Thursday, December 9, 2010

Crepe Sew-Along #2: Transitioning Between Two Different Bodice Sizes

A lot of you have mentioned being one size in the bust and another at the waist. Never fear, my pretties! When you can sew, this is no big whoop. Since our patterns have multiple sizes on them, we can pick and choose between sizes, using several different ones in the same garment. I know it can get a little confusing when there are darts involved, so let me show you how to transition from one size to another in the bodice.

Here's your bodice pattern piece.

Before you do anything, close up the side dart. (Don't worry about the waist dart, since we're not going to be touching it.) See how you now have a smooth line down the side of your bodice?
Next, put your ruler down, the top of it aligned with your desired size at the underarm (blue arrow). Pivot the other end of the rule to the size you want to transition to at the bottom of the bodice (purple arrow). Draw a new line along the ruler's edge. This is your new side seam.

You'll now have to "true" your dart lines. This just means readjusting them to make them work with any new pattern changes. The easiest way to do this is to take a serrated tracing wheel, and trace over the folded dart.
When you unfold your dart, look for the little perforations underneath the fold. This is your new dart line. Outline it with the same color you re-drew your side seam line in. Note: this only changes the outer line of the dart, where it sticks out a bit when open. (Look back at the first pic on this post—see the little wedge that sticks out past the seamline on the outer edge of the dart?) Trueing is a small, but crucial step in getting your pieces to line up properly when the dart is sewn shut. Otherwise, your edge will look all wonky. You can also just cut along your new seam line with the dart closed to get your new line, but I wanted to show you the proper patternmaking way.

Repeat the process on the back bodice. However, there's no bust dart to worry about there. Just draw your line between the two sizes.

Now, you may have some questions here. Like: Gertie, are you wearing pink pajamas with white polka dots in these pictures? Why, yes. Yes, I am. (They also have ice cream sundaes on them.)

You also may wish to know how to handle the waist dart. Which size should you trace it at? My best answer to this is to trace the bottom of the dart at your waist size, transitioning up to your bust size at the top of the dart. Make sense?

How's everyone doing with the muslins? I'll outline the rest of the muslin construction for you this weekend. I tried mine on briefly and I will definitely be doing some bust adjustments. It seems to run even bigger than other Colette Patterns in the bust, so be forewarned. More to come on my pattern alterations as well!


  1. You are one super duper super trooper!! ESPECIALLY for taking the trouble to do this in your PJ's. Now THAT'S commitment! My only (slight) confusion lies in tracing the new bust dart. Am I right in thinking the only change to this dart will be the shaping at the edge along the new side seam line?
    Thanks again Gertie!
    Miss P

  2. Yes, I was left with the same confusion as Miss P. Presumably the bust dart itself remains identical, it's just the outer edge that is re-cut?

    And why the need to mark it up with a tracing wheel - wouldn't that edge happen naturally when cutting out the newly modified pattern piece (as long as the dart is closed when you cut it, obv.)?

    Cute PJs btw!

  3. Morning, ladies! Yes, it's just the outer edge of the dart that changes. It's important because that's what helps your pattern pieces line up properly when the dart is closed. You can just cut it with the dart closed, but I wanted to show you how to do it with the tracing wheel in case you were tracing your pattern instead of cutting.

    Make sense? I'll update the post a bit.

  4. Hi Gertie! Oh, this post would have been good to have last night! I have an 8 bust and a 10 waist. I transitioned from an 8 under the dart to a 10 at the waist. Is that going to mess me up? I can always redo, trouble is, I've cut the pattern.

  5. Thank you Gertie! That all makes sense. Even though I've been sewing for years, muslins are a new experience for me!

  6. I am so looking forward to see how the bodice is SUPPOSED to fit... I fall exactly within the size 4 range with my upper body measurements (I'm only 5' short though), still the bust and the shoulders seem a bit roomy and the side darts seem to be too long on me (aka my bust is too small for the pattern? I'm a C to smallish D-cup, what the heck!)

    I have no idea!

    Thank you Gertie for walking us through this!

  7. Thanks, Gertie! I did figure out what you meant by close up the side dart and got my side seam line in place---but then was boggled on where the notch would go (is the notch really critical on a straight side seam?) and what size to follow on the waist darts (so I skipped them for the nonce, will now put them in). Very helpful post, muchas gracias!

    I basted mine together and it does not look bad, except under the arm is DEFINITELY too tight (actually ripped it a little raising my arm).

    FYI for others who may be trying to figure out where to start: With a C/D cup size (bust-with bra 39), I went from a 10 at shoulders to a 14 at the waist, and the bust dart and bust fitting seems pretty good, no FBA or anything. Although maybe I just should have cut a 12 all around, maybe I'll try that.

  8. Gertie, you're a goddess. Thank you.

    Pattern fitting is something I need to work on and this tutorial was perfect.

