In order to make sure you have help fitting your Marcel, we have put together this post covering the most common fitting adjustments for the Marcel Tank Top and Dress.
Please check out our Marcel Tester Inspiration post here if you’re interested in seeing the Marcel on a variety of body types. During testing, we work through the fit for each tester, which helps inform what fitting and custom adjustments we talk about in our fitting posts. These adjustments are included in the pattern tutorials, but if more fit questions come up, we will continue to add them to the blog posts.
Before we get started, I always like to add a note that the goal should be to create a comfortable garment that you will enjoy wearing. I don’t think it’s important to get rid of every single drag line and pull, so be kind to yourself as you are analyzing your fit. If you have specific questions about fitting the Marcel, you can always reach out in our Chalk and Notch Facebook Group or email me here.
HOW TO PICK A SIZE
First, make sure you take new measurements before starting any project because our bodies change, and starting with accurate numbers is the first step to getting a good fit. When fitting the Marcel, you will want your high bust and full bust body measurements. For the most part, the waist and hips are not going to inform your decision on which size to pick, but if you have concerns you can reference all the body measurements.
The cup size is determined by calculating the difference between the high bust and full bust. If the difference between the high bust and full bust is between 0” and 2” (5 cm), use the A/B cup. If the difference is between 2” (5 cm) and 4” (10 cm), use the C/D cup. If you have more than a 4” (10 cm) difference, you may need a full bust adjustment. More details on a full bust adjustment below.
It is very common to fall across a few different sizes. After you determine what cup size to make, pick a size that works for your high bust and full bust.
Finished Garment Measurements
The high bust includes 1.5” (4 cm) of ease. There is 11” (28 cm) of ease through the full bust and 20” (51 cm) of ease through the waist and hips.
Review the finished garment measurements to determine if you would like to adjust the length. For reference, the center back to hem measurement is taken from right above your bra band to the finished hem of the dress or tank. It might be helpful to have someone help you take this measurement.
The Midi Dress is designed to finish above the ankle, and depending on your height may end up finishing more like a maxi dress. The Mini Dress is designed to be a true mini and is very short, finishing above the knee. The Tank Top is designed to finish at the high hip, just slightly longer than a cropped length.
MAKING A MUSLIN
I will always advise you to make a muslin or toile (test garment) before cutting into your final fashion fabric. Fabric will affect fit, and you won’t get a feel for the real fit unless you sew it in a comparable fabric. For the Marcel, a simple muslin of the bodice and straps will be very helpful. I recommend adding fusible interfacing on your muslin as well to prevent it from stretching.
Chalk and Notch patterns are designed for a height of around 5’7″ (174 cm), but all of the Chalk and Notch patterns are tested on a range of heights. Length is a personal preference and can be adjusted to suit your preference. For reference, I am 5′ 1″ (155 cm) and I make the following length adjustments. I remove 1″ (2.5 cm) from the tank top, 1.5″ (4 cm) from the Mini Dress, and 4.5″ (11.5 cm) from the Midi Dress. For the Midi Dress, I could remove the fifth tier and still get a Midi length, but I made adjustments to each tier since these were listing images.
ADJUSTING THE TANK LENGTH
The Marcel Tank Top is designed to have a slightly cropped length, finishing at your high hip. To adjust the tank length, it’s easiest to add or remove length from the hem.
To adjust the tank top for length:
- Decide how much overall length you’d like to add or remove.
- If adding length, add paper, and add the amount desired.
- If shortening, remove length from the hem.
- Re-draw the side seams.
ADJUSTING DRESS LENGTH
The Marcel Mini length is designed to finish above the knee while the Midi is designed to finish at mid-calf. To adjust the length:
- Reference the finished garment measurements from center back to hem.
- Decide how much overall length you’d like to add or remove.
- Distribute the amount you would like to adjust between the tiered panels (either 1-3 or 1-5) and adjust the total length from the bottom of the center front and center back panels. For example, when adding 3” (8 cm) to the overall length, add 1” (2.5 cm) to tiers 1, 2, and 3 respectively, then add 3” to both the center front and center back panels.
- Adjust the notches to match up with the new height of each tiered panel. In this example, move the second and third set of notches down 1” (2.5 cm).
- *If making View A – Midi Length, and you need to remove 5″ (12.5 cm) or more, you can also remove the last tier instead of shortening each tier.
ADJUSTING THE STRAP ANGLE
The Marcel straps are sewn into the bodice at a straight angle. If you find any gaping at the front or back strap, you may need to remove a wedge to accommodate for your shoulder slope. This can be done on the front or the back of the strap. *Note you will need to press your strap seam to the outseam instead of the center for this adjustment.
- When fitting your test garment, decide how much you could pinch out of your straps. In this example, the gaping is on the outside edge of the back strap.
- Fold your strap pattern piece in half.
- Cut a wedge off your strap.
- Now that your pattern piece has a front and back, label it so that you sew the correct side into your garment.
- Press the strap seam to the outside edge after sewing (do not center your strap seam).
ADJUSTING GAPING AT THE ARMHOLE
If you have any gaping at the front armhole, you may need to pinch out a wedge shape at the armhole.
- When fitting your test garment, decide how much gaping you could pinch out of your armhole.
- Mark the amount you would like to remove from the armhole. In this example, we are removing 3/4” (2 cm).
- Draw lines from the armhole to the notch on the bodice, creating a wedge.
- Cut one side of the wedge to the bottom notch, making sure not to cut all the way through the bodice pattern piece.
- Rotate the wedge closed and tape the bodice back together.
- Retrace the armhole and hem curves.
- Repeat adjustments for the bodice facing pieces.
- Sew another bodice muslin to check the fit and confirm the side seam is in the correct place.
FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT
If you have over 4” (10 cm) of difference between your high bust and full bust, you may need a Full Bust Adjustment. There is 11” (28 cm) of ease included in the pattern.
- Use the C/D Cup side panel and center front panel.
- Decide how much total ease you would like to add to the front, and half that amount should be distributed between the side front and the center front. In this example, if you wanted to add 2” (5 cm) more ease to the front, add 1/2” (1.5 cm) to the side front and center front panels for a total of 2” (5 cm) of ease.
- A larger bust will also require more length through the center front; the exact amount will vary. In this example, add 1/2” (1.5 cm) to the side front and center front, blending to zero at the side back. Make sure the side front corners are square. The tank top pattern is used here, but the same adjustments can be done for the dress, adding length to the side panel tier 1 and the center front panel.
ADDING EASE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE BODICE
Depending on how high your full bust sits, you may find that the bottom of the bodice feels tight. If you like the fit at the neckline you can add ease to the bottom of the bodice instead of sizing up.
- On the front bodice, draw a line from the center of the strap to the bottom of the bodice. You will notice we are adding ease to the front where the center front panels will gather (this way your side panel notches will still match).
- On the back bodice, draw a line from just outside the strap notches down (you will see the side panel notch to the right).
- Cut from the bottom up, keeping a hinge at the top of the front and back bodice. Add 1/4″ (0.6 cm) the total amount of ease you would like. For example, if you could use 1″ (2.5 cm) of ease, add 1/4″ (0.6 cm) to the front and back bodice.
- Place your bodice on a new sheet of paper and tape. Trace your new bodice shape smoothing out your curves. You are ready to test this adjustment.
I hope this post helps explain how and when to do custom adjustments while fitting the Marcel pattern. It’s totally worth the time to make a muslin, make any adjustments, and update your printed pattern. Remember to write down some notes for yourself so that when you come back to the pattern, you know what adjustments you have made. If you have any other fit questions, please let me know and I can update the post as needed.