Hello and welcome back to Fun with Fit! In this second session we are going to do the following:
* Trace our fitting shell patterns and transfer ALL markings
* Choose a cup size of B, C or D as a starting point and apply it to our bodice front pattern piece using the Butterick guidelines (further small or large bust adjustments will be made later on if necessary).
* Take various vertical body measurements and compare these with the measurements of the pattern pieces
* Alter our paper pattern vertically to match the measurements of our body so that we know that the Bust, Waist and Hips of our fitting shell will be sitting at the right point on our bodies.
* NB- you will be taking some body measurements during this process so have on well fitting lingerie and something un-bulky and un-restrictive.
Lets get cracking!
Tracing all the pattern pieces may seem like a laborious task but believe me you will be grateful later. By making a duplicate of our pattern we preserve the original so that if we want to begin again after a mistake or return to our fitting shell at a future point when we have gained or lost some weight we can do so without repurchasing. It also saves the headache of trying to make crisp cutting and sticking adjustments on delicate tissue paper- that stuff tears and crumples like nobody’s business! This is best practice when making any sewing pattern and a good habit to get into.
It is absolutely essential that the tracings include ALL the pattern details. The sloper/ fitting shell comes with lovely big seam allowances on certain seams and the regular 1.5cm ones on others and so if you fail to mark all the stitching lines then you may well end up very confused later on! You also need the grainlines, the lengthen/shorten lines, any notches and just everything that is on those pattern pieces!
Bust size: Before tracing pattern piece #1 you need to decide on which bust size you are using as a starting off point. If you are a B cup or smaller just use pattern piece #1 as it is as the pattern is drafted for a B cup and small bust adjustments will be covered later.
If you are a C or D cup or larger you can use pattern piece #6 to adjust your front bodice. To do this place piece #6 on top of #1 aligning the centre front lines and the top black line of #6 with the line marked BUST LINE on piece #1. Pin in place in this position like this:
When making your copy, trace piece #1 down to the point where it intersects with the black line of piece #6 and then follow the lines marked as C or D depending on your choice of cup size. The line which is currently marked bust line is only the bust line for a B Cup, to mark your new bust line on your tracing draw a line at a right angle from the centre front of your pattern to the tip of the bust dart. Mark your new BUST POINT on this line, the bust point can be located by travelling up from the centre of the waist dart to this line. Below is a completed tracing of BODICE FRONT piece #1 with a C Cup adjustment, showing the new bust line and bust point (bp).
Once we have reached this stage it is a good idea to do something to make your seam allowances stand out. I have shaded mine with pink lines as you can see in the photo below. We are about to be taking measurements from our pattern pieces and do NOT want to include the seam allowances in these so its good if they are distinctive.
Now we are ready to take out first vertical measurement. This first measurement runs from the bust point to the shoulder at a right angle from the bust line (so straight up rather than at any kind of angle). Below you can see this is a turquoise blue line marked M1. Once you have taken this measurement make a note of it.
Next we are going to take this exact same measurement on our own bodies. Remember that your bust point is essentially the nipple so you are measuring straight up from that to your shoulder- where the seam of a shirt should be (mid-way between front and back). Bel0w you can see the vertical black seam tape indicating this measurement on Miss Dressform, the three horizontal lines show her bust, waist and hip levels.
Time to compare and contrast! If your body is longer here than the pattern we are going to slash and spread the pattern and add the difference to make them the same. If your body is shorter we are going to slash and overlap. To do this we are going to use the lengthen/shorten line conveniently marked on our pattern piece in this upper body area.
To make your pattern longer cut along the lengthen/ shorten line and tape the top half of your pattern piece to another piece of paper. I have used brown paper below so that it is more clear in the photo what I’m doing. Once your pattern piece is secure extend the turquoise measurement line the amount by which the pattern needs lengthening, in my example below this is 14mm. Now draw a line parallel to the lengthen shorten line at this 14mm point- make sure it is completely level with the lengthen/ shorten line across the whole width of the pattern piece.
