View Full Version : Modifying Patterns

11-14-2007, 01:52 PM
It's a testament to the costume when the day comes where I have to use a sewing pattern. Normally I just make these things up as I go along.

Anyway, I'm in the progress of making a costume of Renge from Ouran High School Host Club (http://ktkore.hitori-janai.net/hostclub/04/bscap004.jpg - I know this isn't Renge, but it's the female uniform nonetheless).

Now, research has lead me to find this pattern:
I've got the sleeves sorted, but the one thing that concerns me is how to get the bottom to be as wide as the uniform should be. Is it simply a case of widening the sections below the waist to make it extra wide?

I know I'm going to need a petticoat to get the dress to poof out, so is there anything I need to bear in mind for this when I'm altering the pattern?

I've never used sewing patterns before, much less altered one, so I'm a little bit clueless as to how they work.

The Hag
11-14-2007, 03:36 PM
It will be easier just to start with a pattern that has a fuller skirt. I'd look through some of the costume/historical patterns (U.S. Civil War esp. - they also have lots of different petticoat/crinoline patterns). Ebay is a good source. Try searching "historical dress sewing pattern". You might also check the Ouran Host link in the Anime and Manga forum to see if someone has suggestions.

The main warning that I would give you about commercial patterns is to pay absolutely no attention to the size number - they generally bear no relation to the sizes you would buy for something ready-made (which. at least in the US, vary wildly as it is) . Check the listed measurements on the pattern package. Some patterns will also list measurements of the finished garment which will give you a good idea of how fitted the garment is supposed to be.

Commercial patterns are not hard to use. They all come with instructions. The biggest problem is they generally don't fit worth a damn without some alteration. Measure yourself carefully and then measure the pattern and adjust accordingly. If you are using relatively expensive fabric, it is most definitely worth it to make a muslin mock-up. The HCC group has a tutorial here: http://www.whatishcc.com/tutorials/mockup.php

Good luck!

11-14-2007, 04:34 PM
I've had a look around, but most costume patterns have seams in the middle, which breaks the flow of the dress, which isn't what I want.

Originally I intended to use this pattern:

Which would only be too good to be true if it weren't for the seam around the waist. I wanted something that was a bit more flowing (I think it's called a princess seam?) where the whole thing is one piece rather than two pieces sewn together, but none of them have the really flowing bottom.

The size guides made me laugh too. According to that pattern, I'm a size 18.

I have been over to the Ouran thread, but thought I'd try my luck over here, since this is a general costuming query about altering patterns rather than one that specifically applies to Ouran. Plus the Ouran thread is heavily centred on the male uniform.

The Hag
11-14-2007, 04:52 PM
Oh, ah. Yes you are right. Princess seams are better. I am pretty sure that I have seen (and may own) some patterns like this - now I'm thinkin' Ren Faire since they do a lot of the flowy thing. I'm dead tired right now but I'd be willing to take a look through my collection later since I have seen your posts around and you never ask to be spoon fed! Poke me with a PM if I forget. Also I'm in OHH mode right now anyway - though for the guys - glad to see someone doing gals! Which reminds me - I'm pretty sure that the HCC group did OHH with girls uniforms, you might look around the rest of that site and see if they have more info.

If you find that you really hate commercial patterns (and there are a number of good reasons too) I would recommend you pick up a copy of this book. http://www.amazon.com/Make-Sewing-Patterns-Donald-McCunn/dp/0932538002/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1195080459&sr=8-1 It is very basic but I find that for costuming that is actually a good thing since the many of the more specific "everyday" designs are not really applicable.

11-15-2007, 06:28 AM
Ooh, that book looks good. Something for my Christmas list, methinks! That tutorial looks pretty good too. I think I'm going to follow that. (There's also another tutorial over there for cutting bangs into wigs that I'm sure is going to come in useful some time in the future).

If you could have a look around for any other patterns that might be better, that would be a big help!

I had a look around that site and they DID do Ouran, but it seems that the girl uniforms they did had seams around the waist. :(