Posts tagged #pattern alterations

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

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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

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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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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).

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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

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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. 

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

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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. 

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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. 

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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).

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

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

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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.


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

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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

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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

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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.

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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

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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. 

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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

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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.

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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. 

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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!

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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.

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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

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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

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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. 

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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

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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!

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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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.


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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!


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

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 


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

The Acton sew-along : Shorten the bodice (below the bust)

Last week I showed you how to lengthen the bodice on the Acton dress (or any pattern that's similar) for the Acton sew-along, and now it's time for me to show you how to shorten the bodice. 

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. 

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 

Draw a horizontal line (perpendicular to the grainline) through each pattern piece between the lower notches. 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 patter

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

Remove the excess length

Work out how much you will be removing from the length of the bodice by referring to your toile.  For the sake of the example, I will be removing 2.5cm (1") from the pattern. Draw a line parallel to the cut, 2.5cm / 1" (or the amount you are removing) on the upper section of the CENTRE FRONT BODICE piece. 

Move the lower section of the piece up to meet the horizontal line. Check that the centre front on both upper and lower pieces are aligned and then tape or glue in place. 

Re-draw the seams

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Redraw the panel line, by drawing a straight line from the original line at the top of the seam and the bottom. Do this for both the stitching line and the cutting line. 

Re-draw the notches

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Re-draw the notches - so that they won't be trimmed off when you remove the excess from the piece. Cutting along the new line to create the new pattern piece.

Make the same changes to the side front bodice

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Repeat the process for the SIDE FRONT BODICE, before moving onto the back panels and repeating the process.

Keep your eye on the blog for more Acton sew-along posts coming in the next couple of weeks (and check out the link to see what I've covered so far). 


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Posted on January 16, 2017 and filed under the acton, sewalong.

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. 

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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!


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

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!


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

How to : Add panel lines to a skirt pattern

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Panel lines are a great way to add interest to a design. There are countless variations and it is a way to include more than one fabric in your design if you would like. I really struggle to keep a design limited to one fabric, so often add a contrast fabric with panel lines. Panel lines are also a good way to eliminate darts, without losing the fitted shape of the garment.

Now that our skirt blocks are done, it's time to have a play! In today's post I will show you the basics of creating panel lines on a pattern. This same principle can be used on all different patterns, so keep reading, even if it's a bodice or dress you're planning to add panels to. 

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I will show you how to add panel lines where the darts are on the original skirt block. With these panels, you will no longer need darts, as the shaping required will be provided by the panel lines.

Mark panel lines

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1. Take your skirt pattern and draw a line from the tip of the dart to the hemline, ensuring it is parallel to the centre front (or entre back if you are working on the back pattern piece).

2. Add notches to the line. This will help when you are matching the two pieces together later. I suggest putting one in line with the dart point and another on the straight part of the line.

Now that you have the line marked, you can cut the pattern into two pieces, or you can trace the pieces onto seperate pieces of paper (my preferred method).

Create side front panel piece

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3. Take a separate piece of pattern paper, and place it on top of your skirt block. To start, you will be tracing the left side panel. Trace down the side seam, along the hemline, up the line you drew (Step 1), along the left dart arm (being sure that the transition between line and dart is a smooth curve) and then along the waistline. Transfer the notches from the panel line, and notch the hip line on the side seam.

4. Before removing the tracing, transfer the grainline, which should be parallel to the original grainline. Add pattern information and cutting directions (Front side panel / cut 1 pair).

Create centre front panel piece

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5. Next, you will need to trace the centre front panel. Take another piece of pattern paper and trace down the centre front, along the hemline, up the panel line, up the right-hand dart arm and along the waistline. Once again, make sure your transistion from panel line to dart line is nice and smooth. Transfer the notches on the panel line.

6. Before removing the tracing, transfer the grainline, which should be parallel to the original grainline. Add pattern information and cutting directions (Centre front panel / cut 1 on fold).

