Friday, April 16, 2010

Adding to an Existing Dart

Part Deux of our Full Bust Adjustment festival, this tutorial will show you how to increase the size of an existing dart. I'll be using our Party Dress pattern (Kwik Sew #3521) as an example.

Most commercial patterns draft for a B cup, so many people have to alter up or down accordingly. On some patterns, you can fudge it a bit, or just get by - this is one of those patterns for me. It has always been a bit snug in the bust - but workable - now it's noticeably tight. My weight goes up and down a lot, and of course it all settles in the bust which means I have to alter almost everything I own. Hooray! Plenty of practice... Here's a picture where you can see that the existing dress squishes the bust a bit:

So, we'll be using the same slash-and-spread technique as we used previously in the Full Bust Adjustment aka FBA post along with the same supply list and cup size measurement chart. It might be a good idea to read through that post to refresh your memory - you can refer to it for all the step-by-step pictures I'll talk about below.

Here we go!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Full Bust Adjustment, aka FBA

Welcome to the second part of our Bust Adjustment extravaganza, a companion to the 3/22 Petite Bust Adjustment (sometimes called an SBA) where we featured the lovely Parfait Dress by Colette Patterns. Most commercial pattern companies out there draft for a B cup, so if you are not a B cup you'll need to make some changes in the pattern for it to fit your body better. This is really the essence of making your own clothes - you can be technically proficient but if things don't fit right it's not going to look good!

There are a couple of things you can do to make the bust area fit better - you can add a dart where there isn't one, you can increase an existing dart, or you can add more fabric to the gathers, tucks or pleats that shape the fabric like a dart. I'll be going through the steps to add a dart in this tutorial and follow up shortly with the other two methods. For the third method - gathers, pleats or tucks - I'll use the Parfait Dress again cause it's so pretty!

We'll start out using the same method for figuring out your cup size as we did previously - remember that your cup size for a pattern might be different from your bra cup size. First, measure around the fullest part of your bust:

Then measure your high bust - under the arms and over the bust across the ribcage:

The difference is what makes your cup size:

  • 1" or less: A cup
  • around 2": B cup
  • around 3": C cup
  • around 4": D cup
  • around 5": DD cup
  • etcetera!

I wear a DD bra but make a pattern adjustment for a D cup because I have a 4" difference.

We'll need the same patternmaking supplies:

  • Extra paper - pattern paper or copy/printer paper
  • a sharp pencil - a mechanical pencil is best
  • 2 x 18" clear ruler
  • clear tape - the matte kind you can write on
  • push-pin type thumbtacks
  • a vary form curve or hip curve ruler

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pattern of the Month - April 2010

There are so many great sewing patterns out there that we here at Sew L.A. have decided to highlight one pattern a month right here in our blog so everyone can share in the fun! We'll talk about why we picked the pattern, show you some pictures and talk about anything we did differently from the instructions, plus share any helpful hints we might have regarding fitting and construction.

We just got a bunch of incredible rayon prints in at the shop from the Van Gogh collection by Free Spirit, and I was itching to make something out of it. I was looking for something quick and easy as I had a dreaded tax deadline hanging over my head, and this is what I came up with - our first Pattern of the Month - KWIK Sew 3242
This is one of those patterns where you can't see how great a design it is till you make it in fabric that you like! I was thinking breezy and easy, because it was hot here for about two minutes last week, so I made View B, the shorter skirt. It's definitely a beginner level pattern: two pattern pieces, a couple of seams and an elastic waist. The hem is easy - there's just a lot of it - so that's the only thing that took a little time. The pattern says to overcast the edge then turn it in for a hem, but I did a double fold hem because you can see the hem as you wear the skirt. First, I made it in one of our solid bamboo rayons because I love the color - 'moss':

Now I'm making it in this fabric!

I love that it looks like a bias cut skirt but it's really cut on the straight of grain. If you have taken Pajamarama, the Wrap Skirt or the Tess' Dress class, you can make this no problem! Use more pins when pinning because rayon is slipperier than cotton (this would look fine in cotton as well, but it wouldn't be as slinky looking).

Sizing is something you'll need to pay attention to. Here's a picture of the finished measurement where the skirt meets the yoke:

You'll want the skirt measurement to be at least 1" larger than your body measurement. If you'll wear the waist of the skirt right at your natural waist, this measurement will fall an inch or so under your hip bones, so you can measure around there. I like to wear this with the waist more AT my hip bones (I have a lot of tunic length tops) so I used my hip measurement at 9" from my natural waist to choose the size. My measurement is 41", so I chose the large which will give me one inch of ease. If you are unsure, erring on the side of a little more room is always a good policy. Pattern bonus: a cute cap-sleeve tee shirt! Super easy and quick if you have already worked with knits a bit (like in our Basic Tee class). Enjoy!