Sway back basics

When you make a top/blouse/jacket, does the fabric pool at the back around your waist?

Do you make the above sway back adjustment either above or below your waist? In my case I tend to make this change above the waist and I’ll also be making a second adjustment below the waist.

In Easy, Easier, Easiest Tailoring by Palmer and Pletsch, they suggest the adjustment (tuck) can be made either higher or lower than the waist. They even suggest making 2 small tucks.

So if the fabric pools above your waist, here’s how you start.

On this mini block, I’ve drawn a horizontal line above the waist, where I think the fabric pools the most. Everyone is different so you may need to take photos or grab a friend to help you figure out where the fabric pools the most.

After looking at the pool of fabric, the pool of fabric can be pinned at that point and I need to take out 1.5cm of fabric. Above I’ve folded out 1.5cm above the waistline.

But the centre back still needs to be the same length as the original pattern. On this pattern the centre back is a seam and not a fold.
If the centre back is a fold on your pattern, add seam allowance so you can shape this area better. That’s what I do for knit and woven tops.

So the centre back is now the same length as the original pattern and the dart is still the same length too.

Here’s the before and after shot of making a sway back adjustment to this knit top. The fullness was taken out above the waist.

This pattern needs a second smaller sway back adjustment below the waistline, just as Palmer and Pletsch suggested.


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