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Reply To: Commercial Pattern Alterations

Reply To: Commercial Pattern Alterations

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hello. I’m glad to hear you’ve taken up sewing and a lot of people feel the same frustration as all our bodies are little different and don’t fit in a nice, neat little box. I’m also a petite person, barely over 5 feet, so I totally understand that. A good rule of thumb is that if you’re making a top or dress, to choose a size according to your bustline and then make adjustments to the waistline if needed. If you’re making bottoms, such as pants or a skirt, than choose according to your hip measurement and adjust the waist as necessary. Especially when you’re learning, you should always make a muslin of the pattern you’re going to be using. This means that you’re getting cheap, similar type of fabric, like muslin fabric, cutting out the pieces in the size that you think you should be using. Baste pieces together enough so you can start to try pieces on. Once you can see what it’s going to look like, you can start pinning in here and there or see where you may need more room or where things need to be shortened. You’re basically adjusting the piece so that it’s going to be custom to your body type. Use a fabric pen to actually draw on your muslin the changes you want to make. You can either transfer these changes to the existing pattern or use tracing paper to make a new pattern, or sometimes it’s possible to use the muslin with the new changes and use it as your pattern. Keep track of basic changes you make. If you know that a long sleeve needs to be a certain length, then you can always make these adjustments to your sleeve patterns ahead of time without having to make a muslin because you’ve already been through the process. Also, sometimes patterns will have lines already on their patterns showing “petite” adjustments such as a bodice length and you can just fold those lines together on the pattern to make the bodice more petite friendly. Unfortunately, this is something that just takes practice and sometimes, trial and error.