edges as a guide.

A : Add 1.5cm (5/8") to the side seam, 1.2cm (1/2") to the waist seam and princess seam and 1cm (3/8") to the armhole.

B : Add 1.2cm (1/2") seam allowance to the waist seam, princess seam and centre front. Add 1cm (3/8") to the armhole and neckline. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_12

Be sure to also transfer all pattern markings - notches, drill hole and grainline. 

acton_lengthen_bodice_13

Label the pattern for safe-keeping. You can now cut out your new pattern pieces. Repeat process for the back pattern pieces (if you also need to add length to the back of the bodice).


You may also like:

Posted on January 13, 2017 and filed under fitting, pattern making tutorials, sewalong, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : How to lengthen the bodice

Welcome back to the Acton Sew-along.

In yesterday's tutorial, I gave you all the reasons why you should always make a toile (especially when you're making a fitted garment like the Acton) and showed you how to go about it. In the next few tutorials, I'm going to show you what to do if you have realised that you need to shorten or lengthen the bodice. This is probably one of the simplest pattern alterations you can make, so please don't be daunted by it if you've realised that you'll get a better fit by changing the length of your bodice. 

By referring to your toile, you will be able to know whether you need to remove length below the bust, or above the bust. The method is exactly the same, just the location of the cut is different. This tutorial will show you how to remove excess from below the bust, and later today I'll show you how to remove length from above the bust. 

Getting started

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 between the lower notches (below the bust line). On the CENTRE FRONT BODICE piece, make sure the line is far enough up the piece that it intersects the centre front of the piece and not through the bottom edge.

Cut through the pattern pieces

Carefully cut through each line, separating each piece into two. 

lengthen the bodice

Take a piece of pattern paper (this is a great time to use up some of your paper scraps!) and draw a horizontal line straight through the (roughly) middle. On the right hand side, draw a line perpendicular to the horizontal line, creating a right angle. This will be the grainline of the new pattern piece. 

Take the lower section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and line it up with the horizontal and vertical line you just drew - the centre front matching up with the vertical line and the cut edge aligned with the horizontal line. Tape or glue in place. 

Add length to the pattern piece

By looking at your toile, work out how much extra length you need to add to the pattern. For the case of the example, I will be adding 2.5cm (1").

On the vertical line, mark a point 2.5cm / 1" (or whatever length you are adding to the pattern) above the cut edge. 

acton_dress_shorten_bodice_3_5.gif

Draw a line parallel to the cut edge of the pattern running from the point you marked in the previous step. 

Take the upper section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE and place the cut edge on the second horizontal line, aligning the centre front with the vertical line. Tape or glue in place. 

Trace the new pattern piece

A : Take another piece of pattern paper and trace your new pattern piece. Start by tracing the original lines of the pattern which have not been affected by the changes.

B : Redraw the panel seam by drawing a line from the top of the pattern piece, down to the bottom - meeting the original line at each end. Do this for both the cutting line and the stitching line. 

Be sure to trace all pattern markings - notches, drill hole and grainline. Label the pattern for safe-keeping. You can now cut out your new pattern piece. 

Repeat Process for the side front bodice

For the SIDE FRONT BODICE you will need your piece of paper to be slightly wider than the one you used for the CENTRE FRONT BODICE. Again, mark the horizontal and vertical lines on the paper - but this time, place the vertical line closer to the centre of the paper. 

Take the lower section of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and line it up with the horizontal and vertical line you just drew - the grainline matching up with the vertical line (you can now see why this line had to be closer to the middle) and the cut edge aligned with the horizontal line. Tape or glue in place. 

On the vertical line (the grainline in this case), mark a point 2.5cm / 1" (or whatever length you are adding to the pattern) above the pattern edge. This distance needs to be the same amount that you added to the CENTRE FRONT BODICE.

Draw a line parallel to the cut edge of the pattern running from the point you marked in the previous step. 

Take the upper section of the SIDE FRONT BODICE and place the cut edge on the second horizontal line, aligning the grainline with the vertical line. Tape or glue in place. 

You will see that the changes are limited to area where the paper was added, so there is no need to trace the pattern. Simply re-draw the side seam and princess seam and cut the piece out.

Repeat process for the back panels and that's it!

Are you enjoying the Acton sew-along? There are still plenty of posts to come!


You may also like:

Posted on January 12, 2017 and filed under pattern making tutorials, the acton.

The Acton sew-along : Making a toile

how_to_make_a_toile_1

Welcome back to the Acton sew-along! Now that we've taken our measurements and worked out what size (or sizes) matches our measurements the closest, it is time to make a toile!

