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
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
1. For most patterns, pick your size closer to your high bust measurement. This will make the shoulders fit properly and we'll be adding fabric around the bust only. I'm using KWIK Sew #3555, the pattern that we use in our Button Down Shirt class. It's got 4 - 5" of ease at the bust - that's pretty loose fitting! I picked a size small because I want this to be a relaxed shirt. If your hips won't fit into the small size, use your curved ruler to draw a new line at the side seam from the natural waist to a larger size at the hip - make sure you match this line on your back pattern piece!
2. Hold the pattern piece up to your body, lining up the center front and shoulder seam. Mark the bust point.
3. Draw three lines on the pattern - one: from the bust point to the hem, parallel to the grainline. Two: from the bust point to the side seam perpendicular to the grainline. Three: from the bust point to the arm curve.
4. Cut on the lines, first up from the hem to the bust point, then pivoting to cut to the arm curve. Leave a little paper still attached to make a hinge. Then cut from the side seam over to the bust point leaving another hinge.
5. On another piece of paper, draw a straight line then a second parallel line. The distance between the lines is as follows: for C cup - 1/2", for D cup - 3/4", for DD cup - 1". I'm half-watching "Gleaming the Cube" while typing this up and I keep getting distracted by Christian Slater... Tape your pattern down to the new paper along the lines, separating your first cut and smoothing out the paper from the hem to the bust point then from the bust point to the arm curve.
6. The bottom edge at the hem will now be two different lengths. Usually, I would add paper to the center front edge because a full bust needs the extra length, but I know that this shirt is already longer than I wear them so I'm cutting off the extra from the new cut to the side seam.
7. Now to form the new dart: first, draw a new line from the bust point to the side seam perpendicular to the grainline. Then, measure the distance that the pattern spread apart at the side seam when you taped it down (dart width) - this will be a different amount depending on what size you are using.
8. Measure the dart width from the new perpendicular line down and mark it. Mark the apex (the point) of the new dart 1 to 1 1/4" away from the but point (smaller for more fitted, larger for less fitted). Draw in the new dart:
9. Measure from the new dart apex the same amount down each new dart leg and make a mark. It doesn't matter what the measurement is as long as the marks are close to the side seam somewhere. I had no idea that Tony Hawk was in this movie! Cute! Fold the lower leg of the dart up to the upper leg, matching your marks and tack in place. Use a curved ruler to smooth out the side seam.
10. Use a pin to perforate the side seam through the folded dart to draw in your dart extension.
11. Cut out your new side seam! I drew in the new dart with a Sharpie so you could see it clearly. If my patternmaking teacher (the amazing Linda Faiola at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education) is reading this, don't despair! I would never use a Sharpie for patternmaking - pencils only folks.
Hooray for darts! I'm going to make my shirt out of an Anna Maria Horner voile - I love Diamond Mine in Ink. Next on the list is "Rock-n-Roll High School" and two variations on this theme, so stay tuned!