Monday, May 28, 2012

Making a pattern larger

First part of the making your own patterns series is how to make your existing patterns larger.  What if you have a child who is too large for the pattern you want to use? Or too small? Or, too wide or too narrow? You can easily alter the pattern yourself!  Here's how.

First of all, you need to take good measurements of the person you are sewing for.  This is the person I am sewing for. She is 9 years old and no longer fits into dresses in size 8. She needs a size 9 or 10 and I need to pay particular attention to her shoulders, for they are broad.  I start off taking good measurements of her waist, chest, shoulders to waist, and waist to where I want the skirt of the dress to fall, in this case just below the knee.  If I were making a shirt with sleeves, I would also take her neck to shoulder measurement.  Basically, take all the measurements you think you will need.  You CAN take too few, but not too many. By looking at the size chart on the pattern, I know this girl is too large for it by a few inches. This pattern shows a size 8 girl as having a 23.75 inch waist.  She misses it by one quarter of an inch! And, because her shoulders are wide, I know it would be best to go up a size.  So, I will!

 Today, I will show you how to take a simple dress pattern and enlarge it.  This pattern is a paper pattern I bought at a quilt shop but this technique could also be applied to a pdf pattern.  This simple technique will not work on complicated patterns.

Step one: Take your basic pattern piece. In this case, you are looking at the back bodice. You are going to follow this technique to edit the front and back bodice pieces.

 Notice the intervals between sizes. Can you how it goes from one size to another. Use your ruler.  See the picture below? Each size is one quarter inch difference in size in width and length. Therefore, this pattern can be adjusted up a size or two. 


Step two:  Trace the pattern onto a piece of paper, leaving room all around for adding width and length. If you need to, tape two or three pieces together to get the size you need.

Now, you have already figured out that each size is a quarter inch apart on the pattern piece so simply add more sizes.  This can work either way, going up a size or two or going down a size or two.


Here is the finished pattern piece with sizes 9 and 10 shown drawn in.


Step three:  Make sure your pattern is going to fit before you cut out the fabric.  A size 10 measures 8 1/4 inch wide.  Since my daughter has a 24 inch waist, I know for sure this is not going to be too small.  (because 8.25 X 4 is 33 which leaves me plenty of room for seam allowances)  So, now I can cut out the fabric.

Step four: I do not have pictures of this step, but this is the most important part. Make a muslin of the part you are editing. Sew it together and make sure it is going to fit the person's body. In this case, I judged that a size 10 was going to be better for my daughter than a size 9 and I was right.  The practice piece showed me that it was going to work fine.

Here is the finished bodice! For shoulder pieces, I simply added an inch to each piece and then adjusted them on her body as I sewed. 

For the skirt length on this piece, I simple added a third tier to a two-tier dress.  


This technique can also be used to adjust a pattern to fit a body that is wider or more narrow than the pattern.  A narrow body does not necessarily need a smaller size, as that might be too short. And a wider body does not need a larger size as that would be too long. So, next up in this series, I will show you how to edit a pattern to fit a body that does not work with the size chart.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Quilt in progress!

Okay, quilting is harder than I thought.  Here is my work in progress.  My seam ripper has been a good friend this project.

So, here you see the four corners and the center and my work on the bottom right corner, extending it towards the middle. I am not sure what I am doing but it is an interesting creative endeavor!  That is my way of looking at the glass half full!!

More to come!!

Making your own patterns series!

Welcome to my new summer blog series, making your own patterns and extending the ones you have to fit larger sizes.  It is so simple to make your own basic patterns and extend the ones you have that I feel compelled to share.  I think this will be a lot of fun.  

I got the idea for this series by reading this book.  

Design-It-Yourself Clothes
Patternmaking Simplified
By Cal Patch

 Such a great book!  I love it so much I may have to buy it.  (I have it from the library at the moment.)  It offers great tips and advice and technical details about how to make your own patterns and design your own clothing. It is all simple clothing, to be sure, but still pretty darn cool and perfect for where I live, the Pacific Northwest.

So, starting tomorrow, I am going to show you how to alter your existing children's patterns and create your own patterns for yourself and your children.  This should be fun!

First up, taking a peasant dress pattern for baby girls thru size 8 and enlarging it to fit a size 10 or 12 girl and customizing it to her measurements. 


Friday, May 18, 2012


And the winner is lucky #23! 

Heck yes I want to be entered! :)
Thanks for the opportunity!!
~ Jenna

This is actually my hubby's lucky number so it fits. Congrats Jenna! I have sent you an email.

And thanks, again, to Jennifer Paganelli for giving away three yards of Crazy Love!


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Crazy Love Giveaway!!!

Are you a member of my sewing group on Facebook, Handmade Dress Haven?  If so, then you will know that our newest member, Jennifer Paganelli, is blessing us with a giveway!!

Leave a comment if you'd like to win a copy of Happy Home and three yards Crazy Love from Jennifer Paganell! Isn't that wonderful!

Thank you so much, Jennifer!!!

I will use the random number generator to choose a winner this Friday, May 18th, at 8pm PST!  Please leave your name and email addy in the comment.  All you need to do is be a member of Handmade Dress Haven on Facebook and a follower of this blog. Easy peasy!

- Kathy

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Two weeks? What has Kathy been up to?

I can't believe I have not blogged in two weeks! My oldest daughter has been sick and I guess I just got distracted. She was exhausted almost every day for two weeks, to the point where I had her tested for mono.  Luckily, it came back negative.  I guess she just had a mystery virus. She is now better.  

But, I still found time to do some sewing.   I got very excited about the new Ottobre magazine and made this outfit for my youngest.  It is a tee with attached skirt and shorts.

Then, I made this love top for a customer.  This is almost all Robyn Pandolph Flirt fabric, which I love.  The last of my stash, sadly, but a pretty way to use it.

I do not make a lot of remakes of other people's designs, but the same customer asked for this and I was able to get the fabrics, so here it is.
 And with the leftovers, I made her soon-to-born baby this version!  The shorts are an Ottobre pattern that I tossed in for free from fabric snippets.

This weekend, I cut out the pieces for my quilt project! I am doing the Patchwork Prism Quiltalong with Sweet Diesel.  Here are some samples of what I cut today.

Here are some blues:

 And here are some pinks:

And it is all organized in files, waiting to be sewn.   I sew for myself and the family only on weekends, so next weekend I will begin this project!  During the week, I sew for others and have some pretty dresses to work on this week.

What to do with all the scraps?

I woke up this morning to a lovely Mother's Day Card, made by my two girls. If you are a mom, I hope you had a happy day!