WHAT IS A TOILE?

A toile (also known as a ‘muslin’) is basically a draft version of a garment. A toile is normally made from a cheaper fabric, so that you can test the fit of a particular garment before cutting into your real (and normally more expensive) fabric. 

It is best to choose a fabric to toile in, that is similar to what you plan to make the actual garment in. If you are using a lovely sandwashed silk, then you will need something with a similar handle and drape as the silk, so you can get a good idea of what the final garment will look like. Making a winter coat? Choose something with a similar thickness and drape. For the Acton, it is designed to be used with 'drapey' fabrics, but to get a good idea of the fit of the bodice, I would use something stiffer than suggested - such as calico or cotton. 

WHY SHOULD I TOILE?

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_1

We all come in different shapes and sizes, and although I may have the same measurements as the girl next to me, this does not at all mean we have the same body shape. Some of us may have a sway back, forward sitting shoulders (that’s me!), narrow shoulders, longer torso etc. By making a toile, you can quickly see if any adjustment needs to be made. As you sew more garments for yourself, you will get better at knowing what to look for, as you will often notice the same fitting problem across the board. You may think that In the Folds patterns would fit me straight out of the packet. They don't! My patterns are drafted to fit a "standard" (is there such thing?) size 10 fit model, which means that before making something from one of my patterns, I must make a few alterations too... So I am right here with you!

HOW DO I MAKE A TOILE?

After choosing your size, printing the pattern, and making any alterations that are standard to you (such as an FBA or SBA), make up the garment in your chosen toiling fabric. You don’t have to add facings, collars or pockets etc when making a toile. I never bother with buttonholes or zips either, I just pin the opening closed when it’s on. For the Acton, if you're short of time, you can get away with just toiling and fitting the bodice. 

You just want to check the overall fit of the garment, so you will only need the main pattern pieces (in the case of the Acton, you just need to cut the bodice pieces, not the lining). There is no need to even finish the seams!

To Start

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_2

Cut out your bodice pieces in your chose size. Remove the seam allowance from the neckline and armholes, as well as the waistline seam. This will help you get an accurate idea of the fit, without getting confused by the seams that have not been finished. 

For loose fitting garments, that have enough ease to fit a wide range of shapes (such as The Rushcutter) you can go right ahead and cut out your toile and get sewing, but for fitted garments like the Acton, it is best to mark some guidelines on your pieces first. This will really help when it comes to fitting the bodice and working out what changes need to be made. 

Mark guidelines on your pattern pieces

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_4

Take your pair of SIDE FRONT BODICE pieces and draw a horizontal line through the fullest part of the bust. Transfer this line onto the CENTRE FRONT BODICE too (at the same level).

Draw a vertical line through each piece too. This doesn't have to be exact - these lines will just act as reference points when you are fitting. They will help you tell if the bodice is sitting as it should. 

It can be a good idea to try a toile on inside out, so transfer these guidelines onto the wrong side of the fabric too.

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_5

Do the same for the CENTRE BACK BODICE and SIDE BACK BODICE pieces. 

Sew the toile

Sew the bodice together, according to the instructions in the pattern (leaving the centre back seam open). When sewing, consider using a long stitch length, so that you can quickly and easily unpick any seams that need to be altered. You can also use a contrasting thread to make it even easier to see your stitches (and remove them if necessary).

Press all seams open before stay-stitching around the top edge of the bodice (neckline and armholes) - this will prevent the toile from stretching while you are fitting it. Press the centre back seam allowances in by 2cm - these creases will help you pin the bodice closed in the correct place. 

WHAT’S NEXT?

Tie a piece of elastic (or similar) around your natural waist. This will act as a reference point for your bodice so that you are able to check the bodice length, as well as act as a guideline to check that the bodice sits correctly.

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_6

Line up the bust line on the bodice with your actual bust line (the line that runs through the fullest part of your bust - or across your bust apex / nipples), and get pinned into the bodice (up the centre back seam) with the bodice inside out. It is a really good idea to have a friend around to help you with the fitting. It can be a little tricky if you're on your own! If you are on your own, try turning the bodice around so that the centre back is at the front and pin the back seam closed before twisting it around the right way.

As the bodice doesn't have straps yet, it can be helpful to try the bodice on with the fitted jersey top on underneath. This way you can pin the bodice to the top if it's not staying up on its own! 

Get in front of the mirror and take a look.

Fitting is a process, one change will effect another part of the toile, and so on and so forth - so it is important to do your fitting in a methodical way. When working on a full garment, work from the top down - fitting the bust, the waist and then the hips. 

