If you are looking for any help fitting your Wren, you’ve found the right post! We have put together this post covering the most common fitting adjustments for the Wren Blouse and Mini Dress. We have been working to have fitting posts for all of our patterns. Find our fitting and custom adjustments library here.

Please check out our Wren Tester Inspiration post here if you’re interested in seeing the Wren 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 Wren, you can always reach out in our Chalk and Notch Facebook Group or email us here.

First things first, make sure you have a copy of the Wren or the Mini Wren!

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 Wren, 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 any concerns, you can reference all the body measurements.

Cup Size

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 the Full Bust Adjustment below.

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. Make a note of your waist and hip measurements if there’s a significant difference in size.

Finished Garment Measurements

This style is designed to have 4” (10 cm) of ease through the bust. There is 10” (25.5 cm) of ease through the waist and 35″ (89 cm) through the hips (dress view only). The blouse length finishes above the full 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 your back neck to the finished hem of the mini dress or top. It might be helpful to have someone help you take this measurement.

The finished length of the blouse finishes above the full hips. The finished length of the mini dress ends mid-thigh. Review the finished garment measurements to determine if you would like to adjust the 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 woven fabric. You don’t need to add all the finishing details like buttons, facings, and cuffs on your muslin, just enough of the details so you can get an idea of any needed adjustments.

CUSTOM ADJUSTMENTS

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.

ADJUSTING THE SKIRT LENGTH

The Wren dress is a mini so you may decide that you’d like to add (or remove) length when making the dress. To find the finished length, measure from the center back neck to the center back hem. The finished length of the blouse ends above the full hips. The finished length of the mini dress ends mid-thigh. I prefer to make most of my length adjustments on the skirt part of the dress since the bodice is already a dropped waist and you don’t want it to hit too low. When adjusting the skirt, it’s easiest to adjust the length at the hem.

  • If adding length, add paper and add the amount desired by extending the length between the side seams and center back (shown in solid red)
  • If shortening, trim the hem (shown in dashed red).

ADJUSTING THE BODICE LENGTH

Alternatively, you can also make adjustments to the bodice combined with the skirt, or if you making the blouse, of course you would be making adjustments to the bodice pieces only. For reference, the notch on the side seam is the waist notch. To adjust the bodice length:

  • Cut the pattern horizontally at the indicated line. Shown in RED.
  • If adding length, add paper and add the amount desired.
  • If shortening, overlap at the cut line the amount desired.
  • Re-draw the side seams. 
  • Re-draw the dart legs.

ADJUSTING THE LONG SLEEVE LENGTH

To find the long sleeve finished length, measure from the shoulder point to the wrist. The cuff will add additional length and help create the full shape. If you decide you would like to add or remove length through the long sleeves, adjust at the lengthen/shorten line. This adjustment is important to make before cutting into your final fabric.

  • Cut the upper long sleeve horizontally at the indicated line. Shown in RED.
  • If adding length, add paper and add the amount desired.
  • If shortening, overlap at the cut line the amount desired.
  • Re-draw the side seams. 

ADJUSTING THE ARMHOLE LENGTH

If you find the armhole to be tight, you can adjust it in a few ways. I’ll share two options below. The first option is to drop the curve at the seam where the sleeve meets the armhole. This works best if it feels just a little tight and can be adjusted after you have sewn your garment.

  • Measure down 1/4″(0.6 cm) or 3/8″ (1 cm) on the front bodice, back bodice, and both sides of the sleeve at the armhole.
  • Draw a new curve to the first armhole notch.
  • You could do the reverse if the armhole felt too long.

Alternatively, if you need more than 3/8″ (1 cm) added in armhole length and you would also like the neckline to be lowered, you can cut your pattern horizontally through the armhole and sleeve. This adjustment would have to be done on the pattern before cutting your final fabric.

  • Cut the front bodice, back bodice, and sleeve horizontally. Shown in RED.
  • To add length, add paper and add the amount desired.
  • Re-draw the seams and blend curves. 
  • You could do the reverse if the armhole felt too long.

ADJUSTING THE NECKLINE

If you find the neckline to be too wide or you have gaping at your neckline, you can do a few adjustments. The first would be to pinch out length at the neck, changing the shoulder slope.

  • Move the shoulder point at the neckline down. You will know how much to remove after you sew a sample or test garment.
  • Draw a new shoulder seam.
  • Make the same adjustment to the facing pattern pieces.

You can also move the neckline in to be more narrow. This adjustment can also be combined with the shoulder slope adjustment above or on its own.

  • Move the neckline in.
  • Draw a new, more narrow neckline. You can raise the center back as well.
  • Make the same adjustment to the facing pattern 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.

  • 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 center of the waist dart (#1) to the bust point (#2) and then to the armhole (#3), not cutting all the way through at the armhole. Lay this on top of a new piece of paper.
  • Cut from the center of the bust dart (#4) to the bust point (#2) and to the armhole (#3), not cutting all the way through the armhole. Lay this on top of a new piece of paper.
  • Cut from the center of the bust dart (#4) to the bust point (#2) without cutting all the way through at the bust. Open the ease at the bust (#2), and make your pattern parallel by adding the same amount down to the hem (#1) – shown in PINK. When doing this, you will open ease at the points (#1 & #4), creating larger darts. Tape this new shape down on the paper.
  • Mark your new dart points 2″ (5 cm) back from the bust point (#2). Draw the dart lines from this new point to the dart notches.
  • You have completed the FBA.
  • Add more length to the center front fusible pattern piece.
  • If making the mini dress, add more width to the front ruffle.

I hope this post helps explain how and when to do custom adjustments while fitting the Wren 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.

Happy Sewing!

XO, Gabriela


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