Fitting the Lotta dress

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Making the Lotta dress and want a few extra fitting hints and tips? Well, this is great timing, as this post is packed full of info about some fitting adjustments you might want to make to your Lotta dress pattern pieces.

The Lotta dress is suitable for stitching newbies as it’s easy to sew and fit – high-five! This post will cover the most common fitting adjustments you might want to consider for your Lotta dress. However, don’t feel like you need to do them all, or even any at all!
We sometimes recommend that you make a “toile” (or “muslin”) – a practice garment in cheap or spare fabric in a similar weight to the fabric you’re going to use for the final garment to test the fit – however, it’s not strictly necessary here. If you’re unsure about your sizing and have some expensive fabric lined up to make the dress in, you could make a quick toile of the bodice to check the fit, leaving off the skirt. However, if you don’t feel overly precious about your fabric, then go for it!
 In this post we’re going to cover:

  • Choosing your size 
  • Lengthening or shortening the bodice, sleeve or skirt
  • How to combine different bust, waist and/or hip sizes 
  • Bust adjustments 
Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


Choosing your size



Using a flexible tape measure, find the circumference of your:
– Bust – take the measurement at the fullest point i.e. around your nipples
– Waist – where you bend at the side
– Hips – the fullest part – it helps to turn to the side and look in a mirror to see where this is

Check the tape measure is sitting level with the floor all the way around. It can help to turn to the side and look in a mirror to check.

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Circle your measurements on the ‘Body Measurements’ chart in the pattern instructions. If your measurement falls between a size (for example, if your bust is 35in rather than 34in or 36in), it’s usually better to choose the larger size as you can take it in more easily than you can let it out.

If your measurements fall into one size on the body measurements chart, that is your size. Take a look at the size key on the pattern sheets and find the corresponding size line. Each size has its own solid or dashed line to make it easy to spot and help you follow it easily. 
If your bust, waist and hip measurements fall into different sizes, do not fear! Sewing our own clothes means we can make gorgeous garments that fit our beautifully unique bodies. Yay! You can join up different size lines at the bust, waist and hips to create a garment that fits your unique body measurements perfectly. See ‘How to combine pattern sizes’ below for more details.
But first, before you combine pattern sizes you might want to consider…

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

Lengthening or shortening the bodice, sleeve or skirt 

Our patterns are drafted for a height of around 5″5 (165cm). If you’re particularly taller or shorter than this, have particularly long or short legs, arms or torso, or want to change the garment to suit your personal style, then you may want to lengthen or shorten some of the pattern pieces.

The process of lengthening or shortening any of these pattern pieces is the same (happy days!). Take a look at our blog post on how to lengthen or shorten pattern pieces.
We have included the following sets of lengthen or shorten lines on the Lotta pattern pieces:

1) Bodice
If you often find your bodices feel too long or short for you, you can lengthen or shorten the front and back bodice pattern pieces using the lengthen or shorten lines.
To decide whether to lengthen or shorten the bodice, you can compare your own nape to waist measurement (nobbly bit on the back of your neck to your natural waist) to that listed on the “Finished garment measurements” chart in the instructions. The bodice is designed to be longer than your torso, to create a gorgeous blousey effect, so bear this in mind if you’re deciding whether to alter the length of the bodice, and how much by. 
If you do decide to alter the length of the bodice, don’t forget to make the same adjustment to the front bodice and back bodice pattern pieces, or you’ll end up with a wonky dress.
Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

2) Bracelet sleeve
The bracelet sleeve is designed to sit just shy of the wrist bone. If your arms are particularly long or short you can use the lengthen or shorten lines to amend the sleeve pattern piece.
If you want to make the short (grown-on) sleeve longer or shorter, you can simply move the drop shoulder seam on the pattern.

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons

3) Skirt



There are two different hem lengths to choose from for the Lotta dress. The knee-length dress is designed to sit 5cm (2in) above the knee, and the midi-length sits between the knee and mid-calf. We’ve included waist to hem lengths for both versions in the “Finished garment measurements” chart in the instructions for you to refer to. 
If you think this sounds a bit too long or short for your height or personal taste you can alter the length of the skirt to best suit you.

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
How to combine different bust, waist and/or hip sizes

If your bust, waist and/or hip measurements fall into different pattern sizes, you can draw a new line (“grade”) between pattern sizes to get a bespoke fit for your exact body measurements. We have a blog post with step-by-step instructions and diagrams to show you how to do this is more detail. Read on for some Lotta specific tips on combining pattern sizes…
The great thing about the Lotta dress is the only important areas to fit are the bust and, to a lesser extent, the waist. The waist will be cinched in to fit your natural waist thanks to the elastic, and the skirt is so flared and swishy you most likely won’t need to worry about altering it at all. 
I recommend picking your pattern size according to your bust size, unless you think you need to do a full bust adjustment (see ‘bust adjustments’ below). If your waist size is one or two sizes bigger or smaller than your bust size, you don’t need to combine sizes here as the elasticated waist will make sure it fits nicely at the waist. However, if your waist is three or more sizes bigger or smaller than your bust, I’d recommend grading in or out to your waist size to make sure it fits. 
If you do combine sizes between the bust and waist, follow the underarm curve of the pattern size that matches your bust size, draw a diagonal line to the side seam that matches your waist size 2cm (3/4in) above the waistline seam, then continue straight down to the bottom of the bodice. The bodice and skirt waistlines are sewn at a 2cm (3/4in) seam allowance so it’s important they’re the same size at this point.
Make sure you do the exact same adjustment to the front and back bodices so they match when you sew them together.
Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons
As mentioned above, the swishy skirt has a lot of ease in it and you probably won’t need to combine sizes between the waist and the hips to make it fit. In most cases you should cut the skirt to the pattern size that matches your waist measurement. Check the “Finished garment measurements” chart in the instructions to be sure your hips will fit – you can find them on the “Find your pattern size” page. 
If you do want to alter the size of the skirt at the hips, follow the size line for your waist size for 2cm (3/4in) and then draw a line to the hip notch of your hipe size. Try to make the line ever so slightly curved where it hits the hip notch – you can use a French curve or pattern master ruler if you have one, or draw the curve freehand.

Fitting the Lotta dress sewing pattern - Tilly and the Buttons


Bust adjustments

If you often find your clothes are a bit tight across the bust, and usually have excess fabric pooling above the boobs, then you might benefit from doing a full bust adjustment (FBA) to the front bodice. Check out our dedicated blog post all about how to do a full bust adjustment on a dartless bodice for more info on how to do this.

Because of the easy-fitting design of the Lotta dress, it’s unlikely you would need to make a small bust adjustment to the pattern.
Alas, all good things must come to an end, including this blog post (hehe). I hope this post has helped you decide if you need to do any fitting adjustments to your Lotta dress. Don’t get too carried away with fitting adjustments – remember to make your sewing fun rather than flawless. Life’s too short to worry about a perfect fit 🙂
We love seeing your finished makes and progress shots. Tag us on Insta @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingLotta

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Author: Nikki Hoar
Photography: Jane Looker
Gorgeous models: Selena Singh and Alice Irvine
Coral double gauze fabric: Like Sew Amazing
Teal peachskin fabric: Fabric Godmother

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