Updated: Jul 16
Dealing with added Fabric
During fitting you may have opened up the Test Garment by opening a Seam or slashing across it in some way usually horizontally or vertically and added in extra fabric by pinning it in place.
If this was done it is recommended that once the alterations are written back to the Draft that you create a new Test Garment and refit to determine if the added fabric was an accurate amount and to really see what affect the addition had on the rest of the garment.
As with removing excess fabric, alterations will need to be mapped out where the new lines are on the Test Garment by measuring their position in relation to key Seams and Guidelines, do the same on the other side, deciding which measurements to use and then transposing those measurements back to the draft.
Typical places you may do this is on are the Side Seams as either a strip or a wedge, in the Princess Seam to increase space for the breast, in the armhole to add in extra fabric or across the Test Garment from side to side for example to lower the Waist and give more space between the Bust Line and the Waist Line.
Side Seam Extension
You may have added fabric all the way down the Side Seam from Base Armhole to Lower Hip Line by opening up the side seam all the way and pinning a long strip on one side of the Side Seam then smoothing the fabric down to secure the other side. Of course this large alteration will need to be done on both sides and some time will need to be taken to ensure that the addition is equal on both sides of the garment otherwise you could skew the Back or the Front. To test this alteration you could sew on the addition to both sides of the seams and to both sides of the garment and refit in order to assess it.
You would then need to draw the new seamline somewhere down the centre of the added fabric on the Test Garment to assess where the Side seam should be and then measure how much would need to be added onto the Front and the Back which could be the same amount all the way down or it may differ at each Guideline.
To make the change on the draft you would mark out the extra required all the way down both the Front and the Back Side Seams and then redraw the Seamlines, and redraw and true the Side Dart on the Front, and extend the Guidelines out to the new Side Seam.
Sometimes all you need is to add in a wedge of fabric on the Side Seam at the Base Armhole or Hip area. If you think you need to add in at the Armhole reconsider this and check to see if that is really necessary. Usually it is the Bust that is causing a lack of space in the Base Armhole so check the Bust fit. Assessing where the Princess Seam sits which should be slightly outside the Bust Point the Centre Front panel determines this position, check that the Centre Front Bust Darts are positioned horizontal across the Bust Points, then look at the Front Side panel, this is where you add in any fabric required by the Bust. If there are drag lines emanating from the Bust or the breast if flattened then open up the Princess Seam and see if the fabric allows a gap to appear. It is better to add in the fabric in the Front Side panel at the Princess Seam rather than in the Side Seam to get a better result. Unnecessarily adding in at the Side Seam at the Base Armhole can cause a skew in the panel that does not seem to relax into place. But of course you can experiment with this yourself.
Let’s look at adding in a wedge of fabric in the Side Seam.
This photo shows an excess through the Hip Bone line shifting down to a fabric addition at the Lower Hip line.
If we focus on the addition you can see that the extra fabric strip has been pinned in on both sides of the seam Front and Back and this was done on both sides of the Test Garment to get the gap at each side as even as possible.
A line was then drawn to assess where the new Side Seam should be placed. You can see the red line vertically going through the gap where the extra fabric was added.
On the Front the measurement for the width of the addition to the Side Seam was noted and the measurement from the Lower Hip to where the gap closes and the excess goes back to the original Side Seam.
In order to map these co-ordinates back to the Draft a strip of paper was needed as there was not enough to work on, this is just simply placed underneath the draft and taped into place. Measurements were then marked out on the Draft, you can see 1” excess at the Lower Hip line as an extension and the 3 ¾” measurement to show where the extension flows back into the Side Seam.
This new Side Seam line was drawn in.
However this particular alteration was being considered in line with removing excess fabric above on the Hip bone line and the photo above shows both alterations have been made however the Side Seam shown could be smoothed out a little more.
This photo shows the final line determined for the Side Seam to straighten it out from the Hip Bone line. Notice how a little extra has been removed at the Lower Hip line as a review of the original photo looks like there may have been too much added on at the Hip Bone line so an assessment has been made here. A further fitting will be required to assess how snug to make the Test Garment at the Hip bone line, which could mean a question for the client as they may not wish to mould the Test Garment too much around the belly mound as it wouldn’t be flattering unless of course this is the look they like and would wear for a Flexible Pattern design say for a very snug pencil skirt or mermaid dress.