Check the side seam

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_7

First things first, check the side seam. Is it sitting perpendicular to the elastic you have around your waist? If it is being pulled forward, it could be a sign that you need to do a FBA. 


Check the bust

Check the overall fit of the bust. The Acton is designed to be quite fitted (there is only 2cm / 1" ease at the bust).

If the bust is too small...

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_8

A : If the bodice feels as if it's pulling across the bust (or you can't even get the bodice closed at the centre back), unpick the princess panels from the bust line up, and then the bust line down - releasing the fabric - but not unpicking the whole seam. Make sure you do this to both sides so you can get a correct gauge of the fit with the extra width added.

B : Measure how much your princess panels are opening up at the bust line. Measure the opening on both sides. If they are not the same, add them together and divide by 2 (to find the average), so that you add the correct amount when you do your Full Bust Adjustment (tutorial coming soon). Take note of this number, so that you can use it when doing your FBA.

If the bust is too big...

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_9

A : If you have the opposite problem, and the bust area is too big, carefully pin down the princess seams, removing the excess. Do this on both princess seams, being careful to remove an even amount from each side.

B & C : Take a pen or marker and draw the new panel line on both sides of the princess panel by following the pins.

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_10

A : On the bust line, on the CENTRE FRONT BODICE, measure the difference between the original stitch line and the marked line, take note of the measurement. Repeat for the other princess panel. 

B : On the bust line, on the SIDE FRONT BODICE, measure the difference between the original stitch line and the marked line, take note of the measurement. Repeat for the other princess panel. 

Add up these four measurements to find the total you need to remove from the bodice when you do a Small Bust Adjustment. 


Check the bodice length below the bust

Once the bust is sorted, it is time to check the length of the bodice.

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_11

A : Measure down from the bottom edge of the bodice at the centre front seam to your waist. The bodice was designed to sit roughly 12cm above the natural waist. Take note if your bodice sits above or below the 12cm mark. In a later tutorial I will show you how to add / remove length to the bodice if your bodice is too long or too short. 

B : Measure down from the bottom edge of the bodice at the centre back seam to your waist. The bodice was designed to sit roughly 5cm above the natural waist at the back. Take note if your bodice sits above or below the 5cm mark. 

Check the bodice length above the bust

You may notice that your bodice is sitting in the right place in relation to the waist, but there may be too much (or too little) fabric above the bustline. 

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_12

I have two dressforms with very similar measurements, you will notice that in photograph B the bodice sits much closer to the neckline than in photograph A. This shows that the dressforms have different proportions above the bustline only (as the bodice sits 12cm above the natural waist on both).

Work out where the problem is, do you need to remove length above the armhole? Or is the armhole sitting too close to the armpit too? (if this is the case you will need to remove length from the side seam across the whole bodice)

Remove length above the bust

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_13

The best way to really work out the fit issues you have in a toile is to start cutting into your fabric and making changes. This way you can get a real idea of the changes as you make them, and hopefully save yourself from making too many toiles!

A : Cut through the bodice at the point that has too much length - this may be above the armhole, below the armhole but above the bust line, or below the bust line.*

B : Move the detached piece down until it is sitting in the correct position. Pin in place and measure how much length has been removed. 

*You may need to add length in more than one place

Add length above the bust

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_14

A : Cut through the bodice at the point that is too short - this may be above the armhole, below the armhole but above the bust line, or below the bust line. (Again, length may be needed in multiple spots).

B : Take a strip of scrap fabric and pin to the lower portion of the bodice. Move the detached piece up until it is sitting in the correct position. Pin in place and measure how much length has been added.  

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_15

Repeat the process of cutting and opening (or cutting and closing) to add / remove the length from the places it is needed. If you want to get a really good idea of how the new bodice is fitting, you can stitch the strips of fabric in place on the machine, before trying on the bodice again. 

Add the straps

how_to_make_a_toile_or_muslin_16

Once you have the bodice right, use thin straps of fabric (or bias binding or tape - whatever you have around) to make two "straps" (this will save you sewing up straps) and pin in place. Getting the right strap length is crucial to getting a good fit with the Acton. Make sure your straps allow the bodice to sit comfortably, and the peak of the bodice (the bust guideline) remains on the peak of your bust. Take note of the strap length so you have it for when you are making the real thing.


What's next?

If this fitting has revealed that you have lots of changes to make to the pattern, make the changes and make another toile. It is always good to check the fit of a pattern after making significant changes.

And don't worry, I won't leave you hanging now that you know what pattern alterations need to be made!

