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How to adjust your pattern according to

tzipi | Posted in Fitting on

I have a terrific sloper . I now took a ready made pattern of a jacket and tried to adjust it according to my sloper. But I’m not really sure how to do that. I want the details of the pattern’s design with the fit of my sloper. Any ideas?




  1. starzoe | | #1

    For the terrific sloper, the first thing you do is to make copies of it. When designing seam allowances are not on the sloper. You will be working on a copy of the sloper to design the jacket you want. Sometimes it is possible to overlay the two (sloper and pattern) to cut the fabric....most times, not.

    Transfer the design elements you want onto the sloper. I assume you have (1) a T-square, (2) a french curve, (3) a solid ruler, metal is best. These are the minimum tools you will need.

    Depending on what you want, this could be part of detailed instructions, if you run into a problem come back here and we will try to work you through it.

  2. fiberfan | | #2

    I find it easier to draft a pattern with the basic design of the commercial pattern and then copy the details from the commercial pattern.  For a great reference on pattern drafting check out this online copy of a 1940s pattern drafting book.  The biggest difference between your sloper and a jacket is additional wearing ease.  This usually includes additional width, a lower armhole and neckline.  Sometimes the differences are pretty small, particularly in the neckline and shoulders.

    Since I got a bodice sloper I have tried a muslin from 1 commercial pattern directly.  I sewed the shoulder and side seams, tried the muslin on and promptly put the pattern in the "do not use" group.  It find it far easier to draft my own than to adjust the commercial patterns, even with the sloper.

    If you post what pattern you are using I would be happy to tell you how I would draft a similar pattern from my sloper.  I think I have done enough pattern drafting to be dangerous <g>.


    1. tzipi | | #3

      Dear Joanne, Thank you.I am using a pattern from Burda magazine- Nov 2007, pattern 108. It is a simple jacket- short with princess seams, zippered front, 0ne-piece sleeves, collar and collar stand.My sloper is for a shift that fits very closely to me.I like things very fitted. Shall I just take my sloper and add the details of the pattern? Meaning use all of the darts in my sloper and ignore those of the pattern? But I assume that a jacket has to have more ease than my dress does, no? What I did was lay the pattern on top of the sloper and corrected it accordingly. I have already sewn it up. It's too big so I had to adjust the princess seams and side seams. It's an easy jacket to make and the material is not expensive and has been sitting in my closet for years. I think I'll finish it off quickly and then try using a different fabric and use my sloper as the body and then just add the details of the pattern as you suggested.I've finally realized that like anything else in life- one gets better by practice. I have spent too many years reading about sewing and not enough hours sewing. So I want to sew several jackets this winter to try and perfect my techniques and fit. I figure the way to learn is to do, make mistakes and keep trying.Any advice you can offer, I appreciate.Thank you Tzipi

      1. fiberfan | | #9

        Did you mean 108 from October 2007?  To create a shoulder princess, you need to rotate the darts so you have a shoulder and a waist dart.  It is then pretty easy to convert those darts to an armhole princess.  The diagram here has some pictures of the process.  Once you have the basic pieces for an armhole princess, you can use the neckline, collar and hemline details from the burda pattern.

        Jackets do need more ease.  The shoulder should be a bit wider and the armhole needs to be deeper.  Most of the added ease in the bust, waist and hip area should be added in the middle of the front and back.  I put a rough drawing showing how I would add ease here.  The blue line is the original, the red line shows the shoulder, armhole and side seam added ease and the purple the area I would slash and spread for the remaining ease.  The armhole changes need to be mirrored on the sleeve.

        I did not put darts on my drawing, the vertical darts should be preserved when you slash and spread.  When you make a muslin of the bodice, you may want to adjust the shaping on the armhole princess and/or the side seams.  When drafting my own patterns, I make at least one muslin with a throwaway fabric for a new pattern.  Sometimes it takes several muslins until I get the fit/details right.  When drafting a pattern, you may have one that is close to what you want and can start from that instead of your sloper.

