Thursday, June 20, 2013

A picture paints a thousand words

I've been talking to my friend Maggie about sewing recently. We're trying to apply what we've learned about fitting knitwear to woven garments. She's the one actually sewing - I'm just pondering at this point mostly because I can't find decent fabric. Unless you want to quilt or a wedding gown, fabric stores cannot help you. I want to make a sundress out of a lightweight cotton, but I am increasingly convinced that it will be Christmas before I find appropriate material - and even then, the fabric will be printed with candy canes and holly!

Anyway, I came across the following fabulous picture on Pinterest that shows exactly how to upsize a bodice pattern piece. Cut right-angle slices into the bottom right of the piece up to the armhole and then spread out the slices and tape the tissue. This makes so much sense to me. Look at how the shape mirrors a larger body.

I suspect you'd need to make a couple of other changes to get a better fit. I'd need to make the bodice longer because I'm busty; I'd just add another inch or three to the bottom of the pattern. The dart would also have to be lengthened a bit to have the point end at the right position on the bust.

But what a great way to approach this kind of mod. In the past, I've added inches onto the side and always ended up with an A-line tent regardless of the shape of the original garment. This method adds inches exactly where you need them and we know from experience that that's exactly what is needed to make a garment fit well.


  1. See this is why I used up a whole roll of tape on one blouse pattern- and I did not even do this particular adjustment, but I think I should try it out. It makes sense just like in sweaters, it looks so much better if you put the extra room where you need it.
    Also, google full bust adjustment. There seems to be a tried and true fix for the extra room needed in the bust. (Your Coni pattern might already have some extra room, but most patterns are drafted I think for a B cup.)

  2. I sewed my own clothes for years and they were ok but then I attended a fitting seminar and bought their program. I was sooo frustrated that I quit sewing. What you show makes sense. You might inspire me to start sewing again! Thanks!

  3. On is a sewing class by Barbara Decker. It is fabulous. I learned so much from it and I highly recommend it. It goes on sale regularly so if you keep an eye on it it will drop down in price. (Right now $59)

  4. Thank you so much for sharing this. I will definitely put it to use. I've paid for classes from Craftsy, just haven't gotten around to actually watching the class.

  5. I've been sewing for more years than I'd like to admit and have never seen that particular method for enlarging. It makes perfect sense!
    Good luck!!!

  6. Looking forward to following your sewing adventures. I got a new sewing machine this spring!

    I signed up for the Craftsy Barbara Decker class. The material in it is fantastic. I was worried after picking up her book - her definition of "skimming the body" puts Mormon polygamy cult wives in the showing off their curves category. But it was the 80s/90s, the shoulder pads give it away. I'm looking forward to making the shirt in the class. I'm doing the A-line skirt class as well. And because I've only done quilting for the last decade or so, I'm starting with the two free bag-making classes. I'll sew curves and put in a zipper, along with other basic skills.

    I hear you on the fabric. My family is in Virginia, last trip down, I flew from Boston, but took the Bus back, giving myself a 5 hour stop over in New York. The buses go to Port Authority or Penn Station, which is right by the garment district. Crazy that it is easier to go to New York for fabric than to drive around the Boston and the suburbs to search through the fabric stores that are left. I bought 3 garments worth of fabric at Mood. I got a nice shirt weight linen, skirt weight almost floral, and a beautiful white cotton with embroidered black flowers that goes into the stash category at this point. They do mail order as well and charge $1 to send a swatch so you can see the fabric first.

    An interesting sewing pattern company is Cake in Australia - Their patterns go up to 55 inches and they appear to have a method for starting with the upper bust measurement and adding bosom corrections to that. The tops are sewn with knits. I'm not up to that level yet, but I really like their stuff.

    1. Mary, thanks so much for all the good info - going to check it all out. Thanks for reading my blog, too.

  7. Hi Julie,

    I'm sure you noticed all fabric stores are not created equal. I've had okay luck at Hancocks fabrics. Joanne's seems to cater more to quilters but they do have some garment fabrics. My sewing friends are often moaning about the lack of quality choice and have started shopping online for garment fabric. That being said, if you're close enough to NYC to actually go to Mood - you should do it. Then you can blog about it so all of your midwest readers can live vicariously through you!
    Good luck with your sewing endeavors.

  8. I agree about the difficulty in finding good fabric for sewing; if you aren't near a major metropolitan area, online resources are your only option.

    I've used with some success, and someday I might splurge and buy from Spoonflower (they now have several fabrics that would work for clothing). Also, has interesting apparel fabric, especially cute knits. Not sure about the quality, though.

    (Also, if you're in the Midwest, Chicago has two fabulous stores: Vogue Fabrics (no relation to the magazine) and Fishman's.)

  9. I've seen a lot of fun, summery batiks printed on rayon. While it's not cotton, it's soft fabric that flows and drapes which I think might be the feeling you want. Another option is voile cotton fabric, which is available printed but can be hard to find in brick and mortar stores. It's more widely available in solids for making little girls' heirloom dresses, but it's worth getting swatches because sometimes the solids can be just a little more sheer than you might want for your garment. But voile is definitely light, soft, and flowy, a possibility for a cool summer sundress.

  10. P.S. I am new to your blog, but I agree with the other poster who said that if you can go to Mood in NYC, it would be a great post or series...especially if you can tie in any kind of fitting assistance.

  11. Fabric selection: this may sound silly but JoAnne Fabrics have lots of things that are not holiday or wedding.
    And used book stores might have books on adjusting patterns, I know I used to own them all.
    Play with the patterns in muslin or anything else inexpensive that doesn't stretch to get a feel for how darts will actually look and you are dead on about needing the points to go where they should. I'd forgotten how comforting sewing can be, til I read all this. Nancy