In the coming days I have the following tutorials lined up for you:

January 12 and 13 : Lengthening the bodice

January 16 and 17 : Shortening the bodice

January 18 : Full bust adjustment (FBA)

January 19 : Small bust adjustment (SBA)

January 20 : Grading between sizes


You may also like:

Posted on January 11, 2017 and filed under fitting, pattern making tutorials, sewalong, the acton.

How to : Lengthen a pattern

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_1

You may have seen that earlier this week I did a post on "How to Shorten a pattern," so today I thought I'd do a post on how to lengthen a pattern! The principle is exactly the same, you just need to add access length, instead of removing it. 

As I said in the previous post, sometimes you can simply add some length to the hem of a garment, I would use this method in the case of a straight skirt, sleeve or trousers. But there are times when you may want to add the excess length to the interior of a pattern piece, so that the piece still fits properly with the rest of the pattern. For example, if you wanted to lengthen a sleeve that had a cuff, you wouldn't want to just add the extra length to the bottom. You would be extending the length of the placket too, and maybe even changing the shape of the sleeve overall. This is also the case if you have a pattern with an interesting shape - such as an A-line dress. You would not want to just add the extra length to the bottom of an A-line dress, as you could end up with a shape far more extreme than you anticipated!

For the case of the example, I will use the simple summer top pattern I showed you how to draft a few weeks ago

Trace the original pattern

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_2

Take a copy of the pattern, with seam allowance. Normally when making alterations to a pattern I suggest to remove the seam allowance, but with something as straight-forward as this, there's really no point removing it. Take note of any important details, such as pattern markings (notches etc.) and the grainline.

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_3

Draw a horizontal line through the pattern, roughly half-way between the armhole and the hem, on the side seam. If you are using a ready-made pattern, it is likely that your pattern will have a "Lengthen and shorten line" already on it, so you can skip this step. 

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_4

Cut through the horizontal line, splitting each piece in two. 

Add paper to compensate for excess length

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_5

Work out how much length you would like to add to the pattern. This is when a toile can really come in handy!

For the sake of this example, I will be adding 5cm (2") to the length of the top.

Take two small pieces of pattern paper (this is a great way to use up those scraps of paper you have laying around) and stick  to the back of the top half of both your pattern pieces (ensuring you have enough room below the pattern piece to add the excess length).

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_6

On the paper that you just attached, draw a horizontal line 5cm (or whatever length you are adding) down from the cut line (parallel to the bottom edge of the pattern). 

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_7

At this stage you can also extend the centre front and centre back lines of both your pattern pieces onto the attached pieces of pattern paper (if your pattern doesn't include the centre front or centre back - for example, on a sleeve - you can just extend the grainline).

Add length

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_8

Take the lower pieces of your pattern, and using the lines as guides, stick the pieces in place on the paper.

Re-trace pattern

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_9

Take a separate piece of pattern paper and trace the new pattern pieces, creating a new side seam that runs smoothly between the underarm and the hem. 

Finalise the pattern

inthefolds_lengthen_a_pattern_10

Be sure to add all pattern markings, as well as the grainline. And you're done!


You may also like:

Posted on November 4, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials.

Pattern hack : Add sleeves to the peplum top (or any other sleeveless top pattern)

You may have seen (or even already made) the Peplum Top that I released a couple of months ago in collaboration with Peppermint Magazine.

When it was first released, a number of people asked whether sleeves could be added, and I thought it would be a great tutorial to do, as I'm sure for a lot of you there are sleeveless patterns you would love to add sleeves to. This tutorial will walk you through adding sleeves to this particular pattern, but could be used for almost  any sleeveless pattern.

Why can't you just add a sleeve to a sleeveless pattern?

It's not a difficult process, but unfortunately it's not as simple as just adding a sleeve to the sleeveless top and hoping for the best. Above I've drawn two very basic tops - one with sleeves and one without. You can see that the armhole on each pattern is not the same. 

When you place one pattern on top of the other, you can clearly see this difference (which is highlighted in red on the illustration on the right). If you were to put a sleeve on the sleeveless top, without making any changes to the armhole, the sleeve would have to reach across the difference (the red area), which would leave you with an awkward looking garment and an ill-fitting sleeve. 

To rectify this, you will first need to change the armhole on your front and back pattern pieces, and then you will be able to fit the sleeve.

For this tutorial you will need a sleeveless top pattern as well as another top (or dress) pattern that has sleeves that you like the fit / style of. 

Trace a copy of the pattern

Trace a copy of your sleeveless top pattern without seam allowance (it is much easier to make alterations to a pattern without seam allowance). Mark any design features and notches.

