I’ve spent a good deal of time over the past week adapting AnaJan’s AMC dress pattern to fit my size (with hindsight, given that I’ve never fitted anything more complicated than a six-gore skirt before, cutting down a 34-30-40 pattern to a 32-26-36 probably wasn’t a good exercise to start on!)

I didn’t have any muslin, so I made up the test pieces out of some old dull-sheen curtain material and the result actually looks quite good in itself: I’d like to preserve my test model and make it up in addition to the intended two-colour cotton model if I can.

(NB here are some photos
Sorry about appalling quality – I’m no photographer and the light level in front of the wardrobe door mirror was very inadequate!)

Having tacked and pinned and re-tacked and tried on – again and again and again – my test pieces until they are actually cut down in the right places, how do I transfer my new ‘pattern’ to the cotton material I plan to use for the final product? I can pull the tacking out easily enough, but I’m not sure how to mark the new seam lines inside the outlines of the pieces – which now, of course, include seam allowances. I used tailor’s tacks to mark all the original outlines through the double width of test fabric, but that was working around the outside of the paper pattern pieces minus allowances. I don’t want to cut off the seam allowances from my cloth ‘patterns’ as I’d like to sew them up again properly afterwards: so can I use tailor’s tacks to mark through what will in effect be three layers of fabric in such a way that I can then pull the top layer off again?

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  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 6, 2010, 08.06 AMby katexxxxxx

    On the OUTSIDE, before you take the test garment to pieces. rub the tailors chalk up and down the seam lines and darts and mark any pleats in the same way. Then rip the thing apart and trace the lines off onto paper. Make yourself a paper pattern. Then you can add the seam allowance you like to the paper pattern, and you have your test piece to make up and finish neatly.

    To preserve the paper pattern for multiple uses, pop a square of sticky tape over all the points you need to mark, and rather than dots, use small holes. Then you can sew your tailors tacks through the holes and not spoil the paper pattern. :)

    1 Reply
    • 121bcd6a71a_avatar_large

      Jul 6, 2010, 08.47 AMby harrietbazley

      Thanks for the tip; I’ll make myself some new paper patterns.

      I’d already worked out that I’m going to need to use one half of the test pieces as patterns for the other half to make sure that the result is symmetrical – I’m pretty sure that it isn’t at the moment, really!

  • 985f0154fdefdf284531d76b36fbffee7a42548e_large

    Jul 6, 2010, 12.53 PMby katexxxxxx

    The best way to do that is to trace off BOTH sides and do a sort of average… Mind you, bodies are not exactly symmetrical, and if you have a particular non-symmetrical fitting issue like one hip or shoulder higher than the other, you may find you get a better fit with a whole pattern rather than a half pattern. :)

  • Mlonghs_large

    Jul 7, 2010, 04.02 AMby mlssfshn

    Since you like the test model and want to keep it you can buy tulle or netting to copy and make the pieces without ripping it apart. Place a layer of tulle over the part of the dress you want to copy, pin in place at the seam lines, and cut tulle along seams and edges. Lay the new tulle pattern pieces on your paper and add back in seam allowances.

  • 121bcd6a71a_avatar_large

    Jul 10, 2010, 07.43 PMby harrietbazley

    Well, what I’ve done is to lay the original printed-off pattern pieces under my tucked-and-clipped test pieces – having disassembled the test model again – aligned the unchanged edges, and simply traced the reduced outlines back onto the paper. Having then cut down the pattern to match the test dress, I can pin it back onto my coloured fabric, cut round it to allow for seam allowances, and tack and mark all those new pieces before making up the two versions in parallel..! (I’ve done about half so far; the cut-down version of the bodice just fits onto the 0.60m of black fabric I bought, whereas the original size didn’t. I’m afraid the standard widths of cloth must be wider in AnaJan’s shops.)

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