Add seam allowance

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7. Add seam allowance to both pattern pieces. I suggest 1.2cm - 1.5cm (1/2in - 9/16in). You may want to add more to the hemline, but for the sake of the example I have left the seam allowance consistent. Repeat process for the back pattern, and now you have a skirt with panels, instead of darts!


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Throwback Thursday: How to use the cut + spread technique to draft an A-line skirt

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After a few days of Rushcutter pattern alterations, it is time to get back to our skirt blocks, as it is, after all, Throwback Thursday! So Welcome back to The Skirt Series! Now that the pattern is pretty much complete (we just need to create a waistband pattern - which I will cover in tomorrow's post) I think we should have a play around with our new pattern blocks.

Once you have a skirt block that fits you well, there is just so much that can be done with it, and over the next few weeks I plan to show you some of the techniques you will need to know to transform your block into a skirt. 

One of the techniques I use the most when I am flat pattern-making, is relocating darts. So I think that is a good place for us to start! Once you know how to do it, you will be able to use this technique on any pattern that has darts.

Cut and spread

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So today, I will show you how to relocate the waist darts in the skirt block, to create an A-line skirt. 

1. To start, you will need your skirt block. I will demonstrate by showing the front pattern piece, but the principle is exactly the same for the back pattern piece.

2. Trace a copy of your skirt block, without seam allowance. 

3. Draw a line, parallel to the centre front, from the tip of the dart, down to the hemline. 

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4. Starting at the hemline, cut along this line, until you are 1-2mm from the dart point.

5. Now focusing on the outside dart arm (the dart closest to the side seam), cut down from the waistline towards the dart point, once again stopping 1-2mm from the dart point. This will create a small 'hinge,' so that the two parts of your pattern remain attached. But you will be able to open and close your dart with ease.

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6. Close the waist dart by rotating the pattern, until the cut dart arm sits on top of the inner dart arm.

7. When in position, tape (or glue) in place. You will see that, by closing the dart, you have opened up the hemline, giving the skirt an A-line shape.

Trace the pattern

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8. Take a separate piece of pattern paper and use a weight to hold it in place on top of the pattern. Trace around the pattern. You will see that the waistline has become quite angular since removing the dart, so you will need to redraw it with a soft curve. You will also need to redraw the hem with a smooth curve.

9. Add pattern details, notches and repeat for the back pattern piece.

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10. If you would like a more drastic A-line you can redraw the side seam as a straight line (this will remove any shaping around the waist). To complete the pattern, add seam allowance.

Want to give it a go yourself?

I have created a small scale version of my skirt block that you can download (just click the image above) so that you can have a play around, if you are short of time, paper or space. It is also great to have a small scale version of techniques for your reference, so that you can easily store them for reference. And there will be many more new techniques to come, so print a few copies!


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The Rushcutter sew-along: more pattern alterations

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In yesterday's post, I showed you a few alterations that you may want to make to The Rushcutter: lower the neckline, add or removing volume, shortening and lengthening the pattern.

Today I have a follow on post for you, as I was worried I might intimidate you if I put all the alterations in the one post!

Create a slimmer Rushcutter

The Rushcutter sewing pattern is designed to be over-sized, so there is a lot of ease in it. It may be a little too much for some of you, so, in today's post, I will show you how to slim down the dress a little. It is not overly complicated, but is slightly more difficult  than it would be on a more conventional pattern, as it does not have side seams!

I would suggest, before making any major adjustments to the pattern (like this one) make a toile, so you know exactly how much width you can afford to remove from the pattern.

1. To start, take the 'Side Panel' pattern piece. This is where we will be removing some width from the pattern piece. The grainline, which runs right through the middle of the pattern piece (and therefore down the side of the body) is where you will be removing the fabric from.

2. Work out how much you would like to remove, by referring to your toile. You will want to take the amount evenly from both sides of the dress. Divide the total amount by 2 and then distribute this measurement either side of the grainline (on the stitching line) - half on the front section  of the pattern piece (indicated by the single notches) and half towards the back (indicated by the double notches).