The Peplum Top pattern has a seperate shoulder panel. To make this alteration easier, you will need to reattach the shoulder panel to the front and back pieces (I will show you how to get it back later on in the tutorial). To do this, draw a line (or fold a line) through the middle of the shoulder piece and cut the piece in half. Label each piece so you don't get them mixed up - as they are very similar in shape. 

Attach the shoulder panel pieces to the front and back of the top, so that you have to complete pieces - the front and the back. 

Take the front and back pieces from your other pattern (the one with sleeves) and place on top of the sleeveless pattern pieces, lining up the centre front / centre back, shoulder seams and side seams (as close as you can). This is when transparent paper helps!

Use weights to hold pieces in place.

Trace the pattern

With a fresh piece of pattern paper, trace the lines from each pattern piece needed for the new pattern. Begin by marking the centre front and centre back - taking the lines from the original (sleeveless top) pattern.

Next, trace the front and back neckline - using the lines from the original pattern. 

Re-draw the shoulder seam - starting at the neckline end of the seam on the original pattern (sleeveless top) and joining with the end of the shoulder seam from the second pattern (top with sleeves). This will ensure that the neckline binding still fits the neck of the top, whilst the sleeve will fit in the armhole. 

Trace the armhole curve from the pattern with sleeves - being sure to also transfer the sleeve notches. 

Transfer the side seam - starting at the new armhole and joining to the side seam of the sleeveless pattern at the hemline. Trace the original hemline. 

Before removing the pattern, transfer the shoulder panel lines onto the new pattern. 

You now have the pattern with armholes ready for sleeves!

Re-create the shoulder panels

You will need to re-cut the panel lines to re-create the shoulder panel pieces. Before cutting through the lines, add notches to the panel lines on both the front and back (you can transfer notches from the original pattern if you like).

Seperate the shoulder panels from the main front and back pieces. 

Re-attach the front and back shoulder panel pieces at the centre line, before tracing a new copy of the piece onto a seperate piece of pattern paper. Use a smooth curve down either side to remove any sharp points.

Complete the pattern by adding seam allowance to each piece. You will be able to use the original pattern to transfer the seam allowance to the hem, side seams and neckline. You will need to add seam allowance on your own to the armhole, shoulder panel and sleeve - this tutorial will help with that!


You may also like:

Posted on October 27, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials.

A round-up of the most popular posts from the past 12 months

As this week is a time to celebrate the first birthday of In the Folds, I am also seeing it as a good time to reflect on all that I have done this year. It's been a very busy year, with a range of different projects and collaborations and a fair number of blog posts. I dived into my blog analytics today so that I could share the 10 most popular posts of this last year. 


I'd love to know what you would like to see on this blog in the next 12 months! Let me know in the comments or send me an email!

Posted on October 10, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials, sewing tutorials.

How to: Draft an all-in-facing

dradt_facing_1

In the last couple of weeks I have been showing you how to draft a simple summer tank top. Today I thought it would be a good time to show you how to finish the armholes and neckline. 

There are generally two methods used to finish the armholes and neckline of a sleeveless top - you could finish them with bias binding (shown in the image above), or draft a facing. I use both variations and make my choice depending on the fabric I am using and the style of the top (or dress) I am making. 

Where to start

dradt_facing_2

Drafting a facing is really easy, and only takes a couple of minutes. Take the pattern you would like to make a facing for - in this case I am using the sleeveless top pattern that I showed you how to draft in this tutorial

dradt_facing_3

Consider how deep you would like your facing to be. When it comes to facings, I don't think there's anything worse than a really shallow facing that pops out of the neck or armhole at any opportunity it gets. For this reason, I always draft a nice wide facing.

On your front pattern piece, measure down the side seam the depth of your facing. I would suggest anywhere between 7-10cm (3-4in), but have a look at your ready-to-wear garments with facings, and get an idea of what you like (or don't like). Also mark a point on the centre front (this doesn't have to be exactly the same as the measurement on the side seam, just have a think about how far down you would like the facing to run at the centre front).

dradt_facing_4

Draw the shape of the facing onto the pattern. You will want it to be a smooth curve so that the edge is easy to finish (with bias binding or overlocking). 

dradt_facing_5

The section above the curved line is the facing piece.

dradt_facing_6

Take a separate piece of pattern paper and trace off the facing piece.

dradt_facing_7

Before removing the facing piece, mark a notch on the armhole (this will come in handy when you are sewing the facing to the body of the top). Using a tracing wheel, transfer the notch onto the top front. 

dradt_facing_8

Mark a notch on the shoulder seam and side seam too. 

dradt_facing_9

To complete the pattern piece, add the grainline and cutting instructions (cut 1 on fold). Repeat process to create the back facing, and you're done! 

