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!

For No Good Reason

Sometimes life happens. It just does. Maybe you get knocked off the horse and decide you need to walk beside it for a while before jumping back on.

The past year has been awesome. Another little boy (is he not the cutest?!). Another summer. Winter. Spring. Some parts have not been great. It has been a hard transition and I am finally able to say that aloud. The great part is I’m finally jumping back on with you all here. The demons of “You Can’t” and “You’re Not” aren’t welcome ’round these parts anymore. It feels so good to get some sewing creativity back in my life.

To celebrate I made something for my youngest, Pierce. It was part of a challenge for a sewing group I joined recently but other than that…it was for no good reason. Just to light a fire. The challenge was to use the Hope Dress/Capri pattern from My Little Plumcake and since I have boys I thought it would be fun to do a boy version. To give myself a little more trouble I decided that I would only use things I already had in my sewing room. No extra trips to the store.

Added some white piping.

Some cute sailboat buttons.

The result was adorable and with the addition of a bow tie my dapper lad was ready for trouble. Which is exactly what he gave me as I tried chasing him all over to grab these shots!

Shop Small Sale

I love shopping handmade. It is personal and allows you to give a unique gift to your loved ones. Shopping handmade also allows you to know you’re money is going somewhere. Maybe to help put food on the table. Maybe it helps someone buy holiday gifts for their loved ones. No matter what you know you’re money makes a difference and doesn’t just line someone’s pocketbook. Sometimes it is a little more costly though so to help you this season I’m offering a Shop Small Sale in the store.

Starting at midnight on 11/24/12 all items in the Nina Shop are 25% off! This special does not include custom items and the discounts are already applied to the items. In addition, with every $25 order you will get my book Make It You: Your Space FREE and with every $75 order you will get my book The Basics & Beyond: Sewing Home Decor, complete with instructional DVD for visual learners, for FREE!


Announcing the newest addition to our family! Thank you for your patience on updates to the blog and shop as I take some time off to spend enjoying this sweet little angel and helping big brother adapt to our family of four status! Everyone is doing great and I hope to be back blogging and sewing within a week or two!

Baby Announcement