This tutorial has quite a lot of assumed knowledge - it's not for the complete beginner but for someone who feels reasonably confident with the basics of sewing and wants to experiment with their basic patterns a little more.
Through this tutorial I hope that you come to understand a few things about pattern alteration -
- Pattern alteration is not an exact science - there is a lot of tweaking involved. For that reason, don't use your favourite/ most expensive material the first time you make up an altered pattern. Ask me how I know!
- Know what the seam allowance is on your basic pattern is and keep it consistent with any pieces that you draft.
- Bias tape is your best friend! It's so much easier to use and so much more flexible than drafting facings and gives you a lovely finish.
- Gathered sleeves are very forgiving and perfect for the beginner.
- Most things are fixable! See how the placket in the picture is a bit wonky? It's because I made the buttonholes too big. A few stitches on the end of each button hole and voila - a placket that sits much better!
If you'd like to see how I took a basic bodice pattern and made it into the modern vintage top then just click read more.
Oh... and before you start sewing - don't forget we have a giveaway on at the moment. If you'd like to enter, the odds are definitely in your favour!
To start with you need to cut out your bodice pieces. Cut the back on the fold and the front on the double. You should have two front pieces and one back piece when you're done. Got it? Good.
Next, you'll need to do a tiny bit of drafting. The only piece that you'll need to draw up is the fluttery sleeve. I'll give you the measurements that I used, but more importantly how I came up with them. You'll need to come up with your own numbers to make a sleeve that fits your shirt. Don't worry too much though. These sleeves are very forgiving. I made this top in a fairly standard size 4
Take one of your front bodice pieces and measure the distance from the shoulder to the bottom of the armhole.
Distance from shoulder to armhole was 18cm. I added about 2cm to this for a bit of extra ruffle. If you want it less ruffled, make this number smaller. The long side of my sleeve pattern is 20cm.
Now you've got your numbers, grab a piece of paper and start drafting. Make sure that you work from a corner that's a right angle. Draw a rectangle using the numbers you've calculated as dimensions.
Cut two sleeves on the fold. (the short side)
Measure down the centre front of one of the front bodice pieces. Add 2cm. Mine was 34cm + 2cm = 36cm
Cut two rectangles using the numbers you have just created as the dimensions. Mine were 36cm x 10cm
This is what they should look like -
Right- let's get sewing. Start with your sleeves. You need to attach bias to the curved edge of each piece. If you need some help to do this here is a good link.
When you've done that the edge of your sleeves should look like this.... Hmmm. not sure why I didn't photograph the curve - but it's there, I promise! When you've got two sleeves that look like this, put them to one side.
Take your two long pieces and iron them in half. Next, iron in 1 and a 1/2 cm from each long side.
Now grab a bodice piece and measure in 1 and 1/2 cm from the long side. Repeat on the other bodice.
Now it's time to attach the neck bias. Tuck the either ends of the tape in so that you end up with a with a neat finish. Don't forget the tutorial that I mentioned earlier if you need some help with bias!
This picture might help...
Pin the sleeve to the armhole matching the centre point of the sleeve to the shoulder seam.
We're going to attach some bias tape to cover up the raw edges of the sleeve, but do it a little differently to the way we did it earlier.
Iron your bias tape in half length wise.
Attach the bias tape to the bottom hem of your top. Do it the same way that you did for the sleeve edges and neck bias.
Mark and make you button holes and attach your buttons.
You're done. Your top should look a little bit like this...