Patternmaking, some crazy adventures

Posted February 13, 2015 by Gavanna Patterns in My pattern, New pattern in progress / 2 Comments

Earlier I made a wearable muslin in flannel, quite a success as I totally love wearing it.

I decided to make it up in a second trial version, with a few tweaks (seriously stupid, leave good enough alone, right?)

So, it didn’t go well ūüôĀ ¬†And I had to tweak the pattern back into it’s original shape. And somehow it all went to hell… now it’s like 8 muslins later, and I’ve had enough!


Usually creating sewing patterns more or less from scratch is pretty straightforward, after all I have been dong this for some time, and have both education and experience. But sometimes the stuff just isn’t cooperating…

So I thought I would share this sad story, in photos!


Look at this, can you see that it’s probably much too narrow over the shoulders? This is the backside facing up, and the frontside under it is much wider.

Now, this dress HAS narrow shoulders as part of the design, but this looks no good….

1 too flat too narrow



Right, when on the dressform it’s much too narrow and when trying it on it felt EXTREMELY tight and restricting. See the wrinkles going horizontally? This dressform is “flat shouldered” to begin with…

2 draglines





Not to mention the front, how did this happen?

Changing the yoke made the shoulder seams end up closer¬†together, and as I didn’t correct enough for it, now the V-neck is all bunched up with a huge flopping gaping.

(floppy gaping? Flopping gap?Gap flopping?)

Plus the bust is sitting too high, and very tight too. Bad.


First step was easy, undoing the shoulder seams and move the front shoulders apart fixed the V- neck gone bonkers.  The bust area looked a bit better too. So, I changed the pattern plus tried to fix the back.

3 totally-wrong




New muslin! And here I even tried sleeves..

4 better-front


But is it all good? Nah

Some unexpected collar craziness is showing up. It’s suddenly too wide and standing out from the neck. Pinch and tape on the pattern to fix that, plus re-arranging the bust pleat a bit.


But the backside, oh no.¬†Straight to the bin, didn’t even take photos.

5 what-happened-


So, new muslin!

Totally still not enough wide.

I lost all patience and slashed it open. There, I can finally move my arms!

And now I can actually see and measure the amount of fabric that needs to be added.

Quite a bit as you can see.

(The fact that there’s a green top under it makes me think of the incredible hulk..)

6 just-cut-it




Muslin no 4

Ah, better!


8 pretty-ok


But perfect? No way.

First, a serious case of pagoda shoulder.

9 pagoda-shoulders!



And the front bottom is suddenly sticking out, like a maternity dress.

(This muslin is made in blouse¬†length. There isn’t an infinite supply of old curtains)

11 pouffing-in-the-front


And the final tweak to the ill-fitting backside!

Aha, here it’s clearly visible that the back needs to have the arm scye lowered a whole 2 cm.

( The poor dressform had some serious injuries the last time I moved, so she’s kept together with tape and a green top.)

12 mind-the-gap



Now I thought it was time to share the actual pattern!

First the easy fix. The front sticking out, maternity style. In general a look most women avoid!

I made a line along the whole length of the dress, passing through the bust point, AND with the upper end inside the bust pleat, and cut the whole front apart.




Now, while keeping the bust point together, I pivot the outer piece so that there is a gap forming at the top…

(the arrow marks the way the pleat is closed, it’s got nothing to do with this problem)





And at the bottom one pattern piece is going on to of the the other, overlapping 1 cm, and reducing width. Bottom end here:



And bust point here:



As the bust dart in this dress is an open pleat, this was a fairly easy change.

The reduced width here is not an exact measure, and it’s not meant¬†to get rid of the whole problem. Taking away too much here will make the dress behave odd in other places, everything needs to be done in a measured way…. and there are other tricks to use if this isn’t enough.



So, over to the arm opening, with the nice variety of minor faults! Let’s start with the bottom of the back arm scye, seen to the right here:

(If you need your patterns to be tidy and neat, these photos can be disturbing, You can still see the original backside, before I added on to widen it. Just ignore it, as I do. And no seam allowance is added yet, anywhere)

I measured 2 cm down on the sideseam and marked it with a pen.




After that I taped the shoulders, front and back together.¬†BUT, when doing this I overlapped the front a bit over the back, but only at the outer edge. This reduces the pagoda look. I guess it’s a 0,5 cm overlap. Still, no exact measure. But too much and it starts feeling too¬†tight again…


I also drew in a new shoulder seam, as the original one had moved back too much in this process. All is still taped together…

(Obviously I pinned the bust pleat closed first.)



Next step:

Taping the yoke to the backpiece, and draw a new arm opening. As you see, the original edge of the pattern forms a less than perfect line, the arm opening down past the yoke is¬†too straight and the new one is more nicely curved. If this is the right curve is impossible to know before the new (final?) muslin, but it’s a try!

So I tried to make a new, even line, and still keep the look of the “narrow shouldered dress design”.






To be sure of the fit under the arm, I cut the shoulders apart( along the new lines ) and taped the side seam of the dress together instead, in it’s new place.

(The backside, that needs the cutting, is still seen to the right here)

The bottom of the arm scye looks even and smooth, so I’m cutting along the marked line.




And Ta-Da!

All cut apart, three NEW pattern pieces, all ready for a new muslin!!!!


Sigh, let’s hope mum still have some old curtains lying around…

To be continued.











Tags: , My pattern, New pattern in progress


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