The Bonnell Dress is Here! Plus, How to Print your PDF Pattern

Bonnell Dress

The day has finally arrived! The Bonnell Dress is now available for purchase in my store and on Etsy.

Thanks again to everyone who helped with testing, editing, proof reading and support. Couldn’t have done it with out you!

This pattern has instructions, pattern pages, plus a copy shop version all in one PDF file.


Since many of you probably want to get started on the pattern right away I’m going to take a moment to go through how to print the PDF at home.

I get emails from confused users because their test square ends up too big or some of the side borders get cut off when they print their pattern. The most likely culprit is page scaling.

To fix this we need to adjust some settings when we go to print the pattern.

Every program is different, and some details differ between version numbers, but all will have some option related to page scaling.


I’ll show some examples. This is version 8.0 of Preview on my Mac. When I click to print first I get a simple print window. I have to click on “Show Details” near the bottom.


The page expands and now we get some scaling options. By default Preview chooses “Scale to Fit” which is bad bad bad. If I just printed the pattern without changing this the pattern would print at 108% making the test square and all the pattern pieces too big.

Instead click on “Scale” and manually enter “100%” in the text box. Now you can print!



This is version 11.0.06 of Adobe Reader (also on my Mac). On the print page there are a few options listed under Page Size & Handling. Two options can work here, either clicking “Actual Size” or “Custom Scale” and manually entering “100%.”


However if you choose “Fit” then you’ll wind up with the pattern printing at 110%. Not good!


The pattern is designed to print on US letter size paper or A4. The copy shop version is very last page in the PDF and can fit on 36″ wide paper or one sheet of A0 paper (follows the same rules as at home, print at 100%, not bigger).

Hope this helps! Happy printing!

Coming Soon: The Bonnell Dress



It’s almost here! Next Tuesday (Texas time), May 19th, 2015 I’m releasing my newest pattern – the Bonnell Dress.

You might have already seen it but here’s the deets: sleeveless dress has bodice darts, jewel neckline in front and V-neck in back, waistband, gathered skirt with side seam pockets, triangle cutouts at bodice side seams, and a center back invisible zip. The PDF download is 24 pages. Measurements are in imperial and metric and has 10 (ten!!) sizes, the most I’ve had in a pattern before.

You can check out my previous posts on this dress for more pics.

I’m getting excited! Are you getting excited!?

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments and I’ll try to get back to you as soon as I can.

Well, in the meantime while we’re waiting here are some fun gifs to look at…






Small Bust Adjustment on a 2-Dart Bodice Tutorial


Hello everyone! In preparation for my new pattern I wanted to include notes on how to do a Full Bust Adjustment and a Small Bust Adjustment. I found a great FBA tutorial over on Curvy Sewing Collective but couldn’t find an independent tutorial I liked on SBAs for a 2-dart bodice. So I’m making my own!

I’m using the bodice piece from my upcoming pattern (which is why it looks like a big triangle is cut out of the bottom left corner) but this will work on any bodice with a side and a waist dart.


How to figure out if you need a Small Bust Adjustment?

  • Do you know that you have a small bust? Like, smaller than a B-cup?
  • If you make a muslin of your bodice does it fit well in the shoulders but bag out in the bust?
  • Or does your muslin fit well in the bust but is too tight in the shoulders and arms?
  • Does the waistline bag out in the front and the side seams angle backward (too much length and width in front)?
  • On pattern size charts does your bust measurement usually fall under a smaller size than your waist measurement?


You will need:

  • Pens/markers/pencil
  • Tracing paper
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Clear ruler
  • Tape measure



Start by measuring the fullest part of your bust in whatever undergarments you will wear with your dress. Make note of this number.

Select which size bodice piece to work with based on your waist measurement. The bust size will likely be larger than your bust measurement.

Now for some math: Say your measurements are 32″ bust and 27″ waist, and the pattern piece you cut out is sized for 34″ bust and 27″ waist.

Subtract your bust measurement from the pattern’s bust size: 34″ – 32″ = 2″

2″ is how much you need to remove from the front bodice piece total. But because most patterns use half-pieces either cut out twice or cut once on the fold you need to divide your 2″ in half, or 1″ reduction per side of the front bodice.

(Alternately, if you’ve already made a muslin that fits well in the shoulders and waist but is baggy in the bust, you could pinch out the extra fabric from the center front, measure that, divide it in half, and use that number for this tutorial.)


Adjusting the Front Bodice Piece:

Trace your bodice piece on another sheet of paper. Be sure to label any notches, darts, grainlines, etc.


Pink Line: With your ruler and pen draw a straight line from the center of the waist dart up to the point of the dart and extending a few inches up beyond the dart point.

Blue Line: Draw another straight line from the center of the side dart through the point of the dart and extending out a few inches beyond the dart point.

The point where these two lines intersect is the bust apex (fullest part of the bust). Mark the apex with a dot.

Purple Line: Starting from the apex dot draw a straight line extending to about 1/3 of the armhole curve from the side seam. Mark a dot where this line intersects with the seam line (in this case 5/8″ in from the edge of the pattern piece)

Orange Line: Lastly, draw a horizontal perpendicular to the Pink Line, extending from about the halfway point of the Pink Line over to the center front.

(these four sections of the pattern are labeled 1, 2, 3, and 4 in the illustrations)


With your scissors cut along the Pink Line starting from the waist to the bust apex point, pivot, and continue cutting along the Purple Line, stopping at the seam line dot.

