Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Pattern Resizing Tutorial Part 1: Small to Large

Hi Everyone, this tutorial has long been requested and is LONG overdue. I thank you for your patience! Resizing a pattern from the size you have to the size you want isn't really as scary as it looks. Whether larger or smaller, the concept is the same, but to keep this manageable,  I'm going to do this in two parts. My example this time will show you how to enlarge the size, and with part two, I will show you how to shrink it down.

Make your pattern smaller than the size you have with this tutorial Part II:

We will be using the Beatrice Pattern, #LN1310 to guide us through this instruction:
Buy your pattern here:

To follow along with this tutorial you will need
  • Your chosen pattern.
  • Any pattern paper of your choice.
  • A long see-thru ruler with a grid
  • A curved ruler is nice, but optional
  • Your personal measurements

1. Measure and Math

 Have your measurements handy, grab the chart above, and let's do some math.

 I'm using some measurements from an imaginary person that wants to make up one of my patterns, but the chart range doesn't quite reach far enough. Put your measurements in that first column, and the chart measurements in the second column. Subtract one from the other, and put that number in the third column. This is the overall increase, but we need to disperse this measurement evenly on all 4 sides, (a front, a back, a right and a left side), so divide that overall number by 4 and put that in the last column. This is how much we will add to the side seam front and back.

You may ask- what if my pattern is a princess seam and there are 6 ways to disperse that measurement? The answer is yes, you can, and in some cases, should divide it by as many vertical seams as your pattern has, but this number may not be divided 6 ways equally. Plan it out so that the princess line will land just to the outside of the bust point, and put the rest at the side seam.

2. Tape paper to the pattern

 For this example, I'm going to use the Beatrice pattern, #LN1313. Cut out the pattern pieces that you will need for your project. Because we are going to grow our pattern, tape some kind of pattern paper to the edges.

 3. Draw an extension line

Use a ruler to draw a grading point through the corner points of every edge. I'm going to call this an extension line. Notice that the regular changes in size not only include more width, but also include more height to make the change proportionate. You may or may not want to add more height to your pattern, but using this method, it's certainly an option.

 4. Start at the side seam

First we will concern ourselves with the width changes. Using my imaginary friends measurements, I need to add a total of 3" to the bust, and divided by 4, the change will be 3/4" from the size 18. At the waist, I need to add 1/2". Using a ruler, I've made a mark along the extension line.

5. Work your way around the pattern

Working my way around the pattern piece, trace off the armscye, or armhole. You can also free-hand the armhole shape, but tracing is convenient.

6. Option 1: Leave the shoulder height as is

 According to my persons measurements, I don't need to "grow" the pattern and add more height, but I am going to add more width across the chest. Before you decide to do the same, take an arm measurement at the bicep and decide if you can stay with the size 18 sleeve as I will be doing, or if you will need to enlarge the sleeve proportionally as well. Will you need more room in the armhole for comfort? If so, then you should extend the shoulder height in sequence with the rest. We must shorten the pattern to match our body length later anyway, so adding height here is not going to cause you more work in the end. In this photo, I have squared off the pattern at the shoulder, and am not adding height as the grade would normally require.

7. Matching my armscye corner to the corner of my shoulder, I can pivot the paper in or out just a little to match up with my side seam and add a tiny bit more, or less, fabric to the width across the chest. It does not match up perfectly, but is very close.

7a. Option 2: Add height at the shoulder

If you are extending the shoulder height by 1/4"- this is what your pattern should look like. I've added an extension line at the notch to make sure that matches up with the previous grade.

7b. Match the armhole tracing to the upper corner as mentioned before, with the notch also following in line with the others. The armhole will extend at the underarm to match the new size you will make for the sleeve. Measuring this addition reveals just about 3/8" will be added to each side of your sleeve. You will also need to raise the cap 1/4" to match the bodice.

7c. Extending the shoulder means extending the neckline too. Use the graded points to raise and redraw the front neckline. 

 8. Lengthen or Shorten

Now we need to think about shortening this bodice to match our figure. There are two places to shorten: above and below the bust point. This pattern has a little symbol above the cut out dart. The is NOT a bust point. It's the end point of your dart. However, the bust point isn't far from there- and the bigger a dart is, the nearer to the bust point your dart should end. I drew an arbitrary double line above and below the bust point because I figure our friend should be wearing a good quality bra that will keep those girls up high. Measuring from the waist, vertically up to the bust point you can determine if and how much should shorten below and anything left over should be shortened from above. We need to shorten 1" total, so I'm taking 3/4" from below and 1/4" from above. If you have added height to the pattern at the shoulder, don't forget to factor that into your back waist measurement.  Fold one line up to match the other, and tape it to secure.

9. Move the Dart

Do you need to move the dart? Measure yourself from bust point to point. Divide that measurement in half. Measure from the waist up to your bust point. Measuring the pattern over and down to the waist, find your bust point. Transfer that information to the pattern and mark your bust point.  Use a ruler to draw a new line the corrected distance from the dart marked on the pattern. This is a cut line, not a sewing line.

10. True (straighten) the side seams from end point to point

The dashed line outside the dart represents the sewing line. The newer pattern release has notches along this cut out dart, which this one does not have. True your side seams, mark the waist line and this front pattern is ready to go.

