Fitting the Skye Sundress

Making the lovely Skye sundress and want a few hints and tips on fitting? Well then, this post is for you! Skye is one of our sewing patterns available in TWO size bands – either in sizes UK 6-24 or UK 16-34which has a whole new size chart, going up to a 152.5cm (60in) bust, 134.5cm (53in) waist and 155cm (61in) hip, with different proportions to get the best fit. 

Skye is perfect for stitching newbies as it’s easy to sew and fit – yay! This post will cover the most common fitting adjustments you might want to consider for your Skye dress. However, don’t feel like you need to do them all, or even any at all!

Skye has an easy-fitting empire waist bodice, which is gently shaped with bust pleats, and the neckline and armholes are finished on the inside with bias binding. The neckline has a gorgeous, slightly square scoop shape, and is designed to cover a bra, with a flowy, gathered skirt with mini-, knee- and maxi-hem lengths to choose from. Of course, there are deep in-seam pockets too!

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 pattern pieces 
  • How to combine pattern sizes 
  • How to do wide and narrow shoulder adjustments

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. Below are the body measurements for both UK 6-24 & UK 16-34 size bands:

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.

If you find your measurements are in between our new size bands and need more help understanding the differences to see which will suit you best, check out our in-depth blog post here.

But first, before you combine pattern sizes you might want to consider…

Lengthening or shortening the bodice

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 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. Luckily for you, Skye is sleeveless so there isn’t too much to fiddle with here.

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 Skye 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.

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!

2) Skirt

Skye offers mini, midi and maxi skirt lengths so you’ll be sure to find something to your liking. If you find one of the skirt lengths is a bit too long or short for your height or personal taste, you can alter the length of the skirt to suit you. 

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. The great thing about the Skye dress is the only important area to fit is the bust. There is a lot of positive ease (aka room to breathe) at the waist and hips, so it’s unlikely you’ll need to combine pattern sizes – yay! 

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 bigger or smaller than your bust size, you don’t need to combine sizes here as there’s a lot of ease at the waist. The same applies to the hip measurement – the skirt is loose and flowy so a few sizes difference between your body measurements won’t affect the fit of the garment. However, if your bust and waist, or waist and hip measurements span across more than 3 sizes you might want to consider grading between sizes. Check out our blog post about how to combine sizes to find out more.

Make sure you do the exact same adjustment to the front and back bodices so they match when you sew them together.

Bust adjustments

If you often find your clothes are a bit tight across the bust, and usually have excess fabric pooling above the boobs, or conversely you may find there’s a bit too much fabric in that area, then you might benefit from doing a bust adjustment to the front bodice. Keep your eyes peeled for a blog post about how to do bust adjustments on a pleated bodice soon! 

Shoulder adjustments

If your tops and dresses often feel loose across the shoulders, or conversely if they’re tight and pull across that area, you might have slightly narrow or wide shoulders than the average person (hey, who wants average shoulders anyway?). If the shoulder width is too wide or narrow for you on the Skye sundress, you may find the shoulder straps dig in at the armpit, or alternatively fall down every 5 minutes, despite how many times you pull them up. Happily, adjusting the shoulder on a sleeveless sundress such as Skye is super easy! I’ll show you how 🙂

Narrow shoulder adjustment

If your shoulders are narrower than the pattern is drafted for, you’ll need to bring the shoulder seam towards the centre, and redraw the neckline and armhole curves. 

Place the front bodice on a bit of paper, and stick it down. Starting at the shoulder seam closest to the neckline, and draw a new line to continue the shoulder seam by the amount you want to bring the straps in. In the above example the shoulder seam has been extended by 15mm (5/8in). Now we need to draw a new neckline. Draw a new line at a 90 degree angle to the shoulder seam for 15mm (this is to account for the seam allowance), then draw a new line to meet the original neckline. How this line looks will depending on how much or little you’ve extended the shoulder line so don’t worry if your one looks a bit different from the example! 

As we’ve brought the neckline in, we need to do the same for the armhole. As we extended the shoulder seam 15mm at the neckline, we’ll do the same for the armhole line. Draw a line at a 90 degree angle to the shoulder seam for 15mm (to account for the seam allowance), then draw a smooth, curved line to meet the bottom of the original armhole curve. 

Don’t forget to make the same changes to the back bodice too! 

Wide shoulder adjustment

If your shoulders are wider than the pattern is drafted for, you’ll need to bring the shoulder seam out, and redraw the neckline and armhole curves.

Place the front bodice on a bit of paper, and stick it down. Starting at the shoulder seam closest to the armhole, draw a new line to continue the shoulder seam by the amount you want to take the straps out by. In the above example the shoulder seam has been extended by 15mm (5/8in). Now we need to draw a new armhole. Draw a new line at a 90 degree angle to the shoulder seam for 15mm (this is to account for the seam allowance), then draw a smooth, curved line to meet the bottom of the original armhole curve. How this line looks will depending on how much or little you’ve extended the shoulder line so don’t worry if your one looks a bit different from the example! 

As we’ve brought the armhole out, we need to do the same for the neckline. As we extended the shoulder seam 15mm at the armhole, we’ll do the same for the neckline. Draw a line at a 90 degree angle to the shoulder seam for 15mm (to account for the seam allowance), then draw a smooth, curved line to meet the bottom of the original neckline. 

Don’t forget to make the same changes to the back bodice too! 

I hope this post has helped you decide if you need to do any fitting adjustments to your Skye 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 🙂

ORDER YOUR SKYE SUNDRESS PATTERN TODAY!

We love seeing your finished makes and progress shots. Tag us on Instagram @TillyButtons using the hashtag #SewingSkye – we’ll be stalking the tag closely!

*****

Author: Nikki Hoar & Abi Dyson
Models: Averil de Souza and Andii Melody Mae
Photographer: Jane Looker 
Hair and makeup: Julie Wong
Samples: Sewn by Lisa Obuchowska
Averil’s samples:
1. Yellow and white gingham poplin – Spoonflower (gifted)
2. Rainbow stripes crepe de chine – Spoonflower (gifted) 
Melody’s samples:
1. Blob flowers organic sweet pea gauze – Spoonflower (gifted)
2. Ocean green viscose linen – Sew Me Sunshine (gifted)

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