Dressmaking question, help needed please.

in Crafting
17 replies 1.2K views
Ladies, I have stuffed up. This is the first time since I left school about thirty five years ago that I have attempted to make something using a pattern.
I have a simple butterick I hr pattern for dart free tunic style dress.
My pattern only goes to a 14 which get say is 36" bust. I need a 39" bust. My question is, do I add the extra three inches required onto the front of the dress pattern piece or do I split it between front and back?
I feel so dumb.
Norn Iron Club member 473


  • Can you post the pattern number? It makes a difference where the seams are, and whether there is any detailing anywhere.

    Do you need the extra width everywhere or just at the bust line?

    I would also be measuring the pattern and measuring something similar that fits the way you want. You may not want exactly 3 inches more - some of these patterns come up very large.
  • ArtytartyArtytarty Forumite
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    Thank you, it's Butterick pattern number B5211. I'm doing view b without the belt. My fabric is very old, I found it in granny's stash, it's a lovely pale blue and lilac paisley print on a satirised cotton. It's only 35 inches wide.
    I've also discovered that I don't have enough fabric for the pockets, so I leave them out or use a different fabric which is ok but worse still, the neck facing won't fit on either! I'm could just about cut them out but not on the grain.
    I've royally messed up haven't i ?!
    Norn Iron Club member 473
  • edited 12 January 2014 at 4:33PM
    ArtytartyArtytarty Forumite
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    edited 12 January 2014 at 4:33PM
    If it's any help to know, I'm tall so I have slashed the pattern at the waist and added in 2 12 inches. The the pattern says size14 waist is 28 mine is 30 my hips are 39 and my bust is 39.
    Why did I ever think this was good idea....
    I'm going to omit the pockets, make life as easy as I can.
    Norn Iron Club member 473
  • MojisolaMojisola Forumite
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    As you're coming back to dressmaking after a long break, buy a pattern that will fit you and the amount of material you have.

    Altering a pattern isn't as easy as just adding a few inches here and there - why waste your time and the material on making something that won't hang properly?
  • ArtytartyArtytarty Forumite
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    Yes you are probably right. It's just that being tall and top heavy I'm always going to have to alter aren't i?
    That also why off the peg clothes seldom fit me well.
    I am terrified of spoiling this lovely fabric of course. It may well spend another forty years or so in a suitcase!
    I t is 2 1/2 yards of 36 inch wide stuff. I've no idea what my old gran had in mind for it. It does not look its a remnant.
    Norn Iron Club member 473
  • nimbonimbo Forumite
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    rather then cut up the lovely vintage fabric - make a muslin - use an old sheet, some bedding and stitch it up roughly before cutting the good stuff....

    it will take a little extra time, but will pay dividends when ,ake ing the 'real' thing...

    Stashbuster - 2014 98/100 - 2015 175/200 - 2016 501 / 500 2017 - 200 / 500 2018 3 / 500
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    could you practice with an old bed sheet or curtain first (check a charity shop if you don't have any at home)? Make the changes (add inches etc) where you feel they are needed, cut out and stitch up then make any changes to it while you are wearing it. Transfer those changes to the paper pattern so that the final garment is a "perfect" fit.
  • ArtytartyArtytarty Forumite
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    You know what, that's exactly what I should do!
    And I will too, even though I currently have the pattern pinned onto my nice fabric.
    Just as an aside, is old thread and I mean forty to fifty years old, never opened, still ok? I found quite a bit in my search for material earlier.
    Some of is on the lovely wooden spools with great names as well.
    I found an unopened packet of navy bias binding , several yards of it and the price was still on, 8NP, which stands for new pence and was used for a while after decimal coinage was introduced!!!
    Norn Iron Club member 473
  • KatiehoundKatiehound Forumite
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    Old reels of thread: Try a length of thread between your fingers and give it a tug- if it has perished it will snap very easily. I would be inclined to use more modern thread simply because my machine likes a certain gauge ie 50 rather than 40.
    I was going to suggest that you could possibly use bias instead of the facing if you are so short of fabric- bias from the fabric rather than bought.
    Can you get your hands on a basic sewing book? They generally show you how to alter a pattern to fit since very few people are a standard size!
    Good luck!
    Being polite and pleasant doesn't cost anything!
    If you found my posting helpful please hit the "Thanks" button!
    Many thanks
    -Stash busting: 337 in 2022 Stash busting: in 2023. 18 doggy duvets, 13 bags, 2 scrunchies, 2 mittens, 2 bootees, 3 glass cases = total 40 ...£3.98 spent
  • I inherited my great grandmas sewing box. In it were several reels of thread. I use them for hand sewing rather than through the machine. They are all on wooden spools, gorgeous.
    Slimming world new starter 2/1/17
    :D:D:DWeight loss so far 5 stone 8 lbs

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