Up-down, side-to-side

One thing Gale Grigg Hazen mentions in her book Fantastic fit for every body, which I’ve found very helpful and haven’t seen elsewhere.

I get a better fit if I :

– move front and back bodice pieces sideways relative to each other at shoulder seam.


– move front and back bodice pieces up and down relative to each other at underarm seam.


Of course this isn’t a completely straightforward change, as it requires a bit of adjustment to neckline, armhole and sleeve cap, to get them all to match up properly. Plus a small added strip to one of the pattern pieces.

But as my back is wider and longer than my front, I’ve found this adjustment is surprisingly effective in improving my fit with commercial patterns.

P.S. Another tip on fit.
I’ve recently discovered the free pdf from Fit for Art Patterns, on how to fit their Tabula Rasa jacket.
Very clear.
Draw similar horizontal and vertical reference lines on your muslin for any pattern and follow the same instructions, to improve the fit of nearly any upper body pattern (though it’s no help with waist fitting or sleeve cap).

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Links available August 2013

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4 Comments on “Up-down, side-to-side”

  1. Vildy Says:

    Well, this is intriguing!
    Thinking about front different from back, I had an astoundingly positive experience today. I love shirtdresses. On other people. I usually look dumpy or else like a straining parcel. I have a heavy cotton tent dress in my favorite color raspberry that I thrifted. I haven’t worn it yet because I disliked the sculptural golden buttons that went all the way down the front. I saved them for another garment and replaced with flat glossy black buttons – best of what I had. I wore it today and glimpsed a black, white and khaki grosgrain belt. It worked. I couldn’t believe it. I think it’s all owing to there not being a defined place for back and front waists plus the firmness of the fabric.I have a figure eight hip and then fairly flat down the sides. Plus also, when there’s a waist seam, often there’s too much or not enough blousiness either front or back or both. And somehow my bosom gets lost in all that and I just look like a blimp. It’s like a miracle none of that happened. 😀 I kept staring in the mirror wondering who is this person in a shirtdress.

    • sewingplums Says:

      What a lovely experience Vildy !

      Yes I agree many of us have to be careful about waist seams/ blousing or we don’t look our best !

      • Vildy Says:

        and also, counterintuitively, the dress having no shaping darts probably worked in its favor. Whenever I have tried to counter the bad blousing by controlling fullness with darts, it only works while standing still. As soon as you move, it takes on a life of its own and gives me an extra “shelf” of buckling blousiness above the fisheye darts.

  2. Mrs Anderson Says:

    Thanks very much for an excellent blog. I’m just learning and all the information here is staggering. A line skirt pattern in hand and …. off I go! 🙂

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