Pattern grading for the first time

I had a lovely plan this weekend to run up a this gorgeous little faux fur coat for my daughter…

burda childs coat

Girls coat from Burda Style mag 11/2010

But true to form, ‘the best laid plans…’ The largest size isn’t quite big enough. I thought I could get round matters by adding 5mm all round which would give me an extra 2 cm across the chest and back. So I did just that and made a toile for the bodice and the sleeves. But not only is that still not quite enough…. that’s not really how it works, is it?!

And so I have begun researching how to grade patterns to a larger size, the proper way. I knew I would have to go down this road at some point and I know it will benefit my sewing skills. But I’m just so impatient and I want to make this coat now!

The pattern pieces are very simple and the little bodice doesn’t have any darts so I’m really hoping the task is not going to be too arduous.

furry coat layout

Furry coat pattern pieces and layout

My first port of call was the Burda Style website itself and I found this tutorial for grading a bodice with darts. Given that mine is thankfully dart-free, I think this one on the Laura Marsh site might be the best approach and it includes how to grade the sleeves too.

Ultimately I will need to be able to grade patterns up and down for all sorts of lovely ladies garments as I still have this obsession with buying vintage patterns and of course none of them are even close to my body shape!

I did have a little look on Amazon for a good book but I can’t quite believe the prices! I really don’t mind investing in one if I know its going to be helpful so this is where I would like your help, lovely readers. Can anyone please recommend a great book for pattern cutting/grading? or equally any hot tips before I start? You can tell I’m stalling on this one but equally itching to see my daughter skipping around in furry leopard print coat!

Have a lovely weekend all!

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5 thoughts on “Pattern grading for the first time

  1. Hiya, I think this coat is an excellent thing to practise on. It’s all about working out where to change it and then just doing it. Just ask yourself, does it need to be wider here? Longer here? Predictably, the neckline won’t need to change and you can alter it on the toile. The yoke will need to be wider, but only a smidgen deeper, and that mostly to make the armscye deeper. So, I would cut the yoke piece into quarters, through the middle of the shoulder line, not the neckline, vertically and straight across the middle the other way, where the armscye isn’t curving out so much. Spread it out widthways as much as you need to, checking the shoulder length against your daughter (it will be a little longer thn her natural measurement). Spread it down too, but not as much. Are the sleeves too tight looking? Coat sleeves need to have decent ease in them to fit over other clothes. So I predict a 1cm spread only but you would be the better judge. Now tape all these re-positioned cornes to a piece of paper and sort out any lines that now dog-leg. That means just sort of smoothing them out with a new line. Do teh same with the other yoke pattern.
    Now all you need to do is to add some good width to the front and back patterns, about 50% more than the amount you spread the yoke sideways. So if you spread it 3cm, add 4.5cm to front and back etc. And then the sleeve – just cut it down the middle lengthways and spread it double the amount you added to the depth of the yoke. So if you added 2cm to the depth, spread the sleeve by 4cm. Make it longer if you need to by again, splitting it widthways somewhere south of the armhole and spreading the pattern. Retape it all to new paper. And then you are done! Make a toile, check the fit (toiles don’t need facings or anything like that, just sew up the main bits) and check the neckline is big enough (best way to do this is to cut off hte seam allowance so the raw edge is a true indication of the size) and it is a nice fit. When happpy, pull toile apart, use the pieces to adjust your pattern (add that seam allowance back on!), and THEN make patterns for the facings, based on the new lines.
    This is a crazy way to cover the info to you, not a diagram in sight! I hope it helps. This is a pretty simple adjustment because it is a kid’s coat not a complicated fitted garment, so common sense will get you everywhere! It all boils down to adding width or length as needed, and adusting the other bits to match. Good luck!

  2. Thank you soooooo much Maryanne. That is so very kind of you. It makes perfect sense and is much simpler than the set of instructions I was about to follow! (or at least was trying to make sense of!) I just need to bite the bullet and get on with it. Hopefully I will soon have a perfectly fitting, lovely little, furry coat to show off!! Have a wonderful weekend 🙂

    • You are so welcome! I am glad it made sense. I think pattern adjusting is way overbaked, it’s just simple physics and once you get the hang of it you’ll be off laughing! Something like this is a perfect first go too, it’s technically challenging enough to learn from but once you’ve got that yoke sorted, the rest will be easy.
      All power to your scissors 🙂

      • Maryanne again! just realised that my ID was pointing at facebook not my blog, VERY useful, NOT. Sometimes this interweb thing really is a pain!

      • So glad you came back with your blog Maryanne. Looks like my reading material is sorted for this evening. Spotted some gorgeous posts already! Thank you once again. The power of the web doesn’t ever fail to disappoint. I love it so much!

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