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Pattern Alterations

I got a question about how much I lowered the neckline of my Burda shift dress (Burda 7056). So I thought, why not just post what the alteration looked like?!

Please click on the image below to enlarge it!

necklinealterationBurda7056

Edit: I forgot to add that I lowered the neckline by 4cms (thats over an inch in imperial measurements).

You can see it isn’t the original pattern from the envelope.

This is because I trace the original sewing pattern, that way if I need to make a different size I can. Does anyone else re-trace their patterns? It is a lot of work….I know some people fold the size of the pattern they want to cut out, but that doesn’t work for me.

I confess that I often buy doubles of the same pattern, that way I have one altered version and one with all the sizes.

Note how even after I altered the neckline of this dress, it still sits pretty high. So if you are working with this pattern and you don’t like tight/restrictive necklines, you will probably want to alter this!

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Simplicity 2444 the love affair continues (third dress made using this pattern). I am super happy with this dress, however the pictures of me in it were not so great… I may add some better ones later.

I realize this is not everyones style but I love this crazy fabric. I salvaged the bodice fabric from a strappy summer dress that was not flattering on me. Had to save the fabric because the print was insane in the best possible way.

The black material I used for the skirt is a nice crisp poplin. Not long ago Lincraft had 50% off all fabrics so I bought around 7 meters of the stuff. You can never have enough black fabric. I always buy these kind of things in bulk!

It occurred to me that I don’t usually show the insides of my garments so heres a peek. Once again the bodice and sleeves are fully lined in a thin black cotton (all by machine, no hand stitching involved) Hooray!

That’s another thing I bulk buy: cotton linings and black and white (lawn, batise etc). Always good to have a supply of this stuff and cotton is so much more breathable and way nicer to sew than all those slippery linings (not that they don’t have there place).

I know it’s not pretty: I removed some excess fabric from the neckline so there is absolutely no gaping. Above are alterations I made to the pattern in order to achieve this.
What a lucky fluke, I didn’t think it would work. This was the main reason why I had to make simplicity 2444 again. I had to test my alterations. Here is my tutorial on how to remove gaping. It’s easy to go overboard and remove to much, you don’t want it to restrict your movement.

Sorry another unattractive picture(s). But here are my sewing notes in picture form. I don’t know how many times I have to make this mistake…

I was even going to do a tutorial but alas I made the same mistake I did last time.

Must remember: Do NOT attach sleeve lining to sleeves with right sides of the bodice facing out. Must attach the sleeve to sleeve lining with wrong sides of bodice/lining visible (right sides of sleeve seam allowance together).

Above: don’t you hate this effect?

So as I mentioned in the last post a lot of commercial patterns (including butterick 5032) gape on me. There always seems to be excess fabric near the neckline that is lose. So in case anyone else has this problem here is how to eliminate it on the pattern.

You cant just take it out of the middle of the pattern because it will affect the grainline and the waist measurement so here is how to do it.

Note: I am obviously not a pattern maker or pro I am just self-taught so I don’t claim this is the best way. But anyway here is my way…

1. So after making a muslin or prototype try the dress on and pinch and pin out the excess fabric and measure how much you have pined out is the amount you want to take out. On one side of my bodice that was 2cms (making it a total of 4cms excess fabric, but 2cm is the amount we want to remove because we are only working with one side of the pattern).

2. Make a copy of your sewing pattern (So you still have the original pattern if the modifications are turn out to be incorrect)

I made a copy by putting Burda tracing paper and pattern weights over the bodice pieces and tracing it being sure to mark all notches and darts on the new pattern. Dont know why I photographed the original pattern over my traced one but um yeah should be the other way around.

3. Mark out a triangle, wedge/dart shape that starts at the neckline and runs all the way down touching the waist dart (or original dart). The distance of line I have drawn with red indicates the amount I want to remove from the pattern (in my case 2cms)

4. Cut along dashed lines. Where to cut is shown above as indicated by the green dashed lines in the picture above. where these darts meet in the middle cut leave 1-2 millimeters (or a tiny bit of paper) so that the pattern is not cut directly in half.

5. After you have cut into all the dashed lines move green dashed line so that it is touching the other thinner green line (that is adjacent to it but not dashed) and tape shut. and you have removed the excess. The waist dart (blue dashed line line) will have opened up more and now be bigger (this will NOT affect the waist measurement)

Below: temporary dart is now taped shut and bottom waist dart is larger resulting in the excess being removed.

