Bust Dart Adjustment: How to shorten or lengthen a dart

Jess is here today to show you how to adjust the length of a bust dart if it’s too long or too short. When we put together a (pretty comprehensive, I might add) list of common pattern adjustment tutorials for the Beatrixalong Muslin post (day 2), we couldn’t find one showing how to lengthen or shorten a dart. Whaaat. Anyway, Jess has had to do this adjustment on her Beatrixes, so she took a few pics to show you just how easy it is. Here’s Jess:

This is the easiest bust dart adjustment EVER! In these photos, I’m wearing my Beatrix muslin with dots representing where the dart ended before the adjustment (closer to the middle) and after the adjustment (closer to the sides).

With the darts sewn as they were in the pattern, they ended pretty much exactly on the bust apex.

dart shorten

The darts are at a good height, and the size is right, though, so the only thing I wanted to do was shorten the dart by an inch. Generally, you want the dart to point in the direction of your bust apex, but ending 1/2″ – 1″ short of the apex. (Rae adds: typically the 1″ is for bigger busts, 1/2″ for smaller busts)

dart adjustment

Here’s the Front Bodice pattern piece from Beatrix, traced in my size. All I had to do was make a new point on the dart’s center line one inch away from the original point, then re-draw the dart legs using a straight edge, and starting at the same points on the side so they’re the same length and they don’t change the side seam.

dart shorten

If you need to lengthen the dart, simply extend the center line by the amount you need, and re-draw the dart legs exactly the same way.

dart shorten


See how easy? For additional pattern modifications, be sure to check out our awesome list of links in this post. You can find all of the Beatrixalong posts by clicking here.

Sparkly tote with piping


Look, a fun tote! This is what I take with me every time I leave the house lately. The outside is Ruby Star Sparkle canvas by Melody Miller; I believe this was the last line she designed for Kokka before founding Cotton and Steel, and just in case you can’t see from the photos, it does have metallic ink across the top band so it’s ever-so-slightly-sparkly. 


Melody gave me a few fabric samples from that line at Camp Stitchalot two whole years ago and I’m embarrassed it took me this long to make something with this. Once I actually started it, it was really easy. I didn’t use a pattern; it’s just a bunch of rectangles sewn together. 


It ended up quite long and narrow, so I always end up fishing around in the bottom of it for my keys and wallet. I guess I wanted to finish it more than I wanted to add pockets, but at least I had the good sense to add a magnetic snap (here’s my magnetic snap tutorial, if you’re interested). It’s also the perfect size for my laptop, which was a happy accident. 


To make it a little more exciting than a plain tote bag, I added some pink piping, because piping makes anything look 100% better, in my opinion.  I have a piping tutorial, if you’re interested. The lovely gold lining is a linen I found at Bolt in Portland when I was there for Quilt Market a few springs ago.


Posted in bags

Lion Shorts for the boys


I’ve been trying to keep up with this hot summer weather by making shorts for the kiddos. With three children I’m starting to realize that making handmade clothing for each kid each season is not a realistic task, but that doesn’t prevent me from trying. One way to maximize the use of my time is to cut two pairs of shorts out of one fabric. It’s cute when my kids match, but it’s more about not wasting fabric and working quickly than anything else. I made these shorts from the Moon Pants Pattern (for Elliot) and the Big Butt Baby Pants pattern (for Hugo). I turned the pant pattern into shorts using my Turn Pants into Shorts tutorial, which is so, so easy. Seriously.

The fabric is one of my favorite prints designed by Sarah Watts for her very first Cotton and Steel collection. I love those lions! Mr Rae commented that this print would also be great as a wallpaper, and I completely agree. I can totally see it in a kids’ room or a fun entryway wall, can’t you?

Lion Shorts by Rae

I got a few photos of both boys wearing them at the same time, which was a minor miracle, although Hugo wasn’t exactly in the best mood. He managed though. Elliot meanwhile was showing off his now nearly toothless smile. He has been missing those two middle top teeth for what feels like half a year and I’m starting to wonder if the new teeth will ever come in. Is this normal??

Hugo doesn’t like grass. Just like his sister when she was little.

Lion Shorts by Rae

He likes the swing better.

We got this swing from Hearthsong for the kids to replace one the cheapy plastic one that came with the house when we bought it last year, and it’s great. They make even bigger ones that could have also been pretty fun, but I’m not sure our poor tree would have been able to support all of the neighbor kids on one swing so it’s probably best we stuck with the smaller size. It’s really easy to put Hugo on it by himself without worrying that he’ll fall off. Or he can sit in one of the kids’ laps, which he loves. The kids love it too, as you can see!


Beatrixalong Day 8: Buttons and Buttonholes

We did it!!! It’s the eighth and final day of #Beatrixalong!!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, Day 5Day 6, and Day 7 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already. I’ll keep all these posts live, so you can always come back for a refresher!