11. Complete other pattern peices

Continue on with the other pattern pieces, moving the darts and adding to the side seams consistently as before until all pattern changes have been made, including facings. Keep a notebook or use a diagram to help you keep track, but always walk your pattern to be sure you haven't forgotten anything. Make a check mark on each seam that has been walked to partner so you don't have to worry. Checking this now will save your time, money and hassle down the road. If your chosen pattern has more pieces to it, such as the Tia dress, remember that the concept is the exactly the same. Make your marks at the side seam to personalize, and resize the pattern using the same grading lines, tapering as was done on the sizes before. Keep measurement changes the same throughout so that all the pieces will sew correctly to each other, walk your seams and that's all you need to resize your pattern from what you have to what you need! Stay tuned for part two where I show you how to reduce the size of a pattern.

Have a great sewing day!

~ Laura

Monday, April 6, 2015

Pattern Tutorial: Ehlen Blouse Variation

Trying to match a brown and gold polka-dot shantung silk pant, I found a gold lining in my stash that was the perfect color. While a blouse could be made exclusively from lining, in my opinion it looks a little cheap. This fabric is very light weight, and exceptionally shiny, so to tone down the shine and give the look an upgrade, I decided to pair it with chiffon in a champagne color. The result was a really pretty dull/shine iridescence. 

To pull out this contrast even more, I bound the neck and sleeve peek-a-boo edges in bias strips made from the lining and also added in a sash that is sewn into the side seams. This soft and sweet blouse turned out to be super quick to make, and in fact, I sewed it together in one day.

This tie can be worn both wrapped and tied in the front, or to the back. I love this look with jeans; a sassy bow and long ties floating behind....

First things first, get your pattern here:

Then, to prep for this project, you’ll need an additional ½ yard of lining fabric for the binding and ties. Follow the same number to cut except for the sleeve band you'll need to cut 2 of chiffon, and 4 of lining, both front and back. You will also need to rearrange your lining layout to accommodate space for the bias strips. You'll need 2 strips cut on the bias about 1 ½” wide and about 30” long, or enough to go around the front and back neck edge. One will be for the neck and the other will be used for the sleeves. Don't cut anything to size until after it's sewn. The first ¼ yard of lining will be used for the ties. Cut 2 strips 8” wide the full length of the cross grain. 

Once the chiffon and lining are cut, layer the sheer over lining and pin all the way around, with pins no less than 2” apart. Baste around all pieces ½” from the raw edge. Prepare the binding by folding in half, raw edges together, press.  Because the binding will finish the edges, and the lining will be used as one with the sheer, be sure to include a seam finish as you sew each seam. With the exception of the sleeve band, no lining is used on the inside. We want to put this together fast!

The bodice will need to be sewn together in a little different order than your booklet outlines. Here is how I did it:

 Sew the bodice back darts, and front to side front, then sew the front to back at the shoulders.


Sew a stay stitch around the neck edge at 5/8”. Trim to  slightly less than 3/8”. I did this to keep the seam allowance/binding edge manageable, and make sure that my stitching won’t show once the neck is complete.
With wrong sides and raw edges together, pin binding to neck the first few inches just to hold it in place. With the binding towards you under the machine, sew a roughly 3/8” seam. Now I say roughly because my eye stays on the folded edge of the binding (and the distance from the presser foot) at all times. I want that binding edge to be an exact measurement all the way around the neck. In this case, the seam allowance is not my biggest concern.

 Sew again, about 1/16” inside the seam allowance. This is an extra precaution against raveling.

Trim the seam to 1/8” from that second stitching and clip the curves as usual.

      Press the binding and seam up, then press the binding down to the right side of the blouse, folding down right on that seam.
    Top stitch on the right side close to that fold. Scant is the word we use to describe this distance- which means it’s so close you can’t really measure it!

    Sew the center front seam from that symbol all the way up the front. If you’ve measured that binding distance correctly, those binding edges will match right up.Now finish the front and back with the midriff and peplum.

I made my ties using a typical vintage fold up method, but for this light weight fabric, I think it weighs the ends too much. I recommend that you cut the ends on the bias and then clean finish all three edges, which is to turn under 5/8" and then again 1/4" to the inside of allowance. Stitch close to that second fold.

Make sure your ties are finished so that they mirror each other.It's easy to mix up which is the right/left/wrong right side of the fabric.

     Sew two rows of basting stitches at 5/8” and 3/8” along the remaining short end.
  Pull bobbin threads to gather to half the width, about 3-4”.
With right sides together, pin tie to bodice front at side seams above waistline seam.
 Baste to the side seam. Now you are ready to install the zipper.
    The sleeve won’t be lined either. We’ll finish the edges with binding instead.



       As before, stay stitch, add binding to the front and back where the angular peek-a-boo  opening of the sleeve will be. Press to the front and top stitch. Now sew the sleeve front to sleeve back as usual.

Sew the sleeve band as guided by the booklet. I make a template from scrap paper, then use chalk or disappearing marker to create a sewing line to help me get a nice curve around that corner.

I finished my hem with a clean finish as well. It's quick and neat, and won't get in the way of the zipper. Let me know if you make this blouse! I would love to see your creations!