How to resize a bodice from a pattern

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Yes, ya’ll! I am still sewing! I promise! It’s been a crazy few months and I haven’t been posting it as much, but I’m definitely still hitting it hard at the machine. I was recently making a dress where I needed to resize the pattern, so I thought I’d take some photos and show you guys how I do it. This ensures an absolutely perfect fit every single time! Best of all, after you learn the basic technique it’s easy to apply to every single pattern you sew!

First, you’re gonna wanna take all of your measurements. Bust, waist, and hip are the most important. So, as you can see from the markings I made, my bust, waist, and hips are all three different sizes. yea, story of my life. But, when you make clothes custom, it’s no biggie!

So, take your measurements…take them snuggly and err on the smaller side if you fall between inches. Mark your measurements on the back of the jacket for easy reference.

Most every single pattern allows for ease. Keep this in mind when determining your size. Making a shift dress? It’s going to be very wide at the waist. Making a jacket? You’ll need that extra room in the bust to move around.

Also, every pattern piece should indicate what the “finished size” of the garment will be. Back to the shift dress example: if you’ve got larger hips and the shift doesn’t have enough ease you’ll be able to tell by comparing your hip measurement to the finished size measurements on that pattern piece.

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You can see on the bottom, I’m going to make a size 10 for the bust and a size 16 for the waist. The skirt of this dress is a pleated skirt, so the hip measurement is irrelevant. Something would be really wrong with me if my hips didn’t fit into any pleated skirt at the hip! 🙂

So, trap your first pattern piece…for me the bodice. You’ll also need a ruler. You are going to find every seam that already has adjustable sizing. Does that make sense? Every seam that has  different sizes, so the side seam and armcye on this bodice piece. You’ll be able to tell which seams I’m talking about because they will have multiple lines instead of one solid line.

Line your ruler up with the bust size at the intersection of the side seam and the armcye at the top. The bottom of the ruler should be lined up with the waist size at the bottom of the bodice piece. Since the side seam is already a straight line, you can just draw your new line. If the seam is a curved seam, you’ll need to use a curved ruler and grade out your seam using a curved line.

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Can you see the new line I drew?

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Cut out your bodice piece along this new line.

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You’ll need to cut your skirt piece (if making a full dress) at the waist size and grade out to the hip measurement (if it applies). The hip measurement didn’t matter so I just cut a straight 16. Again, double check the finished garment measurements (printed on the actual skirt pattern piece) for the hip to make sure that you’ll fit into your skirt if you cut it at the smaller waste size.

(Lord, I hope this is making sense. It didn’t seem as complicated until I tried to start explaining it. Why I’ll never be a teacher! Please leave questions in the comments!)

IMPORTANT: you must, must, must remember to cut the accompanying pieces at the right measurements. If you’re bodice was cut at a 10 for the bust and a 16 at the waist like mine you’ll need to cut things like collars, sleeves, collar/arm hole facing, etc at the 10 and things like waist bands, belts, etc at the larger 16.

So, try grading your next pattern if you are a curvier gal like me. You’ll get a better fit all around and be much happier with the end result of your garment!

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