Thursday, June 14, 2012

Pattern grading for the highly inept

Well, every single one of my projects is either at a dead end in the scrap pile or in an indefinite hiatus. The McCalls armpit issue is still an issue, the knit mail order has me in fits and I'm dumping it, I had tried a muslin of another and it's like wearing a potato sack (ie, not worth trying to save it). And now I'm onto something worse.... Pattern grading.

I don't grade patterns as a general rule. If I can just add a bit to the side or take in a bit at a center I won't mess with it much. That being said I really love this pattern. Love. Unfortunately it's a size small and it's yoked so I have no idea how to do it. I only need 3 measly extra inches to make it fit. I measured all the pieces and there is only 1/2 ease at the waist and 3 at the bust. That puts the pattern at a 33 bust and 26 waist. I want it to be around a 29 waist total with ease and 34/35 inch bust total with ease. So, here we go.... I need some ideas as to which option seems best:

Plan A-

Bodice front: slash at yellow line, insert 3/4 inch. Slash at green line running into yellow line, insert 1 inch lengthwise.

Bodice back: slash at each red line inserting 1 inch for length and 3/4 inch for width.

Plan B- all pink lines

Bodice front: and 3/4 inch to the center fronts including the back neck collar seam.

Bodice back: add 3/4 inch to CB

Inherently I like option B because it's simple and fast. Will it work? Option A sounds more technical and makes me think it would work too, maybe. The tricky part is that the yoke is top stitched so I don't want to mess with taking anything off the seam allowances for the turned under bits bc then it will effect the arm hole. So there it is, in all it's confusing glory.


  1. Hmmm... On the top of my head, I doubt plan B will work. I do see some potential problems with plan A: It doesn't add to the front overbust and the shoulder seams will be uneaven. Also, do you need so much extra length in the bodice?
    I don't have much experience in pattern grading, so I'd recommend this article in Threads (if you haven't alreday seen it)

    It might be a good idea to compare the length of the shoulder seam to a pattern you know fits, and do the same for the armhole + sleeve (they're often so tight in vintage patterns).

    I know the frustration of all the projects ending up in half-done because the pattern just doesn't fit, or isn't flattering, or the fabric was all wrong etc. One period I seriously doubted I would ever finish anything! But then something happened, and now my sewing machine's pouring out garments. Hang in there, and I'm certain the future will hold finished and wearable sewing projects again!

  2. Ugh, isn't this just awful, one more size up and it would have fit wonderfully. I didn't even think about adding to the shoulders either. I may just make up the pattern as is and see where it doesn't fit, then slash it and use those pieces to make a new pattern. I have like zero chest so usually a 30 inch bust pattern will fit but the waist is just too small. Maybe before I had kids a 26 inch waist would fit but not anymore. Damn you 1950s and your girdles! Thanks for the help!