After some discussion online, it became apparent to me that I have not been altering my patterns correctly. In fact, I’ve been ignoring other kinds of alterations, probably mostly due to being in denial that my body might actually not conform to commercial patterns aside from my pear shape. So this time around of making the muslin for my Downton Abbey Party Dress, I cut all the pattern pieces apart so I could make alterations properly.
I started by taking more measurements than just the three horizontal ones. I compared my back waist length (15 3/4″) to that of the pattern size I was using (16 1/6″). Not quite a half-inch difference, but still significant enough that I threw on the first muslin, marked where my natural waist is and then compared it to the waistline on the pattern. Fortunately for me, it matched! I didn’t need to shorten the bodice above the waist. Phew!
On to my “normal” alterations. Since the “skirt” portion of the dress is so much lower than the waist, I can’t just increase the hip on the skirt pattern piece (believe me, I tried, and it was… bad). Also, I needed to increase the length of the dress by 3 inches (otherwise, the hem [not including the lowest flounce] would come up to my mid-thigh when I sit down, and that’s also bad). Traditionally, these dresses went as high as the knee, so that’s where I wanted it to be!
Normally, I would just tack on 3 inches to the bottom of the skirt, but with the flounces in this skirt, that’s not going to work. Oh, what’s that? There’s a shorten-or-lengthen-here line below the waistline on the bodice pieces? Well then, that makes sense about where I should lengthen it then! I chopped up the pattern there and slipped in pieces of paper for the additional 3 inches.
To transition the size between the waist and the hip, I combined the bodice and skirt pieces (front and skirt, and then back and skirt). Then I used a curved ruler to true up the transition between the size I am in the bodice through to the size I am in the hip. Fortunately, due to my lengthening of the dress, the only changes happened in the bodice pieces, as by the time the curved ruler met the appropriate size to accommodate my hips, it was at the bottom of the bodice. I made the same changes to the back bodice piece, too.
After all the appropriate lines were drawn, I copied it over to pattern paper, cut out the pieces of muslin, and sewed it together.
Altered Louisa Drop-Waist Pattern (and Supervising Corgi lounging on the futon)
Share on Facebook