3. Cutting from the top, cut along the grainline, down towards the hemline. Do not cut all the way through the pattern. Stop a 2-3mm from the bottom, so that a small "hinge" of paper remains intact. You will now notice that you can separate the two sides of the pattern quite easily, without detaching them entirely. 

4. Now, swing one side of the pattern over the other (doesn't matter which one) until the points that you marked overlap. You will see that, by doing this, you have removed a slice from the middle of the pattern. Tape (or glue) in place.

5. By taking out this slice, the underarm curve will now come to a sharp point. Redraw the stitch line and the cutting edge, with a nice smooth line, to correct this. 

Now that you have removed some width from the side panel, you will need to remove the same amount from the raglan sleeve - as these two pieces are sewn together. 

1. Remember the amount we distributed either side of the grainline on the side panel? Take this measurement and divide it by 2. Measuring in from the underarm seam (remember to measure from the stitch line, if your pattern still includes seam allowance), marking a point the distance determined. Repeat for the second side.

2. Draw a line from the points marked, down towards the hemline, meeting with the original stitch line, at the line that indicates where to fold up the sleeve hem.

3. Redraw the cutting line, by adding 1.5cm seam allowance to the new line.

Re-draft the pocket

You may decide to make a short version of the Rushcutter. Megan, one of my lovely testers, decided to shorten hers to tunic length. Nice, right? The only problem is that you end up losing quite a bit of pocket depth. The easiest way to solve this is to simply re-draft the pocket piece, so that it will be your desired depth.

I will show you how I drafted the original pattern piece, so your new pattern will fit perfectly, just like the original!

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1. Work out how deep you would like to make the pocket, you can do this by referring to the original pattern piece, or by holding the 'Side Panel' pattern piece up to your side and marking where you would like the pocket to start. Mark the point on the grainline of your pattern piece.

2. Draw a line, perpendicular to the grainline, from the marked point. Extend the line 5mm past stitching line on both ends (this is because the pocket panel was drafted to be slightly wider than the piece it is stitched to, to add a little volume).

3. Starting at one endpoint, draw a straight line that meets the bottom corner of the pattern piece, easing back into the original stitch line. Repeat for the other side.

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4. Take a seperate piece of paper and trace a copy of the new pattern piece, being sure to also transfer grainline and notches onto the new pattern piece.

5. Add seam allowance to both sides and the hem (not the top edge, just yet). The seam allowance needs to be 1.5cm on each side and 1cm at the hem. 

6. Draw a line that runs parallel to the top edge of the pocket, 4cm above the original line. Fold along the top edge of the pocket.

7. Trace the seam lines onto the pocket hem (you want to do this so that when the piece is cut, and you fold the top hem of the pocket back to finish the edge, it meets the pocket smoothly).

8. You now have your pocket piece! Add markings and get sewing!

Relocating the shoulder dart

After trying on your toile, you may feel that the dart does not quite sit on your shoulder. If this is the case, you may want to move the dart slightly forward or backwards, from its original position.

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1. Work out where your dart needs to be (by measuring in relation to the original dart) and draw a straight line running from the new location on the neckline, to the original dart point.

2. Focusing on the original dart, cut down the outside dart arm, from the neckline to the dart point. Don't cut all the way to the end, stop when you are 2-3mm away. Do the same with the line you just marked, also stopping a few millimetres from the end. This will create a small 'hinge,' which allows you to move this section of the pattern, whilst still keeping the pieces attached.

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3. Rotate the cut section until you have closed out the original dart (one dart arm overlaps the other), and tape in place.

4. You will now see that you have opened up a new dart. To complete it, you will need to add dart shaping, and seam allowance to the new dart.


Okay, thats it for today's post. And guess what, tomorrow it's finally time to cut some fabric! Yippee! Let me know if there is an alteration that I didn't include in today or yesterday's post that you need!


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