Riviera Cami Pattern Hack
Blog Post by @samschofield67
Hello everyone, my name is Sam, and I am a self-taught, sewist. I started sewing during lockdown, not having touched a machine since I was at school. I recently made a pact with myself that I would not buy any more clothes – if I needed something I was going to make it for myself.
As soon as I saw Mandi’s new pattern, the Riviera Cami, I loved the shape. I had to have it immediately (not something I do often with a pattern, I usually procrastinate for ages about whether I need it!)
I wanted to make some summer tops (wishful thinking as it was snowing in the UK when I bought the pattern) but I also I had in mind a top I could wear to the office – maybe under a jacket (when we can eventually return to the office). I knew I would need to make some adjustments for modesty in the office – so how did I go about doing it?
SIZING AND FITTING
According to the size chart and finished measurements, my body shape fell between a size 8 and 10. I made a toile using some cotton fabric I had to hand – and made the size 8. As suspected, it was a bit tight on the hips, and the bust darts were too high for my shape. I also wanted more coverage on the straps and side seams to cover my bra for a work top.
I consider myself a confident beginner, and my skills self- taught. I have learned most of my skills watching other people on YouTube – I am a visual learner!
I put on the toile and looked in the mirror to check where I needed adjustments. With a fabric pen I made a mark where I wanted to start grading out to make room for my hips – measured the strap width (and my bra strap width) as well as how much I wanted to take out of the strap length. I also drew on where I thought the bust darts should be, then wrote down the measurements.
Comparing that to the pattern I noted where I needed to adjust. Grading out at the hips was easy, drawing a line from 8 to 10.
WIDENING THE SHOULDER STRAPS
I calculated how wide I wanted my strap to be and added seam allowance. I then made a new pattern piece (to be cut on the fold so it was doubled). I then needed to extend the shoulder seam to allow for the bigger strap to fit through. I just extended the shoulder seam line out – with 2/3 of the extra extended towards the arm syce so as not to distort the neckline (making sure to account for seam allowances on either side of the shoulder). I made this adjustment to both the front and back bodice or my seams would not match! Of course, I also needed to make the same adjustments to my facing pieces too.
RAISING THE ARM SCYE
Because I had widened the strap, I needed to join my new shoulder seam line to the side seam – and neckline – convenient as I already wanted more coverage here anyhow.
Firstly, I used a ruler to draw a straight line from the extended shoulder to the centre front neckline. I then extended the side seam up by 1/2″ then used my French curve to draw a curved line from the extended shoulder to the raised side seam, following the natural curve of the pattern (you can see the new line on the picture to the above). I use a paper French curve – I printed out a paper template from the web – who needs fancy tools when you can use paper? Again, I had to repeat this on the back bodice, and the facings so everything matched up.
ADJUSTING THE BUST DARTS
I lowered them by 1.5″. I have watched a few people do this on YouTube, and basically, I drew a rectangle around the current dart, marked the level on the pattern where my new dart should point, cut out the rectangle, then slid it down 1.5″ to point to my new apex. I taped it in place and filled in the gap with some paper, smoothly joining the line where the gap was. You can also see this on the picture above.
CHOOSING MY FABRIC
Now I just needed fabric – I have been trying to be more sustainable in my sewing, so wanted to upcycle something I already had. It was after-all #upcycleapril on Instagram. I found a RTW top I had not worn for ages as the fit was not right, but I love the fabric – I thought there might just be enough to squeeze out the camisole top. I carefully opened the seams and laid out the fabric, but I did not quite have enough. Not wanting to be beaten, after a bit of head scratching, I found some black left-over linen from another project, which I thought would match, and I stitched a linen strip to each fabric panel, and hey presto I had enough fabric!
I love how it turned out. It is a great pattern, and a wonderful scrap buster. The instructions are easy to follow with photos to accompany each step.
I would recommend you give it a go! I will certainly be making more. In fact, almost immediately I cut out another, but this time using the smaller straps for a summer holiday version.
PS this is my first blog for a website, so when Mandi asked me to write it, I was so happy I did a little happy dance around my kitchen 🙂