The Bodice

I’m grateful the pattern resizing angels were watching over me during my initial redraft of the Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress by Schwin and Schwin. The only piece I had to fix was the bodice! Here is a before picture:

The lower bodice fit perfect with an exact ease so I didn’t want to do anything to the upper bodice that would make me have to change the lower bodice. I came up with two ideas.

The first idea was since I only had an issue with the gap at the neckline and the lower part of the bodice was perfect that I could made a graded (slanted) line that would eliminate the extra fabric at the top.

The second idea was to take the whole bodice piece in 3/4″ (since the extra fabric equaled 1 1/2″) along the A/B edge of the bodice and redraw the lines.

I decided to go forward with the second idea. Things I thought of that would be wrong with the first idea were this:

1.) For the upper bodice piece on the fold (front) the lower part of the bodice would be a vintage sweetheart shape, not the nice rounded edge.

2.) Because the fold is slanted considerably the boat neck shape and consequently the shoulder would have been altered by implementing this idea.

The lower bodice fit perfectly however I added 1″ to the bottom edge of this piece for personal preference. I wanted the seam below my bustline and it wasn’t quite there. Adding 1″ made it PERFECT!

You will have to excuse the big blogger no no…but I couldn’t wait to share the final result so I had to take a selfie (a self portrait). I will post some cute pictures with the nice camera as soon as I can grab a few minutes from my husband. I was pretty sure you all wouldn’t mind though!


The Maggie Mae Skirt

The Maggie Mae skirt will haunt me. Maybe because I’m SO excited to make this for myself I lost track of measurements. It might be because it was just rectangles and golly those things are crazy to work with! It was a good laugh all around and what fun is sewing and creating if we can’t laugh along the way?!

Here is what I did wrong the first time. I took my waist measurement and added my ease. Why was this wrong? The lower bodice is NOT fitted so my skirt was too small.

Try again, right? Yup! Second time I measured my lower bodice and added my ease of 4″. Why was this wrong? Well…lets just say my mama hips didn’t have enough clearance.

Third time is the charm? YES! I finally achieved the Maggie Mae skirt I wanted by using this formula:

1.) Measure waist.

2.) Double that measurement.

3.) Account for seam allowance.

4.) Make sure it clears your hip measurement. If it doesn’t, add a little more. Best advice, you can always cut off can’t always add more!

After you cut your skirt, cut your skirt band the same width. As I posted previously I used a 10″ width for my skirt and a 6″ width for my skirt band.

It will be a full looking skirt but you will see in the next post the fullness taken in by the small pleats or gathers compliments the top perfectly. Lets start working through the changes I made in the bodice of the Maggie Mae Tunic/Dress pattern by Schwin and Schwin!

First Fitting for My Maggie Mae

If you’re happening on this post and have missed the beginning of this adventure check out the inspiration post and the resizing post before you continue reading here or you’ll be a tad confused.

After you have resized the pattern pieces you need to test your pattern. This is usually called a muslin since it is sewn out of muslin fabric. I’m so bad about making a test sew. I have such a narrow window of sewing time for me that I usually just adjust a pattern as I go and leave the muslin for the fancy stuff. Not recommending this approach, just being honest.

Since circumstances demanded a muslin this time I got out some of my cute, spare solid fabric and started cutting. If it worked I had a cute top, if not, I was just down some solid fabric. I constructed the pattern exactly how it is written. The directions were great too so a big THANK YOU to Schwin & Schwin.

This is a shot of the side seam. If you remember from the resize post I doubled the seam allowance. So when I sewed the side seams together I used a 5/8″ seam allowance.

To finish the seam I turned the raw edge of the seam under the seam allowance and topstitched the underarm catching the top of the seam.

So here it is on for the first fitting for my Maggie Mae! The ONLY fit issue I had for the bodice was the gap at the neckline. Not bad! I will cover my ideas to remedy this in the next post.

Have any of you been inspired to start resizing a pattern yet? Which one?

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.


Getting Inspired: Resizing the Maggie Mae Pattern by Schwin & Schwin

There are a ton of things that inspire me and gratefully I’ve never been afraid to cut up some fabric and give an idea a try. When I saw the Maggie Mae pattern by Schwin & Schwin I had to have it. I love the trendy color blocking. I love the easy fit that could cover a variety of occasions.

Problem #1: I don’t have little girls.

Problem #2: It only goes up to a size 10 girls.

Still couldn’t get it out of my head. So I purchased the pattern and set out resizing the Maggie Mae pattern by Schwin & Schwin to fit me. The next few posts I’m going to cover what I did, what I learned and how much fun the final result is! I’m not a professional drafter, however after almost 20 years of working with patterns I have some general feel for what adjustments need to be made. Here we go!