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Pattern Fix - Back Dress too Long

Saturday, April 02, 2016
How many times have you experienced this; fabric pooling at the back waist in your dresses and shirts?  Well I have the Pattern Fix for that!  Unfortunately there is little we can do to save the sample, but we can do the pattern alteration to make sure it doesn't happen again.Dress Pattern Fittings

In both cases presented here, the back length to waist on each dress is too long for the wearer. This often happens with an erect posture or it can be caused by larger busts.  

Back Dress too Long Pattern Alteration
Pin parallel lines across the back bodice, between the shoulder blades and the waist.  Pin in enough fabric to leave the back hanging straight to the waist.  You'll be reducing the back length of your block or pattern by this amount.  Mark across to the front side seam the same amount to be converted into extra darting. 

Fitting your dress patterns.
To alter your dress block as above:
  1. Fold the excess length out of the back bodice, keeping the centre back on a straight line.
  2. Mark the same amount on the front side seam as in the diagram.
  3. Connect this measurement to the bust point as darting.
  4. This extra darting can then be transferred into the existing bust dart ready for your pattern making projects.
If you're working with a commercial pattern you'll need to look for an opportunity to transfer this extra darting into an existing bust dart or panel seam.  Each case will be slightly different.   Please feel free to ask questions in the comments section below or email me photos so I can help you out.  :)

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barbara commented on 23-Jul-2016 04:23 PM
Hi, I always have this problem at the back. But if I solve it the way you discribe it, doesn't that mean that the front of the dress will decrease in length as well? When this problem occurs, usually the front of the dress looks perfect and I don't want to change anything at that side...
Anita - studiofaro commented on 24-Jul-2016 12:35 PM
Hi Barbara, thanks for dropping by. No the front length is not altered at all. If you try out the pinning exercise across the back, the effect of the alteration on the side seam becomes an increase in your dart size. There is no change in front length which is what's required to fix this problem. Let me know if I've been clear or not. Happy to answer more questions. :)
Alice commented on 04-Aug-2016 07:22 PM

Oh...I thought I understood this but I don't. I just don't get how the front length isn't altered. How can the side seams still match up if the front length isn't altered? Or...you mean the waistline is raised at the front but the fabric remains the same length because you increased the bust dart?

Sorry I'm so confused. I'd love to know where I'm going wrong.

Thank you!
Anita - studiofaro commented on 07-Aug-2016 05:05 PM
Hi Alice, you're not going wrong at all. I think I'm not explaining it well. If you consider the effect of the back alt in that it reduces the back side seam. Then of course we have to do some thing to the front side seam so that they will match when we sew them together. My solution is to dart the same amount out of the side seam. As son as you turn that difference into a dart (joined to the bust point) then we can transfer it into the existing shoulder dart of our block. The effect is a bigger dart that gives better shaping around the bust. Do you have a block you can try this on? The actual doing of the thing may make more sense. And I mean it when I say keep asking questions until I get the explanation right. :)
Julia commented on 09-Aug-2016 03:13 PM
What a great post! Found your website yesterday and will be following with interest. Shame Australia is too far away from me to casually book a class :)
I am the owner of the figure you described - erect back and large prominent bust on a relatively smaller frame, but I also have a sway back. What I find is that although I get this pooling on the back often, the side seam length is usually right, so darting out the excess length at the front will result in too short a side seam. If I pin the excess it results in something akin to a fisheye dart - a horizontal dart which is deep at centre back (sometimes an inch deep) and tapers to nothing at the sides. On a pattern such dart would mean that half my CB seam will be off the grain and on bias. Any suggestions?
Anita - studiofaro commented on 09-Aug-2016 06:50 PM
Hi Julia, thanks for getting in touch and your lovely compliment. :) I've some idea of what you're talking about but to be sure I'd need to see some photos. Is that possible? You can post them on my Facebook page or email them direct. enquiries@studiofaro.com
Maggie commented on 11-Jan-2017 10:14 PM
Thank you so much for this opportunity to have our questions answered. I am wondering how you would do this same alteration on the knit block where there is no darting in the front to accommodate the shortening of the back seam.
Thank you again
Anita - studiofaro commented on 12-Jan-2017 09:39 AM
Hi Maggie, thanks for dropping by. The extra in the front side seam doesn't become darting. It becomes easing around the bust area. I'll be dealing with this fit alteration on my knit block in the blog post soon. Most likely in the members area. So if you haven't done so already, join up for all the nerdy pattern conversations. :)

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All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available for home and personal use only.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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The challenging patterns, the exciting new design trends and the impossible drapes; that's what I live for.  Disclaimer: These new ideas are offered here for testing and are offered without guarantee.  Allow yourself time and space to truly test and perfect the patterns for all your new ideas.  And please don't give yourself a hard time if the first toile is less than perfect.  It's simply part of a process. Enjoy :)

Using my content

All images, designs, photos and layouts on this blog are created and owned by Anita McAdam© of Studio Faro. They are available for home and personal use only.  If you would like to use our content for teaching or commercial purposes please ask.  I have some amazing resources for teachers and manufacturers. ;) enquiries@studiofaro.com

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