Bodice and Blouse Fitting

Karen Reichardt - Vice Chairman of Sewing 2012 - - use the 'contact me' tab above


Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer. How to fit women’s clothing. It is easy to read and very practical. 

     as a CD or book.       Also Pants for Real People and Jackets for Real People.

McCalls Patterns - Palmer / Pletsch Line - Have more fitting lines and more fitting instructions.

Simplicity Patterns - Amazing Fit Line - or small box on front with "Separate patterns included...."

Fitting - Why make a garment if it isn’t better that something that is mass produced? It is

always the pattern's fault. You are not too short waisted for the pattern - It is too long waisted for you. Changes must be made inside the body of the pattern, just adding to the seam allowances isn't the answer. Patterns are made for the average - you are unique and perfect. You determine the fit. How do you like to wear your garments. Loose and flowing or sleek and smooth.

Materials - pattern, fusible quilters grid, pattern paper, measuring tape, markers and rulers.

Slopers - Muslins - Fitting Shells

Butterick 5627 - size 6 to 22 Butterick 5628 - size 16W to 32W

Vogue 1004 dress - size 6 to 22 McCalls 2718 - size 6 to 22 (Palmer/Pletsch)

Theses styles are the basis for fitted bodices that would be perfect for a dance dress.

McCall's 2818 & 6076 - Fitting lesson for princess seams

Prepare the Pattern

Make dart size change with the template.

Bond the pattern - Pellon or HTC Quilters Grid - The Quilters Grid is better because it is thinner and

drapes more like fabric. It is 45 inches wide, which makes it cheaper than interfacing. This step is not in the instructions. It will make the tissue stronger so that it can be handled easier.

DO NOT Adjust - Center front line or center back line. These must be on the straight of grain.

Fudge factor seams - Fabric effects fit. Do not cut off these large seam allowances. Remember the

pattern fits together at the seam lines, not the cutting lines.

Sew - Stitch along the neck line seam allowance and clip right up to the stitching line. Baste the darts and the shoulder seams. Do not sew the side seams.

Try on - Must be Wearing the Right Bra - tight T-shirt & necklace - elastic around waist. Aline the center front and center back seam lines. Tape or pin in place. Tuck the pattern under the waistband elastic.

Start at the top and work down back then front.

Rounded Back - Fit seam allowance of back neck to necklace. If it is pulling up in the front and there is a bubble in the back just below the neck line, make a cut across the shoulders and eliminate the shoulder dart.

Neck Diameter - If the neck seam line is not long enough to meet the necklace, increase it by sewing 1/4 inch outside the original stitching line. Most of the time you will not want a jewel neck line. If there is a collar it is more difficult to adjust the neck line.

Shoulder - slope, length and seam alinement. Remember shoulder seam effects top of arm seam.

Back Width - Dance movement - Adjust to the crease in the back of arm.

Armhole depth - Very important for dancing. Only one inch below arm pit, necessary for movement.

Adjust front and back the same amount. If it is too tight it can be lowered later. Clip seam allowance.

Bustline - Locate bust apex. Darts must point to the bust apex and end 1 inch away. Move the bust darts as needed.

Pin side seams. Straight down from armpit. Front and back seam allowances are not always moved the same amount. Adjust front and back waist line darts.

Mark the waist line along the elastic.

Sloper - Take the stitching out of the pattern. Use this adjusted pattern to cut a full top from one

inch gingham. The woven lines of the gingham allow you to check the fit. Leave the large side seam allowances in place. Mark the darts and seam allowances with a Sharpie marker. Sew up this top. Sew the center front seam and have the buddy pin the back together. Also make and attach the skirt. This will pull the waist line into down and allow the fit to be checked.

Perfect Pattern - Now that you have the perfect fit you know what changes have to be made in other patterns to get the right fit. Take the sloper apart and use it to make the perfect pattern out of very heavy interfacing. Always leave the side seams at least one inch wide. This extra seam allowance can be trimmed off later. It is better to have excess than to try and piece in fabric later. Trying to 'save fabric' by skimping on these seams could result in the new garment going into the scrap pile along with the carefully hoarded bits.

Transfer this informationPlace your 'perfect pattern' on top of a new fashion pattern. You will be able to see right away where changes need to be made. Not all changes will need to be made to every pattern. It will depend on the fit and the style of the new design. If you are "C" or larger bra cup adding side bust darts to any pattern will make it fit and look better. Use the Simplicity Fit Guide and just draw in the lines using the bust point as a reference and make your own darts.

Peasant blouses - Use a pattern with a yoke for a better fit around the neck. Check night gowns for

patterns that can be used. Tighten under arm, shorten the arm hole seam. Increase only on the front for a larger bust line. Increase front length. It will look funny on the hanger but great on you.

Interfacing - Heat - Steam - Pressure - Time - Press once & cut once.

Button Holes - First button hole must be directly between the bust apex to prevent gapping.

Sewing Instructions

new needle Universal 90/14 - fresh thread - set tension - Stitch length - 3.5

Sew darts - Sew from the tips to the side. Needle down, presser foot down, 1.5 stitch length, 4 stitches, increase stitch length to 3.5, sew off, do NOT tie knots

Follow the pattern instructions - save the side seams for last.

Sew in your underwear - constantly checking fit. No matter how hard you worked on fitting, the fabric drapes differently than patterns. Each fabric is different.

Invisible zippers - New zipper - New zipper foot - The newest invisible zippers are thinner and more

flexible than the old ones. The new feet have smaller grooves on the bottom. - tab Projects - tab Invisible Zippers

Pressing Matters

New iron - do NOT get the automatic shut off type - put the iron on a serge protector with a lamp. If the lamp is on, the iron is on.

New ironing board - Thick muslin. Several board covers.

Cover cloths for pressing interfacing

Pressing during construction is required.

Press each seam before crossing it with another seam.

Hard wood pressing boards. Hams and rolls.

Pressing cloth - scrap of the fabric you are working on is the best.