Hellooooo and welcome to Alterations Week for the Holly Jumpsuit Sewalong! During Alterations Week we will be going through as many pattern alteration tutorials as we can physically crush in, making this our most comprehensive Sewalong yet! The extra great news is that a lot of these tutorials will be applicable not only to the Holly Jumpsuit, but to a huge amount of other patterns too as we tackle most of the common issues surrounding pattern fitting.
We thought we'd ease y'all in gently and start with the simplest of adjustments:
Lengthening & shortening the bodice
*We will be showing this alteration on both the button down-bodice of Variation 1, and the cowl bodice of Variation 2*
What you'll need:
- Your traced Bodice Front piece of the Holly Jumpsuit (Variation 1 or 2, cut out in the size dictated by your waistline measurement)
- Paper scissors (not the fabric shears!)
- Extra paper
Please note: We are using itty bitty replica's of the pattern pieces to illustrate the alterations as simply and clearly as possible - please make sure that you alter your real-life pattern pieces, complete with notches, pattern info and grainlines!
Start by drawing a horizontal line (or double line) across your bodice front piece, about 3" up from the waistline and going right through the waistline dart in the case of the button-down bodice Variation 1.
Please note: When altering the cowl bodice of Variation 2 (which in your pattern tissue is given as one whole pattern piece to be cut on the bias; not the usual half a bodice to be cut on the centre front fold, for example), we only need to apply the alterations to one half of the bodice. To do this, simply fold your pattern piece in half down the centre front and trace off as normal. Apply your alterations as follows below. Then take another large, bodice-sized piece of paper, fold it in half, and aligning the centre front of your bodice piece with the fold in the paper, draw around your altered bodice (remember to transfer all markings and pattern info again!). When you cut it out and unfold your paper, you will be left with one whole bodice, with exactly the same alteration applied to each side.
Cut carefully along this line, slicing your bodice in two! You'll see that you can now easily, and without distorting the bust or waistline, add length to your bodice by moving the bottom slice further down...
...or shorten your bodice by bringing the bottom slice further up.
When you have lengthened or shortened your bodice by however much you need, and making sure that the centre front line is always flush, tape your bodice pieces down.
If you are lengthening your bodice you will need to slip a piece of paper to fill in the gap; if you are shortening your bodice you will just need to tape your two bodice parts together.
Lastly, re-draw the side seam so that it is one smooth continuous line from underarm to waistline, and in the case of the button down-bodice Variation 1, re-draw the dart legs ensuring that you draw a straight line from the top of the dart to the waistline notches (see red lines in image below for a guide).
Repeat this exact process for the bodice back pieces, lengthening or shortening them by the same amount as the front.
And it's as simple as that! This technique can be applied to pretty much all bodices, and indeed to many skirt patterns or trouser legs.
You could apply this technique to lengthen or shorten the Holly trousers, however, it's not really necessary as the trouser legs are straight - you could just as easily hack some length off to shorten, or extend the hem to lengthen.
Tip from the top: Always check your adjustment by making another toile to check the fit. Once you're happy with your newly adjusted pattern, copy it out onto some card for extra safe-keeping! Although this is an easy adjustment to make, no one wants to have to do it twice...