Pattern adjustments

So I’m making Burda 116 09/2018, very slowly indeed. It’s got quite a lot of pieces and I’m making things slightly worse by adding hip yoke pockets, although I’m also skipping the zip and most of the lining.

I’ve got a longer than average torso so I always add 5cm to the length of dress bodices to make the waist match up with my actual waist. I started sewing with Big Four who always put a lengthen/shorten line between the bottom of the armscye and the waist. Adding a ton of length there can leave the bust point too high, but it’s easy to do. But I notice Burda recommends doing it differently: adding only 2/3 of the extra length there, and the other 1/3 above the bust point. Which lowers the bust point but means changing the armscye and sleeve too. So in a fit of enthusiasm I decided to try that this time. Here are my adjusted front bodice pieces.

I’m…unconvinced. That looks like a huge change to the armscye to me. I’m carrying on for now but I won’t be surprised if the sleeves fit strangely.

18 thoughts on “Pattern adjustments

  1. I’m short, so have to make opposite changes. Burda was my first introduction to fit adjustments in the 1980s. I used to religiously shorten between shoulder and bottom of armhole, sleeve head, and below bust, then do FBA. After doing a fitting Craftsy class a year or so ago, I learnt to measure every where (height from shoulder bottom of armhole on front and on back, shoulder to bust point, above bust front width and back width, full bust front width and back width) and compare with pattern. Now I tailor adjustments to each pattern. I mostly need to shorten between shoulder and armhole on front but usually need to lengthen in back, so these cancel out on sleeve. Large bicep adjustment gives me reduction in sleeve head height I need without changing fit in armhole (which is why standard large bicep adjustment doesn’t work for some people). Contra to advice to shorten midway between bust and waist, I realised I’m missing gap between rib and hip so need to shorten at waist at back (which gives me wider waist I need in one step instead of two). On front I need length for larger bust, and just need to add side dart to match length taken out at back waist. Seeing how adjustments could cancel out, cut my adjustments almost in half.
    The trick is to know your own body and how it differs from the pattern, it’s a lot more work fitting a new designer than Burda as I know it so well. There are lots of ways of reaching the same fit result.
    An old fitting book I’ve got showed me how all fitting changes end up altering pattern outline, so if you add enough seam allowance when fitting you can adjust in the pattern fabric. Trickiest ones are like FBA which changes shape, not just height or width.

  2. 5 cm is a lot of length to add in one place, I agree. I wonder, however, if it wouldn’t be easier to add the length where you usually do and then drop the bust point, as opposed to splitting the difference as you’re trying to do here. Lowering a bust on a princess seam isn’t too difficult – you have to “box out” the bust point area and move it where you want it, then true up the seams.

    1. I am very tall as well, and I need to add length in the bodice too (8-10cm). I have read the Burda’s recommendations for spreading the added length, but I have decided for me to not add length above the bust point. When trying rtw clothes, sometimes the armscye is even too big on me. I need all the length between waist and bust line. It seems extreme, but it’s just right for me.

      I am intrigued on your experiment with adding extra length in the armscye. Would you make a toile?

    2. Definitely easier to do it that way because then I wouldn’t have to adjust the sleeve too. I suspect this one is going to go down as a failed experiment!

  3. Continuing about Karey’s and shoes15 points – have you made up a Burda tall size pattern and how has that fit in the over the bust? -presuming that the length adjustments they make between the regular, petite and tall sized patterns are what they show in the instructions sheets every few months. I guess it would be useful to compare the detailed measurements on the 2nd or 3rd sheet of the instructions to see how much they adjust the bust point. Only when I started doing a really close look at all the measurements for Ottobre did I start understanding a little of why I was not happy with the sleeves of a few Ottobre garments I have made. An Ottobre woman has much skinnier upper arms to the same size Burda woman.

  4. I second suzew’s suggestion. I doubt that you’d find more than 1cm added to an armhole height unless you were truly giant. Chances are that you might might be long-waisted as well as being tall. I am lucky enough to be exacly Burda sized, so I have occasionally reverse engineered a petite or tall pattern from their instructions with good results. But it’s a good thing that I don’t like waist fitted clothes because I have short legs, and the torso length of a 6′ woman…

  5. Hmm…I would think they mean to add the extra above the bust point but not through the armscye. If it were me I personally wouldn’t do it through the armhole. I’m guessing they mean 2/3 of the amount you need to lengthen by goes at the waist area and 1/3rd of the quantity just above the bust apex. I personally would do it halfway between bust apex and armhole.

  6. I’m short and short-waisted and I do the reverse sort of alteration as I need to remove length between the bust point and the shoulder. I box out the armscye and then shorten the length as needed before reattaching the armscye unaltered. Changing the armscye without changing the upper sleeve seems like an invitation to trouble with fitting the sleeve into the dress.

  7. I’m making the Vogue patterns Gucci blazer (V1643) and actually did something similar based on measurements. The shoulder to waist measurement was fine, but shoulder to bust too small and bust to waist too big. So I increased 0.75 inches above the bust, and removed them on the lengthen/shorten line. Let’s see if it works…

  8. I don’t think I have ever commented but I really like your blog. I am also tall (178 cm) and have made quite a few Burda patterns: some tall and some regular ones. I think your alteration really depends on where you are tall. In my case I am tall between the shoulder and armscye – on RTW t-shirts regularly are too small under the arm and dig into my armpit/ are really constrictive there. So I need to make the adjustment Burda suggests. However, if you are tall in other places, you might not need that adjust. I hope this helps. I find making tops so much more difficult than making trousers since I always struggle with the fit of the sleeves/back… Good luck with your project! Judith

    1. Thanks! I’m starting to think my extra length is all in my lower back. But if I ever manage to finish this dress (it seems to be taking forever) it’ll be interesting to see how it feels to wear.

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