When attaching the facing, make sure you understitch it to get a really nice clean and professional finish. 


You may also like:

Posted on August 3, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials.

How to : Draft a top with yoke

draft_top_yoke_1

Recently I have been well and truly in summer sewing mode, as I have been working on another pattern for Peppermint magazine (see my first pattern for Peppermint here). As it's a quarterly publication, the next release will be in Spring, which makes me feel as though spring is just around the corner. And makes me very excited! I am not a winter person at all, so I have been very much enjoying pretending it's spring and using luscious linen to make the sample. 

So, to keep the dream alive, that it is actually spring (I know I shouldn't whinge as winter in Sydney is very mild) I thought I'd post a follow up post to the post I did a couple of weeks ago on drafting a summer top.

I thought a good place to start would be with a few simple adjustments you can make to your simple top pattern (or even an existing top pattern you have) to add a bit more interest, starting with adding a yoke. 

What is a yoke?

A yoke is a panel that is inserted in the top of a garment to add interest. For example, yokes are often used on the back shoulders of shirts, but can also be found on blouses, tops, skirts and trousers. 

Trace the pattern

draft_top_yoke_2

To start, trace a copy of the pattern you would like to add a yoke too. I am using the simple sleeveless top pattern that I drafted from my basic bodice block

Style lines

draft_top_yoke_3

Think about the shape of the yoke you would like to create, and draw the style line on the pattern. I have included a few examples, but there are countless options of what you could do. Be sure to bring the style line to a right angle at the centre front (more details about this can be found here). 

draft_top_yoke_4

For the sake of the example, I decided to go with a simple straight yoke through the armhole.  Before going any further, put a notch on the style line. This will help match the two pieces back together once they become two separate pattern pieces. 

draft_top_yoke_5

Cut along the style line (or trace each piece onto paper) to create two independent pattern pieces.

What next?

draft_top_yoke_6

There are a number of things you could choose to do now. You could leave the pattern as is (just add seam allowance and pattern markings) for a simple tank with a yoke panel line (which you could choose to also repeat on the back pattern piece).

draft_top_yoke_7

You could consider adding volume to the lower panel to create more of a trapeze silhouette. You can do this by cutting and spreading the pattern until you achieve the desired silhouette (look at this tutorial for more details about how to do this).

draft_top_yoke_8

Or even consider adding a box pleat at the centre front (this is a personal favourite of mine).

Finish the pattern by adding seam allowance and cutting instructions.


You may also like:

 

 

Notes on adding seam allowance

One of the first tutorials I created for this site was about how to add seam allowance to a pattern. If you are going to draft your own patterns, this is really something you are going to need to know how to do (and it's also a greta place to start if you want to learn some basic pattern making principles). In today's tutorial, I'd like to expand on the basics a little. I'd suggest checking out the previous tutorial first if you are unsure how to add seam allowance, and then come back to this tutorial. 

I did work experience with a local fashion designer while I was at university. One day a week I would go to her studio and help out with whatever tasks she needed help with. I learned a lot about things like how to cut fabric, how to trace patterns etc. (which have all really come in handy), but I'd say the best lesson I learned was about marking seam allowances. I remember being asked to add seam allowance to a particularly strange shaped pattern and realising I didn't know what to do when the pattern came to a point at one side. The designer I was working for told me to think about how the piece needs to sit once the seam is sewn and pressed and that should help me work it out. This now seems very obvious, but at the time it was a real 'wow' moment. From that moment on I never struggled, and it is a way of doing seam allowances that I have brought into my patterns. Over time, I have learned this is not always the way it is done and users of my pattern always get really excited about it and see it as a nice little detail in the process, that helps you achieve a really beautiful and professional finish in your hand-made wares. So I thought I'd share it with you today!

An example

Here is an example of what I am talking about from the Rushcutter sewing pattern (as the old saying goes, a picture really is worth a thousand words). This is the pattern piece for the raglan sleeve, and you will notice that at the seam where the sleeve joins to the centre front panel the seam allowance comes to a strange looking point. 

The reason for this is that, after this seam is stitched and then pressed open, with the seam allowance cut like this, it will be able to sit flush with the edge of the sleeve. This will help you get a lovely clean finish when you attach the sleeve to the armhole of the dress. 

How to do it

Take the pattern you are adding seam allowance to. For the sake of the example, I have just used the front pattern piece from a sleeveless top pattern. (which I showed you how to make last week).

