Sewing

All The Tweaks – My Standard Pattern Adjustments

Tweak tweak tweak. This always has to be done to a pattern. Lucky is the unicorn that doesn’t need to adjust a pattern.

I am not a unicorn. Unfortunately.

When it comes to sewing from a pattern, whether it be commercial or independent, I know I will ALWAYS need at least one adjustment. Most commercial (and lots of indie) patterns are drafted for a 5’6” woman with a B cup bust. As a 5’3” woman with a D cup AND short-waisted to boot, I almost always need to add at least an inch to the bust and either take away 3” from the overall length of the bodice (the shirt portion of a pattern). Most of the time I also have to move the waist up the bodice (which adjusts the overall length for me as well).


My bodices, after adjusting for the bust and the length, tend to look something like this:

A post shared by Paulette Font-Erato (@pfont) on


It looks like cubist art, if you ask El Husbando.

Lately I’ve finally admitted that I probably need a swayback adjustment, too. This happens when the extra fabric around the waist pools or bunches up just above the butt. Sometimes this is due to a shelf booty, which try as I might, I don’t actually have. But I still need a swayback adjustment because I’m getting that fabric pooling. I’ve tried to ignore it, but my short waist is probably responsible for this too.

Aren’t I so lucky?

This has become particularly challenging in trying to make pants. I’m overall shorter in most areas of the body, including my pelvis, which makes for interesting crotch adjustments. I get extra fabric right at the crotch because I’m a good 2″ shorter there than the typical woman. Pants in general can be a tricky garment to fit, requiring a PhD in garment fitting as well as some mystical alchemy for good measure.

Of course there’s the opposite problem. My #sewingtall sisters have to ADD length to almost every place I remove it. They need longer hemlines and sleeves while I’m over here lopping 4″ off a sleeve lest I look like a child in my older sibling’s too-big hand me downs.

That’s the story of my sewing life and that’s okay. Patterns are just starting blueprints. The map of my body requires a set of changes to better fit ME. And why else am I making custom clothes if not to fit my body precisely?

What changes do you find yourself having to make?

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9 Comments

  1. Fiona H Mar 20, 2018
  2. Kathleen Meadows Mar 20, 2018
  3. Paulette Erato Mar 20, 2018
  4. Paulette Erato Mar 20, 2018
  5. Karey Mar 21, 2018
  6. Claire Cooper Mar 21, 2018
  7. Paulette Erato Mar 21, 2018
  8. Diane G Mar 22, 2018
  9. Jo Mar 23, 2018

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