Altering a linen top.

Bought a linen top that was ecoprinted by independent dyer Annie Leynen from FeltingVilt in Belgium. The garment original was a tunic from MEXX. It had some nice details but its shape was all wrong for me.

Wrong shape and awful open armhole:

Nice detail:

Here it is after I played around with it:

modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.modified mexx top. eco printed.

I put in waist darts at the front, two at each side. Ending in tucks at the underbust, something I haven’t used before. I also cut off some of the length.
modified mexx top. eco printed.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

At the back I elongated the vertical darts and put in TWO horizontal darts to accommodate my sway back. One runs from side seam to side seam, the other just between the back darts. Now there’s no fabric folds anymore at the back, it lies smooth.

I put in a triangle at the armhole, using the cut off hem piece:
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I made some pleats to match the front detail and played around with the stitching so I didn’t have to tie to many loose ends:
modified mexx top. eco printed.
Nothing fancy on the inside, just fold under and stitch. I did secure the point at/to the side seam allowance.
modified mexx top. eco printed.

I should like to put in a little thingy at the shoulder band that catches the bra strap so it doesn’t come peeking. But I probably won’t because of priorities and limited time/energy.

I’m very happy with my new shirt, showing off that intriguing eco printed fabric. I love how the sewing thread and the buttons took up colour too.
Garment wise I like the front detail, with the pleats and the panel, as a means to address bust shaping. With my body shape that’s where designing starts: how to treat the underbust. Otherwise: potato sack.


Summer Dress: altering the neckline

I raised the neckline without tapering it down and now the dress stood agape at my front. So I inserted two darts. They are pretty long but it’s what my fitting told me:
When I was satisfied with them I inserted them into the lining as well. Now I had to remake the neckline into a coherent line and restitch the lining to the fashion fabric and finish it with understitching.

Stitching lining and fabric together, securing the darts and creating a new fluent neckline:
Trim the bits and nick the fabric before turning it over:

turn dress so that I can redo the top stitching: stitch very close to the existing seam securing together the lining and the seam allowance of both lining and fashion fabric:

result! No picture of it but it looks good. All it needs is a bit of pressing but the new neckline on this half is good.

now the other one: stitch lining and fabric together creating a new fluent line. Looks good from where I was stitching.
but when I flipped it over:

Unacceptable. For one: it missed one of the nicks that were already in the lining. This would fray with wear, I fear.


Second: on one side the stitching doesn’t end in the little trench of the existing stitching line. It misses it by a mm:
This will give a nasty fold. Which will show on the good side as this stitching involves both the lining and the fashion fabric. Unacceptable.
Take it out, please.

Much better!

Perfection even. Look how nice it runs into the existing stitching line:

Let’s have a look to the other side:
it missed the ‘ear’ of the dart.
Take it out please.

your wish is my command:

I folded the ‘ear’ the other way and restitched that part:

let’s look at the other side:
It messed with the lining, creating a fold. It won’t be visible while wearing but still…

time for some chocolate and a little lay down. This needs to come out and be redone.

altering the toile 2



I took in the waist dramatically. Then I used the darts in the bodice to fix the difference in width between the skirt and the bodice. This is easily done by sewing the horizontal seam from one side to the (torned loose) dart and then from the other side. The flap of extra fabric will be the dart. In this case the darts have not been sewn and are loose on the inside. Making for the boxy folds that are especially noticeable from the side. Once sewed shut and to one side THe lines will flow effortless.

In the front view you can see how well it is fitted now. There is plenty suggestion of a waist now.

I sewed the darts in the skirt by eye and I was a little too peeved enthousiastic. There’s not enough room for lining or breathing. In the real design I will give an inch or a little more of extra width.

(don’t worry about the uneven height in the side seam. I put in a zipper for better fitting and I sewed it quickly. I would have taken a photo from the other side if I were smarter at balancing iPads and trying to take photo’s with it.)