Start by adding seam allowance to the straight seams. I'd suggest between 1.2cm (1/2in) and 1.5cm (5/8in).

Add seam allowance to the curves. Curved seams require a slightly smaller than standard seam allowance (as this helps when you are sewing them) so I'd suggest 6mm - 1cm (1/8in - 3/8in). If you're not sure how to add seam allowance to curves, there is information about it in my previous tutorial on adding seam allowances

4.gif

What I didn't go into in the last tutorial was what to do at intersection points. It's not a problem if your pattern piece is made up of straight seams on all sides, but if, like in the example, your pattern has a mixture of straight and curved seams, you will have to add one extra step to the process.

Focus on one particular area to start. I will start with the shoulder seam. Fold along the shoulder line. This is the original shoulder line, not the seam allowance line. By folding along the shoulder line you are able to see what will happen when the seam is stitched and pressed open (which is normally the case with shoulder seams).

Take a tracing wheel (or awl) and trace over the lines that indicate the seam allowance on either side of the shoulder seam (the armhole and the neckline) for approximately 2-3cm (1in).

Unfold the pattern and you will see that you have transferred the shaping to the shoulder seam. 

Use a ruler and pencil to join the dots created by the tracing wheel. 

You will see that when you fold back the seam allowance on the shoulder seam, it now sits flush with the armhole and neckline.

Next, we'll move onto the side seam.

Again, fold along the stitch line. 

Use a tracing wheel to trace along the armhole and hem line (the seam allowance line, not the stitch line) for approximately 2-3cm (1in). 

Unfold to see the lines that have been transferred to the side seam and mark with a ruler and pencil.

Repeat process form all pattern pieces, and that's it, you're done! 


You may also like:

How to : Draft a simple summer top

Summer is here for all of you lucky people in the northern hemisphere, and I thought it would be a great time to show you how to draft a quick and easy sleeveless summer top! You may wonder what I'm thinking, as most of you know I am based in Sydney, where it is currently quite chilly (well at least as chilly as it gets here), but I really wanted to start showing you how to turn your bodice block into a functional garment (as who really wants to wear a bodice block?) and I haven't shown you how to draft a sleeve yet, so sleeveless top it is!

This is a really simple tutorial and a great place to start if you are trying your hand at pattern drafting.

Where to start

1.gif

Trace a copy of your front and back bodice blocks without seam allowance. Be sure to also mark both darts on each piece.

Relocate shoulder darts to the waist

Relocate the shoulder darts on the front and back bodices to the waist, using this method or this method

You won't actually be needing the darts in the waist, so you can redraw the hem with a smooth curve, removing the darts altogether. 

Trace the pattern

Trace the pattern pieces onto a separate piece of pattern paper, leaving enough space in between the pieces for alterations. 

LOWER THE ARMHOLE

It is likely that you will want to lower the armhole of your top for a more comfortable fit. The bodice block is designed to sit right under your arms, and I'd say for a summer top you will want a bit more breathing room. 

Decide how much you would like to lower the armhole by. Mark this distance on the side seam, measuring down from the armhole. Mark this point on both front and back patterns (this is your new underarm point). This is when it's great to have a toile (muslin) to refer to, so you can see exactly how low you want your armhole to be.

It is a good idea to reduce the length of the shoulder seam too. As it stands, it is a decent sized shoulder seam and for a summer top it is likely that you will want something a little slimmer. Remove some of the length from each side (the end close to the armhole and the end close to the neckline) to keep it balanced.

Work out how much you would like to remove from the shoulder and mark this distance on the shoulder seam, measuring in from the armhole. 

Create the new armholes by joining the points marked on the side seam and shoulder seam with a smooth curve. 

Cut along the new armhole line to remove excess from both front and back armholes (or trace off separate to create a new pattern).

LOWER THE NECKLINE

For the same reason I suggested lowering the armholes, I suggest also lowering the neckline. Use the same method used for the armholes. On the front shoulder seam, measure in from the neckline and mark the point where you want your new neckline to be. Mark the same distance on the back pattern piece. Also work out how much you would like to lower the neckline by and mark this point on the centre front and centre back. This doesn't need to be the same distance - you may want a low front (or even a low back).

Re-draw the front and back necklines by joining the points marked on the shoulder line and centre front/back with a smooth curve.

Cut along the new necklines to remove the excess from both front and back pattern pieces (or trace off separate pattern, with lower armhole).

Lengthen the pattern

At this stage, the pattern is still only waist length. If you'd like a cropped tank then you're done, but if you'd prefer some extra length then keep working your way through the tutorial.

