argh, help me adjust a dress pattern for a beanpole child

I’m very frustrated! It’s partly the pattern and partly a chronic problem with this child. She’s a beanpole, and no matter how much I try to narrow the bodice, it still tends to hang on her. Example photo, but it doesn’t really show the problem. She’s grown quite tall (is now 7) but is still about the same width as her 4-yo sister.

So today I started a dress for her, and the pattern includes no measurements for what a size 6 or 8 will finish out to. Fine, I need to make a muslin slip anyway, muslin is cheap, I’ll start with the slip. Knowing that it would be too wide, I trimmed width out of the bodice, but it’s enormous.

I’ve always had trouble with adjusting armholes in patterns, so oh wise tailoring Dopers, a quilter needs your help. How can I make a bodice tall and narrow without ruining the fit?

For a second, I read that “7” as feet, not years.

I’m not a tailoring type, but I am a beanpole and a decent math-type, and I’d say you’d probably do fine to horizontally scale everything but the shoulders (which you would probably want to scale about half-less than you did the rest of everything else.) A scale-transform over the whole pattern should give a consistent effect so that it doesn’t change how it flows.

Anyways, given as I’m really not a tailory-type, I just wanted to give a cheer for beanpoles. We’ve got to stick together to mass up to normal. :wink:

Is that about the same style dress in the photo? Did you bring the neckline in proportionally? If you bring the bodice in enough (as in, it’s got the same circumference as her ribcage, or just slightly more) you’re probably going to have to bring that neck in, as well, or the shoulders are going to be like a linebackers.

The easiest way I know to do it (if it’s a simply symmetrical pattern like the linked photo) is to lay out your folded piece of fabric and then put your pattern piece so the “place on fold” line is not on the line, but on your table. That’s unclear. Let me try again: fold the fabric so the fold in on your left. Imagine it’s on a “0” on a number line. Put the “center line” of the pattern piece at -2, or -3, or wherever it needs to be. Essentially, make a new center line - that will narrow the neck and the bodice all at once, while still leaving your sleeve hole intact.

Of course, if there’s a yoke or neck trim or anything, you’ll have to adjust it by the same amount.

If that doesn’t do it, then maybe just find a new pattern - not every shape works on every body.

Nope, it’s not the same pattern. That’s just the last dress I made (for once, something that’s almost in fashion!). This is the current project, but I can’t find an actual photo of it online–I have one here, though. I’m making it in white linen for her baptism this summer (think First Communion, only we don’t do the bride look so often).

I’ll try taking some out of the center; that’s a good idea. I always try to trim it down at the sides, and there’s usually too much fabric over her stomach when I do that. I’ve mostly done quilts and only got into clothes a couple of years ago, and I’m not much good at altering yet.

Cute! I like it; I’m always slightly squicked out by the over-the-top bridal communion/confirmation gowns.

The good news is that the skirt is gathered, so you probably won’t have to cut that any differently - just gather it in a bit tighter and match your circles and notches.

Yes, I’m going for understated elegance here. I’m not a tons-o’-lace person. It’s actually quite a simple pattern except for the front bodice with the slashes and gathers. And quite frankly I like it when the fabric is gathered a lot, so you get twirliness.

I don’t care for bridiness, and I’m not a fan of satin (which is common for baptism dresses, here’s a typical store selection). Actually white dresses are completely optional–kids now don’t even get baptized in them like I did as a kid–but some people like to get them, and it’s an excuse to sew a pretty dress! I might make a colored slip as well to wear sometimes.

as the mother of a beanpole my best suggestion is to not make a size tall enough and take it in, but make a size that fit around her body and make it longer. I’ve had the best luck lengthening bodices and skirts rather than trying to take in bodices to fit Of course, my bean pole is also short, so it’s only a matter of an inch or two with her. Mine is seven and a half and I recently modified a 4 to fit her. When I buy her clothes, she’s a 6x slim.

BTW, if you want to know how big the bodice will be when done, measure at the side seam just under the arms on both the front and back bodice pieces. Then subtract your seam allowances. That bodice looks like it should be loose fitting, so you would want to have about 3-4" of ease or so. Maybe a bit more.

I missed that this is dangerkid’s baptism dress. congrats to her. :slight_smile:

I second the notion that you should make your width adjustments at the center back and front, rather than at the sides. Leave the armholes alone. I have to make this adjustment on patterns for my grown daughter who is no longer the skinny little thing she was as a child, but most everything I make for her needs to lose an inch or more at the center back to fit right around the front.

OK, today I’m going to try a couple of different methods. Last night I traced a version that’s 6 wide but is longer in the waist, so I’ll try that out today as well as one with width taken out of the center. Yay for cheap muslin! Wish me patience.