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aalva | Posted in General Discussion on

I am working recently on a dress pattern that the skirt is too full, it has too much gathers, I would like to take out the gatherings completely or reduce it by half. Can anybody help please?


  1. Josefly | | #1

    Hi aalva. Can you be more specific about the question you have on removing the fullness in the skirt? If you post the maker and number of the pattern you're using so we can see what the dress looks like, someone may be better able to help you with it. Usually it's no problem to take fabric out at the side and/or center front/back seams, but how the skirt is attached to the bodice may have some bearing.

    1. aalva | | #3

      Thank you,Josefly.The pattern is Vogue 8472 the top I liked but when it came to making the bottom it had too much fullness, it doesn't show on the cover of the pattern but is there.Thank You for all you can help I'm new at this.

      1. Ralphetta | | #4

        That's a cute pattern. Another option is to take a couple of darts in the front and in the back of the skirt. That would remove excess from the waist but retain the pretty shape of the skirt.

      2. Beavette | | #5

        I looked at the pattern, as the previous post suggested, it looks like the darts would be the easiest and best way. Especially if you are new to altering patterns. The bodice darts are already there, so make the skirt darts at the same place, so they just look like they continue down the skirt. I would baste the skirt to the bodice at the center front, back and sides, then put the dress on inside out and have someone help you pinch in the skirt at the darts and pin.(you can do this without putting it on, but the darts will fit the curve of your body better if you put it on. Then sew the darts and connect the rest of the waistline, lining up the darts. If you don't want any darts, you could try attaching another skirt bottom to the dress, that doesn't have gatherings. It is OK to use pattern pieces from multiple patterns in one dress. (a nice pencil skirt would look lovely with the bodice on this dress.

      3. Josefly | | #6

        That IS a pretty pattern, and you're right, the fullness in the skirt doesn't show on the pattern photo or drawings - in fact I would've expected very little, even minimal, gathering based on the sketches shown. Have you already cut the dress out using your fashion fabric, or are you making a trial garment, or muslin? The suggestion to dart out some of the fullness in the waistline while keeping the same amount of fullness at the hem of the skirt is a good one, and may work for you. But since you said you wanted to remove as much as half of the fullness of the fabric, you may need another solution - it would take quite a few darts to remove that much from the waist. A lot of darts might be a nice design feature, depending on the fabric you're using, though, and if you want to keep the same fullness at the hem, that's the way to go. Using a different skirt pattern with the amount of fullness you like is also a good suggestion. An alternative is more complicated, but I've tried to describe one below. If you're a beginner, I believe you can accomplish the change, but it is more involved, and you may not want to try it.Since you want to remove so much fullness, and since this is not just a straight gathered skirt, but is a-line or flared, too, the side seams will be on the bias, and the waistline will curve upward from the center front. So, removing fabric from the side seams will change the waistline curve, and make your side seams shorter. Do you have some extra length to play with?Judging by the checked fabric used in the pattern illustration, it appears the center front and center back are on the straight grain, the front on a straight foldline. Is that correct? Assuming the grainlines are as I've just described: I believe I would try to re-cut the skirt pieces using a modified pattern, rather than just trying to cut off excess fabric at the side seams. You'll have to remove the skirt from the bodice, if it's already attached, and take out the side seams. I would divide the amount of fabric to remove by 4, and make a fold in the center of each of the skirt pattern pieces, along a line you draw from the midpoint of the curved waistline seam, to the midpoint of the curved bottom edge, folding out that 1/4 amount. Re-draw the waistline curve and hem curve. You want the side of the waistline seam to curve upward from the center by the same amount that it did before. So you'll have a narrower pattern piece, and the curve will look steeper.Then lay the modified pattern pieces onto your taken-apart skirt, matching the pattern to the original center front and center back, and see if there's enough length there to accommodate the new curves. (You may be able to check this part before removing the side seams.)I hope this makes sense. Don't hesitate to ask further questions. I also hope others will check me on this, in case I've made a mistake or left anything out. Good luck. Joan

        Edited 4/3/2008 2:35 pm ET by Josefly

  2. suesew | | #2

    If this is a fairly straightforward project, you would have to take out a side seam and the seam that is holding the gathers in place. Then you would take out as much fabric as you want (cutting if off the side) , sew the side seam back together and then regather the gathered edge and sew that back in place. If you are starting with a finished garment you will also have to open up the hem at that side seam and redo that after you have sewn the side seam.

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