Details are transposed onto the Back Side Seam in the same way. Measurements are mapped out, shown in this photo in green on the Test Garment.
Extra paper is added to the draft to give the space to add on the extension and the measurements transposed.
The new Side Seam is drawn in, in conjunction with removing the excess required off the Hip bone line from a previous alteration. A couple of attempts were made at drawing the line before settling for the preferred Seam Line on the Back.
Here are both alterations for the Front and the Back which after truing were slightly altered again so that the shape of the Side Seam matched on both the Front and the Back and a little extension was added to the Lower Hip line on the Back to make both sides the same length from the Hip Bone line down.
Adding Fabric at the Princess Seam for the Bust
Adding fabric into the Princess Seam on the Test Garment means that you will need to make a Bust Adjustment on the draft.
You will also need to do a Bust Adjustment if you have too much fabric in the Princess seam and need to remove it.
This alteration is not one that you would usually have to make using this System however sometimes a larger bust may need it or sometimes you need to adjust if there has been weight loss or weight gain and the adjustment would be done on the Base Template. You should never need to do this on good fitting Working Template or Flexible Pattern.
This is probably the most complex adjustment to make on the draft and requires cutting the draft up significantly. So you will need to make a copy of the Front Draft as you do not want to cut up your Master Draft. Refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Test Garment Creation - 3. Copying the Draft for information on how to do this.
Ensure that you trace off all of the Outline, Guidelines and Darts and that the correct lines are traced.
It’s recommended that prior to creating the copy of the draft and doing this adjustment that all other adjustments for the fitting have been written back to the draft first. The reason for this is to ensure that all of the alterations have been included prior to making the new copy as the new copy will now become your new Master Draft and the cleaner you can keep it the better. A Bust adjustment will be enough to deal with without having to make further alterations on this copy.
Once your draft copy has been made this will now become your new Master Draft 2 and you will file away the old one labelled Master Draft 1. It is best not to discard any Master Drafts as you never know if you will wish to refer to them in the future.
If you prefer you can add in labels and measurements for your Guidelines on your Master Draft 2.
The following photos show a Bust Adjustment using the test model with a G Cup Bust. Below you can see the fitting photos of the resulting fabric that needs to be added in the Front Side panel to give the breast the space it needs.
The gap that opened up in this Test Garment after the Princess Seam was opened up is not usual. Can you see in this photo that the majority of the excess fabric is required in the upper part of the Bust? Usually the widest part of excess required would show up across the Bust Point. However we are dealing with a G Cup bust and these breasts need space in this area so we need to go with this.
A Bust adjustment on the draft will give you more excess measurement at the Bust Point so a little logic needs to be added to this specific alteration. One thing to consider here is perhaps the Bust Point is still too low even though the line was lifted by raising the Front Shoulder originally to where the client pointed out where the nipples were. Other shoulder positions were experimented with during the fitting and considering the alteration drawn onto on the Front Shoulder ended up being dropped and the Back was extended then this very important alteration seems to have been missed, so it is likely that the bust Point is still in the wrong position. Raising the Bust Point by ½” may help.
This is something that will need to be rectified prior to doing the Bust adjustment and then checked more closely at a next fitting.
It is recommended to create a fresh Test Garment after a Bust Adjustment.
This shows that mistakes happen and it is not the end of the world with time taken to look closely at the fittings and alterations that you can keep making changes until you are satisfied with the fit. There is nothing that can’t be put right.
Can you see how with this excess fabric that the bust looks less squashed now.
The excess fabric is measured on the Test Garment to map out how wide it is at its widest part.
In this particular alteration a note has also been made as to where the widest part is on the princess line and what the excess is required at the Bust Point to ensure that the best Bust adjustment is made to fit the requirement.
This photo shows the copy traced from Master Draft 1 and all lined drawn in pencil.
The draft is cut along the Waist Line and the lower part saved to be taped back on after the alteration. You can’t do the Bust Adjustment with this section in place. The measurements for the width of the excess fabric from the Test Garment are transposed to the draft and recorded down the side for this alteration at the appropriate position to show space needed for the extra fabric. This is specific to this particular situation and would not normally be necessary for a Bust Adjustment. I wanted to check the insertion at the end to see how it compared with these measurements.
For a Bust Adjustment on a Base Template all you usually need to note is the widest measurement required which usually is at the Bust Point.
