Every body is its own unique shape and size. The beauty of sewing is that you don’t have to conform to standard sizing and fit models. If you find yourself in a fitting bind when creating your garments, following patterns, and finding the perfect fit for your body right off the rack then there’s great news for you- you’re not alone and this post was made with you in mind. Here’s an ultimate guide for alterations: targeting common problems, what they look like, and how to correct them. Grab your sewing supplies, measuring tools, and pattern paper so that we can get started!
Terms to Know:
Set: a smooth fit of garments free from wrinkles and draglines
- Draglines often occur when a garment does not fit properly.
Draglines: an issue that indicates that there’s not enough fabric in the area where the fabric is being pulled too tightly
- Note that RTW (ready to wear) clothing and sewing patterns do not follow the same sizing charts. Commercial patterns are typically bigger than RTW sizes, so be sure to double check your measurements.
- When choosing a pattern size: if you’re between sizes choose the larger size; it’s easier to take in then to add.
- Learn what good fit looks like (refer to our fit guide!)
- Pin pattern pieces accordingly and try them on so adjustments can be made from there
- Make a prototype from muslin!!!
- Take the following measurements, keeping ease in mind:
NOTE: After each adjustment is made, the area must be trued and blended (we recommend a french curve for the best results).
Common Alterations for Blouses:
Top Too Tight at Chest
Problem: Drags appear at chest level
Solution: Widen side where side seam and the lower armhole meet
Armhole Drop is too High
Problem: Drag appears from under the arms
Solution: Extend the armscye drop accordingly, starting from the bottom of the armhole to about midway through
Armhole Scoop too Shallow
Problem: Drags appear from lower armholes
Solution: Leave each corner of armhole as is and deepen the armscye scoop
Neck Drop is too High
Problem: Neckline is too high or not wide enough
Solution: Widen the length of the neckline and/or make a deeper neckline scoop
Blouse Bottom is too Wide
Problem: The blouse is protruding from the body at hips
Solution: Bring in side-seam at the hip area
Common Alterations for Bottoms:
Bunching at Crotch
Problem: Bottoms are too loose around the crotch area
Solution: Deepen Inseam and gradually take in the upper portion of the outseam
Back rise is too Long or Short
Problem: Waistband is being pulled down at back or there is bunching from the backside.
Solution: Create an adjustment line perpendicular to the grainline, slide the cut piece accordingly, attach pattern pieces with tape then redraw lines as needed
Bunching at the Back
Problem: Back rise is too shallow
Solution: The inseam at back needs to be scooped out in order to allow the seam to sit properly at its back
The waistband is folding, marks appear around hips, or you can’t sit comfortably in your bottoms
Problem: waist of bottoms is too tight
Solution: Increase waist at the side seam and readjust rise depth as needed, allowing the pant can drop down.
Clothing alterations are something that we all need from time to time but seldom want to bother with or sometimes you’re not even sure where to start unless it’s a simple one like hemming the length of pants, so this guide is for you. A one-stop-shop for the most common fit issues and how to alter them to fit your body in a way that makes you most confident. Pick out your fabric and get started on your next project knowing exactly how to alter your pattern pieces to achieve that perfect fit!
When adjusting the Drag Line at the Armhole, do you cut away the extra fabric in the back bodice? I am just learning all of the alterations.
So glad that I looked around your website & found all of the additional information.
You would cut away fabric from the front and the back bodice. This will keep the side seams symmetrical.
Thanks for your comment.
Thank you! This guide is so helpful!! I will definitely use it
Love the guide. I have lost weight and must take up my pants and your guide is perfect for what I must do. I will definitely use it.