Pattern Resizing

Justin’s mother saved me her mother’s patterns. I love them. I spent the other day, going through all the little girl dress patterns making sure I had all the pieces. Well, that got me all excited to sew, and I am always needing a good project to keep me busy. So today I made this: (the little blue dress)

Isn’t it adorable! It reminds me of the Kennedy’s, it’s from that time and fashion- and is just so classic.

There was one problem. The pattern was for a size 4, and I wanted to make something she could wear sooner than that. I researched online and found a fabulous tutorial, and have some images for you who would like to try it themselves.

Since I don’t have a little model to try it out on, I looked up all the basic measurements. I found one perfect size chart here with all measurements, that helped me to double check my changes. And one other children’s size chart that I had to convert from metric.

Once i had the info I needed to do the work, I found:

  • sharpie
  • architectural fodder paper (thin tissue paper)
  • tape
  • sewing gauge
  • scissors
  • pins

Once I had my supplies together, I checked the back of the pattern for the size measurements according to the pattern. Then I wrote out the size changes and figured what the difference in inches needed to be. (this is also where thischart came in handy for figuring proper armhole depth and shoulder to edge of neck measurements, later after I made the changes, I measured the changes to make sure they were correct).

Step 1: Trace existing pattern onto fodder.

Step 2: Once you know how much space you need to subtract (or add), you need to think about
dividing this amount in half for the front and back. Then divide that by half again, since that piece will be on both sides.
Example: The chest measurement difference I needed was 2 inches total.
Which means I need to remove 1 inch on front / 1 inch on back.
The front piece is cut out twice, so the 1 inch needs to be halved, 1/2 inch removed from each of the two pieces equals one inch.
Here is the pattern being cut to remove that 1/2 inch.
When you cut the stripe down the pattern you only overlap it 1/4 of an inch on both pieces, because that will equal 1/2″. I also removed that half inch from the front neck facing. To check my work I flipped it upside down on top of the changed pattern to see if the length was right.
(refer to the tutorial if confused)
On the children’s measurement chart I noticed that the shoulder width was also needing to be smaller, so I took out 1/2 and inch there, by over lapping it 1/4″ inch.
The second image show how much I had to take out of the armhole. This was a big difference, all at once. I overlapped it 5/8 inch, to remove the 1 1/4″ inch that was too much.
Since I removed that space form the sleeve on the front and back I needed to do the same to the sleeve pattern piece. I also shortened it, about 1 inch, just cuz, I didn’t want it to be too long. The dotted line, is where I drew the new sleeve bottom.
I repeated this basic process on the back piece. The only difference was that the facing and back were one piece so I had to remove that 1/2 inch from the facing portion as well. On this image you can see an arrow for all the areas I took space out. Lastly I removed 2 inches from the length. According to the pattern you just added or subtracted from the bottom, so that is what I did here. I recommend doing this very last, because I didn’t and when I began removing width, it messed up the hem, better to just wait til all the other changes are made.
I taped everything like mad so that I wouldn’t have to waste more paper to copy the pattern onto in order to cut it out.
I used some old lilac fabric I had and lace. I just need to buy some buttons for the back. The pattern took about 3 hours. It wouldn’t take that long a second time, but I had to figure it out a bit! And I haven’t sewn clothing from a pattern in years. But this was SO fun!
And two more- I might change out the little buttons on the front for bigger ones. What do you think, do they seem too small? (that was all I had on hand)
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Cassity Kmetzsch started Remodelaholic after graduating from Utah State University with a degree in Interior Design. Remodelaholic is the place to share her love for knocking out walls, and building everything back up again to not only add function but beauty to her home. Together with her husband Justin, they have remodeled 6 homes and are working on a seventh. She is a mother of four amazing girls. Making a house a home is her favorite hobby.

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  1. >SO Cute!!! You could sell these because you can't find dresses like these. I might talk to you about paying you to make a few for Olivia. You are SO talented, you could have quite the side business with all the things you can do!

  2. >I second Rachel's comment. You are so creative. The dress is absolutely beautiful Cassity! Wow, not much longer until your blessing arrives. Enjoy the last few weeks of sleep, peace, and quiet.

  3. >Cassity you have always amazed me! I LOVE the dress, she is going to look so cute in it. Can't wait to see what else keeps you busy.

  4. >love it cassity, I love the detail oriented artsy type! live it up, because unless Etta is a good sleeper, you have to do this type of project on 15 min time increments. keep it up.