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Topic: My petite size is giving me pattern problems! What to do?  (Read 1122 times)
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the_christine
« on: April 03, 2008 11:46:53 PM »

I am relatively new to sewing garments, my skill level is such that I can navigate a pattern just fine, but I don't really know how to alter it. 

The problem that I'm facing is that I sew the correct size in whatever pattern and it is inevitably too big for my boobs.  Like WAY too big for my boobs.  I am pretty sure I'm not making any mistakes measuring myself and I'm following the size guidelines. 

I wear a size 0 or 2,
I'm 31" around the bust, 28" under, 25" waist, 35" hips.  According to this Vogue package in front of me, that puts me somewhere between a pattern size 6 and 10, but I always make it to 6 since that's the closet to my bust measurement.

But when I got the garment together, it's massive!  It's too big over my boobs, and even too big around.  What am I doing wrong?

I've had the same problem with McCall's patterns as well, but on that one I sewed it to the smallest size and it was huge in the boobs but actually too small around the waist. 

Thanks in advance for any advice.

Edit:  I took some photos to illustrate my problem, there's a McCall's pattern and a Vogue pattern that have both given me... difficulties...  http://flickr.com/photos/mschristine/2389432320/
« Last Edit: April 05, 2008 12:52:06 AM by the_christine - Reason: added photo » THIS ROCKS   Logged
SpottedFrog
« Reply #1 on: April 04, 2008 11:44:56 AM »

This problem is caused by something called "pattern ease". Built in space for comfort while wearing- except they add in WAY too much. It's not you Smiley Somewhere hidden in the small print should be a line of text stating what kind of ease in the pattern you are planning on, look for it, if it says "2 inches ease" it'll be 2 inches too big more often than not. So, now armed with this information your next project should fit Smiley

Old patterns have less ease (the older they are the more true to size they get). At your petite size you might really enjoy some vintage patterns Smiley and should find them in your size as well. Be forewarned, older patterns expected the sewer to know more, the instructions have a lot less explanation.
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the_christine
« Reply #2 on: April 04, 2008 01:00:32 PM »

Thank you for that invaluable clue!  It didn't even occur to me that there would be additional ease sneaked in.  I think the two latest patterns I've tried must have put in like 5 inches.

I just checked on a McCall's dress pattern that came out so huge on top, and the smallest size is a 4 at a 29 1/2 bust measurement.  It listed the finished measurement at 32" around the bust.  I wish!  At least now I have the motivation back to take it apart and modify it.

I think I'd be okay with minimal instruction explanations, I've seen plenty of links for vintage patterns but it didn't occur to me to try some. 

Thank you!
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mirandom
« Reply #3 on: April 13, 2008 04:03:23 PM »

I haven't made any clothes for myself since my mom and I made a pirate costume for me two years ago, but Joann's put their dress patterns onsale for $.99 so I'm going to take another stab at it. I am a little worried about it fitting in the bust. I'm glad I found out about the extra ease in the patterns before I went crazy thinking I had done it wrong.

PS I was thisclose to buying that same McCall's pattern, but I ended up going with a different (but pretty similar) pattern instead.
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oh i finally feel it, the stitching of beautiful seams
Thesingingllamas
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« Reply #4 on: April 13, 2008 07:05:41 PM »

Patterns are built for a b-cup. I'm guessing you are an A or AA. I have a 32" bust (28" underbust), 25" waist, and 36" hips, so I usually make the size 10 or 12 so that I can breathe and the seams won't pop over my hips, then I try to alter as best I can so that the boob part fits. On my corset top for prom I had to take 4" off the top, which is why it is good to make a muslin or test piece first so that you know how it fits before cutting into your good fabric.

Also make sure that you are using 5/8" seam allowances. For some reason not everyone is used to sewing with these seam allowances, but it should say in your pattern guide what seam allowances are used.
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Kimmberrrr
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2008 03:58:55 PM »

I know exactly what you mean.. actually I tried to make that exact dress before.. and ended up scrapping the entire project.

I've been sewing since I was in 2nd grade and consider myself pretty decent..but for some reason some patterns I just can't ever get to fit no matter what i do

Recently I have given up any pattern that wasn't meant for knit.
obviously because knit stretches.. it is a lot easier to control the fit.

I suppose I'll try another fabric soon.. maybe..
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the_christine
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2008 07:48:11 PM »

Patterns are built for a b-cup. I'm guessing you are an A or AA. I have a 32" bust (28" underbust), 25" waist, and 36" hips, so I usually make the size 10 or 12 so that I can breathe and the seams won't pop over my hips, then I try to alter as best I can so that the boob part fits. On my corset top for prom I had to take 4" off the top, which is why it is good to make a muslin or test piece first so that you know how it fits before cutting into your good fabric.

Also make sure that you are using 5/8" seam allowances. For some reason not everyone is used to sewing with these seam allowances, but it should say in your pattern guide what seam allowances are used.

I am between a 32A-B, I have been fitted for 30B but that size rarely exists.  But in the picture with that bodice I made, it certainly looks like I'm AA cup since I'm swimming in it! So are all patterns drafted for a B cup, regardless of if you're sewing the size 8 or size 16?  I really think I'd need D's to fill out that bodice though, and I made the whole top part to the smallest size. 

I use whatever seam allowance the pattern is written for, usually 5/8ths like you said. 

So if you alter your tops, do you just cut down the patterns and make a muslin to see if the adjustment fits properly?
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Cinderwench
« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2008 03:07:49 PM »

A few points:

McCall's patterns are known for allowing the most ease of any pattern company. Look for the same style in other pattern lines, and they make work better for you.

Haunt the used book stores until you find this book: How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter by Adele P. Margolis. c. 1969. Doubleday. It covers how to fit almost any style. It will cover stuff you don't need for yourself, but someday a friend will ask you to make something, and it will cover her problems.

Finally, the style you picked is a little hard to fit. Take a piece of scrap fabric, cut one cup, and experiment with taking vertical and horizontal folds until you get something you like. I'd try two folds on either side of the "center" vertically, and one across horizontally.

Good luck!
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She selects wool and flax and works with eager hands. Proverbs 31:13 NIV
the_christine
« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2008 03:13:02 PM »

A few points:

McCall's patterns are known for allowing the most ease of any pattern company. Look for the same style in other pattern lines, and they make work better for you.

Haunt the used book stores until you find this book: How to Make Clothes that Fit and Flatter by Adele P. Margolis. c. 1969. Doubleday. It covers how to fit almost any style. It will cover stuff you don't need for yourself, but someday a friend will ask you to make something, and it will cover her problems.

Finally, the style you picked is a little hard to fit. Take a piece of scrap fabric, cut one cup, and experiment with taking vertical and horizontal folds until you get something you like. I'd try two folds on either side of the "center" vertically, and one across horizontally.

Good luck!

Thank you for that book recommendation!  I found it on Amazon and it looks great, into my cart it goes.

Also thanks for the tip on how to try and modify the bodice, I haven't picked up the project again because I've been at kind of a loss for what to do next.  At least it was inexpensive fabric!
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lil_abi
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2008 02:06:13 PM »

I agree with that style being hard to fit.  I've also had trouble fitting my bust into ready-made patterns, and I'm on the opposite end of the spectrum -- petite in everywhere but my "girls". Often, I'm busting out all over.  You should look for patterns that aren't so dependent on individual breasts filling out individual cups.  Or something with less ease. 
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Mama to baby twins.  Frantic crafter while they nap!

My blog: http://SLiPsofthetongue.wordpress.com

DH's humorous and often offensive blog: http://mymasonicapron.blogspot.com
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