Importance and Principles of Pattern Alteration
Lecturer, Dept. of Fashion Design
KCC Women’s College (Affiliated by Khulna University)
Pattern adjustment or alteration is often necessary to achieve good fit in a garment. Making adjustments or alterations before the garment is cut from fabric will eliminate many problems. Use this collection of alteration guidelines to solve women’s most common fitting problems.
A pattern can be altered and adjusted three ways:
- By folding out excess fullness to make an area smaller.
- By slashing and spreading to increase dimensions, or slashing and overlapping to decrease dimensions.
- By redrawing darts or seamlines.
Importance of Pattern Alteration:
If a garment is cut after the pattern is altered to fit your figure, there is no danger of wasting expensive fabric and spoiling the garment. Fitting the garments also will be much easier because there will not be major alterations to be made at this stage. Moreover some alterations cannot be satisfactorily made after the garment is cut. Hence it is essential that you perfect your pattern by making the necessary alterations before using it for cutting out the actual garment.
Basic Principles of Pattern Alteration:
(1) A far as possible make changes within the pattern by slashing and spreading or slashing and lapping. Patterns can also be altered by redrawing the edges of the pattern. (This is the method adopted for altering garments at the time of fitting.) But the first method is by far the best in altering paper patterns.
(2) To preserve the original grain line, make all slashes and folds parallel or perpendicular to the grain line (to center front line, center back line etc.
(3) Where there are darts, make changes between the tip of the dart and the outside edge.
(4) If an alteration in length is made along one edge of the pattern, take care to make an identical alteration in the adjoining edge. For example, if back shoulder seam is shortened the front shoulder seam should also be shortened.
(5) When tucks or darts are used for making a pattern smaller, remember that the width of these should be just half the amount to be removed.
(6) When decreasing or increasing the width of pattern pieces, if only half the pattern (half back or half front) is used, subtract or add only one fourth of the total adjustment to be made. For example, if waist measurement has to be increased by one inch, add ¼” to the half back pattern and the same amount to the front pattern. If only a front or back section needs adjustment, add or minus half the amount of the adjustment to the respective section.
(7) When the pattern alteration involves slashing and spreading, it is necessary to keep a sheet of paper beneath and to pin or stick to it the spread-out parts so that they will thereafter remain in position. On spreading or lapping after slashing, some edges of the pattern become jagged. These must be trimmed after drawing the new seam lines.