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Tutorial 1. Introductory Tutorial.

Tutorial 1.  Introductory Tutorial.

I start working on the next garment - a bodysuit.

Before I start talking directly about the pattern for this garment and the working process, I would like to talk about the pros and cons of a bodysuit.

Here are the pros of a bodysuit:

 - it is a light and elastic garment that doesn’t hinder your movements;

 - it fits your body tightly and there are no folds on the stomach or at the back if the garment is sewn correctly;

 - it is a one-layered garment that can be made either of see-through lace or an opaque elastic material.

Here are the cons of a bodysuit:

 - first of all, its fastener is not conveniently located. Lately I have completely given up using button, snap and hook fasteners here. All of these have been tried and showed no good results when worn.  That is why I either make a one-piece bodysuit or a sewn-together bodysuit. I always warn my clients about this. Usually we decide to sew a one-piece garment similar to a jumpsuit or a swimsuit.

 - in most cases functional straps are needed regardless of the size due to unavoidable vertical tension. Straps prevent one from having this unpleasant feeling that the garment is going to slide down, and they are absolutely necessary for women with full breasts because without them a body won’t be able to hold a heavy bust even if the cups have been quilted and glued.

 - there are quite high requirements to one’s forms. This garment cannot change body forms dramatically and cannot disguise fat rolls.

 - it is rather difficult to decorate it on the stomach and at the back. It is hard to drape it and fix the drapery because a bodysuit is made of elastic materials. That’s why either your mannequin should have the precise size of your client or all alterations after the fit test, as well as all decorative elements, should be applied directly on the client.

However: despite the cons, bodysuit remains popular and is often used in the tailoring of evening gowns and wedding dresses. If the skirt of a future garment is going to be rather heavy and voluminous, you can sew a bodysuit without the panties part. In this case you just sew it like a singlet and the skirt provides vertical tension with its weight. This eliminates all the main disadvantages of a bodysuit. But straps remain a necessity.

In this picture you can see a technical drawing of the bodysuit I am going to sew and the scheme of its patterns:

The bodysuit itself will be made of an elastic material and have one layer; a non-elastic dense material with lining will be used for the cups.

The pattern I use myself and offer you consists of the following pieces:


1. Central piece of the front with a crease.

2. Two side pieces of the front.


3. Front piece with a crease.

4. Two back pieces.

5. One-piece crotch.

Required materials.

Main fabric - elastic lace.

Fabric for the lining and base of the face - satin.

Iron-on batiste for fusing face and lining.

Hard iron-on fabric for fusing cups.

Elastic band for handling at the leg area.

Rigilene bones.  For this very model you can just use narrow bones (0.3 inches).

Thread, needles, pins.

Scissors, pruner for cutting the bones.

Measuring tape.

Narrow ribbon for the loops used for hanging the garment.

In this picture you can see all tools and materials required for making a bodysuit:

Since the main part of the bodysuit is sewn out of a highly elastic material, there is no need to go into detail about alteration of the pattern, in other words I won’t explain you in depth how this pattern should be changed. It is the same principle as when sewing a corset or a dress.

The only thing that will always require your attention when cutting a bodysuit is the elasticity coefficient of the fabric. That’s why the main part of a bodysuit should even be made a little smaller than client’s measurements both in length and volume.

However the rules of altering cups remain the same. Their size is adjusted by the side seam and the “clip” measurement. The location of the side seam is determined by the measurements “bust front” and “under-bust front”.

Let me say a few words on altering cups with the help of the “clip” measurement.

I often hear this question:

“Tatyana, you keep drawing our attention to the fact that one should never, by no means, alter bust curves. But how come? Larger cups should be much deeper and smaller cups should be shallower, so what should we do then?”

I will use this illustration to answer this question:

I always alter cups using the “clip” measurement.

Please take a look at what happens:

 - if I make the “clip” measurement smaller, the cup becomes shallower automatically (line 1).

 - as soon as I start enlarging the cup based on the “clip” measurement, it automatically becomes deeper (line 2).

The only thing you should always keep in mind: you should always control the depth of the dart if the bust is large and full. You cannot just enlarge the pattern thoughtlessly and continue the curve line right parallel to the line on the original pattern. A full bust requires some space. You should narrow the opening of the bust dart.

There is one simple rule here.

If you minify the location of the “clip”, you just go right along the bust curve, make markings after new measurements and lessen the cups length proportionally thereby reducing their depth.

To prevent cups from being loose on the bust, you should necessarily ease them in onto a bone or organza when sewing, depending on the shape of the neckline. Thereby you can regulate how well the cups fit to the bust.

For larger cups you start going up along the bust curve and go beyond the border of the cup. This is exactly the case when you need to slightly draw away from the upper point (literally by 2-4mm depending on the size, fullness and shape of the bust). Thereby the cup is slightly enlarged and the dart opening - narrowed. The same is done on the central pattern piece.

However as we start shaping a dome-shaped cup when sewing, we ease-in the upper cut edge thereby ensuring good fitting of the cup to the bust. But it is absolutely unacceptable to have large cups sticking tightly into the body. It is a very graceless effect!

You might ask me: Tatyana, why should we determine everything by sight? Can’t we take a certain formula and calculate the dart opening for a certain figure?

Unfortunately this is not possible! Otherwise, why do most women buy and wear lingerie, including bras and swimwear, produced by a particular brand? It is just because garments of this or that very brand fit them well! Why does it happen? It happens, because every woman’s bust has individual properties and there are no single standards or single calculation methods.

The same happens when you tailor a garment based on a certain request. Every woman should be approached individually and there is no universal method of constructing a bra that would suit everyone and always, with no exceptions.

Your good tailor’s or cutter’s eye should suggest you the methods and alterations I have just told you about.

Later, in the process of sewing, you can adjust the volume of the cups using other methods, for example the method of quilting rounded cups or the method of easing-in along the upper cut edge of the cup to make it look dome-shaped.

Well, this is pretty much the answer to your question.

I never looked for a universal calculation method because I always thought: if I have a beautiful cup pattern, then I will just try to alter this very pattern in such a way that any woman could feel comfortable with it. All the more, these alterations are quite simple and your comprehension of working with a ready pattern comes very soon. It’s enough to literally sew 2-3 garments for different body types.

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