Princess Seams

After easily fitting 1201, I made a flurry of Connie Crawford pattern purchases including this princess seamed version B5538

There is something ‘right’ for me with Connie’s shoulder and upper bodice drafting.  That makes all her patterns desirable in my eyes. I’ve thought about making5538 several times but always said ‘not now’. I knew I would be struggling not only with fitting a pattern for my sloping, uneven, narrow shoulder but also 4 pattern pieces with twice that many seams and seam allowances. So even though I’d pull 5538 out of the box and look at the instructions, I’d always put it away for later.

Then something interesting happened. I signed up for Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited. The plan I joined allows me to read 10 books each month for a flat charge of $10. At the end of the month I need to either buy the book or let it disappear from content. One of the first books I chose was:

This is like the “Cliff Notes” of fashion darts. I have a library of dressmaking and sewing books and believe that all the information in this book is also someplace in one of my owned books. The difference is that everything about darts has been consolidated in one single easy reference. It’s a compedium or wiki about darts. I particularly like how she emphasized sewing darts that are curved instead of angled. As Heather says, our bodies are curves. Never sharply angled.  Why shouldn’t our darts be curved as well?  Also of great interest to me was Heather’s description of rotating darts to create a shoulder, princess seam. Oh my was I tickled.  I have Dan McCunns ‘How to make Sewing Patterns’ which shows an interesting conversion from a french dart; and know I’ve seen other instructions for converting to a armscye princess seam. I think most armscye princess seam lines make me look frumpy. The best princess line for me is the one that goes straight up to the shoulder seam and now I have the perfect instructions to create my best line..

To even approaching re-creating CC-5538 from my sloper, I needed to start with copying my sleeved bodice. I copied front, back and sleeve including all the darts and all the notches.

Starting with the front, I made a mark at the half way point of shoulder. I extended the center lines of bust and vertical darts to meet at the apex. Added a little tape at the apex to reinforce that point which I knew would be cut during this process.

Then used my curve to connect the vertical with the half way mark on the shoulder.

I cut from the half way mark down along the just drawn line to the apex. Then repeated the process cutting along the center line of the bust dart to the apex.  Folded the sides of the bust dart to meet and watched as the shoulder opened.

This was just like rotating darts — a process I explored last year with one of my Craftsy Courses. But instead of adding tissue (blue paper in the pic above), I taped the legs of the bust dart together and then continued the cut from the shoulder all the way to the hem. Before I could forget I added 1/4″ seam allowances along both sides of my new pieces and added 1.5″ length at the hem (my bodices are seeming to be just a little short).

I repeated the process for the back with a few exceptions.  I did not need to measure and mark the center of the shoulder.  I used the back shoulder dart as the center and aligned my curve between that point and the back vertical dart.

On the front I sliced through the middle of the vertical dart and added a seam allowance that’s because I have little shaping in front. My tummy is sufficient to create a convex curve. But the back is different.  I’m very curvey back there. So when I added my seam allowance it was to dart legs not the center line.

I labeled each piece; copied grain lines and made alignment notches at the darts waists and points. Just like that I had a Princess Seam Bodice Sloper!  Seriously, it took more time to photo and write this post then it did to create my sloper. Had I known it was this easy to make a princess sloper, I would have done it months ago.


6 thoughts on “Princess Seams

  1. Now that you have explained this so well, it seems rather simple to do. Except, of course I did not try one yet. Great information; I have saved this.


  2. I’m impressed! Looks like the ‘thing’ to do. It does look simple enough – but probably not simple enough for me!!



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