True story: I made a top from a commercial pattern with NO alterations.
What? No way!
Yes way. And, I’ve been giddy like a school girl ever since I discovered how.
McCall’s 6927. A simple pattern for a woven tee with A through D-cup options. I sewed the D-cup top from view D with the 3/4 sleeves from view E: making the uncredited view F (my check from McCall’s is in the mail, I just know it).
I strategically bought the 8 to 16 multi-size range so I could try avoiding my usual petite alteration above the bust (narrow shoulder/chest) and requisite muslin.
What I’ve discovered is that I am actually a size 8 AND 16. My shoulders and back waist length are a size 6, while the rest of me is roughly a size 16. Now, that’s in Big 4 pattern sizing, but the same concept applies to multi-sized indie patterns not graded for petites (thank you SBCC and Petite Plus patterns for representin’). The smallest or near smallest size in the size range will likely fit my neck and shoulders best.
When I cut just a size 16, the shoulders are too wide, there’s too much length above the bust and the armhole fits wonky, so I always make a muslin to find out how much length and width to take out of a pattern above the bust (below the bust changes are easier to figure out with flat pattern measuring). This is in ADDITION to the full bust adjustment I require for B-cup drafted patterns and the extra length I usually have to take out below the waist. Since I’m 5 feet tall and most patterns are drafted for gals around 5 foot 6 inches, if I am making a dress, there could be up to 6 inches of extra length I have to remove!
My incentive for finding an alteration-free method of sewing is strong. Before my daughter was born, there was all the time in the world for hacking and slashing patterns and making 99 muslins for one dress. Nowadays, my opportunities to sew are nap time, after bedtime, or at the ass crack of dawn. So, when I take my chance to sew, I want to actually MAKE something vs. tinker with it for days and days.
For this woven tee, I opted to leave the extra length below the waist because I thought it would make for better tucking in. This decision, plus tracing the size 8 at the shoulders, neckline and blending to size 16 everywhere else made this an alteration-free sewing experience. Good times, y’all.
Here, you can see how I started at size 8 on the sleeve cap and blended to size 16 at the underarm seam. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll remember that this was my photo for Day 2 of of Bimble and Pimble’s November photo-a-day challenge. The theme that day was “Technique”, and this size 8 meets size 16 discovery had just blown my mind.
It’s been hard to contain my excitement about all this. I’ve pulled out every pattern I have with a size 6 to 16 size range, so I can repeat this. Though next time I make this pattern, I’ll let out the sleeves a tad (they’re a little snug) and go ahead and remove the extra 2 inches of length below the waist so the top is more proportional when untucked. Ultimately, to become a true go-to for me, the pattern will be altered.
For now, I’ll enjoy the time saved from that ninja tracing move and proudly add this peacock feathered, Alteration-Free Tee to my fall/winter wardrobe.