Just when I thought I was too busy for anything except complaining about being so busy…I came up with a little tutorial sort of thing!

After making the good witch of the west costume forced me back into my sewing area, I was motivated to tackle one of those projects that is easy to put off for a long, long time. Sometimes, even more than a year.

This project is resizing a vintage coat pattern. During the great coat sew along I caught Marji fever (scroll down to the May 15th post) and purchased many vintage coat patterns. This one in particular just had to come home. Then someone on PR made a fall coat out of corduroy… then I saw this fabulous wide-wale corduroy at a very good price…that also needed a home. Well, they’ve both been very cozy waiting for a fall. Last fall, this fall, next fall, whatever! Finally I’m ready to resize the pattern – yippee! This is how I did it.

Step 1: I went to the nearest Threads resource – mine happens to be in the sanctuary (a.k.a. sewing area, a.k.a mommy zone) – and read this article.

All the other steps:
Trace the original pattern and all markings (extend the grain lines the length of the piece at this point – I didn’t do this on the sleeves but should have).

Draw cutting lines to divide the piece into segments where the adjustments will be made. On the pictures, if you look closely these are in red. By the time I did the body pieces I just cut instead of drawing and cutting.

The extended grain line gives a starting point for placing the pieces onto the new paper.
Cut along all red lines, or you may want to cut one vertical/horizontal segment at a time so that the pieces don’t blow away! Do this carefully and don’t do it in front of a fan!

Starting with my traced and cut pattern, I picked up the bottom segment that has the grain line marked and position that on the grain line of the new piece. To attach the original pattern piece to what will be the new piece I’ve tried strips of Glad Press’n Seal and tape but this time I used a glue stick. It seemed to go a little faster and since my “paper” is really a vinyl banquet table covering, I could easily reposition the piece if it wasn’t lined up correctly.

At this point I referred to the chart in the Threads article to determine how far away the next pattern piece will be. Then I lined up my ruler with the straight edge of the pattern piece and drew a line as a guide for the placement of the next piece. Continue this process until all of the new pieces are aligned on the new paper.

Once the pieces were all attached I cut out the new piece trying to leave about 1-2” in the seam allowance area. At first I was thinking that I would just use the seam allowance attachment on my rotary cutter to add the 5/8” SA when I cut out the muslin. But wait! I just realized as I’m typing this that the original pattern already has the seam allowances, so I can just cut along the edges of the original pattern pieces.

After all pattern pieces of this project after they were cut into segments, I always started with the bottom horizontal section first then moved on to the next horizontal section of pieces. You don’t have to do the exact same thing but I think it would be advisable to have a system that you follow when moving the pieces – some of them may be very small.

The first time I resized a vintage pattern I traced over the pieces to create a solid pattern; one that wouldn’t have all those little pieces waving around. The glue seams to be working for this one so I think I’ll skip that step and move on to cutting and fitting.

The project in these pictures is being resized from a 12 ½ to a 14 so the adjustments are quite large (nothing smaller than ¼”). For my previous resizing projects the largest increment was ¼”. That meant there were a lot of 1/8” and 1/16” changes. I have to admit I trusted myself to visualize these measurements and just skipped using the ruler to mark the new placement lines. (By trust I mean that sometimes, just for fun, I’ll guess the distance of a seam allowance or a piece of fabric and then measure it to see how close I was. My accuracy is pretty good.)

So that’s it. This is not a difficult process but you do have to be in the right frame of mind before you begin. I usually like to keep track of how long something like this takes but I was interrupted so many times the best I can give is a very rough estimate - I would say about 20 minutes per pattern piece. I haven't tackled the collar yet and I will just redraw the facings and pocket placement.

DD got THE flu on Friday so I may actually find some time to sew over the next few days (in between keeping her company and entering grades for the first marking period). Luckily, her symptoms are very mild. Luckily, it’s early in the flu season so after this we won’t have to worry about every little cough from her. Luckily, if this flu ever comes back she’ll have nothing to worry about. Unluckily, the beautiful, fluffy, sparkly, good witch costume and it’s owner had to miss trick-or-treating. Luckily, I took pictures before the big day.


Shannon said…
Excellent tutorial! I have to admit to being too lazy to do all that resizing work, so I only buy patterns in my size. You are obviously a far better woman than I!! :) But, should I ever find a "must-have" pattern in the wrong size, your tut will certainly help.
Sheila said…
Great tutorial and always wondered how one would upgrade small size vintage patterns.
Thanks for sharing that! I usually take one of my existing TNT patterns and use it as the basis but this would actually allow me to size up any pattern!!!
Oh my goodness, that is very labor intensive. I am impressed with your perseverance. Love the good witch costume, so sad that she had to miss trick or treating!
Marji said…
ok, now that you've taken at least as much time to write the tutorial as you did to resize the pattern (I know these things take time!) you need to email Sigrid and get her to add it to her index of tutorials.
Great information. It would be nice to have it in a place where many people will find it.
...Marji fever!?!