Grading a pattern up – part 1

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you might remember that I’ve been lucky enough to have been given some vintage patterns.  They are all too small, so learning how to grade a pattern up has been high on my ‘must do’ list for a while.

The pattern I chose to try first is view 2 (the yellow dress) of this 1960s Simplicity pattern, and I am using Casey’s excellent tutorial.

If you haven’t tried it, the method (very briefly – see the link for more) is to trace the pattern pieces, cut them lengthwise into three, then insert strips between the segments to increase the size.  Doing this in three places maintains the shape of the pattern.

The bodice grading went very well, and I produced a muslin which fitted first try.  Not so with the skirt!   I was tired, and forgot the seams and darts needed to match up with the bodice so got some of the measurements wrong.  I also double counted some of the increases and decided to cut off the extra – and then had to sew back on some of the bits I’d cut off!  So there are a couple of extra seams on the front sides of the skirt.

Half way through this I gave up and started looking at my other patterns for something else to make, but in the end I left it for a couple of days and I’m glad I persisted.

This is the back, showing the lovely scoop back which is my favourite part of the dress.  I need to move the long darts so they match up with the skirt seams.


And here is the front.

I wrote ‘front’ and ‘back’ on the skirt and bodice pieces, which really helped when I was altering the muslin.

I’m going to use the muslin skirt pieces as the pattern, as I’ve lost track of the changes I made.  I’m also going to line the bodice instead of making the neck bands as I’d like to keep this as simple as I can.

So… next step is to cut out my fashion fabric (gulp!).  But first, I need to make some of Lorraine Pascale’s fudge brownies as we’ve got friends coming tomorrow.  I’ll try not to eat too many – don’t want to have to expand the dress further!

16 thoughts on “Grading a pattern up – part 1

  1. That dress is going to look lovely. What fabric have you chosen?

    I’ve made Lorraine Pascal’s brownies, they are a-maze-ing!!! It is VERY hard not to eat too many!

  2. Great info! it’s easy to grade on a multi sized pattern, but with most vintage patterns being one size, this is great info to have – thanks! 🙂

    I love this pattern you chose, it’s gonna be so pretty! 🙂

  3. this is a copy of the comment i left on casey’s blog. from what i see of your muslin, it looks like you didn’t increase the front of the pattern, did you? but what do you think of my comment? i see that you didn’t increase the armseye either.

    “barbara September 5, 2012 at 20:46
    i grade often and find i almost never have to open the armseye. even though i need an adjustment at the side seam and shoulder and waist to enlarge the size, my underarm isn’t larger. what i do is draw the line and snip to the seam allowance and swivel the amount i need. that keeps the armseye the same. on most people the underarm joint doesn’t get larger, and if it does, what you really need is a lower scoop, maybe 1/4″ or less. by increasing the width of the underarn , you expose more of your boob bulge, imo.”

    what i should have added is that if you have heavy upper arms, as i do, a set-in gusset is the best way to increase the armeye. if you make the underarm way up close to the body, you actually have more freedom of movement than if you leave more ‘ease’. the swivel method and the gusset method (it ‘returns’ to fit) both bring the sleeve up close to the body

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s