5. Add paper to the now larger gap in the waist dart. If necessary add paper and blend and the neckline too.

6. Above is the new gape-free pattern piece. I used the same method to remove excess in the back bodice pattern piece too.

Now we’re getting somewhere…..I do have a soft spot of the crowded house song for the same name haha. Wow I just discovered that was released a year after I was born hehe… yey 80s!

ANYWAY…Check out my 4th Muslin or Toile for  Simplicity 3823 (Its just the bodice/top part the skirt i’m wearing is just to stop you getting and eyeful/seeing my belly)

LOL I do kind of love my goofy expression!

I almost gave up on this dress but now I figured out the obvious fitting issue that would make the top of the bodice sit better (I am still working on the back and the band).

It was so obvious but for some silly reason I originally resisted my urge to lower the streamline connecting the gathered front halter piece to the midsection/band. It was not sitting under my bust, resulting in a bad fit.

If I just asked myself “How do I differ from a size 10 fitting model?” I would have made the right adjustment a long time ago.

So how do I differ? I am not a small bra cup/size and I am not ahem as erm….lets just say my breasts don’t naturally sit high up near my armpits and I am NOT a teenager.

Moral of the story is WHERE things are sitting can be just as important as HOW things are sitting.

As for the midriff band I made so many dodgey winging-it alterations on things I can sort of see why it would be pulling. But I am addressing that next!

Rather than following the dreaded suggestion from the pattern of putting boning in the back I am planning on just adding shirring to the back . I know Betty drapers dress would be a lot more dressy but this is my spin on the dress so I decided its still accepatable.

I have never worked with shirring/shirring elastic before but I found a good tutorial here.

Gertie also has one called “Making a Shirred-Back Dress”. Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

That would solve the fitting issues in the back and ensure it stays up rather than the dreaded suggestion from the pattern of putting boning in the back.

Rule of thumb: The uglier the pattern pieces become-the better the fit. Haha Amateur pattern adjustments TO THE MAX.

I SHALL FINISH THIS DRESS.

I am going on a big trip to Europe soon so I better keep working on it.

Hmmm  Perhaps I should name every post after songs I like. Would that be wrong?

This is how I felt

(imge credit http://www.cowboylands.net)

Getting this pattern to fit has proved to be a good learning experience but a tedious one all the same. I have made 7 muslin/toiles.

Because I don’t understand fitting and pattern making that well I am not at the stage where I have standard adjustments that I make to new patterns to suit my body.

But I often notice the same problems. Such as…

Gaping/excess fabric above the bust. (Theory 1: My back is a little hunched or my front is shorter. Theory 2: Because I am a bigger cup/lower or bust size Theory 3: Hollow Chest)

Gaping at my back near the neck  (Theory: Slightly Curved back)

Who knows?

Anyway this is how it fits now  (I win Burda 7494 I win!)

The sewing is not fantastic but it is a trial run so I was messy.

Heres a little break down of what I have been through:

– In early versions I got rid of fabric from the side front bodice only (none on the center front) hoping it would get rid of excess fabric above the bust. This helped only a little little

– I then made a gape dart on the centre front pattern piece and pivoted the excess into the dart. Below is a picture showing how I did it.

Yey no more droopy fabric and the front but THEN I had these darts and the pannel lines that looked like pointy nipples. Not pretty! The darts were WAY too high on the dress.

Another problem was the neckline way WAY too high which is unflattering and uncomfortable.

– I lowered the neckline so I had to re-drafted the collar. I got a similar shape of collar by looking at the finished shape (without seam allowance) sewn up (muslin version 1) tracing that onto my new center front piece and lengthening it slightly. Had to factor in seam allowance to work out where the front of the collar would meet.

OK now to get rid of the darts the picture below shows how bad they looked.

– So to remove the bust darts I had to put the dart excess in my side front piece. It kind of defies explanation so here is an image so I can remember what I did.

– I originally added 2cms to the waistline but that was to much.

So I decided to make the waistline more curved. You can actually see it in the above image how the waistline kind of tapers upwards but is longer on the sides and back.

I shorted the skirt and added a slit but I have yet to figure out how to correctly sew a slit…

– I cut a big chunk out of the back neckline and that got rid of most of the gaping there.

-In my latest version (version 7) I took a little out of the waist. Hopefully with will work out because I am cutting it in my fashion fabric soon.

– I re-drafted facings for the new neckline and then drafted lining pieces to go with the facings.

Phew Perhaps I should sew with another pattern before I sew the Burda 7494 in my fashion fabric. Even writing the pattern number is tiring now.