Skip to content

Pattern Alterations and Confession

2012 May 29
by elizabeth_admin

When Jeanette stayed with me for PR Weekend last week, she helped me fit the B5454 dress.  I had made a straight out of the envelope size 14.  It was ginormous and not flattering at all.  But I really wanted it to work for me, because I have a number of border prints that I would love to have made up as wrap dresses. 

Alteration plans:

  • Start at least 1 size smaller, sz 12.  Jeanette thought 2 sizes smaller, but I decided to err on the larger side and take in the side seams if need be.
  • Change the skirt pleats of doom into darts of happiness.
    • The pleats were 4 inches wide which is too wide for a dart IMHO.  I made a 3 inch dart and took out an inch from the side seam starting at the sz 12 tapering to nothing at the lengthen/shorten line using my french curve
  • Added 2 inches to the skirt length
  • Tapered the bodice side seam from size 12 at the armscye to size 10 at the waist
  • Enlarge the shoulder pleat to remove some of the length from the shoulder seam.  This will kill two birds with one stone.  I will have larger pleats and therefore more room for the girls, and it will place the sleeve seam at the right point of my shoulder.

Here’s what some of the changes look like in action.  The original pattern piece is below my tracing with changes.




Confession time, because y’all know how much I like to tattle on myself.  Bless my heart! 

Originally, Jack and I were supposed to go away this weekend to visit Cidell.  Well, that didn’t happen as I thought it was best we stay put in the city for the next little while.  So, Jack and I were left with no plans for the long weekend.  I thought I would get some major sewing time in.  Did that happen????  NO!  Why you ask?  Well, our long weekend just filled itself up.  We were busy from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon.  We were so busy that both Jack and I were yawning by 4pm each day.  I was exhausted.  The only sewing related activity I did this weekend was tracing my alterations.  That’s it!  Being outside all day every day with an almost 5-year-old is quite a work out.  I guess the majority of my sewing this summer will be on weeknights because the little boy who lives with me just plum wears me out!

Hope you were able to get some sewing time in this past weekend.

9 Responses leave one →
  1. May 29, 2012

    I’m very excited to see your version of this dress and actually am seriously contemplating picking it up for myself! A glorious solution for the hideous pleat at the back too! Can’t wait to see how it turns out! I’m always so enamoured of your fabulous creations and style!
    xoxo, Sunni

  2. May 29, 2012

    Same for me. I thought I’d get some sewing time in too but no, it was mostly freelance and seeing my family. Plus it’s been way too hot outside to feel motivated about sewing.

  3. Jennifer S permalink
    May 29, 2012

    I currently have this dress, made with the fluttery sleeves in my wadder pile. I still want to take it apart and retry it. I found it fit awfully when I made it. I’m printing out your ideas to see if they’ll work for me. I still love this dress and have it in the pile again with another piece of fabric – thanks for being smart enough to fix it for me too!

  4. BeckyMc permalink
    May 29, 2012

    I love to read your posts about Jack because I can hear the happy Mom voice in your words. God Bless.

  5. May 29, 2012

    Same here, my kids wear me out. I also have a 5 year old and she is more then a hand full. Finding time to sew can sometimes be exhausting for me.

  6. May 30, 2012

    I think it’s very good you don’t let that pattern discourage you (especially if you have little time to sew, it often seems so much easier to just abandon ‘uncooperative’ projects).

    Just one thing though. In my experience, 3 inches is rather wide for a dart. Most drafting methods divide any dart wider than 2 inches into two. And also, to avoid strange angles in the finished product, the length of the dart has to be proportionate to the width (another reason to prefer two small darts over one big one: usually we need to darts to stop at a certain point), so such a wide dart would have to be a lot longer, maybe about twicepias long as it is in your pattern piece. Oh, and usually patterns for knits are made without darts (thin, drapey knits tend to pull at dart seams and/or get holes at the end of the dart).

    I looked up the picture from the pattern envelope in your post about this dress and judging from that, the skirt is not really fitted and those pleats are supposed to do some waist-to-hip shaping but they mostly just add width to the skirt. If the pleats looked bad, I would recommend just making an A-line skirt instead, without darts or pleats.

    P.S. I don’t mean to discourage you by all this technical commentary. I don’t know this pattern, so you and it may very well proove me wrong. If you want me to explain the skirt-issue a bit further or give directions for making the A-line skirt, feel free to send me an email.

    • elizabeth_admin permalink*
      May 30, 2012

      Lauriana, you are by no means discouraging me. I agree that a three inch dart is probably too wide. I had no idea about the length needed for wide darts though. Good to know. And you’re right about the pleats’ purpose of waist-to-hip shaping. The whole point of this pattern is to use a border print knit. If I make the skirt a-line, I won’t be able to use the border print. Do you have another suggestion for changing the pleats? Thanks for taking the time to explain all this. I really appreciate it.

  7. May 30, 2012

    Elizabeth have you tried Lego’s. They are a hit in my house. They keep my kids occupied for hours. My 5yo likes the smaller Lego’s instead of the big ones.

    Just a thought.

  8. May 30, 2012

    Splitting the back dart into two is a good idea. You’re gonna get this one, and it’s going to be a smash!

Leave a Reply

Note: You can use basic XHTML in your comments. Your email address will never be published.

Subscribe to this comment feed via RSS

  • Follow SEWN...
  • My Weapons of Mass Construction

    Singer Featherweight 221 (1938)
    Baby Lock Imagine
    Brother 2340CV
    Husqvarna Viking Emerald 183
    RIP: Brother 1034D
  • Translation

  • I’m a proud member of

  • I support

    Project 95
  • Archives

  • Categories

  • The Trench Sew Along