Thursday, July 30, 2009

Make it work!

You may find from time to time that after you've drawn your Lutterloh pattern, plotting all your dots and connecting them ever so carefully, that the pieces just don't seem to fit together. Just like with any other pattern there is always a chance of human error. This may be attributed to the pattern company or, in the case of Lutterlohs, it could be due to operator error on our part. Of course its always best to double check your dot placement but sometimes this just isn't the problem. In either case there's no reason to scrap the whole project if its just a small discrepancy. Below is a photo of my latest pattern, a skirt to go with that flowery summer top I made.

After drawing the pattern I noticed that the pocket facing was just not going to fit the curve of the pocket opening on the skirt front piece. If I tried to line up the curves on each pattern piece there was a strange point at the top corner that would overlap in a tent shape and the side seam lines were thrown way off. I had matched the side seam curves carefully to the back piece so I knew this was not causing the problem. I decided the top curve was the most likely offender so I needed to redraw that area. Below is a photo of my pattern pieces with the changes in red pencil.

I lay the skirt front pattern over the pocket pattern to line up the side seam lines and the top curve the best I could. This way I could redraw the pocket curve to match the pocket facing. I then lay the pocket pattern on top of the skirt front to adjust the top curve on the pocket facing. Sure enough they lined up much better now. Since I was changing the lines anyway I decided to extend the outside edge of the pocket, closest to the front facing, so, once the pockets were finished, I could tack them to the front facing for security. I hate my pockets bunching up while I'm moving around.

When I initially named this post "Make it work" it was because of a different issue I had with this pattern before I even started plotting the dots. I wanted to use up some khaki twill that I had left from a pants project. I had more than two yards of fabric left but it was only about 20 inches wide. I chose to use this pattern because of it's rather narrow silhouette. You'll see in the first photo above that the pattern indicates that the back should be cut as one piece on the fold. I figured, why not add a seam allowance and just create a center back seam?

Keep in mind that center back seams in both tops and skirts can work toward your advantage. I have a slight sway back so the center back seam allows me to take in a little more toward the top of the skirt to bring the fit a little closer. A center back seam in tops allows for more adjustments for rounded shoulders and wider or narrower backs too. Patterns with more seams usually indicate a more fitted garment in general. You can think of all those seams as more fitting opportunities.

So here is a photo of my finished skirt:
As you can see, the center back seam doesn't look out of place at all. You and I are the only ones that know I changed it. Hey, I even managed to use up the last scraps from a nightgown I made to make the waistband and pocket facings! So you see, just because the pattern directs you toward one technique doesn't mean you have to follow it to the letter. This is our creative outlet so let's just make it work!


  1. Pam from South AustraliaAugust 3, 2009 at 3:48 PM

    Thanks Ann. It's comforting to see that those with more experience do have discrepancies from time to time. As you have demonstrated with your skirt, it doesn't have to be a big drama. My lesson today......check that the pattern pieces fit together. Your skirt looks great.
    Pam from South Australia

  2. That is adorable! I had the exact same pocket curve issue on my last skirt, only it took me until the 3rd skirt to realize it. I did as you did, lining up the pieces and simply redrawing the curve.

    I get so excited to see Lutterloh drawings come to life!!! Thanks for sharing your skirt.

  3. What a super fit! A great skirt!

    Occasional slight off curves is not only unique to Lutterloh, even curves on my expensive sewing software don't always match up!

  4. I recently purchased the Lutterloh system. As I wear a plainer more simple garment, I need a higher neckline than what the pattern calls for and would also like to place a fold on the front of the bodice where the pattern calls for a zipper. Can I do this, or should I not mess up the pattern that much? Also I found that some of the liines didn't line up with my tape measure accurately? How do I line it up then? With the dot or the end of the line?

  5. A basic comprehensive sewing book should be able to show you how to redraw your neckline higher for your garments. For many it's as simple as raising the dot at center front and drawing in a shallower curve to meet it.

    As for eliminating a front zipper this would depend on the ease in the pattern. You might be able to get away with it if you can still get the garment on over your shoulders. Typically the closure is meant to give you an opening to get the garment on so you might need to move that zipper opening to the back or side if you don't want it in the front.

    I find that often when my tape doesn't line up with the lines it's because my pin has gotten loose in it's hole. I would check to make sure it's secure and if it is then just line up the tape the best you can with the line extending from the dot. You will need to at least paper fit your pattern anyway and perhaps even make a test garment. You should be able to tell if your lines are close enough in one of these steps.

  6. Hi Folks, I just won Lutterloh on Ebay (today, can't wait to get it!!) but have been sewing longer than I care to confess! I think what Heidi means is can she trade the zipper for buttons. Imo I don't see why not as long as she adds a facing (fold over self facing or add on) just making sure the CF is maintained. Ann I LOVE your skirt!!!

  7. I'd like to know how I would out Pattern #189. It is one of the 280 patterns that comes in the book. The way the skirt is separated when drawing it. Since it has solid lines, is that where you cut it?

  8. I'm so sorry pattern numbers are not really helpful without the year they were made. Please go to our posting "how do you know which supplements are included in your pattern book" We have a search bar up top.

    I'm not clear on your question. If each pattern piece has an arrow in it, then it is usually two pieces drafted as one and yes you cut that apart. Not sure about the solid line. Please tell us more.

  9. My question about the shirt Pattern#16. I looked at the page numbers you gave for the year. My pages have the Reg No. on them. Pattern#81 and 82 have 027008.

  10. I'm not sure what year your pattern #16 is from. It appears from the've provided that at least some of your patterns are from Supplement #270. If you want to decipher the publication years of your patterns please read the post titled "How do you know which supplements are included in your book? " You can find a link to it in the list of past articles located on the right sidebar of the blog.

  11. Hope you can help. I need to do a short waist adjustment. I followed the instructions, line through cross and fold down. However it misaligned the centre front and seam, I can true up the seam but how do I deal with the centre front. It is the standard vest pattern. I can send a picture.

    1. yes you may send a photo please make a posting with your e-mail, we will not post it but we will use it to get a hold of you.