On the Strictly Ballroom Dress, on both on me and on the dress form, there’s a tiny bit of fabric pooling at the lower back. It would be okay if I left it, but so much better if I fix it up!
Here’s what I did to make this adjustment. There are a lot of photos, but it’s fairly easy to do!
UPDATE: I made a math error on this adjustment post! Thanks to Phoebe for pointing it out. I’ve corrected the words but the photos will still be doing the wrong thing.
First, I pinned out the amount needed on the muslin while it’s on the dress form, taking a horizontal tuck across the lower back. I tried it on one more time to make sure the tuck solved the problem.
Now, we’ll transfer the changes to the pattern pieces.
First, we’ll measure this horizontal tuck at centre back and at the dart points, to determine how much we need to adjust out of our pattern pieces.
I’m measuring in the middle of the back, at the widest part of the tuck. It looks like I have a 3/8″ tuck, so I’ll write that right on the muslin for easy reference.
I also measured how far up the tuck is placed, above the waist seam. This will help me place the tuck at the exact same point on the pattern piece! I’ve taken this tuck at 2 3/4″ above the waist seam. (In case this is confusing, it’s not a real waistline seam, but a dropped-waist around the hipline.)
Last spot to measure is at the dart crossing. We’re taking in 1/4″ where the dart and tuck meet. This measurement will help us to taper the tuck properly when transferring it to our pattern pieces.
Now, let’s make these changes to the pattern tissue! First off, I’ll measure the seam allowance from the lower waist seam, to be certain we’re placing this tuck at the right spot on the body. Remember we measured upwards from the waist seam? We’ll need to measure that from the seamline, not the raw edge of the fabric.
Now we’ll measure the distance up from the seamline – 2 3/4″. Make a small horizontal line to mark this point.
I also measured this same distance along the dart line, and made another small marking so we can connect these dots.
Draw a straight line connecting these two points, all the way across your pattern piece from centre back to sideseam.
This line marks the bottom of our tuck. We’ll draw a second line to mark the top of our tuck, creating a wedge-shaped triangular piece. Then we’ll fold the two lines together, just like we did in the muslin!
This is where the mistake happens – I made a 3/8″ adjustment, when I should have made a 6/8″ adjustment or 3/4″! Remember to account for the entire tuck, not just half of the amount like I did.
Remember how deep our tuck was, at centre back? It was 3/8″ at the centre. We’ll measure up from the first line and
make a mark 3/8″ above make a mark 3/4″ above, twice the amount of the tuck measurement. Then draw a straight line connecting this marking to the first line, at the sideseam. Does this make sense? See the long, narrow, triangle on the pattern piece below?
Now, simply fold up the tuck we’ve drawn in, like it was a dart!
Tape this tuck in place. We’re almost done!
Tip: Measure from the top of your pattern piece to the bottom along the centre back line. Now measure the same place on your muslin, with the tuck in place. Do they measure the same amount? If they do, then you’ve done the math right! This would have saved me from making my mistake.
How straight is your centre back line now? Mine is crooked, now that we’ve taken the tuck out. Simply re-draw the centre back line from top to bottom. A slight bit will be added to the centre back, but not enough to matter!
And that’s it! Our pattern piece now has the same horizontal tuck as the muslin does, which should solve our fitting problem.
That’s what I did to fix up this problem – I referred to a couple of different sewing books to see how they dealt with this fitting issue. Any questions on this adjustment? Is this the same method you use to correct for extra fabric pooling at the lower back?
Any tips or suggestions to add to this demo? Leave a comment below!