In this particular situation the Bust Line is raised ½” prior to starting the Bust Adjustment but unless you need to do this you would not do this as part of a Bust Adjustment.
The Bust Line was lifted ½” and all Darts redrawn back to the new Bust Point. The Lower Bust Point was determined and the Waist Dart also redrawn, shown in blue below.
The next steps show the actual Bust Adjustment.
A new line is drawn from the Bust Point perpendicular to the Bust Line down to the Waist line. Shown in Green in this photo.
Also Centre Lines must be drawn in for the Armhole Dart and the Side Dart.
The draft is then cut along this line from the Waist to the Bust Point, through the Bust Point along the Armhole Dart along its Centre Line stopping at the Armhole but not cutting through this outline. A small cut is made from the edge of the paper towards the same point on the Armhole at the Centre Dart line but not up to it, you need to leave a small amount of paper to allow a pivot point. Don’t worry if you cut through accidentally you can pivot the paper whilst keeping it in line at the Armhole.
The draft is then cut from the Side Seam on the Centre Dart Line all the way to the Bust Point but not all the way through, leave a small amount of paper here for a pivot point. Now you can see that the paper opens out to give space centrally in the draft, both vertically and horizontally.
A Bust Adjustment will give extra space across the Bust but it also gives space lengthways as a larger bust needs space lengthways too to allow the fabric over the mound. In the case of a Base Template you may not wish to add in extra in length as this could affect the Waist position so may not be required but it is something that you will need to experiment with.
The next step is to lay this draft onto a new sheet of paper and Tape down the Centre Front panel along the Cut Line from the Waist to the Bust Point then up the Armhole Dart.
The measurement of the Bust Adjustment is measured out parallel to the Waist to Bust Point Cut Line and a line is drawn to show the insertion required for the adjustment.
If you are removing excess fabric from the Princess Seam as a Bust adjustment then the line will need to be drawn on the other side of the cut line so that when the Front Side panel is pivoted it reduces the space for the Bust.
The Front side panel is then pivoted up to this new line keeping the edge of the piece in line with the new drawn line and taped into place.
You can see that the Bust Point for this side has been shifted out away from the original Bust Point but in doing so it has also be shifted downwards. Consequently this has extended the Waist Line in width and dropped it in length.
The Side Dart has also been increased.
An assessment for this specific alteration needs to be made to assess how much space was inserted above the bust at the mapped out key points this shows that the Bust may be slightly large by 2/8” at the Armhole level, around 1/8” short of the gap required at the widest part of the alteration and 2/8” too big at the Bust Point. This will be looked at during the next fitting. This is not something you would usually need to assess for a standard Bust Adjustment it is simply something I wanted to look at for this alteration.
You need to consider the Base and determine if you would like to keep the excess added to the length and usually it is a good idea to do so.
The following photo shows that the Waist has been continued along from the Front side panel to Centre Front. However it would be just as easy to remove the excess from the Front Side Panel to line it up with the original line from Centre Front.
I decided to allow this extra space to give the extra room of 3/8”. This will help with shaping under the bust. The next fitting will test whether this was the right decision or not.
A decision was then made on this alteration to lower the Armhole by the same amount to remove the extra length at this side and keep the Side Seam the same length as the Back. The Armhole was then redrawn. This will be trued up and checked against the Front Side later.
The Waist is then brought in at the sides by the same amount as the adjustment as we don’t want to increase the width of the Waist. The Side is then redrawn.
The New Bust Point needs to be decided on. If you are happy with the position of the Bust Point then all Darts are drawn back to it. However it could be that you wish to shift the Bust Points over or centrally into the insertion that you just created. Decide on the Bust Point position and draw the Darts back into place. Shown in Orange in this photo.
The Dart is also taped down to secure it. The next photo is not part of the Bust Adjustment.
With a large bust (G Cup in this case) Darts can get very large and in this case it is creeping up the Armhole, so I made a decision to shift this Dart around a little as I like to keep them in the tighter part of the curve of the Armhole if I can it helps a little with the sewing and the size of the Dart Extension I think, just a personal observation. So in the next photo I did shift the Dart around and this would get tested in a subsequent fitting.
I shifted it by moving the centre line around and then redrawing the Dart Legs to be the same distance apart as before. You can see the new trued Dart and its position drawn in Red. This is another good example of how mashed up the lines can get so swapping colours can help.
The Darts then need truing. Here is the Shoulder Dart.
