I'm petite in the sense that my vertical measurements are different from someone of average height. Altering ready-made patterns never worked out, which is why I tried to draft my own. That also is a frustrating, if fascinating, process. Following other pattern drafting instructions, I kept running into trouble – even with my measurements the clothes fit almost as poorly as RTW. Then Maddie came along and discovered something for me:
- When following pattern drafting directions, petite vertical measurements should be less than what is written (assuming the directions are for an average person). In the case of Maddie's tutorials, this meant the 2-inch vertical measurement in her directions should be a 1-inch measurement for me.
- The armhole drop will seem too short. In the books, I read that an armhole drop should be around 7-8 inches for a woven shirt. When I measure myself, it is less than 6 inches. Before, I tried to make it seven inches because I thought I was measuring myself wrongly. The problem was that with an armhole that low, once the sleeve was in, I had limited mobility. It felt like the armhole was at the same level as my bust line or halfway to my elbow. For the current bodice draft, I used my measurements of less than 6 inches. So far, it feels better.
- The sleeve cap height might be shorter than expected. I'm still working out my sleeves, but the best fit has come from a sleeve cap height of less than 5 inches.
Here is a muslin of my bodice draft so far. I slit down the front and put bias tape on the neckline so that I could try on the muslin with all the seams sewn and without causing the neckline to fray. It's still a tight fit, but manageable.
- Before I put in the sleeve, the shoulder seam sat at center shoulder. Now it is pulled towards the back.
- Before I put in the sleeve, the front darts stopped at exactly the bust point. Now they are an inch too high.
- The sleeve cap has 2-inches ease over the armhole. I do not want puffed sleeves. Uh, uh! Never! I've reduced the puffed effect by distributing the ease around the entire sleeve, except for an inch at the very top and at the very bottom where the side seam is. This still creates gathers that I need to get rid of. I also wonder if this contributes to the pulling backwards on the bodice. How to keep the proper shape of the sleeve cap and enough room in the sleeve while reducing the amount of ease?