I’ve started writing more extensive fitting and custom adjustment posts this year, and I hope that you find them helpful. It’s totally normal for most people to need some sort of custom adjustment, and this post walks you through some of the more common ones I’ve seen pop up during testing the Victory Tank. Also, remember 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 any specific questions, you can always reach out in our Chalk and Notch Facebook Group or email me directly at: support@chalkandnotch.com.

First things first, make sure you have a copy of the Victory Tank Pattern!

 

HOW TO PICK A SIZE

First, make sure you take new measurements before starting any project; our bodies change and starting with accurate numbers is the first step to getting a good fit.

Cup Size

Determine what cup size to make. The cup size is determined by calculating the difference between the high bust and full bust. If the difference between your 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.

Body Measurements

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. If you fall between sizes, size up. The waist and hip measurements will not determine the size of this particular pattern.

Garment Measurements

Use the garment measurement chart to review the intended amount of ease included in the pattern and the length of the pattern from the center front neck to the front hem. This style is designed to have 3.5” (9 cm) of ease through the bust. There is 15” (38 cm) of ease through the waist. The finished length of the tank ends mid-hip (view A) or cropped (view B), both above the full hip. 

MAKING A MUSLIN

I will always advise you to make a muslin or toile (test garment) before cutting into your final fashion fabric. You can muslin your Victory Tank by sewing the bodice and omitting the lining to check the fit of the bodice, placement of the dart, armhole shape and length. Fabric will affect fit, and you won’t get a feel for the real fit unless you sew it in a comparable fabric.

CUSTOM ADJUSTMENTS

For reference, Chalk and Notch patterns are designed for a height of around 5’7″ (174 cm). The fit models are all over 5’7″ (174 cm), but all of the Chalk and Notch patterns are tested on a range of heights. For reference, if you are around 5′ (152 cm) tall (like me), you may need to shorten the pattern by up to 2″ (5 cm) total, and if you are over 6′ (183 cm) tall, you may need to add 2″ (5 cm) of total length, but usually it’s not more than 2″ (5 cm) either way. Personally, I don’t adjust the Victory Tank for my height. I am happy with the fit as is, mostly because I am always used to garments being a bit longer on me, and I am not short through the armholes, just through the waist/torso.

ADJUSTING THE BODICE LENGTH

The Victory Tank has a swing shape with two views. View A finishes mid-hip. View B has a cropped length that finishes below your natural waist so you can wear high-waisted pants/shorts and you shouldn’t have any skin showing. For this pattern, it’s easiest to adjust the bodice length at the hem. 

  • If adding length, add paper and add the amount desired.
  • If shortening, trim the hem.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

 

ADJUSTING THE STRAP LENGTH

If you feel like the armhole is too high or low, you can adjust through the straps. You may need to adjust between 1/4″ (0.6 cm) – 1/2″ (1.25 cm) but not usually more than this.

To adjust the strap length:

  • Cut the front and back bodice pattern pieces horizontally above the notch. You will shorten above the notch so that you don’t affect the View B front neck-straps.
  • If adding length, add paper and add the amount desired.
  • If shortening, overlap at the cut line the amount desired.
  • Re-draw the side strap seams. 
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

ADJUSTING THE SHOULDER ANGLE 

Another adjustment a few people needed was to adjust the shoulder angle. You will know that you need this adjustment if you see drag line pulling from the underarm area on the front and back.

To adjust the shoulder angle:

  • After fitting, pin out the desired amount on the shoulder angle. 
  • Trim the pattern at the shoulder and transfer the amount removed by lowering the armhole by the same amount.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

ADJUSTING GAPING IN THE NECKLINE 

If you find gaping in the neckline, you can pinch out length to reduce the gaping. Just make sure there is no pulling in the underarm area or you might need to adjust the shoulder angle (see adjustment above).

  • Pinch out the amount of gaping in the neckline on your muslin.
  • Cut from the neckline to the armhole without cutting through the pattern.
  • Rotate, tape back together and smooth out your pattern.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

ADJUSTING GAPING IN THE BACK ARMHOLE

If you find gaping in the back armhole, you can pinch out length to reduce the gaping. Just make sure there is no pulling in the underarm area or you might need to adjust the shoulder angle (see adjustment above).

