Yesterday I made the bodice muslin, today I’m going to correct the pattern! I’ll spare you photos of me wearing the skirtless-dress muslin, because I only need to make minor fitting changes that are easy to explain.
1. Add 1″ to the bodice length.
When I had on the muslin, it was hitting an inch above my natural waistline. I felt like a little girl who’d outgrown her dress and has to fight the urge to tug it down into place! This is starting to be a standard alteration for my body, as I’ve noticed several of my dresses are just slightly too short in the waist. (A good reason to make a muslin – I wouldn’t be able to fix the body length if I’d already cut my real fabric!)
2. Add 1/2″ to the bodice width all around.
The muslin was too tight all over! It would be fine, but slightly uncomfortable to wear all day, and I’d be putting strain on the zipper and risk bursting the seams. This is easily fixed by adding a slight amount of extra room at the sideseams.
Other than that, the bodice fits quite nicely! You can see I wrote the necessary changes right on to the muslin with pen. Why? Because it’s fun to write on fabric… but also so that I don’t forget the changes to make. It’s easier to visualize adding 1″ to the length if it’s written right on the bodice, for some reason!
To lengthen the bodice:
If the pattern piece is marked with ‘Lengthen or Shorten here’ – that’s the place to start! Luckily my pattern piece is marked, so I know exactly where to add the extra length.
If your pattern piece isn’t marked, make your alterations about 2″ above the waistline like the pattern piece above.
Or, think about where you need the extra length. Likely it will be just under the bust, but above the waist. This is the easiest place to alter since you’re not changing the waist measurement – so it will still connect to the skirt piece like it’s supposed to!
Now tape one edge of your pattern piece to the paper extension, smoothing out with your hands to make sure there are no bumps. I made it extra-easy and lined up the straight edge of the paper with the centre back seam!
Measuring from the top cut edge, add the required amount of length, marking every couple of inches with a short pen mark.
You might notice that the side seam isn’t exactly lined up, now that we have added the extra length. To re-draw the sideseam line, I lined up the ruler from the top edge to the bottom corner and drew a straight line. This marks the new sideseam!
And voila! Our bodice has been successfully lengthened!
(Don’t forget to repeat the process for the bodice front piece as well.)
It’s such a small change, and could easily be ignored but I know the dress will be so much more comfortable now! Plus, if I belt it, the belt will sit naturally in the right place – my waistline and the dress’s waistline are in the same spot.
Next up: adding 1/4″ to the sideseams. This is much easier than lengthening the bodice! All I did was tape a piece of paper extension to the sideseam, measured 1/4″ from the edge, and drew a straight line. (Don’t forget to add any notches to the new seamline!)
Oh yes! One more reminder: if there are facing or lining pattern pieces, make sure to do the same alterations to their pattern pieces as well! In my case, I have facing pieces, so I just had to add the 1/4″ to each sideseam. Easy!
Want to have another look at the real fabric, as I’m getting ready to cut?
Pretty! It’s vintage rayon, likely over 50 years old, so it’s quite delicate. I’m going to underline it in muslin for extra strength and support… more on underlining to come in the next post!