Today is Button Day:

  • Mark and sew buttonholes
  • Mark and sew buttons

Mark Buttonholes

Use the button template provided to mark the buttonhole locations on the left button placket. I usually use a disappearing fabric pen with a hard enough tip to poke through the paper to mark the center dots. You could also use a hole punch to make a hole in the center of each button on the template.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Center your buttons over the buttonhole markings and mark just above and below each button. You can draw a straight line between these two marks if you need a guide for sewing (not pictured).

Beatrixalong Day 8

Practice a buttonhole.

I can’t stress this enough. On a scrap of the same fabric as your real-live Beatrix, do a test run. Haul out your sewing machine manual if you need a refresher on the settings, and once you have a buttonhole, check to see if your button fits through it!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew your actual buttonholes

Sew each buttonhole on your Beatrix. Use a needle to pull any threads through to the inside of the garment, then tie them in a knot and trim the threads

Beatrixalong Day 8

Carefully cut open each buttonhole with a seam ripper or small scissors. Be very careful!! This works best with a sharp seam ripper.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

After you have completed the buttonholes, line up the left placket directly over the right placket and use a marking pen to mark the button locations through the center of each buttonhole so that they will be perfectly aligned.

Beatrixalong Day 8

Sew on the buttons

Beatrixalong Day 8

And look, it’s finished!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Oh heeyyyyyy there, Beatrix!

Beatrixalong Day 8

Beatrixalong Day 8

OK, let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Mark buttonholes
  2. Sew buttonholes and cut open
  3. Mark buttons on other side
  4. Sew buttons on

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
5. You did it! Put your Beatrix on and strut around!

6. Post a photo (crappy phone pics are fine) to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here.

Beatrixalong Day 7: Flip facings & Sew hem

Day 7 of #Beatrixalong is upon us!

If you’re just joining us, we’re sewing with my newest pattern, Beatrix.  You can find the introductory post here with basic info and a timeline for the sewalong. And here are Day 1Day 2Day 3, Day 4, Day 5, and Day 6 if you want to go back and see what we’ve done already.


We’re almost done! Here’s what’s on the agenda for today:

  • flip facings and button plackets to the inside
  • finish the button plackets
  • sew a curved hem

Flip facings to the inside of the garment

First, flip your newly-understitched neckline facings to the inside of the garment and press them in place.

Beatrixalong Day 6

Carefully press all the way around the neckline.
Beatrixalong Day 6

Now flip the button plackets to the inside

Go ahead and clip the bottom corners of the placket below the seam allowance. You can clip the top ones too if you like.

Then flip the button plackets to the inside of the garment, poke those corners out with a pointy object, and press and pin them in place:


Make sure the facings are tucked nice and flat underneath the edge of the placket before pinning. Notice that the hem gets folded up nicely into the bottom of the placket!


Secure facings at shoulders

Once the facings are flipped to the inside and the neckline is pressed, I also like to stitch in the shoulder seam (from the outside; this is called “stitching in the ditch” because you sew right down the groove formed by the seam) through the facings to really help them stay put when you’re wearing your top.


Time for the curved hem!

Just a note on curved hems: the stitching line you made earlier around the bottom makes this hem super-easy to press and sew. Another thing that makes a curved hem easier is EXTRA PINNING!!! As noted in the pattern, you can also use Wonder Clips or Wonder Tape instead of pins, and I do recommend this if you’re using a really slippery or delicate fabric, but in general, the more pinning you do, the better.

So let’s start by pressing the bottom edge of the hem up to meet the line of stitches you made earlier.

Then fold up again at the stitching line (the stitching line will be at the very bottom edge of your hem), and press and pin this in place. IMG_3823 IMG_3831

You can always pull the stitches out later if you don’t like them hanging out at the bottom of your hem, but I find that as long as I use a thread that matches my fabric, they really aren’t noticeable. In this case I’m using black thread so you can see what I’m doing in the photos more clearly, so I’ll probably go back and pull that out later.


Stitch around plackets and hems

I love this step. It’s so satisfying, because you can sew the plackets shut and finish the hem all in one go. I start at the top of the back right placket and sew down that placket edge:
Beatrixalong Day 7

Then pivot at the bottom corner and sew around the entire hem:


Pivot again at the bottom of the left button placket, and then sew up that placket edge.


When you’re finished it will look like this!IMG_3870


Now press the heck out of that seam so it’s nice and flat, and now you’re ready for buttonholes and buttons! We’ll tackle those tomorrow, wooooot we’re almost finished!!!!

OK, Let’s review today’s assignment:

  1. Flip facings to inside and press
  2. Flip button plackets to inside and press
  3. Pin and sew shut plackets and curved hem

And here’s your extra credit assignment:
Post a photo to Facebook, Instagram, or Flickr showing me hard evidence you’ve done something from today’s sewalong post with the tag #beatrixalong. If you blog about it, post a link in comments.

Remember, you can sign up to receive my blog posts via email here so you won’t miss any of the sewalong posts!