Thursday 9 April 2015

A&A Cami 2: Widen Armholes

Good evening kind folk!

First off, thank you so very much for all your kind words of congratulation in comments and on Twitter. We are overwhelmed by your generosity! Me and Mr T have been doing our usual dealing with the little stuff, and the big stuff is taking care of itself. Thank you for your luck with the scan, everything looked grand, working organs and everything, I'm not sure how interested you are in our baby's organs... but now you know :-)

The weather has been amazing! We went to Whitby for the weekend, and I brought my thickest Mum knit jumper along as obviously I knew I would freeze. However, I got a sun burn! I know, nothing to brag about, but the first time you are caught out by the sun in the year is always worth a little celebration in my book. Here's me delighted just to be on holiday, however cold. I'm wearing my purple rain mac that I made last year, it's finally warm enough to wear it yay!! It really needs a zip though as half the buttons have popped off due to the inflexibility of the fabric. I'm trying to find a suitable double ended zip, but it's hard work getting one the right colour and size. Any tips?

Just imagine how big my smile was when it was sunny! I'm saving those pics for an outfit post, as I've finally got pictures of the map top I wore in episode one of the Sewing Bee. I've had quite a few requests regarding how this was made, so can't wait to show you the process.

So where were we? I've been taking you through some of the adjustments that I made to the Cami to make myself a standard shirt dress and shirt pattern. We have made adjustments to the shoulder seam, so it should now sit directly on the edge of my shoulder. You can read about this wide shoulder adjustment in my last Adaptation and Alteration post. I was hopeful that this would give me a little extra room in the bodice that would get rid of some of the pulling. However, I knew that the armholes were still tight, so I made an adjustment to widen the armhole. 

You can read a little bit more on this technique here:
1. If you previously cut a smaller size for the armholes, and you can still see the pattern marking for the larger sizes, then just cut along this line. If not, then mark the amount that you want to drop the armhole (I did this in 1cm increments) on the side seam. Using a french ruler copy the curve of the original seam line lower down, matching your mark up with the original curve as you can see in the diagram.

2.  Then you want to extend the side seams on the arm piece to match what you have just taken away from the armhole. I found the easiest thing to do was to re-trace the sleeve piece, then add the amount you need (should be the same as you have taken from the armhole in step 1) horizontally from the end point of the curve on either side of the sleeve. Taper this down to nothing at the end of the sleeve piece. 

So! As the original dress fitted so well, and I had now added so much room to the pattern at this point, I paused. I didn't want to go completely the wrong way and add in too much ease which would then result in a massive unwearable garment. So this is when I decided to make wearable muslin No. 2. 

I don't like the term wearable muslin... it makes it sound like it's a practise run, which I guess it is but doesn't do justice to the amount of work that goes into something like this. I wanted to do something a little different this time, as I didn't want to jump straight into another shirt dress. Therefore this time I opted for a shirt

In order to make a shirt pattern from the bodice, you extend the lines of the bodice out into the length for a shirt. I usually copy a shirt I already have:

1.  I first laid down my pattern piece on the table, I then covered this with see through medical paper which I use for tracing patterns. you can use any paper which is durable enough to withstand being pinned etc but is still see through enough to see the pattern pieces beneath. 

I then laid a shirt that I already owned over the pattern piece that I had made all of the adjustments to so far, matching up the end of the armhole and shoulder seam. I then traced the new hem line and hip angle up to the shirt side seam. I took away the shirt, and traced the rest of the shirt pattern that I had previously made adjustments to. 

You will want to ignore the bottom dart, but add in the bust dart to provide some shaping to your shirt.

2.  Using a ruler, follow the placket lines down from the pattern piece to the new hemline. Also you want to smooth out the harsh edge where the bodice and the hip line meet. You can do this by eye, or with a french curve. 

Hopefully you will now have a fully altered pattern piece to make a shirt with! Phew! With this pattern I made the Fantastically Generous Bloggers Shirt that you can see here! 

There is a lot more room for manouvre in this, but it still has its issues. The least of these issues being that it has now gone in the cupboard as I can't fit Bump into it anymore. But let's not dwell, there's plenty of time to deal with any further changes to be made in the next installment! I hope you're finding these posts useful, I always enjoy reading more in depth about the fitting process that someone goes through, as it reminds me that we don't all fit straight out of the envelope, and that there are fixes out there for these issues. 

I've got a weekend to myself this week, and I can't wait to sink my teeth into a more in depth sew. However, I really should make some more stretchy work skirts. Lets see whether head or heart win ey? You can follow me on instagram to get more up to date posts on what I'm doing right now @dfabricater.


  1. Whitby! Sooo envious, I love Whitby and the north Yorkshire coastal area in general

  2. I'd never been before, I'll definitely head out there again!

    1. Robin Hood's Bay is lovely too, but the steep hill out of there is oxygen-tent worthy!

  3. Congratulations! Not sure how I managed to miss the big announcement! Hope the rest of the pregnancy goes well x

    1. Have you tried Maculloch and Wallis website

  4. Do have a look at for your zip - they sell everything you could possibly need! Love your blog, btw!! Annie.

  5. Thanks for your suggestions, I've ordered one from profabrics, fingers crossed!



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