Monday, February 28, 2011

Butterick 5610: Pattern Alterations

Subtitle: "Or How I Really Need To Vacuum the Sewing Room Floor"

Please try to ignore the shreds of Ren Faire costume still on the floor but laying the patterns out here was the best way to get the photos even if I haven't yet completely cleaned up after the costume shop closed.

So, onto the alterations.

I'll start with the back. I usually start with a size 18 pattern for the upper chest and neckline area and then I'll grade outward for my ample lower half. This sizes in this envelope stopped at 18, so I had to grade (and I use that term loosely) outward without any helper pattern lines. I compared this pattern piece to a TNT back piece to get a visual on how much I needed to add. Because the sideseam grading lines on the new pattern were an even 1/2", I graded to a "20" at the sideseams by just adding an even 1/2" all the way down the pattern. This keeps the integrity of stitching line. But (excuse the pun!) because my lower half is bigger than a pattern 20, I still needed to add more. Instead of adding it at the sideseam — which usually has a Judy Jetson effect on me, because I need the space over the cheeks, not at the sides — I split the pattern from the upper edge to the hem and added a wedge of new tissue. In a close-fitting top I'd alter differently, but this is a casual-fit tee and the additional ease across the back by adding this fast wedge is OK for that.

I also added 2" across the bottom for additional length (because I like the extra insurance when making a new pattern), and I raised the armhole to correspond to the square shoulder adjustment I made to the shoulder/sleeves pieces.

The front has pretty much the same alterations (adding for belly instead of butt). Because it's a full pattern piece, I had to make the alterations to both sides. Technically, I could have done a more traditional FBA and rotated the dart to the front pleats, but (1) I tissue fit with the pleats folded into place and decided there would be enough space for the girls with the quicker alterations, and (2) I am lazy. The wedge and the sideseam increase gives me more width across the bust, and then continues downward for more width across the abdomen.

The sleeve and neckline yoke are all-in-one pieces. I added to the shoulder area for my square shoulders, and also added an additional 1/2" to each underarm area so they would match up with the 1/2" I added to the sideseams on the front and back pieces.

Yesterday, I cut out a "tester" and hope to sew it up in the next day or so. It's not a true muslin, because I used wearable fabric. If it works, great. If not, I won't cry. I'll just make adjustments and try again.


  1. Your alterations are looking good so far.

  2. Looks good! Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  3. Thanks for sharing your steps in fitting a new pattern. I really appreciate the time you take to educate us!

  4. Vacuuming is overrated. You deserve a new top.


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