The Draft is then labelled.
Adding Fabric on an External Seam
If you are adding in fabric onto the Armhole or the Neckline you will have pinned this in place during fitting on the Test Garment and drawn on the new Outline. You would simply map out the extra required and transpose these measurements onto the Draft.
The following example shows how the Armhole in the Back required extending.
The photo shows a couple of attempts at redrawing a new line. The Seam Allowance was used rather than adding in an extra strip of fabric as there was just enough to determine a position for Back Armhole. Although the seam allowance could have been cut off and extra fabric pinned behind which would have given the same result. It was decided with the client that the new Back Armhole position was preferable to the current one to give a little more coverage. This new position would be tested at the next fitting.
When the Test Garment was removed it is obvious that the Armhole has been hacked about a little especially at the Base Armhole and this may be because the Waistline was too high for whatever reason.
The Armhole position needs redrawing from the Back all the way around into the Front, as you can see in this photo.
To determine the new position of the Armhole as the original Armhole line has been cut off, positional measurements are taken from adjacent Guidelines, shown in green in this photo.
On the Front Draft these measurements are noted and the new Armhole shape drawn in.
The same is done on the Back of the Garment. The measurements are determined to map out the Armhole placement.
Also the end of the Armhole is resolved to the Shoulder End as this is where the client would like the Armhole to start from.
The measurements are transposed onto the Back Draft and the new Armhole shape is drawn in.
Other Possibilities for Adding FabricYou may have an occasion where you have added in fabric that is not in the vicinity of a Seam.
This could happen for example across the chest from side to side or across the Shoulder Blades on the Back.
Here is a comprehensive way to add paper into the draft mirror any fabric that you pinned out in the Test Garment if you are cutting out a strip across the draft horizontally or vertically not in a Seam.
For the purposes of this explanation a sample copy of a Base Template has been drawn out.
From the location measurements you have made on the Test Garment decide where the Cut Line is going to be, and if there is no existing line then draw the line on the draft across the length or width of the draft ensuring that the Cut Line is squared up to any key guidelines such as the Waist or the Centre Front/Back.
In this example a Cut Line has been drawn in 2” above the Waist.
Draw a line squared off and perpendicular to the new Cut Line drawn around 4” in length with 2” either side, this is going to be a guideline to help you repositions the two pieces back together again.
Then cut along the Cut Line all the way across the Draft.
A strip of paper is added and the position for the insertion is drawn in shown in green here.
The Guideline is extended down into the insertion and the bottom section is lined up with new position and the Guideline to ensure everything is kept in line.
The bottom section is taped into place and then all affected outlines and darts will require to be redrawn.
You will need to decide if this insertion is to be dealt with on both the Front and the Back Draft.
If you have needed to add in in a wedge of fabric for example in the chest area starting at the armhole and ending at Centre Front with the biggest part of the wedge at Centre Front and no extra at the armhole then you would add in the extra paper as above but the shape would be a wedge and not a strip. Instead of cutting all the way across you can cut to a pivot point on the draft and shift out the other side to create the gap for the wedge. However you must be observant of what the new wedge does to the rest of the pattern. You need to have a straight Centre Front so you may need to redraw it straight.
After adding in any amount of fabric like this it is recommended to create a brand new Test Garment and refit.
If you have made any alterations at all to the Draft you are working on then make sure you true up the pattern again and check all Dart positions etc. and check that all Outlines are smoothed out and all Grainlines are clear, and Notches and Awl Points are defined. It is worth checking that the Cross Chest and Cross Shoulder Blade Lines are still halfway down between the High Shoulder Point and the Bust Line, if not redraw it. Refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Draft - Truing a Draft for assistance with truing a Draft.
It is very important that all final lines are clear and highlighted as you may not come back to this draft for a while and you can’t trust that you will remember what you did.
With all of these alterations especially if you have more than one fitting, which can mean several fittings and Test Garments made, alterations can get messy on the same draft. This may mean that you may need to create a fresh copy of your Master Base Template and trace off all of the relevant lines just the same as you did when creating a cutting copy. It is a drag but it could be difference between you choosing the correct line in the end, and after all of the work that you have done you really want to be working from the correct lines, you do not want your consequent patterns to inherit any mistakes. However don’t forget that once complete you can preserve your Draft, refer to Auxiliary Reference Information - Preserve the Draft for information on how to do this.
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