Sewcation Day 2: Tracing and flat pattern adjustments

Sewcation Day 2 - tracing

Work on my Robson trench coat continues!  I didn’t touch any fabric today, but I made a lot of headway in preparing for the muslin.  First I traced all the pattern pieces so that I have the originals preserved in case all my adjustments turn out to be total crap.  There are a lot of pieces, so tracing actually took me a few hours.  When tracing, I graded between 3 different sizes based on my measurements: a size 12 in the shoulders and bust, size 10 at the waist, and size 6 in the hips.  This is what happens when the pattern company is drafting for pretty much the opposite of your body type.  I hope I don’t regret my pattern choice!

Then, it was on to my initial flat pattern adjustments.  Based on comparing my measurements to the pattern, I decided to perform a 5/8 inch high shoulder adjustment.  (Yes, I totally made up that term.)  The hardest part was adjusting the sleeve because the Robson has a two-piece sleeve, and I had never done this adjustment on a sleeve of this type before.  I taped the two pieces together and treated them as one for the adjustment.  The actual adjustment consists of the two vertical columns of paper that I added in, making the sleeve cap wider.

Sewcation Day 2 - high shoulder adjustment on two-piece sleeve 1

Afterward, I separated the two pieces and added the seam allowances back in.

Sewcation Day 2 - high shoulder adjustment on two-piece sleeve 2

Here is what I wound up staring at for a few hours today:

Sewcation Day 2 - high shoulder adjustment on two-piece sleeve - detail

So complicated!  This nearly drove me insane.

Then, it was on to the broad back adjustment.  Based on my measurements and those of the pattern, I did a rather huge broad back adjustment: 1.25 inches on each side, for a total of 2.5 inches added across the back.  Wowza!!  The Robson shoulder seam was 4.5 inches from neck to tip of shoulder, and my measurement is nearly 6 inches, so there was quite a difference to make up for.  I wonder how this is going to turn out in the muslin… hmm.

After much head scratching as to how to perform a broad back adjustment on a princess seam bodice, I wound up converting the bodice from an armscye princess seam to a shoulder princess seam.  I had never done this before, but I just treated it like rotating darts, and hopefully it will work out all right.  Then, I added in the broad back adjustment (extra width) to the shoulder princess seams on the front and back of the coat.

Here are the front (on the left) and side (on the right) pattern pieces before, with armscye princess seam:

Sewcation Day 2 - broad back adjustment on princess seam bodice - before

And here they are afterward, with shoulder princess seam and broad back adjustment (1.25 inches split into 5/8 inch on each side of the princess seam):

Sewcation Day 2 - broad back adjustment on princess seam bodice - after

I apologize if none of this makes any sense.  I barely managed to make the adjustments on paper.  Trying to explain (and remember) what I did is even more challenging!

Oh, one final and rather simple adjustment I made was to add 2 inches in length at the waist.  This is a fairly standard adjustment for my long torso.  You can see the block of tracing paper added in at the waist in the photo above.

Well, I am exhausted.  This was an intense day of flat pattern adjustments!  I hope to cut out and start assembling the muslin tomorrow.  Onward!

13 thoughts on “Sewcation Day 2: Tracing and flat pattern adjustments

  1. This sewing malarkey is supposed to be distressing you, lol! It’s definitely easier doing it then it sounds when I look back at my colette wren adjustments it looks complicated, but seemed straightforward when I was doing it. 😃


  2. Wow! That does sound complicated! I just did a broad back adjustment on an armhole princess seam shirt. I found the information in the Singer Sewing reference book series. I can’t remember the exact book… Maybe it was Making Cothes that Fit or something. Anyway, it was nerve-wracking because the information was similar to but not exactly what I needed and it worked. I should be posting on it soon. Maybe it will help in case you run into that again.


    • Ah, that sounds like exactly what I need! I don’t have a fitting book, which perhaps is the source of my confusion. I often flip through fitting books in the bookstore looking for broad shoulder adjustments, but I’ve never found exactly what I needed, so I never purchased any of the books. I’ll be curious to see how you handled your shirt.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi, I’m loving this series showing all your adjustments. The engineer in me enjoys this part of the process more than anything. I’ve been spending a lot of time lately playing around with patterns trying to get them to fit and its really interesting for me to read of others doing the same. Can’t wait to see how it all works out,.


    • Jenny, I hear ya! I’m an engineer by training as well, and all the drafting reminds me of classes I took in college. I think fitting is by far the most challenging part of sewing. If you can figure it out, the rest is easy! I find myself getting frustrated at my lack of knowledge and daydreamimg about finding an expert tailor to teach me everything they know. For me, this is the kind of thing that I would learn better in person than from a book or website. Best of luck with your fitting adventures. Perhaps the key is perseverance??


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