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Dress alteration for a swayback.

Alicia | Posted in Gather For A Chat on

Hello again:

I posted a request re altering a swayback for dresses without a waist seam.It was registered but now it does not appear.Thank you to the Sewing Buddy for her helpful suggestions (no name).  You don’t have hips?  I wish.  I have the old fashioned hour glass figure  39 – 32 – 40 and stand at 5ft.2″. Are there any other suggestions.  The dress creases just below the waistline just as it would on a skirt being fitted for a swayback.The idea of the seam down the back is a good one but I would prefer to have a one peace back. I will also try the darts.  Did you curve the darts?

Thank you Alicia




  1. tmorris1 | | #1


    Your swayback can be fixed by pinning out the wrinkles just below the waist. Pin horizontally to take out the fullness of the back tapering toward the side seams. measure the amount that you have had to pin out and fold that much out of your original pattern. You will end up with your center back seams looking more like this < > than a straight line. You may also have to shorten your darts a bit, but the fit will be much nicer.

    1. Alicia | | #4

      Hello tmorris1:

      Thank you.  I thought that might work but in a sheath type dress it seems to raise the hem line.  But I will try it on the muslin and let you know how it turns out.  I also received a tip from Raphael and will try that too. 



      1. tmorris1 | | #5

        It will raise the hemline a little bit at the back, but if you cut your muslin too long, it will give you the extra length that you will need after the alteration, then just even out the hemline after the alteration has been completed.

        1. Alicia | | #6

          Thank you, once again.  I am just finishing another project, and then will get back to the dress.  I will let you know.  Alicia

          1. tmorris1 | | #7

            Would love to hear how it turns out.

          2. Alicia | | #8

            I promise to let you know.  I just wrote to Marcia about trying to find more time to sit at my machine.  Do you set aside time to sew?  I think I am going to have to do that...


          3. tmorris1 | | #11

            Alicia;Yes, I do set aside time to sew, but I sew for others as well as myself. I am often under a deadline to get things done in a timely fashion so I sew for at least 4 hours a day, sometimes up to 16 hours if I am really busy.

          4. Alicia | | #12

            Oh that is why you are so knowledgeable.  I will start to set aside more time.

            If patterns were made to fit this body of mine it would be much easier.


          5. tmorris1 | | #16

            I have clients that come to me for their full wardrobe, so I am always making them new key garments every season to update their wardrobes. These people all offer individual challenges to fit. I make muslins for all of them in a few basic shapes (pants, dress, princess seam etc) so that when I have a new project I can be sure that the basic cut will be quite accurate right from the start.

          6. Alicia | | #17

            Hello Again:

            I live in BC, Canada.  I am sure you are in the U.S.A., right.  I would be on your door step if it were otherwise.  I'll keep plugging on.  I have three days that I hope to use to get this muslin in shape.... then onto sewing my bermudas shorts.

            God Bless

          7. tmorris1 | | #18

            Actually, I am on the Prairies. Used to live in BC though, I grew up there. You are lucky, there is an endless source of fabric and notion shops on the coast, and a multitude of college and community programs to help refine your skills.

          8. Alicia | | #19

            I grew up in a Suburb of Winnipeg, West Kildonan.  Yes we are fortunate, however there aren't as many shops on the Island as there are in Vancouver.  They all seem to be taken over by quilt shops.  I have to go to Victoria, or Nanaimo to find fabric now, I live in Duncan.  I have taken a number of courses, but for a few years just spent time adjusting store bought clothing for people.  I would never  attempt to sew for someone else. When I was younger I could take a size 10 pattern and with a few minor adjustments have a fairly nice outfit.  But OH OH OH the days of wine and roses have past and everything is going south... After reading other chat letters I know I am not alone.  5ft. 2" and blooming.  Now I work with a size 12 for the bottom, a size ten for the shoulders and upper chest and 12 for the rest... Talk to you soon.




          9. tmorris1 | | #20

            Oh no! Even your Fanny's Fabrics closed up 2 years ago. I went to high school in Victoria. I used to scour estate sales, and auctions for vintage fabric stashes. They get sold off really cheap, and are sometimes just exquisite. I even made a really pretty sun dress out of a vintage tablecloth when I was a teen. Auction houses will sometimes notify you when they get specific items if you ask and explain your circumstances.

          10. Alicia | | #21

            Good advice, perhaps when I complete these two projects I will look into that.  I do have a stash of lovely woolens one peace is so beautiful,greys and blue hues, but i think it is too large a print for my size.  I keep taking it out and putting it back. They are advertising sewing trench coats with all types of fabric from drapery etc.  I don't know how they would hold up in our rain.  We had three down pours of hail today.  Everyone I talk to is "fed up" we have had a long rainy winter.  But we are still blessed to live here.


  2. Ralphetta | | #2

    Yes, they need to follow the body shape.

    1. Alicia | | #3


      thank you for replying.  I will give it a try.  I am still working on the muslin.


  3. Cherrypops | | #9

    Hi Alicia,

    Your initial post did not disappear. It is under title Fitting - Dress Fitting Sway Back. I personally would view this message under fitting as that is what it is.

    This post is under Gather for a chat - Dress alteration for a swayback.

    Members may post to both so I would keep checking the two.

    Hope you were able to work the alterations out with the input and help given.


    1. Alicia | | #14

      Hello Cherrypops:

      I love your chat name.  Thank you for the explanation.  I am working on the tips and will let everyone know how I make out.  My body has changed over the years and it is very difficult to fit.  I can't find any dresses to purchase.  They are all sleeveless and too youthful for me.  Thanks again.  Alicia


      1. Cherrypops | | #15

        you're welcome Alicia.

        I too have noticed a lot more sleeveless dress patterns. I am a young slim home mum, who can wear them but I may be working soon in my son's school and I would be more comfortable within that environment with sleeves.

        I am sure you will find something suitable.

        Keep us informed.

        CherryPops (sydney, australia)

  4. User avater
    Becky-book | | #10

    The reason this post may have seemed to disappear is tied to what settings you have selected when you read posts.  If you selected "with unread msg." and no one had posted an answer yet then the post would seem to disappear off your list.  But for the rest of us who had not read it yet it is still there.

    Hope this helps,


    1. Alicia | | #13

      Thank you.  I am better at the sewing machine than this  machine...

      Edited 5/3/2007 1:03 am ET by Alicia

This post is archived.

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