Part 1: Resizing the Maggie Mae

I started writing this process as one post and quickly realized it needed to be broken down so I could explain my thought process more and hopefully help you conquer other patterns for yourselves! Here it is Part 1: Resizing the Maggie Mae.

Step 1: Measure yourself and trace your pattern pieces

After you have purchased your own Maggie Mae pattern you will want to measure yourself. The important measurements I took for this pattern were bust, waist, hips, collarbone to under breast and across my back shoulder to shoulder. This pattern is very forgiving but starting with these measurements would direct where and by how much I needed to adjust the pattern from a girls size 10 to my size. I used drafting paper from my art store to trace my patterns usually I have pattern tracing paper but I just used it up on my last PDF. Use a pencil to trace as you will be erasing and transfer the markings as they appear on the original pattern piece.

Step 2: Study the pattern

Look at the original pattern piece. Notice how the pattern is graded for the different sizes. Is there a trend to how far the lines are apart when the size increases? Are there lines that are the same no matter what the size? I found it helpful to keep the original pattern piece right next to me while redrafting.

Step 3: Mark and measure your original pattern

As you have studied the original as well as an image or sketch of the finished Maggie Mae I will noticed a few things. First, the sleeves are part of the bodice top. Second the bodice bottom is where your bust measurement factors into play and since this is a girls pattern going up to size 10 the original pattern does not essential account for a “mature” bust line. To figure out what you need to change and where start by locating what I am going to call the “armpit line” or essentially, where the bodice stops and the sleeve begins. Measure your original pattern for the areas you have measured on yourself. So for me that was bust, waist, hips, collarbone to under breast and across my back shoulder to shoulder. Subtract the pattern measurements from your measurements. The difference is how much you will need to add to the pattern. Now let’s determine where!

Step 4: Resizing the bodice top

This is the hardest piece so if you make it through this, the rest is just fitting to this piece. You’ll also see in the posts after this one how I fixed some of the errors in this first draft and on my “muslin” sew. With your original next to you and your pattern traced on the paper lets start with the neckline and shoulder. From my study of the pattern piece I saw the lines in the shoulder increased in equal distance each time the size grew. So did the neckline. I followed those keys and increased my pattern 3/8″ along the shoulder and the neckline tapering the neckline where it met the shoulder as you can see from the image above. I made the same 3/8″ addition to the sleeve edge.

Next you will want to extend the bodice top into a women’s pattern. I used the shoulder to shoulder measurement different for this and needed to add about 3″. **Note: this is where I made one of my mistakes I will cover in detail in another post but please use your shoulder to shoulder measurement…not your bust measurement!** Since this piece is on the fold I divided the 3″ by 2 and added the 1 1/2″ to the fold end of the pattern piece.

Finally, I measured the distance between line A and line B on the pattern piece and transferred the marks accordingly.


Step 6: Resizing the lower bodice

In studying the pattern piece and the directions of the Maggie Mae pattern I noticed that the lower bodice extends a little further from the pattern to create the underarm part of the side seam. After taking my bust measurement, dividing it by 2 and adding it to the curved end of the lower bodice piece I decided to add twice the seam allowance (3/4″) to the short end of the pattern piece. What were my thoughts? Never hurts to have extra!

So you’ve done it! You’ve resized the bodice of the Maggie Mae! Here is what my bodice pieces looked like.


Step 7: Resizing the skirt

I think my math mind was blown from the bodice resizing. Or maybe I was just too excited to finish this and start sewing but I will have a WHOLE post on the mistakes I made on the skirt. Seriously. It was two rectangles. It’s making me giggle even as I post this.

Here’s the skinny on the skirt and skirt band. First, they are the same length. No matter what. Second, have a little fun and trust yourself to determine length. For me a tunic style like this looks fantastic when it hits mid-hip. For you maybe it looks better longer. I did 10″ long for my skirt and 6″ for my skirt band. To determine the width of the skirt measure the bottom of your adjusted lower bodice pattern piece.  Add an ease. **Note: This is where one of my mistakes came in so you will not see this in my pattern piece.** Ease? What is ease! Loosely translated, ease is the “give” in your pattern. Leggings will have no ease so they hug your legs. Wide leg pants will have a great deal of ease from the hip down to give the stream-lined leg look. When you’re adding ease to your Maggie Mae remember your hip measurement difference. Why? Because the ease of will be taken up by the pleats along the top of the skirt but along the bottom you need to have a clearance for your hips (and possibly thighs depending on how long you make this) so it doesn’t balloon at your waist like the original pattern then end up hugging your body at a lower point.

My advice is to use your hip measurement and add 4″. Once you make your muslin you can adjust the ease from there but 4″ will be a good starting point and allow for cute pleats.

So you’ve done it. Or at least have drank a cup or two of coffee reading this and are inspired to start. Next post will be on muslin, sewing the muslin and learning to laugh at yourself.


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