We all know one of the most exciting parts about making a garment is picking out the fabric and cutting it all up in to pieces, but my advice to you is to be patient! First take a close look at your pattern – does it need to be altered?
Sometimes it can be difficult to make alterations to a dress that has already been made up in the beautiful fabric that you found for $20 a yard. Then, if it doesn’t fit quite properly, the disappointment can send it to your closet for several months before you can bear to tackle the altering.Related Video: Sewing Pattern Alteration and Tools
I am small busted so I always have to alter the darts in a bodice, but I have a hard time visualizing how they need to be changed in order to fit me. So, I make up the bodice in muslin, try it on inside out (so I have easy access to the seams), place some pins to cinch in the darts (and to get rid of that awful baggy chest look!), and firm everything up to be a perfect fit (with ease, of course!).
The other thing you can do for a good fit is get yourself a dress form. Some of the adjustable ones can be fussy to get them to match your exact measurements, but it definitely makes the muslin test easier to pin to get a better fit. If you’re not ready to invest in a professional dress form, there are some great tutorials online about how to make one custom-fit to your body using duct tape. Here’s my favorite.
Remember, there are no set rules on how to alter a pattern. Feel free to experiment and add embellishments and seaming for visual interest! My advice to you however? Make friends with muslin and create yourself a new pattern altered to your measurements – especially before you cut into that beautiful silk!
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