macaron pt. 1: pattern alterations

so excited just to put that title down! i know, it’s stupid but i have been in love with this dress for months and just want to get started!


BUT! first things being first… are you watching project runway all stars? as much as the last season of regular project runway was… well… a snooze fest… i have major hopes for this. i don’t make it a habit to get overly involved in reality shows. i know they’re all set up or cleverly edited and whatnot. but i still feel a little miffed about the fact that mondo didn’t win season 8. it was a crime and if you followed that season you know exactly what i’m talking about. so, basically i look forward to watching him make more awesome clothes for my thursday night entertainment.



back to the macaron! first: pattern alteration. groooooan. okay, maybe i shouldn’t grumble. after all, half the reason why i sew is because fitted RTW dresses just don’t fit me (to a rather comical degree). just looking at the sizing chart on this pattern you can see that i’m all over the map.

  • bust: sz 0
  • waist: sz 4
  • hips: sz 6

see why i can’t buy dresses that don’t have a tremendous amount of stretch? don’t get me wrong, i’m not complaining about my size i’m just illustrating a point for any person of any size. to be the same size from top to err… bottom is (i’m guessing) rare.


i digress… so, the bodice sections i will grade from a 0 out to a 4 at the waist. while i like a darted bodice as much as the next gal i am converting the darts to a princess seam. i am using a lightweight denim fabric (6.5 oz denim i believe) and want to do some top stitching to emphasize the denim and all the lovely seams. so, here’s how to make this relatively simple change.



first, draw in the seam lines (usually at 5/8″). all the alterations will be made so the length of the actual seam lines don’t change. this is very important!



starting with the back bodice piece, pick a spot above the dart on the seam line and draw two lines straight down—one to each leg of the dart (again make sure your line hits where the dart would be on the seam line). 



you can see what the two back pieces will be, so trace one of them then cut the other to make the second piece.


sorry this is so fuzzy, i just wanted a “before” picture as a reference



for the front of the bodice, draw a line going through the leg of the waist dart closest to center front all the way up to the seam line. then draw a line continuing the top leg of the bust dart all the way to the first line you drew. 



once you have these lines drawn, cut along the first line you drew, then cut out the rest of the waist dart. then cut along the upper line of the bust dart and just swivel and overlap the two side pieces and tape them together. you can see the one piece is a little pointy, just smooth it out.



betcha you thought it’d be more complicated than that, huh?


once you have all this done you can retrace the pieces adding in the seam allowances. i think i’ll just add it in when i cut my muslin in case i need to go back and fiddle with my pattern before i start in on my real fabric. and, since i was careful to not disturb my seam lines, my yoke and midriff pieces should match up perfectly.


next: cut and sew up a muslin! while i always feel like this is a waste of time and fabric it’s an absolute must especially when making significant alterations or using a new pattern, particularly one that i want to fit. like. a. glove.


—lisa g

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