Next, beginning from the side seam cut along the blue line stopping just before reaching the apex point. DO NOT cut pieces 1 and 2 apart. They should be hanging on just barely to each other at the apex point.

Remember that 1″ number we came up with earlier? Draw a vertical line parallel to the Pink Line, 1″ to the right (solid Green Line).


Slide pieces 1 and 2 over so that the Pink line on piece 1 matches up to the Green Line. This will cause the bust apex point to shift up and over so the waistline of piece 1 will be higher than it originally was. This also makes that side dart narrower because piece 2 slides slightly on top of piece 1.


From here we need to cut along the Orange line and shift piece 4 upward, slightly overlapping piece 3 so that the waistline will be level.


Tape all the pieces together.

Redraw the darts from the seam lines up to the original dart points (in red). True up the edges of your darts by folding them together like you would if you were sewing, fold them down or to the side, and cut off any excess paper.

If necessary, smooth out the armhole curve line (also in red).

Trace your new pattern piece and add all darts, notches, labels, etc.


So what changed when we did this SBA? Well, the darts are thinner. The center front line is slightly shorter but the side and waist seams remained the same length. We also reduced width in the pattern piece without altering the neckline or shoulders. The armhole curve looks a bit different than when we started but should be the nearly same overall length.

And you’re done! Doing a SBA won’t necessarily fix all your fitting woes but it’s a good place to start.


I hope this tutorial helps some of the slimmer busted gals out there. SBAs probably aren’t as common as FBAs but everyone deserves to get the best fit they can no matter their shape.

Venturing into the 18th Century

18th Century Basics

I know I haven’t been posting often lately but I feel I have a good excuse. Costumes. All the costumes.

I’ve been dabbling in costuming work for the past year or so. If you haven’t been following along you can check out my previous Regency undies and dress and my recent cosplay.

I’m working on garments from several eras right now but today I’m showing off my new 18th century undies. I’m going for a target date of around the 1770s.

18th Century Basics

So far I’ve made a shift (The undermost garment you would wear to keep your sweat from soaking into your stays and nice dresses which can’t be easily washed, always white, most often made of linen), stays (The older name for a corset. This isn’t the curvy style corset from Victorian times. This shape is straight in front and curved in back, entirely boned so it’s pretty stiff), and a cap (Married women would have always covered their hair with either a cap or a hat or both. Although at night and on fancy occasions they could get away with smaller head coverings. Usually made of linen, sometimes with lace or ribbon or decoration.).

18th Century Basics

The Shift: Self drafted mostly using the info from this great site. I used a handkerchief weight linen from a store that is no longer in business so when I realized I didn’t have enough to make the shift the “correct” way I had to do some improvising on the sides seams. This shift also probably isn’t as wide as it ought to be.

18th Century Basics

The sleeves are gathered into little cuffs. For the neckline I put the shift on with just a slit for my head then put on the stays and used that as a guide to cut the neck hole. Then I machine stay stitched the new cut neckline so it wouldn’t stretch out and made a tiny pick-stitched hem by hand.

The Stays: I used the JP Ryan strapless stays pattern rather than their pattern with straps because they’re more comfortable. My Regency era stays have straps and I find them annoying and restrictive.

The pattern description says this design makes more of a cylindrical shape than the popular cone shape and I think that’s true. I was annoyed when I realized the stays made by waist bigger and my bust smaller. Not what I needed but whatever. They still look good.

18th Century Basics

I like that I can put the stays on and tighten the laces myself but it takes a few minutes.

They are fully boned with straight steels in the back to support the eyelets, spiral steel in specific places, and the rest is boned with reed. Reed is a flexible wood cut in strips. It’s an historically accurate alternative to the most popular support at the time: baleen (whale bone). Sure, I want to be accurate but I ain’t about to go killing a whale for it!

18th Century Basics

Since this was my first pair I used leftover strong cotton for the body and some linen for the binding. The bone channels were all stitched by machine but I had to do the binding by hand – it’s so curvy!

All the eyelets in back were done by hand as well and I think I’ve finally found a good method of making them so they don’t look uneven and wonky.

18th Century Basics

The Cap: No pattern. I just winged it by measuring my head for the band, tracing a big plate for the crown and adding lace and ribbon.

I pieced together the cap from scraps from my shift fabric.

It’s supposed to be a dormeuse cap, or a “French night cap,” popular in the 1770s. I liked this style because it’s more frilly than other plain caps.

18th Century Basics

But why wear a cap at all? Well, see, I don’t have long hair. And I have bangs. This doesn’t make for a great 18th century hair style so a cap (or a hat, which I might make later) hides my lack of hair.

For these photos I tried to fake the high up-dos of the era by piling my hair onto the top of my head over one of those hair rat donut things with a ton of pins and hairspray. It’s so tall that I don’t have any hair left to fill out the cap so the cap just floats on my head. I’ll need to work on my hairstyles next time…

18th Century Basics

But I did try to do the “look” by powdering my hair (which you really can’t see in these pics, I think it all got absorbed into the hairspray, oh well) and face. I also darkened my eyebrows and put on some pink blush and lip color. Fancy 18th century ladies liked their make up.

Next I’m working on petticoats and an outer skirt, maybe even a bum pad. I’m currently sewing up a jacket as well. Going for a dressy day look, I think.