Hello VFT fans!  My name is Beth Chastant.  You have probably seen my three sweet girls on the VFT site and around their various Facebook groups modeling for my favorite pattern company ever!   I am a mother of four sweet kiddos. My oldest two girls have moved into tween sizes and I have become quite familiar with grading and adjusting patterns as needed to fit the ever changing, multi-sized figures of my tween girls.  Today I am here to explore the fun and sometimes challenging world of tween fitting and adjustments with you all! To coincide with this month’s sew-a-long winner, Sutton , we will look at a bodice fit issue that I’ve had with my oldest growing tween model.   I will walk you through a few adjustments you can use to customize it for your tween’s unique measurements. 

Lets get started!  As always, you should start each and every project with fresh measurements.  My daughter is between several sizes in VFT bodices and it requires a little bit of grading between those sizes.  She is a size 14 for height and her bust measurements fall between a 14 and 16 with her waist measuring a size 12.  There are no bust darts in this pattern to accommodate a rise in the bust area, and with such a tailored fit I found that her narrow shoulders and broad chest left us with some excess fabric in the front armscye. I researched several I adjustments that were helpful in resolving this issue.


The best way to determine if you will need to make any adjustments for your child’s unique size is to make a muslin.   When first sewing with a new pattern, I usually make a lining only muslin of my bodice to quickly spot any possible fit problems that my daughter’s unique shape will cause to arise.   After making my muslin of Sutton, I found that there was an excess amount of fabric in the armscye of about 1 inch that puddled near the bust. I researched several options for fixing this issue.  One option would be to adjust the shoulder slope to remove the excess, but this is for discrepancies less than 3/4 inch. For discrepancy in amounts greater than 3/4 inch you will need to remove the amount from the armscye itself.  I am making my adjustment to the front bodice only because that is the only issue I had on my muslin.   

For an adjustment of 3/4 inch or less you will need to use an acrylic ruler to help make your markings.   Once you have determined how much you need to remove you measure down the desired amount (3/4” etc) from the shoulder seam on the armhole.  In my photo I am using 3/4 inch.  

You will then take your clear ruler and angle it up towards the inside of the original shoulder seam line and draw a line.  Once you have created your new shoulder seam line you can cut away the excess.

For discrepancies greater than 3/4 inch you will need to remove them from the armscye itself.  First you will need to remove the seam allowance so you can make sure you are making the proper adjustment.  This can be achieved by following the armscye line and making marks 1/2 an inch away from the armscye in small increments.  Once you have made your marks you can connect these marks in one solid line and cut the seam allowance away.

After you have removed the seam allowance you will mark the amount you need to remove from the armscye.  This can be achieved like you did to remove the seam allowance. Make marks in small increments along the armscye seam in the deepest part of the curve.  I am removing 1 inch so I made marks in 1/4 inch increments to be most accurate since there is a curve.  

After creating these markings you will fold the pattern over to make the first and last marking meet and tape to secure.  You have now created your new armscye. Using a paper (I like using freezer paper, but you may use several sheets of paper taped together or tracing paper) we will trace our new armscye and trace out the rest of the pattern.  The side seam will be the same, but the amount that you folded away will alter the neckline and bodice center, so you will need to trace side and shoulder seams with the pinch still taped down and remove the pinch to keep the bodice center and neckline true to the pattern shape.

 I did this by removing the tape where I altered the armscye  and smoothing my pattern flat. I then lined up my side seam and traced my center seam and bottom seam.  I used my the original pattern piece to true the neckline. I am adding a video to the Sew-a-long page that shows you how I was able to true the neckline so please join us at to see that Sew Along Facebook Group and more videos!   

After you have traced your new pattern piece you will need to transfer the waist dart and add you seam allowance back to the pattern.  And you now have done it!! Thanks for reading along with me and I hope to see all of your beautiful Suttons soon!!

August 14, 2019 by Maya Carithers