        Let me know if this makes sense or if I need to try a better explanation.  I am much better at telling computers what to do (I am a programmer) than I am at explaining things <sigh>.


        1. User avater
          CostumerVal | | #10

          Yes, that purple line is where you grade up and down, but it changes the shoulder length further.  You could grade up evenly there, say 1/2", and then move the side seam out the remaining 1/2" (for total 4" ease).  The sleeve needs to be adjusted the same amount.  So in this instance the armpit would need to move out 1/2".  I wouldn't move Center Front or Center Back, as this changes the neck shape further.  The 1/4" or 1/2" that the shoulder seam moves up will lengthen the neck by 4 times that amount.  So if you move CF and CB out to make ease also,  then the neck would be 2" larger.  That may be OK for a coat, but big for a fitted jacket.  Am I totally confusing everybody?  Sometimes I wonder myself when I write, and I have no idea how to draw on a computer.  How DO you do that "here"  thing?    Val

          1. fiberfan | | #12

            You are right about the shoulder line increasing as a result of slashing and spreading.  I should wait until after lunch before posting about something unless I am doing it as I write the post <sigh>.  I don't move the shoulder up at the neckline, just at the armhole and taper to the neckline.  I rarely increase at the CF and CB since that will affect the neckline.  I have a couple of pattern drafting books but find trial and error works well for me.  Joann's 50% off muslin sales and the $1 fabrics at Wal-Mart make muslins affordable.  As a bonus, a living history site close to work makes paper from 100% cotton fabric.  I have a grocery bag stuffed full ready to donate.

            I have to laugh about your drawing on the computer comment.  I used my embroidery digitizing software (embird studio) since I know how to make curves in it.  I would rather use something I know than figure out a different software (don't tell anyone at work <g>).


            Edited 10/29/2007 12:51 pm ET by fiberfan

          2. User avater
            CostumerVal | | #13

            You are too funny!  I'm still chuckling.  That's O.K.  half the time I reread what I just wrote and then I have to get a book because I can't understand a word of it.  Most of my posts have multiple (parenthesis)  because I'm explaining to myself what the heck I wrote but can't read.

            JoAnn fabrics has our number all right.  When I get ahold of that elusive 50% coupon I buy a bolt of muslin or another book.  I'm in trouble when they figure out that I buy up 99 cent patterns and run to Walmart for fabric.  Although I did just get a load for a formal gown I need for a Christmas Party.  I'm still in shock, it was $45.  and that was at 50% off, and I haven't even started looking for beads yet.

    2. tzipi | | #8

      Dear Joanne, What a terrific book- free! Thank you for the reference.Can I ask you a question totally off the subject? How did you do that trick that the word "this" clicks to the website? I'd really like to know how to do that.Thanks, Tzipi

      1. fiberfan | | #11

        Making a word a link:  Highlight the word and press the link button in the message editor (second button from the right) and paste in the URL.


  3. jjgg | | #4

    Tzipi, this book will help


    scroll down to de-mystifying fit

    1. tzipi | | #5

      Thank you . I'll look into it.

  4. User avater
    CostumerVal | | #6

    Fitted jacket ease is 3 3/4" to 4 1/4".  Move the shoulder seam up and out 1/2", move the armscye down 3/4" on  the jacket and 1/2" on the lining.  The sleeve ease is 3-4",  the cap is moved up 1/2",  the armpit down 3/4" and out according to ease.  Blend in the curve. 

    Check out Don McCunn's book,  How to Make Sewing Patterns.  Threads has done numerous articles on using slopers to alter commercial patterns.   If your going to start drafting your own, you'll need a few reference books for yummy details.  I like Claire Schaeffers High Fashion Sewing Secrets.  Val

    1. tzipi | | #7

      Thank you.I'll try your suggestions.

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