Burdastyle Ute Sew-Along: Step 5 and Step 6 Part 1

By Tiffany - Saturday, April 13, 2013

Continuing along with my Burdastyle Ute Sew-Along, I am now at Steps 5 and 6, which has most of the actual sewing of the shirt. I'm going to skip Step 5, as that is just cutting the interfacing (I'll do that when I need it).

On to Step 6: Sew the front and back princess seams. But, if you are still unsure about the fit (as I am) do not finish and trim the seam allowances. Instead just iron the seams as directed.

Next, sew the shoulder seams. You may want to trim the seam allowances of the top 1" of the the back princess seams, as they are sewed into the shoulders. Skip the collar installation.

What you are going to do next is baste the side seams. I choose to machine baste mine, since I didn't want to get poked by pins.

Use the 'lengthen/shorten' lines on the pattern to mark what is called a 'horizontal balance line' (HBL) on your shirt. Mark the button hole line on both sides, so you can pin the shirt closed at the right location.

The blue pencil line is my button hole line.

By basting the side seams, you can now try on your shirt to see if it fits properly. And by leaving the seam allowances, you can make adjustments if necessary. This is how my shirt looks so far:

And here is the back:

Not too bad, but there are a few issues.

What you should look for:
  • Make sure the side seam is vertical - mine was pulling at the centre towards my stomach
  • Make sure your HBL is horizontal - mine was drooping at the back ever so slightly.
  • Look for drag lines - I have some big ones!
  • Check your armholes - mine are perfect thanks to me cutting a little extra fabric in the front. 
  • Check the neck line and make sure it is not too high or low - mine is good.

Can you see my drag lines? Maybe this will help:

It's like my shirt is saying "Stare at Tiffany's stomach!"
I fixed most of this by letting out the front princess seams at my stomach just a little (about 3mm or 1/8") on each side. My hips are probably the biggest culprit. So, I also let out the side seams and the back princess seams by about 5mm (around 3/16") each starting 14cm (5.5") from the bottom. Here is the result:


There are still a few drag lines, but it is much better than before. My side seams are nice and vertical. Also, notice how the front princess seams are straighter and don't bulge out at my stomach any more. The back still has a bit of excess fabric. It looks like I could have done a swayback adjustment, but as this is my blouse and not a muslin, I'm going to try to adjust it a different way.

I played around with my pins to see what worked and what didn't. I noticed that I had a lot of room on top and below my bust - as if the front of the shirt needed to by pulled up. Also, I noticed that when I pulled up on the back, my HBL became more level (it was dipping at the back). So, I decided to take in the shoulders by the neck by 5mm (about 1/4") and taper it out to meet the original seam at the shoulder. The bust and the back magically fit much better.

I then took in some excess fabric (about 2mm or about 1/16") in the back princess seams from a few inches below the shoulder seam to the waist.

No more pool of fabric at the small of my back

So, it looks like my alternative swayback adjustment using princess seams worked. A few more minor adjustments might be needed, but I'm leaving that until the sleeves are in place.

If you need more help with learning how to fit, I definitely recommend "The Complete Photo Guide to Perfect Fitting" by Sarah Veblen.

Once you are happy with your fit, you can move on to the next part (coming soon...).

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  1. Your shirt is coming along so well! I love reading about your process and how you change bits here and there. :-) Can't wait to see the next installment!