At the moment I am a little short of things to blog about. I am not currently sewing, as I still don't have a desk at my new place, and apart from my scissors, a tape measure and two spools of thread, I don´t really have the necessary equipment to get started. This is only temporary though, a desk is currently being built and I will soon go on a recovery mission to my parents' spare room to try and find enough of my sewing bits to get myself going again. But until the moment when I have an exciting new project to tell you about, I thought it was best to get a couple of posts done that have been waiting in the wings.
A couple of posts ago, I detailed how to use the 'cut and spread' technique to add fullness to a jacket pattern. You can use this same method to add fullness to just about any garment or pattern piece: sleeves, skirts, blouses and jackets, and many more. You may have got the idea from the last post (as it really is quite a simple technique), but I thought I should post this anyway, as it has been sitting ready to go for months and had somehow been forgotten.
For this tutorial you will need: the pattern you are making changes to (I am using a skirt pattern), a ruler, scissors, masking tape and an extra sheet of pattern paper. You may also need a tape measure.
To start, take your first pattern piece (I am working on the front, but the same technique is also used for the back). You will be cutting into the pattern for this technique, so if you don't want to mess with your pattern, first trace a copy.
Draw three lines (this is only a suggestion, you could use more or less) down the length of your pattern, roughly parallel to the centre front. Space them out, with roughly even gaps between them. Think about it, wherever there is a line, this is where more fabric will be added - that's why it is best that they are evenly spaced.
Take your scissors and cut along the first guideline, from the hemline up towards the waistline.
Do not cut all the way through the pattern. Stop a few millimeters from the waistline, leaving a 1-2mm "hinge" to keep the two pieces together.
Think about how much volume you are wanting to add to the pattern overall. You may want to do this by eye (just cut along the line and then spread until it looks as though enough volume has been added), or by an exact amount. If you are just opening up a hemline, I would say that doing it by eye is fine. But if, for example, the hip-line of a pattern is too tight and you are spreading the pattern to accommodate this, then I would suggest finding an exact amount so that you don't get any surprises.
If you have found an exact amount, you will need to divide this figure by four, as the volume will need to be distributed between the four pieces that make up the skirt pattern (front right, front left, back left and back right). Then divide the number again, by the number of guidelines you have on your pattern piece.
For example, if you would like to add an overall 30cm to the hemline, you will be adding 7.5cm to each pattern piece. If I was to add this to my pattern used as an example, I would divide this 7.5cm by my three guidelines, meaning I would open up each guideline by 2.5cm.
Slide a separate piece of pattern paper under your pattern, so that you will have something to stick the pattern to once you make the adjustments.
Spread the hemline by the amount worked out in the previous step. Use tape to secure in place.
Repeat process for the other lines, opening each line by the same amount.
Once all the pieces are stuck in place, redraw the hemline with a smooth curve.
Make sure the curve comes to a right angle at the centre front and side seam, so that the hemline remains smooth when joined to the back pattern, and when the front is cut on the fold.
Depending on how much volume you added to the pattern, the waist (or another seam if you are working on something other than a skirt) may have also changed shape. If this is the case, re-draw the seam with a smooth curve.
And there you have your new pattern piece! Repeat process for the back pattern.