Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Pattern fitting class - result!

I finally had my private pattern fitting class, and it was a revelation!

Firstly the teacher took my measurements, she measured pretty much everything you’d need when making a bodice, including my wrist (it's 15cm).

Then we tried on my toiles.  Now I wonder how anyone manages to do adjustments to a toile on their own!  You could just about do the front yourself, but the back!!?? I’m not even sure using a dress form could work unless you’re 100% certain the measurements are exactly the same as yours.  Even if you do one of those gaffer tape dress forms of your own shape, you’ve effectively added a few millimetres to yourself all the way around.  Seriously how do people do fitting on their own?

Now in the end I chose to fit Colette Peony and Colette Rooibos.  Now the size I cut was not the one I probably should have gone for.  Having made the Beignet skirt (which is quite fitted) I knew the size 12 fit me well from the waist down, and rather than start with a bodice too small for my waist and add to it I thought it’d be easier to get a bodice that fitted my waist and take it in in other areas.  My full bust and high bust measurements were 37.5 inches and 35 inches respectively, so if anything I “should” have gone with a size 4 or 8, but I have a 31 inch waist so I knew that even the 8 was never going to fit me, heck I wouldn’t even be able to pin it up.

I admit that the 12 didn’t fit in the shoulders and we had to take it in loads, but we did practically the same adjustments to both the Rooibos and Peony toiles so now I have some standard adjustments for Colette patterns I can use straight away.

So this is what we did:
  • Took in the shoulders by 0.5cm on the front and back (so 1cm in total)
  • Took in the centre back by 2cm
  • Reduced the armhole by 2cm.  Peony: moving the dart to the armhole and increasing this dart by 2cm.  Rooibos: pivoting this amount from the armhole and adding it to the under bust darts
  • Adding a bit more length to the front of the Rooibos under the darts because of the additional dart fullness there.
  • Increasing the length of the back waist dart in the Peony to 13cm, and in the Rooibos by a fair bit too
  • Taking off another 1cm the Peony back by adding it to the upper back/shoulder dart
  • Reducing the length of the centre back of the Peony by 1cm, tapering to nothing at the side seam.
  • Lowering the Peony neckline a little as it was cutting into my neck a bit
Phew, that was a lot of adjustments!  Here are the results
Rooibos front bodice
Rooibos back bodice
Peony front bodice
Peony back bodice
Although I don’t feel confident that I could grab a random pattern and fit it, I have seen the process of fitting close up and now know how to adjust the pattern pieces to take account of toile adjustments.  I have also seen that in a lot of cases it involves just pinching up fabric to increase darts etc.  I also have some standard(ish) adjustments I can now apply to the other Colette patterns I have, and will have confidence that the fit will be good.
Now I just need to sew these babies :o)
Other things I learnt:
  • How to draft facings (and it couldn’t be easier)
  • How to alter a neckline shape (who knew it was literally just a case of redrawing the neckline however you like!)
  • If you are redrawing a dart, how to draw the bottom of it (the other pointy bit that sticks out of the pattern).



  1. very interesting! thanks for the fitting tips. you made them simple to understand, too

  2. Yay! I can't wait to see them sewn up! :)
    Ashley x

  3. I'm glad it was successful for you. Need to get my butt into gear and sort out my fitting issues.... maybe get Christmas out of the way first!

  4. Law, this is so exciting! It sounds as if this is a real breakthrough and money well spent. I can't wait to see where you take it! I'll expect the next post to be showing fabric and which you'll make up first!!

  5. The fabric choices are the hardest! I have no clue what to go for!!

  6. Very interesting! I am curious re: your bust-dart changes to the Peony bodice. Quote "Reduced the armhole by 2cm. Peony: moving the dart to the armhole and increasing this dart by 2cm. ". Do you intend to close the armhole dart and pivot it back to the original location (starting from the side-seam pointing towards the Bust-point)? Or are you looking to keep the new dart in place at the armhole as a new style feature on your version please? :) Clairex

  7. Hey claire,

    I intend to leave the new dart at the armhole, almost turning the bodice into a princess seamed one. My teacher thought it would create a better fit, and we also adjusted the sleeve pattern to take account of this

  8. sad I miss the brighton meet up but glad i got to see everyones blogs. Hi !. Im so interested to know where did you got the class from? xx


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