Hello and welcome back to another Fun with Fit. After taking our body measurements and making our vertical pre- adjustments last time we should hopefully be beginning this session with a fitting shell that has it’s bustline , waist and hipline in the correct positions for our bodies. We are now going to use a similar approach to last week to try and get the horizontal measurements on the front and back of our pattern pieces to match closely to our bodies in some key areas. All of these pre- adjustments are working towards giving us a calico toile that is a great deal easier to tweak to perfection on the body than one sewn up straight from the pattern envelope.
Some of you may be lucky and have a bust, waist and hip measurement that all correlate to a butterick pattern size. I’m afraid that does not mean you can go and make a cup of tea and give this week a miss. We are not just working with full circumference measurements but instead are going to divide and conquer, treating the front of our body totally separately from the back. It is perfectly possible to have a pattern with the correct bust, waist or hip circumference that fits horribly both in front and back with side seams being pulled all over the place at strange angles. We are all very different proportions and will all need different amounts of room in different places.
To take our measurements this time we need a clear ‘side seam’ reference point on our body. Miss Dressform has tape pinned to mark her dividing line. An easy way to mark this on your body is by wearing a thin, stretchy vest and making sure the side seams are positioned perfectly equally between your front and back and in a nice straight vertical line. Then you can measure from side seam to side seam. For the lower body leggings with a side seam can be used or a tight stretch skirt as long as its not too bulky. Alternatively you could unhook your vest from your shoulders and pull it down and position it as if it is a mini skirt. If you happen to live in the UK Marks and Spencer sell appropriate vests in their lingerie section that only cost a few pounds. As with last week, wear well fitting, supportive undergarments and use elastic tied around your middle if you need a guide for where your waist is.
One other thing that may be useful to have to hand for today is a calculator as we need to take into account the wearing ease that is built into our Butterick (or other brand) Fitting Shell. Wearing ease is additional room on top of body measurements that is included in garments in certain areas to allow us to do handy things like breathe and sit down. We didn’t need to think about this with vertical measurements last week but this week we will need to divide this ease up and add it to our horizonatal body measurements in certain places.
So lets get measuring:
BUST POINT TO BUST POINT: Our first measurement is going to be from Bust Point to Bust Point, this is from nipple to nipple on the body. If your nipples are not where you may wish they were you can measure from the central point of the full part of your bust instead. We will building your block around these points so no point highlighting any droopiness that no-one needs know about 😉 Below you can see the bust points (buttons!) and the measurement (peach ribbon) marked on the dressform.
Once you have taken this measurement on yourself jot it down and then divide it in two. This is your bust point to centre front measurement which we can now compare to the same measurement on your fitting shell. As with last week, be very careful not to include the seam allowances in your measurements. Below you can see the measuring line marked on my fitting shell with an orange line. No ease is taken into account from BP to BP so no need to concern yourself with that here.
As with the vertical adjustments we made last time we are going to slash and spread if our pattern measurement is smaller than our body’s or slash and overlap if the opposite is true. To do this draw a line parallel to your centre front line and apporxiamtely 3cm (1 inch) inside it. Cut down this line and spread or overlap the required amount. For a recap on the spreading or overlapping method have a glance at Fun with Fit part 2 where we covered this in more detail.
FRONT BUSTLINE: Once our bust point to centre-front measurement matches our fitting shell pattern we are going to move on to our front bustline measurement. This is taken from side seam to side seam across the front of the body on the bust line. You can see this below on Miss Dressform (peach ribbon) and marked on my fitting shell pattern with a red line.
Any adjustment required is going to be made to the left hand side of our bust point as we already know that the distance between bust point (BP) and centre-front (CF) is correct. Before we compare measurements we need to once again divide our side seam to side seam body measurement in two so that we are working with our Centre Front to Side Seam measurement. Then in this case we need to add 1.8cm (3/4 inch) on to this as that is the amount of ease between CF and Side Seam on the Butterick Fitting Shell.
So to clarify:
Side seam to side seam on body divided by 2 + 1.8cm (3/4 inch) ease compared to Centre Front to Side Seam on pattern piece.
Draw a line parallel with your centre-front midway between your bust point and side seam and increase or reduce your pattern piece to match your body once again using the slash and spread or slash and overlap approach. Below you can see my bodice front pattern piece increased (spread) between Bust Point and Centre Front and decreased (overlapped) between Bust Point and side seam.
If you are concerned that your adjustments have interfered with the neckline or shoulder width do not be. We will be addressing and temporary changes like these directly on the calico toile once we try it on.
Next we are going to be working along the bustline again but this time on our back bodice. This time you only need to do the one measurement from side seam to side seam. Take this measurement on the body and divide it in 2 again to obtain the Centre Back to Side seam measurement. Once again you need to add 1.8cm (3/4 inch) to this number to accommodate the wearing ease included in the pattern.
