Pivot And Slide: Back

After reading Pattern Fitting With Confidence carefully, I started taking measurement. Oh BTW, Nancy lied. Yes she did. She says you need only measurement. Not true. You need front from crease-to-crease, back crease-to-crease, shoulder, back waist length, bust, upper arm (bicep), sleeve length waist, and hip, You need a few more if working on pants or skirts. So she lied. A lot more than 1 measurement is required. I took my own measurements.  I’ve been doing this for years and am pretty accurate. Then again, you need a little wearing ease so if you’re off 1/4″ it’s not going to hurt.  But when I compared my crease-to-crease to the chart, it just looked wrong. So I recruited DH, who thinks sewing measurements is a form of foreplay, and showed him the pics (the guy already thinks this is foreplay and I’m showing him half-nakid women).  But he understood from the pics where to take the measures and happily assisted. Then we repeated the measuring because we forgot what the numbers were from the first time.

The crease-to-crease puts me in a size 10 which happens to be the size I used when I was 14. Nancy warns that often people find themselves using a pattern 4 sizes smaller than usual but I had thought my frame changed a little. I mean, don’t we keep growing until around 20? Albeit very slowly and almost imperceptible change, don’t we keep growing after age 14? I decided to trust and continue with the program.  I like to use Excel worksheets when collecting numbers and doing calculations. I set up a worksheet and plugged in my numbers. I was horribly confused by page 280 which stated “Add ease to your body measurements”.  I know the next steps involve subtracting your measurements from the pattern body measurements not finished garment measurements. Then you’re going to use the difference to make alterations to a pattern that was drafted with body measurement + wearing ease + design ease.  Why do I need to add ease now? It’s already going to be included in the pattern.  We’re not measuring the pattern as is done in the Sew Fit Manual. We’re using the body measurements. We’re comparing pears to pears. Not apples to pears. NZ’s explanation didn’t address my concern that two types of ease would already be included, so I made note of this instruction.  I’ll keep it in mind if my new pattern does not have enough ease. But I did not add ease to my measurements. I finished the calculations based solely on my underwear-measurements.

Then I chose a pattern. I looked and looked and looked. I don’t buy no-frills patterns. I look for interesting details. Otto and Burda have some basic bodices except I didn’t want to take a side trip through this rabbit hole into the tunnel of metric and foreign standards. Not just now.  I have a few knit patterns that might work. But I don’t want to go down the side tunnel of stretch and hidden darts. Not just now.  I have one pattern with the dart in the armscye. ATM, I don’t want to work out the dart in the armhole situation. NZ specifically said a basic darted pattern.  I do have my Connie Crawford sloper patterns but Connie made lots of changes specifically for the fuller figure which I am .  I’m not sure if I use Connie’s patterns, the resultant changes will apply to other patterns. I finally chose S0467

It’s very plain. No ruffles or yokes. I can choose a high-low hem but I won’t.  The front dart has been rotated to the neckline and pinched into darts. The back and front castle darts are left unsewn. I’m not sure how good of a choice this is. At least it avoids the stretch factor and is typical drafting i.e. not have changes made due to nationality or special sizing.

I traced front, back and sleeve  with all the markings and cut them out before marking the pivot points. Found some contrasting tissue for the working copy. (I knew I wanted to share my journey and contrasting tissue makes it easier to explain.) There is a specific order in which make the alterations. I won’t give a list (I’m afraid that might be copyright violation) but I will talk about my changes in the order I made them which is the order  NZ listed.

Even though the hem is listed first, I made the back waist length alteration first.

I think Hem refers to the length desired.  But I know that the length of the garment will change when I make my  BWL. At that point I may be satisfied or I might want change. Whichever, I need to know how long the garment will really finish before I alter the hem. I should point out that if I could find Junior patterns I like this would not be an issue.  The Junior patterns have a 15″ BWL, same as my own. Although both books talk about several types of pattern styles (misses, miss petite, junior, woman etc) I rarely see other than Misses or Woman’s.  Burda will periodically throw out a petite version and about quarterly issues a woman’s magazine. Most Indy’s continue grading upward without specifying type. The other issue is that on the rare occasions I do find junior or other types, they are devoid of styling. Really, the pattern most readily available is Misses. If you’re not satisfied with RTW and want to sew, you’ll probably have to learn to alter Misses sized patterns.  

So I made the BWL first.  I did not slip and slide pivot and slide. I folded up the tissue just like always.  Boom done. No tracing now; folding up out-of-the-way later.

Moved onto the shoulder alterations. But which shoulder alteration do I do first? I need both a narrow shoulder and a sloping shoulder. I made the SS and then NSA. Well that looked just wrong. The SS lowers the armscye and then the NSA brings it back up where it started. Threw that tissue away and started a new working copy. Made the NSA and then the SS. It looks odd but at least the final outlined armscye and shoulder show effect of both SS and NSA.

Skipped the back width alteration and made Bust, Waist and Hip.  Couldn’t find anywhere the Big 4 standard pattern measurements for either shoulder or back width. I’ve got Otto and Burda measurements but not Simplicity, Mc Calls, Butterick or Vogue.  I know I’ve seen the standards chart because I distinctly remember the shock at realizing my shoulder was a full inch shorter than the standard.

I aligned my pattern copy with the working copy and taped into place, just like NZ says — although she does use the original pattern trimmed to size whereas I copy the desired size.  Then I stepped back to look. What the heck is wrong?

This is the back pattern piece altered to my measurements. Want to see my back:

I’m pretty shapely from the back view. I have a definite waist and hips. My pattern would have you believe I’m globular in back.  I do have a thick waist in front which usually is accommodated by letting out the front darts.  At the most, my side seams are straight and a little angled outwards.I’ve never ever had a pattern that was convex at the side seams. Obviously I’ve done something wrong and need to regroup.


2 thoughts on “Pivot And Slide: Back

  1. are you supposed to pivot again at the underarm seam for a more straight side seam? Its been years since I looked at any pivot and slide techniques so I’m just guessing here.


    1. Yes and at that point trace the side from underarm to the original waist. Next alteration is the waist. When the waist is plotted, the side is traced from the new bust to the new waist. Then the hip is plotted. I got similar results both times.




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