Modifying the Truffle Dress

I promised I’d post about how I modified my latest version of the Truffle dress.  I made several changes, including: (1) raising the neckline, (2) changing the the shape of the skirt, (3) adding a waistband, and (4) changing the darts on the skirt front.

Truffle Collage

Modified                                                                 Original Pattern (but without front drape)

I also drafted facings and installed a full lining, but I think that deserves it’s own post, and I didn’t take any pictures of the construction process.  😦  So more on that another day.  For now, I’ll outline how I went about each of the four changes below.  But with the caveat that I don’t really know what I’m doing here, and this may not be the “right” way to do things. 🙂  I follow the “if it works, it’s right” school of thought.  So this is what worked for me.

Raising the Neckline

This was simple.  I decided I wanted the neckline to be higher than the original pattern.  I simply took my pattern, marked a point above the center front, and used a curved ruler to draw the new line.  I made sure the first 1/2″ of the new line was at a 90 degree angle to the center front.  I did this to prevent my neckline from getting a v-shape. Here’s what my pattern looked like. The red line was the original neckline.

IMGP4601 copy

*Note – I retrace my pattern pieces when I make design changes.  That way I can always go back to my earlier versions if I want to.  I get my tracing paper at the art supply store.  It comes in a big wide roll, is inexpensive, and lasts me a long time.

Straightening the skirt

I wanted a straighter skirt, so I measured down to the fullest part of my hips, and then drew in new side seams.  Here’s a (not to scale) illustration of what I did.  The red line became the new cutting line. (I did this to both front and back skirt pieces.)


I also lengthened the skirt by about 2 inches.  Since the skirt didn’t have as much walking ease, I added a back vent by following Sunni’s tutorials.

Adding a Waistband

I didn’t want to belt my holiday dress, but still wanted a defined waist.  A built-in waistband seemed to be the answer.  I thought a 1 inch waistband would be about right.

First, I drew a cutting line 1 5/8″ from the bottom edge of my pattern.  You could make a wider waistband, just make sure to include the 5/8 seam allowance in your measurement.

Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

I cut along the red line.
Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

Then on the waistband piece, I closed the dart legs. I cut on the green line on the left and lined it up with the blue line on the right, and taped it together.
Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments
Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

Then I smoothed out the top, and I added a 5/8″ seam allowance to the top of the waistband piece AND the bottom of the bodice piece.  (Hint:  Mark which side of your waistband piece is the top, to avoid confusion later.)
Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

This is what my actual pattern pieces look like:
Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

I did the same thing for the back bodice pieces.  When I constructed the dress, I sewed the bodice darts, then sewed the waistband to the bodice pieces.  Then I constructed the rest of the dress according to the pattern instructions.

Adding Two Darts to Skirt Front

I got this idea from the pencil skirt pattern in Gertie’s book.  I love how those double darts look.  Also when I was searching for inspiration for my holiday dress, I saw a lot of vintage dresses with double darts or pleats.

I knew I didn’t want to just add a second dart because the skirt might get too tight.  I thought of dividing the original dart in two, but I was worried the darts would be too small.  (Although it probably would have worked fine.)  So I decided to add a little ease into the skirt front, so I could then pinch it back out in the new dart.

First I marked the seam allowance on my front skirt piece.  Then I drew a vertical line to the right of the original dart, where I wanted my second dart to be.

I slashed through the purple line, all the way to the bottom, but left a little hinge.
Then I spread the pattern open just a little bit and taped it.  I added 1/4 inch (measuring at the seam line.)
Next I drew in my new dart legs.  I wanted the new dart to be longer than the original, so I marked the dart point 1/2 inch below where the original one was marked.  I made the dart 5/8 inch wide, measuring at the seam line.
Then I re-drew the dart legs on the original dart, so that the dart was also 5/8″ wide (at the seam line).

My math skills aren’t great, but this is what i figured out:  the original dart width was 1 inch (measured at the seam line).  I added 1/4 inch by slashing and spreading.  Then I divided the total dart amount in half, and made two 5/8 inch wide darts.

Here’s my actual pattern piece:

Holiday Truffle Pattern Adjustments

I really love the result!

Holiday Truffle

So, there you have it. I have really enjoyed customizing this pattern, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time. I’m already plotting a version with princess seams!


7 thoughts on “Modifying the Truffle Dress

  1. Pingback: Completed: Birthday Dress | Purls and Pleats

  2. Pingback: Completed: Polka Dot January Dress | Purls and Pleats

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