Don’t worry if your pattern doesn’t lay flat. It’s only temporary.
Tip: make sure that you securely tape your pleats in place so they don’t shift in this lesson.
Step 1: Redraw Your Neckline
Fold your paper at the edge of each pleat guideline, and then fold it upon itself (as if you were folding the excess fabric to the back). Try to line up as much of the guideline to the other side. It’s okay if your necklines aren’t perfectly meeting; this is to be expected. In the picture below the purple line was the original neckline, and the pink is the now corrected and smoothed neckline.
Redraw your neckline to smooth it out, generally cutting through the middle of each neckline section. It’s okay if you cut off small sections of the neckline as the pivoting will have cause some parts to drop and some parts to raise up slightly.
Notice how I was only able to fold my pleats along the first guideline section. This is fine.
Step 2: True Your Pleats
Important: make sure that you fold your excess in the same direction that you plan to sew it. It can be helpful to temporarily tape down all the pleats.
Using a sharp tool (such as a tracing wheel) or even your fingernail, press a line into the paper to join the neckline sections smoothly together.
Carefully unfold your pleats and check if you can see your marking. If done right you will notice that the internal pleat is now shaped appropriately to have enough fabric for folding and sewing later without stretching the fabric in unwanted ways.
Sorry for the horrible photo – my paper is definitely showing wear and tear at this point!
Step 3: Check Measurements
Now is a great time to check your measurements. Using a flexible tape measure follow your neckline by skipping the folded out sections of pattern. This measurement should be the same as what you began with.
Since we flared out our side seam, it doesn’t need to equal the original side seam length. For now just record how long it is for when we true up the front and back patterns.