Broad Backs

After my Pussy Bow Blouse post Jenny asked me how I did a broad back adjustment. I’m not much of an expert at fitting but there are a few techniques I have used in the past which might help.

I have a broad back and also broad shoulders and the adjustment I use depends on what sort of fit I am trying to get.

Option 1 – for the Pussy Bow Blouse I just added strip up the centre. The pattern had to be cut on the fold so I just laid the centre back of the pattern piece 2cm from the fold and cut round it as normal. Easy, no pattern adjustment required! I also had to adjust the length of the bow across the back neck and if your pattern has a facing, you would have to adjust that too. The downside of this adjustment is that the back neck is made wider but I was lucky, as it doesn’t seem to have produced any gaping.

img_2032Option 2 – As I have broad shoulders I have in the past just added a vertical strip starting mid shoulder (figure G). This is good in that it solves both fitting issues at once, however it does mean your waistline is also affected. For this adjustment you also need to adjust the shoulder line on your front bodice

Option 3 – This is probably the adjustment I use most often. It allows me to adjust for both my broad back and broad shoulders but does not affect the waist measurement. First you draw lines as show in figure B – the first is parallel to the grain from the mid-shoulder to the waist, the second is perpendicular to this and runs to just below the arm hole. Cut across the shorter perpendicular line and then up the vertical line to the shoulder, then slide the piece you have cut out so there is a gap equal to the amount you want to adjust by (figure D). Then you have to true up the side seam so it is the same length as the original (figure F). Don’t forget to also adjust the shoulder seam on your front bodice.

img_2027Option 4 – This is good if you don’t have to adjust your shoulder line. Firstly draw the same figure B lines as you had before. Then starting at the waistline you cut up to the shoulder leaving a small hinge at the top and across the perpendicular line leaving a small hinge at the side seam. Push the side seam out leaving a gap the size of the adjustment you need (figure C). You will then need to true up the waist seam so it matches the original (figure E)

img_2028I usually determine the size of the adjustments I need by comparing the pattern pieces to my block. If the pattern is for a fitted garment I find an adjustment of up to 4cm across the back and 2cm on each shoulder is required. For less fitted garments, which will have some design ease already added, the adjustment is usually smaller. I’m not sure why this is but adding in the full 4cm means I am swamped by the finished garment.

One problem I have not been able to resolve is that if I chose a fitted pattern using my bust measurement and then add 4cm at the back I find this makes the front a bit large. Some people advocate choosing your pattern size by using your upper bust measurement, but I find my upper bust measurement is the same as my full bust despite being a D cup – this is probably again because of the broad back – so this doesn’t really help me. If anyone has a suggestion as to how I can resolve this please let me know!




Pussy Bow Blouse

img_2021I’m having a bit of a Sew Over It moment. I’ve watched Lisa Comfort since she started her business a few years ago and am extremely impressed with what she has achieved. Sewing is such a niche market yet she now has two shops in London and a huge internet presence. She has written two printed books and an e-book and runs courses online and in the shops.

Her success is in part due to her sense of style, which is pretty and vintage. The patterns are beautifully cut but simple to sew and the online shop makes it easy to select the perfect fabric.

I must admit I am not a normally a fan of vintage style but I do find that a pencil skirt and a blouse make very easy work wear.

img_2015 This outfit is the Pussy Bow Blouse and the Ultimate Pencil Skirt.  I bought both the fabric and pattern for the blouse from the Islington shop. The pattern comes in two styles, this one is the v-neck and there is a keyhole shaped neckline. I think the latter is a more modern style and would look great in a white silk.

The shape is not very fitted so rather than do my usual wide back adjustment I just added a 4cm strip (yes my back is really that wide) down the centre back. I thought this might make the back neck gape but it lies perfectly where it should. I also had to adjust the bow for the same 4cm.

Owing to the slippery fabric the cuffs on the sleeves were a little fiddly to make, but the rest of it was very simple and quick.img_2016

I’ve had lots of compliments about this blouse, particularly people saying how nice the fabric is. Most of my clothes are made out of plan fabrics so maybe I need to wear more patterns.

I’ll write about the skirt next time