Blending Sizes 101: Bodices and Sleeves (Children)

Welcome to a new series for the Boo and Lu blog: Blending Sizes 101! Today we are beginning with how to blend bodices and sleeves for children’s patterns. As will be discussed in a future post in more detail, blending between multiple sizes will be done differently for adult patterns. The focus of this post, is blending sizes on children’s patterns.

The first step in sewing any pattern, is to always take fresh measurements. It is imperative to take fresh measurements of the child before cutting any new pattern, even if you just did last week! Children grow and measurements fluctuate rapidly, so for best results, use fresh measurements every time. Once you have taken measurements, look at the size chart. The size chart can be found in every tutorial, and also on the main webpage.

Each individual pattern will instruct which measurements to use, for example some patterns will use trunk in place of height. For these examples, we will be using chest, waist, and height as we look at blending a standard bodice and sleeve. Note that every single Boo and Lu pattern will give specific blending instructions for that pattern, as some patterns will need very particular pieces blended very particular ways. Once you have mastered the art of blending sizes on a bodice and sleeve shown here, you will likely find blending pieces for any particular pattern to be much easier! The general rules are the same, but you will follow the pattern tutorial to know which sizes to use for which pieces!

Blending Sizes in the Bodice

Blending Sizes Blog

This is just a very basic bodice shape, shown in three sizes. The key shows that in this example, the chest falls in the smallest of the three sizes. The waist is the middle size, and the height is the biggest size.

The goal with blending sizes is to figure out where the different sizes intersect, and “connect-the-dots” so to speak. First, draw lines marking off the places where you need the width of the chest. This is at the shoulder, and the armscye base. In this photo those points are marked with a black line. You can see the shoulder lines are drawn at an angle to match the line they are coming off of- this will keep the shoulder width and angle accurate when blending with height.

Blending Sizes Blog

Next, mark off the line of the waist size. Draw a vertical line at the hemline of the bodice at the waist width line.

Blending Sizes Blog

Finally, draw lines everywhere you will need to adjust height. This will be the hem, the armscye, the shoulder, and the neckline. In this case the height lines of the shoulder are angled to match the bodice. Not all patterns will require this, so refer to the instructions in each individual pattern tutorial.

Tracing the New Bodice

Blending Sizes Blog

Each point where two size lines intersect will be a point for your blending. They are marked here with green circles.

Blending Sizes Blog

Now, connect these points to redraw the bodice. It is important that the armscye is the width of the chest line but the length of the height line. You will blend from the armscye to the hem from chest to waist in width. You will extend that line to the size of the height. The neckline will be the height size, blended to the shoulder width of the chest. The shoulder line should end up the same width as the original shoulder line, but at the height point of the height size.

That’s it! You are done blending sizes for the bodice!

Blending Sizes in the Sleeve

Next you will blend the sleeve to match the bodice.

The same three sizes are shown here, under the assumption that it is part of the same garment as the bodice that was blended. But in the case of the sleeve, you won’t need to worry about the waist size. Sleeves will be blended the width of the chest and the length of the height. It is important for it to match the armscye you blended, so it will be blended the same way. You will blend the sleeve cap the width of the chest size like the armscye, and the sleeve cap will be cut the length of height size. You need the finished sleeve cap to match the finished armscye so that the two pieces can be sewn together cleanly.

Blending Sizes Blog

Begin by drawing the width lines. You will draw these on the chest size line, at the point of the sleeve cap curve, and the hem width. In the picture above you will notice the chest width line is drawn for both the short sleeve and long sleeve hem, to demonstrate either option.

Blending Sizes Blog

Next, draw in the lines to mark height. These lines will be drawn at the sleeve cap height, and the hem length. You will notice that the short sleeve hem length line for height is angled: this is because of the curve of the hem line. If the hem line length line was not angled that way, the finished length of the hem wouldn’t finish accurate.

Draw points to mark each place the size changes, as you did with the bodice.

Blending Sizes Blog

Connect those points to draw in the new sleeve. Short and long sleeve lines are shown.

That’s It!

That’s all there is to blending bodices and sleeves for children’s patterns. The next segment of this series will cover blending bodices and sleeves for adult patterns. Have questions? We are happy to help! Make sure to join our Facebook group where you can see sewing inspiration, get tips and ideas, and help with any questions you have.

Happy Sewing!

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