I stood in front of the mirror, scissors in one hand and tape in the other. Fitting one of the seven, eight, or nine bras I have made since last summer (I lost count at five), I hacked it up until it lay smooth everywhere. When the bra fit correctly, I took it off and transfered the alterations to the pattern (I put a shirt on in between. I don’t pattern make topless!).
The cross cup seam needed to be reduced, the cup seam/wire line reshaped, and the band at the armhole raised. First, I slashed and closed the cups at several points, reducing the length of the cross cup seam, and after, I reshaped the cup seam. To true things up, I walked the patterns so that the lengths of the seams matched on all corresponding pieces. When it came time to raise the armhole, things got hairy and I started to get confused at what I had done and what I still had to do.
“Too much Maddie. Too many alterations at once.”
In patternmaking for a perfect fit, it is best to change a little at a time and to limit the number of changes. Also, any change over 1/2″ calls for a second thought. Why? Because making a big change at once can alter the shape of the pattern – the pattern can lose its integrity, if that makes sense. Plus, fixing one fit issue can fix another (i.e. reshaping the neckline can eliminate drag lines that were thought to be caused by an armhole/side seam that was off balance).
Back to my bra fitting. I was confused. Lengths of seam lines were not matching up and things in general weren’t making sense. The cross cup and wire line were fixed and I left it at that and made another bra. I would fix the underarm in the next go.
In pattern making, the tortoise wins the race.