Oliver + S

Full Bust Adjustment

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    Linda @Knitting1

    Morning ladies, hoping for your help again! Been really good, I’ve learnt to make a toile and made one, bought a cardboard dress form in a junk shop for £10 and have padded it all over to (nearly) fit me. It’s a work in progress and I honestly didn’t know I was such a bad shape. That’s the problem isn’t it, to be able to get your garments to fit, you can’t lie to yourself about your shape, is so tempting to make my model (Eliza, after Dr Dolittle) a few inches slimmer, a foot taller, with a long neck and blonde hair…

    The bottom though is really curvy, I look like Beyonce, though sadly its not the same shape as me at all. My husband popped into my sewing room, and said admiringly, “Nice bum!” I said, “Don’t get excited, it’s not mine.”

    Anyway, where was I? Ah yes, FBA. I am confused over a few things.3″ difference between high bust and bust therefore half that amount for adjustment, i worked out. But when I pivot the dart up, the armscye doesn’t lay flat where the hinge is, I have a bit that wants to sort of crease where the hinge is, also, its obviously impossible to open the vertical seam from the bottom exactly parallel ALL the way up to the dart and side seam horizontal cut, isn’t it, because it narrows to go into the dart, if you see what I mean. Then redrawing the dart itself- I redrew it so of course due to my adjustment it is wider, but I couldn’t work out where tip would be. I think I made have drawn the cut lines incorrectly because it ended up on top of my nipples (apex????). I finally decided to move it back about an inch each side and when I tried on toile the bust thing had worked! Yeah! And gaping armhole had gone. Too big on shoulders now though and armscye a bit tight, which is why I think I’ve gone wrong somewhere. To narrow shoulders do you just chop an amount off? As you can see, I need help, even though you may not be able to make me look like Beyonce, though I can always hope. My husband is…(only joking, he always says I’m gorgeous, which is lovely though untrue!)

    Linda @Knitting1

    And forgot to ask (yes, sorry there’s more,) am I right in presuming I’ll have to do this for every single pattern I make? I was hoping it would sort of be a template once I’ve completed it. And another thing that confuses me, some garments are meant to be loose fitting or loose in certain areas, so if I just went by finished garment measurements and my breasts, hips, waist were a smaller measurement than that, then in theory garment would of course ‘fit’ me. But then surely I would lose the style elements that the designer intended by designing in lots of positive ease. So how do you work out how to reduce size to fit your body whilst maintaining the ease to make the garment look like it should and does in the picture? Phew, I’m worn out now (and spoosed to be working, but am obsessed at the moment with this fitting lark and wanting to actually SEW something for myself!

    Violaisabelle @Violaisabelle

    Hi Linda,

    All your work is valuable learning and you are doing a great job! I’m sorry I don’t have time to go through the particulars and without pictures, it’s a little less clear for me, though I think I get what you are saying. Here’s what I do want to comment on, fitting and the ease of it.

    I have taken many fitting classes as I find you can learn new things all the time from various teachers. I have studied fitting issues and ways in which to tackle the alterations, both on flat patterns and while on the body. If you are interested in a ‘newer’ quicker way to solve flat pattern alterations, I can highly recommend Joi Mahon’s “Fast Track Fitting” class. She has two classes on “Craftsy.com”, “Fast Track Fitting” and her second class, “Fast Track Fitting In the Details”,. She has a new book released next month. She takes you through how to make changes to the pattern, before you ever take it to the muslin stage, so that you only have to do a bit of tweaking on your muslin. By using your personal measurements (she has an excellent chart for where measurements need to be taken) and how you transfer those to the pattern. She’s very liberating in her way of doing things. She truly has made this a ‘fast track method’ for fitting. I found I needed to watch several of the videos over and over to grasp completely how to do some of the simple things. In theory, I ‘caught it’ right away. In practice, I needed to watch those things a few times over to make sure I had it down correctly.

    Understanding how to do FBA is great knowledge, but you will find an even simpler way to do this in her class, by way of the ‘bust curve measurement’ in part, other measurements, too, but this one is key.

    You are absolutely right in your thinking about loose fitting garments and ‘robbing the fabric’ and design lines in some cases, by going by the finished garment measurements to sneak into the garment. The garment will not look the same as you had hoped, by doing that method. If you bought the pattern for a particular look, design detail, etc, you will want to still do the pattern adjustments, but they will be so much easier, once you see how quick and easy it is to transfer your measurements over to the flat pattern, before making the muslin. 🙂

    Yes, you will make changes to every pattern you make, BUT once you get the hang of it, those changes will not take too long as you will already know how to do it, from having put the time in already. As is so often the case, it takes time to learn new techniques and use them. Once you use them over and over again, it becomes easier and quicker to repeat the process.

    You should be very proud of the work you are doing. It was 13 years ago I started on a quest on how to fit my garments and properly set up my dress form. The joy of accomplishing these tasks is worth every minute you spend on learning! 🙂

    I wish you great success!


    Little_Anj @Little_Anj

    There are some great tutorials on here, that will give you a good start for doing patten adjusting and FBA.

    I recently purchased and made the Cappuccino Dress, which has details on an FBA and the fit was amazing!!

    How to make a muslin


    Blending between sizes


    Finding your correct size in a pattern


    I used all of these as a guide (along with the instructions in the pattern) to assist me to contour the pattern to fit, and blend around all of my body parts that are not teeny tiny like a 16 year old model!! 🙂

    As Carol said, there is a wealth of knowledge that can be gained from the internet.

    So have fun.


    Linda @Knitting1

    Thank you both for those suggestions and thank you for the links, Angie. I was using one from the Christine Haynes Emery dress sew along. I wasn’t making that dress (though do have pattern) so I didn’t have a waist dart, which threw me a bit to start! Got confused a lot where she showed photo of measuring from bust and waist dart, so think I’ll forget that and have a look at the links you sent instead. I am making the Laurel dress as a top, because I thought it was nice and simple and I could therefore concentrate on the fitting. I actually bought the Cappucino pattern, but not used it yet, but now I know about the FBA info I’ll open it. Been buying a lot of patterns whilst sales/discounts on, of ones I want but don’t want to start any until I get this fitting thing correct. Thanks again, Linda

    Linda @Knitting1

    Happy because I found the answer to one of my questions about where dart point ends in one of the links that Angie suggested. Answer from Liesl to someone earlier this year-yey!

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