I took a bit of the seam below the bust to incorporate it in the dress, I need a bit more length now that the bodice has to cave in under the bust to meet the dress. In the real design I’ll probably give it even a little bit of extra length.

I made sure the middle lines matched up. From there I match the other lines. In the real dress I will not sew up the skirt separate from the bodice, I’m more tempted to follow the lead of the vertical lines and make sure they line up first.

What now? take apart the toile and make it into real pattern pieces?

I don’t feel confident enough to start cutting into the dress fabric yet. I think I want a practice dress first. The question is: do I go out and buy cheap fabric or do I cut out the view A and use that flowery sheet? hm. I need to go to the fabric shop to get a zipper anyway …. o wait. New fabric means washing and waiting for it to dry. eh….I’ll think about it.

Oh, one thing:

I’ll never buy a bloody pattern again! I can just as well copy pieces from a dress I have already and make alterations. What a scam, sizing in patterns!

altering the toile and the pattern

Today I am altering the toile. I measured two dresses that fit me just fine. I put them on the toile to show you how much difference there is in size:


both dresses have a waist of about 80 cm (10 cm ease on my waits of about 70) and hips at about 100cm
I’m still a bit peeved. I could just as well have taken these dresses and copied their panels and used them as a template.

The toile made from Butterick 5603 size 16 (hips 14) has a waist of 90 cm and hips starting at 107cm

what I want:
– reduce waist to 80 centimeters in the round.
– reduce hips to 100 centimeters in the round.
– lower the point of flaring, I don’t need it that high up.
– reduce the overall flare, I don’t need that much especially with cotton (light sheer fabric would love that much flare)
– reduce the flare in the centre front and centre back panel of the skirt, it makes for pleats in various dresses I saw on the internet, including the dress on the Butterick site.
– fit the bodice on the skirt: keep bust at current circumference. Make sure the darts and seams align properly. Probably have to lengthen the bust dart somewhat to account for smaller empire waist and meet it properly. Figure this out.

what I already did:
– took the flare out of centre front and centre back panel of the skirt. They are now rectangles with a 17 cm width, measured without seam allowance. I reduced the width of the centre back by two centimeters.
– reduced the flare of the side panels. I sewed it and then drew a quick line with pencil to show you better:
you (can barely) see the pencil line on the panel on the right. I have not cut away the redundant fabric yet.
On the middle/left you see the now rectangular centre front panel.

I wonder what to do now. The skirt fits reasonably now. The question is now how to make the top fit the skirt. There are lines and seams to be considered. I am not wild about the panels and how wide they sit on the shoulders. It would be easier to have a smaller bodice to start with and introduce bust darts into that one than trying to reduce a bodice overall.
I may switch over to another version of the dress, view A, which has a gathered bust panel.

here’s a view of how the toile sat before I altered the skirt:
meh… the line under the bust doesn’t touch the skin of my tummy by 10 centimeters. Making me look fatter than I need to look. I want a (semi)fitted dress. Not a sack.
Also, I think the shoulders may be too wide. Or perhaps they balance my bust in the total silhouette? I don’t know. The upper bust may be a size too large. Or two. I can fit another pair of boobs on top of mine… I’ll look at some more examples of the dress online.
Something nééds to be done about the execution of those bustdarts though. They end in unfortunate placed pointy points. I have seen others have this problem too. I think it’s ridiculous. Bust darts should nót end at the apex nor should they suggest they do.

I’ll now return to the sewing room to look and ponder and look some more. (I’ll probably cut out the bodice for view A….just in case….)(just for study purposes, you understand)(I know you do)(did I tell you I bought another sheet at the thriftstore? It has flowers on it. It is meant for a usable practice dress in view A.)(it is already laundred)

isn’t it nice?

I decided to persevere with view C for now. The shoulders will be a bit smaller because the toile shows the raw seams, including seam allowance. And I want this view in the pink fabric from an earlier post.