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Problems with altered pattern

Sandy | Posted in General Discussion on

I am returning to sewing garments for myself after many years of strictly craft sewing.  I am starting with simple patterns but still they require altering to allow a good fit.  I started with a size 18 blouse pattern –sleeveless, scoop neck.  I had to add 2 inches to give the width I need.  I also had to move the bust dart .  I got the dart in the right place and the fit is good across the bustline–but the armhole doesn’t lay smooth between the dart and shoulder seam.    If I increase the underarm seam from the underarm to the dart–that seems to help.  My question is –how do I adjust my pattern so the problem is not replicated the next time I use it?  Ideas anyone?


Thanks.  Sandy




  1. suesew | | #1

    If I am understanding you correctly, it sounds like you need a deeper dart or perhaps a second dart. If you increase the size of the bust dart this will have the effect of shortening the side seam and that is why it looks like you need to add to it. If you can make the necessary adjustments on this garment you can probably learn enough to transfer the changes to the pattern so you can replicate them the next time without too much effort.

    1. Sandy | | #2

      Thanks Sue.  I've done some reading this evening which suggests that I may have gone about altering the pattern all wrong.  I increased the width of the blouse at the side seams--the book I read tonight indicates this was not the best choice.  Looks like I have some learning to do before doing any serious pattern alterations!

  2. theOracle | | #3

    How do you adjust the pattern itself? If I am using a paper pattern that I may use again, I tend to make a muslin pattern, with the adjustments I have made on it. You can cut a dart open and add fabric, that sort of thing.

    Alternatively, use a roll of butcher paper, redoing a pattern piece after you have changed it while making the garment. That way, you have the final piece for that garment and to compare to future similar garments.

    You can write with pencil on both fabric and this type of paper, and cut and paste easily.


  3. theOracle | | #4

    BTW, the shoulder at the neckline usually has to be recut because the angle between the center back and the center shoulder has changed. Have someone hold the altered pattern up to your back and see if this is so. If so, lay that piece on muslin or paper and readjust.

    Don't worry--you'll get good at it.

    Another thing--if you have a top or whatever that fits really well, make a pattern of it! If I see your little kitty walking around with butcher paper stuck to it, I'll know what happened. hahaha


  4. mem | | #5

    To save alot of frustration and grief , I would get a copy of Fit For Everybody by Palmer Pletch.I used to struggle along in the fitting dark but now am so much happier with the fit of especially blouses and pants.

    It sounds as if you need to do a full bust adjustment so that you get the fullness in the cup of the bust area and not everywhere else as well.

    1. Sandy | | #6

      Thanks to all for your helpful ideas.  I'm getting there!  I have an OLD copy of a Better Homes & Gardens Sewing book that has great information on fitting and altering patterns--there I learned that I was going about the pattern adjustments all wrong.  I think I'll look around for a local shop that might offer a class on fitting.

      I did (after 3 tries) get a simple blouse that fits reasonably well  and I think I understand the adjustments well enough that I can adjust any pattern now.  I still need to perfect the dart placement--it is much better than the original pattern but still not exactly right.

      Thanks again.




      1. mem | | #7

        you know th class isdea is a good one but I still think that just reading a book and then seeting down with your pattern and altering it is the best way to go . I then back my altered pattern with some fusible interfacing so that it doesnt rip etc . Its a good idea to use a basic style pattern which you can then alter according to your style preference . I have done this with a princess line  blouse a darted pattern and a T shirt pattern They are my basics and I have then gone to pattern drafting books in order to make different collars cuffs etc . This has worked very well for me . 

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