Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Simple Pattern Altering

Have you ever bought a pattern that you just LOVED, but when you sewed it, you were disappointed with the fit? For me, the issue almost always happens with short-alls, or "john-john's". I recently had this issue with a pattern that I have had for years - the pattern style is one of my favorites and the first time I used the pattern was when I made it for my son when he was a little boy!

Children's Corner "Jeffery" & Basic Smocked Yoke Dress
I'm gonna guess this picture was taken in 1986

The smocked john-john is "Jeffery" by Children's Corner. I still have that little john-john, along with another one, which I just passed down to my daughter for her baby boy! One main thing I remembered about the pattern was that it fit too narrow. Rather than pitch a favorite style pattern, I usually make notes about the pattern for future use with ideas of how the pattern might need adjusting for a better fit.
My daughter wanted a smocked john-john made for her baby for a photo session, and amazingly I got one smocked and constructed in two days! She picked the fabric and smocking plate and I picked the pattern.
Working under the pressure to get it done for scheduled 
photo-shoot, I managed to smock the entire insert in 24 hours!

Once the smocking was complete, it was time to start cutting out the pattern. Rather than use my 20-something year old pattern, I bought a brand new pattern so that I would have nice fresh pattern pieces to work with. It probably wasn't necessary to purchase a new one, but I just didn't have time to deal with most certain probable missing or torn pattern pieces from my old pattern! I got the pattern pieces cut out and pinned to the fabric, then I remembered - ugh, this pattern is narrow and it will never fit Caleb!
As babies, my kids were on the "meaty" side, and it's holding true to form, so far, with my grand-babies! I knew that if I used "Jeffery" as is, that it would never fit my grandson, so pattern altering was a must! I decided to share my quick and easy tip for simple pattern altering in my sewing journal. I figure that others might also deal with this issue with a pattern that they love, so here's my easy altering tip!
I really studied this pattern to determine where the best place to add in the extra room and decided the best place was on the seam lines. Since I didn't have a baby here to measure,  I used another short-all that I had made him that I knew fit him well, and measured it. This gave me a measurement to work with in knowing just how much more I needed to add to "Jeffery" so that it would fit correctly. I pinned the pattern pieces to the fabric, then using a water soluble marker, and a ruler, I added in a generous 1/2" to the seams on either side of the pattern (just one side is showing in the pictures). 

It is VERY important that you add in the same amount of additional measurements to all the pattern pieces that will be affected by the changes. The white fabric above is the lining - I made the same adjustments to the gingham fabric and also the front yoke pieces. I then constructed the garment as instructed in the pattern.
Once it was completed, I tried it on my dress form!

 I was very happy with the fit!

All looked like it was going to be a fantastic fit! 
But the true test was when this sweet boy
wore it for his 8-month old portraits

and the fit was perfect!

I hope I have inspired you to not be afraid to do some pattern altering, as needed, so that you can achieve the very best fit. Make notes on the pattern pieces or on the pattern instructions so that you have them for the next time you make the pattern - you will be "sew" glad you did!


Unfurled said...

Great tips and such a wonderful portrait! I love that he'll say you made his outfit, when he's older. Precious!

Ginny said...

I'm almost certain I own this pattern, so I will be making a note on it with the info you posted. Thanks!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

AW! I love the photos of your son and daughter when they were little and the one of your grandson! What special, special treasures your smocked creations are! (How awesome too, that you got it completed in such little time for the photo shoot!)

Blessings & Aloha!
Catching up on my blog reading, since it is my day off today!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh! Also..meant to say a Happy belated Anniversary to you and your hubby!

Blessings & Aloha!

ShirleyC said...

The outfit is darling and so is he!

Aunt Honey said...

Cute outfit on a precious little boy! What was the other shortall that you measured with? I always like to have more little boy patterns, since there are more boys than girls in our family!


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