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Welcome to The Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along!  Today we will be using those measurements you took on Day 1 to alter our pattern to fit our measurements.  We will be showing two different options below.  

Our first option is for Arte, who is going to fit her muslin over a corset.  Arte's measurements fell right in between size 12 and size 14.  It is pretty unusual to have this happen - all measurements fitting in one size range - but that is the way it worked for her.  We decided that it was better to use the higher size, as we could adjust down if necessary.  

Tracing around the size 14. 
Arte uses large metal washers as pattern weights.

Because all of her measurements fit in the size 14, there was no blending of sizes, and we were able to simply trace off the size 14 on tracing paper, and cut it out.  

Tracing of Size 14 Bodice Back.

It is important to include all additional marks on your traced pattern:  waist adjustment line, grainline, line for placing the pattern piece on a fold, etc.  One thing I like to do is also write down the sizes of the pattern, and the date.  That way if you make multiple patterns from the same pattern, you always know which is the most recent.  If you are doing patterns for several people, make sure to put the person's name on each piece, too.

Adjusting the length.

The one adjustment that Arte did need was in length.  There was a difference of an inch between Arte's Back Length measurement, and the one on the size 14 measurement, so we fixed that on our pattern.  You do that by cutting the pattern piece apart at the waist line, and adjusting the pattern bigger or smaller.  In this case we overlapped the top and bottom pieces by 1/2 inch, and taped them back together.

The finished pattern piece, taped together to shorten the length.

Make sure to make the changes to both the front and back pattern pieces.  Once you have this part done, you are ready to cut out your fabric, which will be covered in our next blog post.


We had a different experience with Gilah, in that her measurements did not fit in one size range.  Her High Bust was a 20, her Waist was a 24, and her Back was a 24.  Her Length measurement was also 3 inches shorter.  This required a bit more work in prepping the pattern piece.  

NOTE:  All adjustments are shown with a blue highlighted line showing the part that was adjusted.  

Drawing in the Waist line.

The first line you draw is the Waist line.  You work down from the notch on the side to the bottom, and around the curve to the bottom of the tip to the right.  Since Gilah was a size 24 here, we drew the line in at size 24.

Drawing in the Bust line.

The next line to draw in is the Bust.  Since Gilah was a size 20, we drew that in, starting at the notch on the side, and going up and around.

Connecting the Bust and Waist lines.

If the Waist is larger than the Bust, sometimes your connected line will appear to be more of a straight line than a curve.  That is what happened here.  

We then drew in the Waist adjustment line, the grainline, notches, etc. and dated the pattern piece.  Then we moved onto the back piece.

Drawing in the Waist line on the back.

First we drew in the Waist line, which was a size 24.  

Drawing in the Bust line on the back.

Next we drew the Bust line, which was a size 20.  We started at the upper shoulder tip, and drew down to the bottom of the armsyce.

Adjusting the side measurement on the back.

To blend the Bust and Waist measurements, we drew a line from the bottom of the armsyce at the size 20, and connected it to the Waist measurement at size 24.

Drawing the Back measurement on the back.

The Back measurement was a size 24, so we drew that along the nape of the neck, around the strap, and down to the bottom of the armsyce.  You can just see the red line for the Bust at 20 to the left of the blue line.

Blending the Back and Bust measurements together on the back.

We blended the Back and Bust measurements together by drawing a gentle curve from the top of the Back armcyce measurement and joining it to the Bust measurement at the bottom of the armscye.  I found it easiest to do this by using a French Curve ruler, but you can freehand it.  With this done, we drew in the other marks, and labeled the pattern piece.  

The Shoulder strap piece.

To draft the Shoulder strap piece, you trace the top line on the Back measurement (in this case a 24), and the the bottom line on the Bust measurement (In this case a 20).  Then you ease the two measurements together along the sides.  I forgot to get a photo of this step, but it is pretty easy to follow.

We then cut out the pieces, and needed to make adjustments to the Length.  Gilah's Back Length was 3 inches smaller than the Length in the measurement guide, so we needed to remove 3 inches in Length.  

Adjusting the Length on the front pattern piece.

We cut along the waist seam, and overlapped the pieces by 1.5 inches.  Then we taped the pieces back together.  We repeated the process on the back pattern piece.  

Adjustments made to the back piece for Length.

At this point, the pattern pieces are ready to use to cut out your fabric.  Here is a preview of the cut out pattern pieces:


It can take a bit of time to blend sizing, but it is important to follow the instructions as they are written, because it makes all the difference in fitting the bodice properly.  

NEXT BLOG POST:  Cutting out your mock-up, and sewing it up.  


This article, and the rest of the Elizabethan Bodice Sew Along posts, was written by Laura Ulak.


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    Both of these were adjusted shorter here, yet both had to be adjusted shorter by about the same amount in the fitting. I think this is because the overlap adjustment here was only half the difference. So if we want our adjustment to equal the difference between pattern and body measurement, we should overlap (or spread) for the whole amount of the difference.

    That said, it is easier to fix “too long” in the muslin, than to fix “too short!”

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