  • Pinch out the amount of gaping in the armhole on your muslin.
  • Cut from the armhole to the center back without cutting through the pattern.
  • Rotate, tape back together and smooth out your pattern.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

BUST POINT & DART ADJUSTMENTS

After you make any length adjustments, you’ll want to make sure the dart placement is accurate. The bust point (apex) is marked on the pattern, and the bust darts should be about 2″ (5 cm) away on the C/D cup. This is “standard” for larger bust cups, but I always say there are no rules when custom fitting. You can easily redraw the dart points to be the distance from your bust that you prefer. This is an example of raising the bust dart and bust point. Just make sure the dart “legs” are the same length and that you true your dart and side seams. Repeat for the lining pieces.

FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT

If you have over 4” (10 cm) between your high bust and full bust, you may need a Full Bust Adjustment. Use the C/D Cup Bodice and add the FBA.

  • First decide how much more ease you need through your bust. Add half that amount to your pattern. If you need 1” (2.5 cm), then you will add 1/2” (1.25 cm) to the pattern. 
  • Cut from the waistline (#1) to the bust point (#2) then to the armhole (#3), not cutting all the way through at the armhole. Also cut from the center of the bust dart (#4) to the bust point (#2) without cutting all the way through at the bust point. Lay this on top of a new piece of paper.
  • Open the ease at the bust (#2), parallel to the hem (#1), shown in DARK GREEN. This will open ease at the points (#1 & #4), creating a larger bust dart and adding width to the waistline. Tape this new shape down on the paper.
  • Mark your new dart point 2” (5 cm) back from the bust point (#2). Draw the dart lines from this new point to the dart notches. True the dart – shown in RED.
  • The center front hem will now be shorter than the side front; add the missing length at the hem – shown in PINK.
  • You have completed the FBA. Make the same adjustment for the lining bodice.

ADDING WIDTH TO THE CENTER BACK & SHOULDERS

If you feel like your tank is tight across your back, you can do a few modifications. You can add width to the center back if that is where you feel the tightness, blending to zero at the neckline, or add more to the center back near the neckline depending on your needs. You can also push out the back armhole and re-draw with more length.

To add more width to the center of your back:

  • Decide how much ease you want through your back.
  • Add to the center back seam and side seams, this will add more ease through the center back.
  • Curve back the neckline and waist at the center back.
  • Re-draw the armhole, blending back to the shoulder and side seam.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

To add more width to your back and shoulders:

  • Decide how much ease you want through your back.
  • Add to the center back seam from the neck, blending back to nothing at the hem.
  • Add ease on the side seams.
  • Re-draw the armhole, blending back to the shoulder and side seam.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

 

ADDING TO THE SHOULDER WIDTH

If you prefer wider straps, you can add width to the shoulder. I wouldn’t recommend going much smaller as it would make it hard to turn the lined tank.

  • Decide how much more width you want through your straps.
  • Add the amount to the outer edge of the straps.
  • Curve back the neckline and armhole.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

MOVING THE SHOULDER PLACEMENT FORWARD OR BACKWARD

If the shoulder seam is not centered on your shoulder, you can move it forward or backward. In this example, the shoulder seam is moved forward.

  • Decide how much you want to move your shoulder seam forward.
  • Trim the amount from the front bodice straps.
  • Add the amount to the back bodice straps.
  • Make sure your stitch lines still match, and smooth out any armhole curve if necessary.
  • Repeat for the lining pieces.

 

I hope this post helps explain how and when to do custom adjustments for the Victory Tank. 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.

XO, Gabriela


Comments (3)

  1. Hilda Le Denmat
    5 months ago

    THANKS for sharing so much of good sewing and cutting lesson, i really appreciatte
    Hilda

  2. Aileen
    4 months ago

    Great information. Thank you so much.

  3. Helen
    2 months ago

    Wow, thank you so much for sharing such valuable information. This will help with my fitting issues. I usually have to guess and hunt for answers to my fitting issues. Just another reason why I love independent patterns. Thanks again.

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