Miss FM was recently invited to the batmizvah of her best friend's sister (ya with me so far?). Now,the dress code for this was "posh frock" which sent Miss FM (and not to mention me) into a tail spin. Why? Well, Miss FM is very sporty, not particularly girly and loves her trainers and leggings. She owns only 1 dress, which she asked for and then has subsequently refused to wear. She refused to look at dresses and shoes whilst I sat in a corner wailing and gnashing my teeth. We then went fabric shopping and found some (as I thought at the time) pale blue satin and an A-line dress pattern which I could adapt to make a 60's style shift dress and which I thought would suit her petite frame, as well as being on trend. Sorted! However, unbeknownst to me Mr FM had suggested DM style boots and tutu skirt which Little Miss was very taken with. So boots (some very lush patent white ones were found) and a navy blue tutu skirt were found. So instead of being Audrey Hepburnesque, she was insistent on funky goth! I then realised that my pattern was the wrong style to make into a top and searched around and came across Burdastyle 09/2012 #150 which I could easily (did you hear the snigger there?) adapt to a top.
Now Miss FM is 10 next month, but is very slight in frame. This pattern didn't go up to her age, (think it goes up to an age 6) but her measurements weren't that far out. I did the dreaded tracing of the pattern and set about making a toile. I decided to add the extra width at CF and CB and thought that I would have to drop the armhole. In my panic (this was on Friday night and the party was on Sunday and Saturday was fully of sporting fixtures) I couldn't remember how to adjust the sleeve to get the right length but an emergency call-out to the lovely TSF (www.thesewingforum.co.uk) ladies sorted that. Toiled the bodice and found I had to take out all the excess I'd put in and so decided to do the sleeve as per the original pattern too. Little Miss tried it on, and success! It fitted no alterations needed!!! However overnight, I was awoken with a nagging feeling. When I did my pattern cutting course, my tutor always said that only 1 sleeve need to be toiled if your body was symmetrical, which I had done. However in the break of dawn, I was having my doubts. I did the other sleeve and it was too small - not enough width and too high under the arms.
As the top fitted her perfectly around the neck, I decided to add the extra width in the shoulders by slashing and spreading the pattern. I cut up the bodice from hem to shoulder and added 2cm. Make sure you have a reference point, eg a waistline so that when you move the pattern piece out, it is kept at the same level to keep the proportions correct. Just redraw the shoulder line from point to point.
To make the sleeve adjustment, I had draw in the Crown Line (or bicep line as it was told to me). This is the point where the sleeve head meets the sleeve edge. See below.
Again, I did the "slash and spread" method. I had lowered the armhole by 2cm, which meant that I to increase the height above the crown line by 2cm. She also wanted the sleeves wider so I added 1 cm to each side of the sleeve and redrew the sleeve head to match. If you widen the sleeves, remember to add the same amount on the side seams of the bodice.
I decided against doing a facing and just lined the top (the satin was shredded on a cut edge as soon as the scissors were waved in the air!) as that was the best way of protecting the armhole edges (my overlocker foot and power pedal has been missing since we moved, 10 years ago, never got round to replacing it and my machine really doesn't like doing zig-zag stitch) and I put in a concealed zip. The top was very baggy which Little Miss was happy with but wasn't right with the skirt so I pinched out some darts in the back, leaving some bagginess in the front as a compromise. And here it is:
It's a bit frumpy on, in my opinion but it was what Little Miss specified and who am I to argue with someone's burgeoning style. She was happy and a happily dressed person is a confident one!
Oh and the lessons learned? 1) Don't start a project late at night, especially if you will need to do (major) alterations, 2) Your tutor isn't always right and 3) don't let your other half get involved in wardrobe planning!