Before you begin measuring and editing your pattern piece you need to mark your bustline on it. Measure from the Underarm point on your FRONT pattern side seam to your bustline which may well have been moved during our vertical adjustments made in the last session. Measure and mark this same distance on the side seam of your BACK pattern piece and draw a line at this height that is at a perfect right angle to the Centre Back. You can see this done on my back pattern piece below with a purple line.
The adjustment to our Back Bustline will need to be performed a little differently to our other adjustments with the use of an L slash. To do this draw a vertical line through the middle of the back shoulder dart down to your back bustline. Cut down and accross from shoulder to side seam. Then, keeping pattern level at the bustline move your pattern piece in or out just as if you were performing the slash and spread or slash and overlap adjustments we have done previously. Below is an example of the L slash having been done to increase this area.
If you need to increase the width here and slash and spread you will end up with a bigger shoulder dart and will need to redraw the shoulder dart lines. You can see that I have done this in green pen on the image above. If you need to decrease the width in this area and slash and overlap you will end up with a smaller shoulder dart or possibly eliminating it all together. You will also need to redraw your side seam so that it is a smooth straight line again after the adjustment, once again I have shown this done above with a green pen.
FRONT WAIST Next we are looking at the waist. Once again this adjustment will vary slightly from our slash and spread/overlap method but is very simple to do.
Start by taking your own front waist measure from side seam to side seam, you can see this demonstrated on Miss Dressform below. Jot down your measurement and as previously divide it in two to obtain your Centre Front to Side Seam measurement. Add 6mm (1/4 inch) to this number as this is the amount of ease included in this area on your pattern.
When you come to measure the Centre Front to Side Seam on your pattern piece be sure not to include the dart allowance in your measurement. See below the areas you are measuring as marked by turquoise pen. Waist A and Waist B need to then be added together and this is your Centre Front to Side Seam pattern measurement.
For this adjustment we are simply going to add or subtract our difference at the side seam line. Make a clear mark on your pattern piece where your new front waist side seam needs to be. Draw in your new side seam from Bust dart to your new waist.
BACK WAIST Repeat this process for the back waist once again remembering to add the 6mm (1/4 inch) ease after dividing your body measurement in two and to not include the dart allowance when measuring your pattern piece. Mark where your new back waist side seam will need to go and draw in your new side seam from underarm to waist on your back bodice. You can see an example of a waist decrease on the Front Bodice and a waist increase on the Back Bodice below. I have also redrawn in the seam allowances and marked up the new seam allowances with purple dash lines.
Obviously the waist size of our skirt needs to match that of our bodice seeing as these are going to be stitched together. Measure and mark a line to indicate the new side seam position of front and back waist on your skirt pattern pieces. As the skirt pieces have two darts rather than one you will need to measure and add togetehr three areas for each. You can see these areas marked in the photo below. Just place your mark and do not do anything further as we are going to establish our hip side seam position first before redrawing our side seam line.
The hips need to be approached in the exact same was as the waist front and waist back, obviously you don’t have the inconvenience of the darts at hip level so that makes things a little more straightforward. Once again measure the body first from side seam to side seam, divide into two and then in the case of this area add 12.5mm (1/2 inch) ease to this number as 5cm (2 inches) ease has been added to the Butterick Pattern at hip level overall so this area needs to include one quarter of that amount. Just like with the waist mark your changes clearly on your pattern showing where your new hipline side seam needs to be, you can see this below (dark pink line). This area can vary dramatically between front and back dependent on derriere size so it is a very important one to do!
Using a French Curve, a Pattern Master or carefully by hand redraw your skirt side seams to join your new waist points to your new hip points. Cross out the old front and back curves so you don’t get confused later on.
LEVEL UP SIDE SEAM LENGTHS ON BODICE
One final thing we need to do today is to true up any discrepancy we may have in the length of our bodice side seams caused by our vertical adjustments from last week. To do this you need to do the following:
*Temporarily turn under seam allowance on BACK BODICE Side Seam.
*Lay BACK BODICE on top of FRONT BODICE along side seams matching the BACK BODICE BUSTLINE to the LOWER DART LEG of your FRONT BODICE. Pin in place. You can see this in the image below, the back bodice bustline (purple) matches the lower dart leg on the front bodice (green line)
*Draw in a new smooth waist curve that sits halfway between the current front waistline and back waistline. Shown with the black and red line in the image below:
*Make sure your new curve gets marked on both your front and back pattern piece.
Phew…so that’s it for this session folks! I hope that wasn’t all too laborious for you.
If possible iron your calico in advance of next week when we will be transferring markings, cutting out and sewing up our toiles!
Thanks for reading and have a great week.