Grading up the 128 Russian Settlers' Dress

The 128 Russian Settlers' Dress is an older Folkwear pattern, and like many of our older patterns, it is only available in a fairly small size range (6 to 16, or Small to Large).  The largest size is graded for a 38" bust, 30" waist, and 40" hips - which is quite small for most American women!


However, there is LOTS of ease in this pattern, and the bust measurement is the most important, since it is the only place where the sundress and shirt are the closest to the body.

The finished measurement for the shirt, or blouse, is 57.5" at the chest and hips (which does not include the 4 inch underarm gussets on each side at chest height which add a bit more room) for all sizes. So, you can see that there is a lot of ease!

Here, I am going to show you how to grade the sundress, or sarafan, up to larger sizes.  It is quite easy!

The sundress consists of only 4 pieces - the front and back skirts (A and B), the strap (D), and the top band (C).  The front and back skirts are cut one-size-fits-all, and they are 78" wide when sewn together (so 78" wide at bust, waist, and hips).  But, the band, which the skirt is gathered into, sits above the bust, and is the most important point of adjustment for sizing. 

The band should measure the size of your upper bust measurement (the measurement around your chest above your breasts (where you want the band to sit).  Our pattern piece is sized for 30" to 38" measurements.  The band has a slight negative ease because you want the band to be snug (not tight) and allow for slight stretching.  

So, if you want to make this dress for an upper bust measurement that is larger than 38", you just need to increase the width of the band by 1/2" for each 1" you need to go up.  For instance, if you want to increase the band measurement to fit a 41" upper bust, you would increase the band width by 1.5".  Cut out the pattern piece 2 inches longer than the largest printed size, and proceed with the pattern. Since this piece is a rectangle, and cut on the fold, you add the extra width to the side with the measurements.  

The shoulder straps are fairly large for this pattern, and should fit tall and broad shouldered women, but if you want to add a few inches to the notched side to make sure they will be long enough, you can always adjust when you are attaching the straps to the dress.  

For most people, these should be your only adjustments to grade this dress up to larger sizes.  Easy peasy!


You can also see a video of how to grade this pattern up for larger sizes on our YouTube Channel.