Tutorial 1. Getting Acquainted with the Top Pattern.
I am about to start working on a new wedding outfit. As I said before, it is a combination of a top and a skirt. I shall work on the top first.
It all starts from the pattern, as always.
This book comes with two sets of patterns: basic patterns and adjusted patterns with lace patterns marked on them. My top will be sewn after the second set.
Let us first talk about the basic patterns though. I will tell you how to sew a top in a size different to mine.
As usual, you start by printing out the pattern sheets and gluing them together. There is a help sheet which shows you what you are supposed to achieve by gluing the separate parts together.
I will use the front piece as an example to show you how to adjust the basic pattern to your client’s size.
The picture below shows the front piece the way it looks after you glue together the sheets. You must have noticed those transverse inclined lines which cross the contours of all pieces at different angles (the intersection points are marked red).
The initial pattern was designed based on a single measurement: 88cm bust circumference. In other words, the pattern you have printed out fits this particular bust circumference.
But what to do if your client has a different bust circumference? How to adjust the pattern?
The initial pattern is made in such a way that a 2cm change in the bust circumference corresponds with a 3mm shift of the pattern outline up or down those transverse lines.
Suppose your client has a bust circumference of 92cm. In this case, the difference from the pattern is as follows:
92cm – 88cm = 4cm
I know that I need to expand the pattern by 3mm along each transverse line to add 2cm to the bust circumference. But it needs to be made 4cm bigger in this particular case. For this reason, what I do is mark 6mm up from the red intersection point along each transverse line.
I connect these new points preserving the original shape of the pattern and thereby adjust the front piece to the required measurement. The dart stays in the same place in most cases.
Here is an adjusted base for the front piece. To be honest, I would not recommend changing the initial pattern like that if the difference in the bust circumferences is less than 4cm. In that case you can always adjust the initial pattern the traditional way after comparing pattern measurements and client’s measurements.
Let us look at another example when the client’s bust circumference is noticeably larger than on the pattern. Suppose it is 102cm. In this case, the difference between the measurements is:
102cm – 88cm = 14cm
Knowing that every 2cm added to the bust circumference corresponds with 3mm marked up along each transverse line, I mark 21mm up from the red intersection point along each transverse line, connect the new points, and get an adjusted front piece.
The same is done if you need to make the pattern smaller, only in this case you mark the required number of millimeters down the transverse lines, i.e. inwards the pattern.
Suppose my client has a bust circumference of 84cm. In this case, the difference between the measurements is as follows:
84cm – 88cm = -4cm
I know that every 2cm removed from the bust circumference corresponds with 3mm marked down each transverse line. But in this case the bust circumference needs to be made 4cm smaller. What I do is mark 6mm down from the red intersection points along each transverse line, connect the new points, and get an adjusted front piece.
Then you take all measurements off the adjusted pattern, compare them with your client’s measurements, and apply further adjustments if necessary.
Here are the measurements you need to take off the new piece:
- Bust Apex to Bust Apex. It is important to account for the position of the dart. In most garments with shoulder seams, this dart is not supposed to arrive right at the bust apex point. It is normally shifted to the side instead.
- Side Neck Point to Bust Apex.
- Shoulder Tip to Bust Apex.
- Sternal Notch to Waist.
- Mid-Armhole Width Front.
- Shoulder Front.
Then you need to build a base for the back piece in a similar way, take all key measurements, compare them with client’s measurements, and apply further adjustments if necessary.
The measurements you need to take off the adjusted back piece are Centre Length Back, Shoulder Tip to Centre Waist Back, Mid-Armhole Width Back, Shoulder Tip to Side Waist Back, Shoulder to Shoulder Across Back.
In other words, you compare client’s measurements with measurements taken off the adjusted pattern or the initial pattern if there are no significant changes in the bust circumference.
Now you know what you are supposed to do with the initial pattern enclosed with the book. You can basically work with any classic patterns the same way.
As for me, I really like my pattern. It is simple, and it does not take long to adjust its size.