Next you need to grab the lower half of your pattern piece and align it perfectly with your extended measurement line and the new horizontal line you just drew on your paper. Now you can level up the side seams and trim around your new paper. You only need to keep a big enough strip of new paper to fill in this gap but be sure to use some sellotape on the back of the pattern too to make it nice and secure before we move on to further adjustments.
If your body measurement is less than your pattern you will need to shorten your pattern piece by overlapping. To do this cut along the lengthen/shorten line marked on your pattern piece. Next measure up from this line the amount by which you need to shorten your pattern piece , in my example below this is 1cm, and draw a new horizontal line at this level making sure it is completely level with the lengthen shorten line all the way across.
Take the lower half of your bodice front pattern piece and stick it to the upper half matching the edge of the paper to this new turquoise blue line. The area of overlap on the completed pattern piece is marked in the photo below with turquoise dash lines.
So thats our first vertical adjustment done and we now know that we have a paper pattern that should be the right length for our upper body. Next we are going to measure the full body length of our pattern piece and ourselves. We know the top half is correct so any discrepancy here will be applied to the lengthen/shorten line below the bustline. Above you can see vertical measurement 2 marked in royal blue. It follows the same line as our first measurement but continues all the way through to the waist. As you can see I have drawn a temporary blue line squaring off the waist dart at the waistline. That is just for measurement purposes because we don’t want to include the ‘truing’ of the dart in our measurements so you only want to measure to that horizontal royal blue line. Once you have your pattern measurement you need to take the same measurement on your body again just like we did with measurement 1. To do this you need to make sure you really are stopping at your actual waistline. A good way to to determine your waist is to tie a piece of elastic around your middle and where it naturally gravitates to is your waist. Below Miss Dressform is modelling this second measurement for us.
As you can see the measurement follows the curve of the body and so don’t pull the tape measure taught but allow it to contour with your shape.
Once you have both measurements written down you can use the method we covered above of slashing and spreading or slashing and overlapping your pattern piece so that it matches your body length. This time you are using the lengthen/shorten line on the lower half of your bodice front pattern piece because we already know that the area above our bust line is the correct length. My example below shows a pattern piece lengthened 17mm on the lower half.
It is not unlikely that you will end up lengthening one half and shortening the other. We all have very different proportions. So you may well be longer from shoulder to bust point than your pattern and shorter from bust point to waist than your pattern but the same length as your pattern overall. It is still completely necessary to make these vertical adjustments even in this case as it is critical for good fit that the bustline on your pattern sits at the bustline on your body.
Vertical adjustments 3 & 4: Next you need to apply this same methodology to two other vertical measurements that I have photographed below on Miss Dressform. On your BODICE BACK #2 pattern piece and your own back (you really will benefit from a helping hand with this body measurement!) you are going to measure from nape to waist. Once again use the elastic trick to be sure of your exact waistline. Your ‘nape’ is where your back meets your neck- or your very top nobbly back bone if that helps!
You can use either of the lengthen/shorten lines marked on your BODICE BACK piece to carry out this adjustment.
Do not worry if after all your adjustments your bodice front and bodice back pieces are no longer the same length at the side seams. This will be addressed and rectified later on!
The fourth and final vertical measurement is on your lower body and your SKIRT FRONT #4 pattern piece. This one measures the distance between waist and hipline. The hipline is marked on your pattern piece and on your body it is your fullest area. It can be higher or lower dependent on body shape and where we carry our weight. Once again we want this line to be the same distance from our waist on pattern and body so use the slash and spread or slash and overlap method. There is a conveniently placed lengthen/shorten line on your skirt front pattern piece between waist and hip to enable you to make this change. Once you have done this repeat on the SKIRT BACK #5 pattern piece so that they match. In reality our front and backs themselves may actually be slightly different lengths in this area but we will be approaching any tweaks to the back waist/ hip area at a later stage and we want to sew up our initial calico toile with the patterns equal front and back in this area.
So that’s it for our vertical pre-adjustments. Once you have got to the end of this session you will be ready for next thursday where we will start looking at horizontal pre-adjustments!
Don’t worry in the not to distant future this process will involve fabric and thread!
Any questions please ask below and thanks for reading.