I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
Hi readers! Yesterday in my post I mentioned that I had taken ease out of the bottom center front of my bodice, and tapered up to the neckline, creating a new center front. (Edit: I should mention again that the reason I took out excess at the waistline this way was that I found wearing a corset required special fitting at the waist. Taking out from the side seams--which should be your first option for removing waistline excess--only caused horizontal pulls.) Of course, this created a new grainline. A commenter asked, "How much do you think you can take out of the CF and not effect the grain line of the bodice?"
Well, that's an interesting question that has a complicated answer. I'll give you my thoughts and you can let me know if you think I'm an idiot. (I know some of you aren't shy about that!)
First, you are definitely affecting the grainline anytime you alter center front like this. Hence, you have to re-establish the grainline. Your new line becomes the new straight-of-grain. It's not unusual to have to re-establish the grainline after making pattern alterations.
What you have to consider is whether or not you're skewing the rest of the pattern by re-establishing center front. For instance, in my change, pivoting the pattern causes the shoulder to move further outward. (Just imagine, if you were laying the bodice front out on fabric to cut, how you would have to turn the pattern to make the change I made.) This, in turn, caused some gaping at the neckline. My first thought was to fix the gaping by moving that excess into the neckline dart. However! The smarter thing to do would be to move the shoulder in by the amount that I took out at center front. (Thanks to commenter Mrs. C who pointed this out!) So my next change would look like this:
So! I guess my answer to the question is that you can take out however much you want at center front (within reason), as long as you consider the effects in other parts of the bodice and adjust accordingly.
An aside: Another way to re-establish the grainline anytime is to fold the side edges of the bodice piece together and crease at the fold. The fold is your new grainline. I learned that at FIT, so it's totally legit, I swear.