16 February 2010

Adjusting Wacky Darts to Fit Perky Parts

Anyone that has read my blog for a while knows that I was late to the queue when nature was handing out the boobage (although I was first in line for intelligence, wit and humility).  Over the years, I have bitched and moaned  priced out silicone funbags come to embrace my petite chestical region as a blessing.  I rarely need to wear a bra, I never lose sight of my feet and I can easily wield a machete without any centre of mass concerns (which will come in handy during the Zombie Apocalypse). 

The only real down side is that I typically cannot sew a bodice pattern straight from the envelope.  Inevitably I have to so some major alterations.  In the past, I have provided a tutorial on how to do a small bust adjustment (SBA) on a bodice that has a horizontal bust dart, as well as a vertical waist dart.

Unfortunately the aforementioned SBA will not work for my latest project, Vogue 5611.  It is a lovely vintage dress (circa 1962) with an interesting inverted V-shaped seam that joins the bodice to the gathered bell shaped skirt in front.  Such a wonderful twist on the classic sleeveless sheath.

The bodice of V5611 has a single, large horizontal bust dart and no waist dart, as you can see on the unaltered pattern piece to the right.  Using the above SBA (click link above for a tutorial) will not work as it will remove width from the inverted V-shaped waist seam.  This seam must remain the same length as it needs to fit properly to a skirt piece.

Instead I have had to create a method to remove fullness in the bust region, without losing width above or below the bust.  Below is a pictorial procedure on how I did it.

First I traced out half of the bodice onto white paper (only half is need as the other half is just the mirror image).  I did this to preserve my original pattern piece, just in case, I messed up.

Draw in three cutting lines:
L1 - a line from the bust point to a location 1/3 of the way up the armscyce.
L2 - a line bisecting the bust dart.
L3 - a line from the waist seam to the bust point, parallel to the centre line.

Cut along L2 and L3.
Overlap paper to reduce the bust dart.
The extent of the overlap is dependent upon how much smaller the wearer's bust is from the original pattern.  I chose to reduce the bust dart by half.
Tape alteration in place.

Cut along L1.
This produces a removable wedge-shaped piece.

Tape the armscye so that it will not change in length.
Slide the removable wedge-shaped piece so that it overlaps in the bust point region.
Ensure that the distance from the centre to the bottom of the side seam remains the same as in the original pattern (see where the ruler is measuring in the photo).
Tape this alteration in place.

This is a close-up of the overlap of the paper in the bust point region. 
Notice that the original bust point has been moved toward the centre of the bodice.  This will be shifted back toward the side seam in the next photo.

A new bust point is drawn in closer to the side seam.  If the bust point isn't moved back toward the side seam, the dart will be too long.

Paper is added in at the inverted V-shaped waist region.
A new waist seam is drawn in, from centre to side seam.
In the end, I actually redrew this seam line so that it angled up more steeply from the side seam toward the centre, thus removing some length at centre front.

Disclaimer:  I am in the process of sewing up the dress as we speak.  If this bodice alteration  requires any tweaks as I go, I will edit this post to reflect it.


Anonymous said...

I am so impressed with your pattern-altering skills (show off! haha). Hopefully someday I will be at that that point. Pattern adjusting still scares the crap outta me. Thankfully, the only adjustment I need to make is going out at the hips a bit, which is pretty basic. (Nature thought that I was a great candidate for "birthing hips").

I really cannot wait to see the dress. The pattern is so fabulous. I've never seen such a bodice shape before.

Connie b said...

Members of the IBTC unite! Glad to see you are sewing, have fun!!

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

I read that and looked at the pictures thinking you really enjoyed this challenge didn't you? :) Glad you resolved the issue and that you are working on finishing up the dress. I'm also happy that you're sewing again!

amber said...

Can I just ditto the comments from A Sewn Wardrobe? Super impressed with your skills - I can only hope to be that good with pattern alterations one day. I'm excited to see the finished dress!

lorenakitty said...

As the daughter of a father who keeps reminding me I should have been a civil engineer, I love the drafting and where this is going. Please keep up the specific details on this one, Thanks!

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I always appreciate some good information on SBA. Thank you!

Ann's Fashion Studio said...

I really like that dress. Can't wait to see it made up.

Carolyn said...

Hey thanks for the tute on SBA! I'm definitely making use of this one...
Scrolled further down your blog, and you must seriously have the most awesome nail varnish collection. Ever. It's fantastic; are you maybe stocking up for anticipated zombie shutdown or something?!
I often mix my own (varnish I mean) to get the new colours I have in mind, currently I'm wearing a jade green achieved by mixing mint green with white, love it.

Sew Passionista said...

This is so well done. I wish I had this problem. Mine is on the opposite end of the scale but that only happened after age 50. Before that I was a nice ordinary C cup!

ReaderRita said...

Thank you for this!!! I , like 'A Sewn Wardrobe'- above, am scared to death of adjusting patterns- but perhaps that's because I'm late to the sewing party and am only tenuously able to decipher printed pattern instructions at all... (oh, and am afraid to make a grievous mistake and ruin something...) But with my possessing of aforementioned negatory breastage, I've got to figure it out. You have helped SO much with both of your small bust adjustments. Thank you!