Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tutorial: Wrap front onesie alteration. Part I: Pattern

First up, you need a pattern. I used one from Ottobre, issue 01/06, #4, but there are plenty of others around. My preference is for set in sleeves (I'll explain why when I get to that bit) the neckline and shoulder style are irrelevant because you're going to change them anyway. I looked up a few options. There's KS 2433 or KS 3375 for a looser fit. Or there's Butterick 5896 or McCalls 6103 or Simplicity 2459 or 2905 (which looks to me to be the same bodysuit pattern).

To start with you need a whole front, so trace one, flip the paper and trace another one. I then copy over that line from the right side so I have a whole front traced on one side of the paper. I particularly like working with Ottobre patterns because (apart from the great fit) they don't have seam allowances added. (It is a whole lot easier to work on patterns with no seam allowances and add them when you're done.) If you have a pattern with seam allowances already on it, it's worth marking in the stitching lines to make it easier to work with.

You need to trace the shoulder (stitching) line. If you have an envelope neck design this may be marked on. If not, there will be a registration mark to line up the overlap. Use this to work out where the shoulder line is.

I've used KS2433 to illustrate this. I traced the front and back pieces, overlapping them where indicated by the notch. I then folded my paper so that the side seams lined up and creased where that put the shoulder line. I've drawn in a dotted line to mark it. (I haven't subtracted the seam allowances for this, since it's just to illustrate how to find the shoulder line)

As you can see the resulting neckline needs a bit of tweaking, but at this stage that is very easy to do to produce a smooth neckline.

Then you draw the style lines onto the whole front. The neckline in the original pattern I'm using was to be bound, so the neckline here is the finished neck edge. I drew a line from the neck edge to the armhole seam. This line is the new finished neck edge. Now draw another line 1.5cm in from this line. This is the new stitching line for the neckband. The reason I choose set in sleeves becomes apparent here. If you choose a raglan style, the finished neckline will be shorter, which gives you less room to fit over the child's head. It is unlikely to be so much shorter that it causes a problem, but I figure why risk it?

The two parallel lines across the tummy are the cutting line and fold line for the under layer.

Now to work out the length of the neckband, overlap the back and front at the shoulder stitching line (I've traced my pattern to show this, since I didn't take any photos of the process I showed bits of in an earlier post). The solid line at the shoulder is the stitching line, and the dotted lines represent the overlapping seam allowances.

Then using a tape measure on it's side measure the finished neckline from centre back to the armhole. The measurement you get is half the length of the finished neckband (since you're measuring half the pattern). Easy!

Now the bit you need to be careful with. I decided on a finished neckband width of 1.5cm, so I drew a line on my pattern pieces 1.5cm from the finished neck edge. If you click on the picture below you'll get a bigger image and should be able so make out that this line is marked "1". This is the stitching line for the neckband. Then draw a seam allowance onto that - this line will be between the neckband stitching line and the finished neckline. My seam allowance is 1cm. That line is marked "2" and the finished neckline is marked "3".

Cut out your pattern pieces along the new cutting lines. (You'll be working with two separate pieces of paper for front and back of course, not a single piece of paper as I'm showing here since this illustration was just a tracing to show the process.) This gives you new front and back pieces.

To make a pattern piece for the front under layer, trace a mirror image of the front, down to the lines drawn on earlier.

Make a neckband pattern piece twice your finished width, plus seam allowances, and half as long as the finished neckband so you can cut it on a fold. My finished neckband is 1.5cm wide, so my pattern piece is (1.5cm + 1cm) x 2 = 6cm wide (finished width + seam allowance) x 2 (since it's folded in half.)

The sleeves are unaltered from the original pattern.

There you go, pattern done! Next up I'll show you how to sew it together. I promise it's easy too.


  1. Thanks so much for this Judy. I have Ottobre 1/2006, and have traced off and half constructed the bodysuit as-is, just for practice, so that when I follow this, I can make more sense of it. ATM, all my garments come out better second time around.