How to modify a basic block pattern
So there are so many tutorials out there on how to create basic block patterns, but there are not many there on how to use the basic block pattern once you have created it and how to adapt clothes from the basic block pattern.
I’m going to show you how to modify a basic block pattern. This was my first attempt and I must say it came out pretty well. The end result was the picture below. Because my body is so awkward, commercial sewing patterns don’t always work for me. Once I had taught myself and drew and drew with some trial and error, I came up with a design from modifying a basic block pattern I made for me that I quite like. I just need to have a straw hat with it to make the outfit complete.
The first thing I did was make sure that I had pre-drawn what I wanted the outfit to look like on a piece of paper when it was done. This was a pattern I had a long time ago when I was younger and I wanted to re-create this pattern. With trial and error, I managed to modify this basic block pattern to copy the original design I had.
The next thing is that I laid out the block pattern on a new piece of pattern paper (or in my case gift wrap) and weighted it down to make sure it was secure. I then traced the block pattern with all the lines exactly onto the new piece of paper.
To modify the basic block pattern I started by shaping the neck. I wanted my neck to be lower and a little wider. I did this with the help of the french curve pattern making tool that I have made temporarily until mine arrives from Amazon.
I then measured out from the sleeve and side the amount I wanted the dress to hang loose or be away from my body. I measured all around and then with dots, drew the lines as in the two photos below.
Once I had those lines drawn, I added to the modifying process by creating an area for button holes in the front of the dress. The button hole area I made double the amount so that the fabric can be a bit thicker over the button hole area and so that the sewing machine won’t catch the fabric up and gather it while sewing the button hole. The below image is the progress of the modifying on the basic block pattern that I did.
You see, modifying a basic block pattern is basically taking a block pattern and just drawing in what you want to have on the pattern. What you want the dress to look like. The basic block pattern itself is your exact measurements to fit you snug and you will find an article on how to make a basic block pattern in my links.
The next thing I did was work on the back piece and enlarged it the same way, a little more on the side and the back neck part too…..
I then decided that the part of the pattern over the shoulder was too wide and it needed to be narrowed. To modify this part of the basic block pattern, I measured inwards on both sides, exactly 1.5 inches both sides (I did this for the front pattern too) and drew my lines.
With a little bit of artistic ability, this shoulder can be shaped right. I made sure I made it come down far enough before taking the curve. Otherwise it would have looked a bit weird.
The next thing I did to modify the basic block pattern was to lengthen it and make it straighter. The below images will show you how I did this. Because of my awkward body, it doesn’t look that straight, but it is as you saw from the fully made dress in the first picture.
For the skirt part, I took double the width of the shirt pattern at the top and added it to the skirt part so that there is space for gathering a bit. I then realized that I didn’t have enough fabric so had to use less than what my pattern indicated but it still worked out.
The facing was a bit of a different story. I laid out the basic block pattern that I had modified and drew the arm and neck curves. I measured about 1.5 inches in and drew the facing lines.
I hope this has been helpful in teaching you how to modify a basic block pattern. As I’ve mentioned before, there are so many tutorials out there on how to create a basic block pattern, but not many on how to modify one. Since this was my first time I attempted to modify a basic block pattern, I really think I did ok. I hope this can help you too.