Hey y’all – WOW that post on grading patterns last week was really popular! But quite a few questions came from it, so I’ve decided to do a follow up post on how to grade sewing patterns today.
Remember to view part 1 of this topic if you missed it. You can find the original post here.
The first issue I want to cover is what do you do with multi piece tops/dresses/pants? Well, all patterns, even multi-piece ones, start from the basic bodice, sleeve, skirt or pants blocks. When you realize that, you might realize the best way to grade multi-part patterns is actually to put the pattern pieces together until you have a complete piece. Let me illustrate with my Rose T-shirt, which has a multi-part bodice.
To grade this, you’d need to overlap the pattern pieces, matching the stitching lines if the pieces include seam allowances. Once this is done, you can slash and spread or slash and overlap. In this way, each piece is graded in only the areas it needs to be.
Next, there were some questions about sleeves. Sleeves and armscyes go hand in hand. In order to grade a sleeve, you’d need to first grade the bodice. Then look at the slash marks, and add up how much total length you added or subtracted from the front and back armscyes. When you slash your sleeves, you need to make sure that the total amount you add to the sleeve cap equals the amount you added to the front AND back armscyes. Unless you have a half sleeve that you cut on the fold, then add the same amount you added to the front bodice.
In the example above, a total of 1/2″ was added to the armscye of the bodice. So you’d need to make sure that a total of 1″ was added to the length of the sleeve cap (because the back bodice armscye would also have had 1/2″ added). I’ve shown how that total breaks down on the sleeve. Note that depending on the style you may not want to add a full inch at the wrist, so you might want not to spread the bottom pieces of the sleeve as much as the top pieces.
So hopefully this helps clear up a couple questions so you can get your patterns to fit you!