By Hand London Anna Dress: Back Neckline Adjustment!

Hey-o! Hope you busy little bees are all having a great day!  Today I have something a little different for you– a tutorial!  I promised to show you guys how I removed excess fabric from the back of my Anna dress.  I’m not great with PhotoShop, so I just hand-drew some shoddy illustrations… please forgive the crudeness!  Also, I’m not a professional and there are probably many other/better ways to do this.  This is just what worked for me.  🙂

OK, let’s do it!  This is a common alteration for me, but I had to really think through how to do it as my usual method doesn’t work so well on a garment with kimono sleeves.  I know several sewists just turned the excess fabric into darts, but I didn’t really want to do that. Here’s what I did instead:

[NOTE: This is an alteration to the pattern piece, so you need to do it BEFORE cutting into your fabric.]

First, figure out how much excess fabric you need to take out (you can do this by pinching it as though you’re making a dart, pinning it, and then measuring how much you’ve removed).  Jot down how much you need to remove if you’re like me and forget everything!

OK, so here’s your back bodice:

Now,  draw a straight line from the underarm curve to the middle of the neckline, landing about where the excess fabric gapes the most:

Stop your line right before you get into the seam allowance on the underarm side (so, 5/8″ from the edge).  Cut along this line.

Next, overlap the pattern along the cut edge by the proper amount.  For me, a 3/8″ overlap was just the ticket.

This illustration is particularly bad– my apologies!

Does that make sense?  It should overlap the most at the shoulder area and taper out to nothing at the end of the cut line.  When you have it positioned nicely, tape it in place!

Now you want to smooth out the neckline curve.  Tape some extra paper behind the neckline, and using a French curve, just blend the line together nicely.

Perfect!  Cut this out, and you’re all done!

That was a trick.  You’re SO not done, missy!  Get back here!

Your final step is to adjust your back facing to reflect the changes you just made to the bodice. You can slash and spread the facing the same way that you did the back bodice, or you can be lazy like me and just quickly draft a new one.

The facing is about 3.5″ wide, so I just measured down on my new back bodice piece and placed little dots at that mark:

The actual dots I used were, um, measured instead of sloppily eyeballed… whoops.

Then you can lay some tracing paper on top and just trace alone the dotted line to make your new, perfectly-matched facing!  NOW you’re done!

As a reminder, the ladies of By Hand London are about to start a sewalong for this pattern, so I’m sure they will handle other fit adjustments along the way.  I just wanted to share this in case it helps any other narrow-shouldered types like myself that can’t wait for the sewalong!