The best way to lengthen a pattern is normally to slash the pattern horizontally and then add length through the middle of the pattern, so that the hemline stays intact and the silhouette of the garment doesn't change too drastically. In this case though, I'd suggest just adding length to the bottom of the pattern, as it is likely that you will need a bit of extra width around the hips. 

10.gif

Work out how much you would like to add to the pattern, and extend the centre front, centre back and both side seams by this length. 

Join the lines with smooth curves to create the new front and back hemlines.

Remember to meet each side with right angles so that you get smooth lines when you sew the pattern together. For more on this, check out this tutorial on checking patterns

To complete the pattern, add seam allowance and pattern markings and you're done! 

You may also like:

How to: Create princess panels

how_to_draft_princess_panels_1

Including panel lines in a design is a good way to eliminate darts, without losing the fitted shape of the garment. They are also a great way to add interest to a design. There are countless variations, and it is also a great way to include more than one fabric in your design if you would like (if you fancy a splash of contrast fabric like me). 

What are princess panels?

'Princess panels' are panels that are shaped around the bust, to create a nice fit (without the need for darts), but can also be an interesting design detail. 

how_to_draft_princess_panels_2

Princess panels can cut through the pattern from the shoulder line to the waist, or they can cut through the pattern starting at the armhole and running down to the waist. I'll show you how to create both options, although they use basically the same method - and it's really up to you which you would prefer. If you are a beginner, I'd suggest drafting the version from the shoulder seams, as it can be easier to sew. The curve required to have princess panels coming from the armhole can be a little trickier to sew (but totally manageable if you've got some pins and patience). 

I will be using the basic bodice in the example, but you can create princess panels on any fitted top pattern with waist darts. 

Option #1 : Drafting princess panels from shoulder seam

how_to_draft_princess_panels_3

1. Trace a copy of the pattern you will be adjusting.

2. Draw a straight line through the centre of both darts. 

how_to_draft_princess_panels_4

3. You will be separating the pattern into two pieces, and eliminating the darts all together - creating a 'side panel' and 'centre front panel' that are sewn together to create the shaping over the bust.

4. Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the side panel piece. To avoid pointy breasts (and to make it easier to sew), you will need to change the rigid angles of the dart arms into a smooth curve along the panel line.

how_to_draft_princess_panels_5

5. On another piece of paper, trace the second panel (centre front panel) once again smoothing out the angles of the dart arms to create a smooth curve. 

6. You now have two separate pattern pieces and no darts!

The next steps are to check that the curves on each piece are the same length (I'll do a post about how to do this next week), add seam allowance and pattern markings (you will need a grainline, cutting instructions, and notches along the curve). 

OPTION #2 : DRAFTING PRINCESS PANELS FROM armhole

If you would prefer to have the panel lines coming from the armhole of the bodice, you will need to start with a dart in the armhole. If your dart is located elsewhere (for example, in the shoulder like it was in the previous example) you will need to start by moving the dart to the armhole. 

how_to_draft_princess_panels_6

1. Trace a copy of the pattern you will be adjusting. I will be using the basic bodice in the example (with darts transferred to armhole), but you can create princess panels on any fitted top pattern with waist darts. 

2. Draw straight lines through the centre of each dart. These lines will intersect at the bust point. 

how_to_draft_princess_panels_7

3. Just like in the previous example, you will be separating the pattern into two pieces, and eliminating the darts all together - creating a 'side panel' and 'centre front panel.'

 

how_to_draft_princess_panels_8

4. Take a piece of pattern paper and trace the side panel piece. Draw a line that follows the lower dart arm at the armhole, and gradually curves as it approaches the dart point (start curving the line a couple of centimetres back from the dart point). Continue the curved line so that it meets the outside arm of the waist dart and continue tracing along dart arm to the waist.

5. You will see that this new line has removed the sharp corner at the bust point.

how_to_draft_princess_panels_9

6. Take another piece of pattern paper and trace the centre front panel, once again creating a smooth curve to replace the dart arms. This time the curve will be concave, rather than the convex curve of the side front panel. 

7. As you can see, to make this curve, a small amount will need to be added at the point of the curve. This will even out the amount that was removed from the side front panel (this small triangle has been relocated from one side to the other).

how_to_draft_princess_panels_10

8. To complete the patterns, you will need to check that the curved seams fit together. You will also need to add notches to the curve (which you can find in the same tutorial) to help guide you when sewing the curved seams together (as curves like this can be very tricky to sew and notches can be your saviour!) and add seam allowance (I'd suggest 1cm or 12mm).

And that's it, you have princess panels!


You may also like:

Posted on June 8, 2016 and filed under pattern making tutorials.