Sunday, August 22, 2010
I made up these Oliver and S popover dresses this week for a first birthday present. The pattern is wonderful- super easy and free, can't beat that! But the smallest size on the pattern is a 2, which I'm gathering is a 2T from what I've read about the pattern online. I don't have any small children around to measure and I honestly have no concept of how big a one year old is. It's hard to picture! So I attempted completely altering the pattern to fit a one year old. I think my method was right in theory but it only ended up working out because of a lot of trial error.
I read somewhere online (I apologize I can't remember where) about sliding the pattern pieces and retracing the curves to resize. I know this is not the proper way to do it, especially on more complicated patterns, but since this pattern basically only two pieces and some bias binding I figured this method would work. But where to find the average chest width of a one year old? I won't tell you all the strange body part measurements that turned up when I typed that in to a search engine.
I searched for a long time until somewhere I read that the average chest width of a one year was 18 inches. The chest width on the pattern size 2 is 22.5 inches. So I estimated that if I took one inch off the side, that would take off 4 inches total. Sounds logical, right? I slid the pattern pieces over and retraced about one inch in. I wasn't being completely precise about it because I figured the style of pattern probably had enough ease to fit anyway. I guesstimated a little on the top, keeping the curve. I also took off 5 inches of length because that was the difference in height of a one year old and a size 2T. I used my resized pattern pieces and cut the light pink dress and the yellow one at the same time. I sewed the light pink one first and when I was done I held it up-- and it was tiny! I knew it would be too small.
I went back to the drawing board and did some more research. I had the bright idea to look at measurements of clothing sizes on Gymboree instead of randomly searching online. They list the average chest width of a 12 month old as 19.5 inches- big difference! So I retraced the pattern again. This time adjusting the measurements to end up fitting 19.5 inches, being a little more generous than before, and also adding a little more length because the light pink one look short. I made the bright pink one from the larger adjustment. It looked right to me.
I still had the pieces for the yellow dress already cut out from before, so I decided to go ahead and sew it up. I sewed all the seam allowances as small as I could to make it a bit larger. In the end, I ended giving the yellow dress and bright pink dress as the gift. I'm interested to find out which one fits! I also have a lucky coworker with an adorable six month old that's going to get the little pink one.
So these were my adventures in resizing a child's pattern! I'd love to get my hands on a copy of The Perfect Fit and learn about resizing for real. All in all, I enjoyed the pattern. It was simple and quick and a great way to use smaller pieces of leftover fabric.