    Thanks again.


  9. To put the muslin together, are we just sewing (basting) the seams over the thread tracing that we did in the step before?

    Also, I already cut my pattern (to make the muslin). My bust is a 0 and my waist is a 2. I traced the size 0. Do you think I can get away with it or do I need to adjust my pattern and make a new muslin?

  10. Bigger in the bust is good news for me. I'm not going to catch up with the muslin until this weekend, after I finish a friend's Emma Pilsbury-esque elf dress...

  11. Susan, you should probably be fine though your new line might not look as smooth as possible. If you want to re-draw it, you can just tape a bit of extra paper underneath the pattern and draw a new line.

    Lisa, take a look out for my fitting post this weekend. I'm also going to need to take some room out of the bust and shoudlers, and also lower the bust darts.

    daiyami, my side seam notches don't match up either. I think there might be a pattern error there.

    Amy, yes, we're jsut basting the darts and seamlines together next. I don't know if the 0 will fit you in the waist. If you've already cut it, you could give it a try and let it out if needed.

  12. Thank you Gertie! I've been wondering about what to do about my waist, though, I think I'm a 6 in that department. So this post was great! Thanks! I'll probably re-trace my pattern & make a new muslin. :)

  13. A quick question Gertie; wouldn't you also adjust the back bodice also if you were a different waist size? Annette

  14. Thank you for the advice :) I was thinking how to do that when I try to do a Macaroon dress in the new year. Not following this sew-along but will try to join the next one (hoping there is one) :)

  15. Annette, that's right. You would repeat this on the back. I was only showing the front since it's more confusing with the bust dart and all. I've updated the post to clarify. Thanks!

  16. I have a question that's sew-along related but nothing to do with this post: where can I order some silk organza for staying the neckline? I'm officially frustrated with the quilt-obsessed fabric shops in my area, and I'm looking for online options, but there are so many more options online. Help?

  17. Re. silk organza online - you can find some small quantities on etsy -- just search for "silk organza" under supplies.

  18. Okay-so my question is: I am in between an 8 and 10 so do I need to make any adjustments? Should I try the muslin on? Or would is be okay to wait until the muslin pieces are all put together and then make adjustments?!?
    Thanks-this has been super helpful so far:)

  19. Thanks for this post - Not only am I a different size in bodice and skirt, but my waist and hip measurements are fairly different also.
    I am a 4 in the bodice, but if I cut the skirt by my waist measurement I'm an 8 while if I go by my hip measurement I'm a 12. So I'm wondering which size to make the waist on the bodice - is it better to go with the larger or smaller skirt size? or should I make a similar adjustment on the skirt pieces to taper the line between sizes so it fits in the waist and gives me more room in the hips?

  20. is it possible to narrow the neckline of the bodice? I'm finding that it gapes somewhat and there's a wrinkle of fabric down the center. Also, the back is very baggy on me, anything I can do about that?

  21. Still waiting for my pattern in the mail - hopefully it shows up soon!

  22. Gertie, thank you so much! I'll be away over the weekend to visit some friends, but will definately need to work on the fitting issues after that (bust might be ok after a little dart adjustments, maybe my muslin is too stiff altogether...).

    Oh, my notches don't match up AT ALL either! I was going to ask that. I'll just baste the seams together so it'll look even.

    Just wanted to say: you ladies rock!

  23. Thanks again for doing this.

    Would you be able to make any recommendations for me on what to do since I'm pretty long-waisted. How do I figure out what to add or if I need to? Not quite for sure if I think about this now, before cutting the muslin or after.


  24. Most people encounter changes in body sizes throughout their life. These are useful instructions on how to accommodate that. Thank you for sharing.

  25. Final Project, you can either go up a size or draw a line between the 8 and 10, essentially making a size 9.

    Keri, this method works for all your pieces. You can transition between sizes for your hip and waist to - it's very common to have to do that.

    Frannie, I answered that question in the comments of my last sew-along post, so take a look at that post.

    Nastasha, you can take a tuck out anywhere you have extra room. I think that will make more sense after this weekend's fitting post.

    And to everyone: don't forget to put your muslin pics up on the Flickr pool! Unfortunately I can't respond to all fitting questions personally, so it helps to have pics up there for the whole group to respond to. Thanks!

  26. Holy cow, this is a great post, thank you! It is much easier to understand with a real human being, especially one wearing cute polka dot PJs, explaining it.

    (Very behind, was in Washington...Oh well.)

  27. Hi Gertie,

    I have a question. If there is a need to transition between two sizes for the front and back bodices, wouldn't you need to alter adjoining pattern pieces? Such as the armhole facings? I need to transition from a size 8 waist to a size 10 armhole for my Crepe Dress, and I can see that this alteration will result in a longer armhole.



Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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