In the last instalment of our 1940’s Wrap Dress sewalong we started work on pattern alterations. In today’s post we’re talking full bust adjustments. Toiles at the ready!
Not sure if you need an FBA? Here are some tell-tale signs:
- Your bust measurements sits outside of the size bracket for your hip and waist measurements.
- You’re not able to wrap the bodice of your dress over your bust, but it fits elsewhere
- The waist is higher at the front of the bodice than it is at the back
- Pulling across the front of your toile or a blousing at the armhole
How much extra room do I need to add?
Work out the difference between your full bust measurement and the bust measurement on the back of the pattern. For example, the pattern measurement is 35″ for a size 10, which let’s say is right for you at the waist and hips, but your bust is 36.5″. This means you need to add 1.5″ (or 4cm) of room in this area. As the bodice pattern piece is only half of the full bodice however, you need to divide this measurement in half. So the total adjustment you need to make needs to be divided in half to account for the two bodice pieces, and that gives you the amount to increase the bust by. For our example, this is 2cm.
Making a full bust adjustment
1. Try on your toile and mark your bust apex directly onto it using a felt tip. (Your bust apex is usually where your nipples are!)
2. Transfer your bust apex point to your pattern piece piece from the toile.
3. Draw a line from the bust point down to the waistline (line 1), parallel to the grainline.
4. Draw a diagonal line from the bust point to the upper notch on the armhole (line 2).
5. Draw a third line from the bust point to the side seam, approximately 5cm below the armhole (line 3).
6. Cut through lines 1 and 2, but on line 2 stop when you reach the seam allowance on the armhole. For line 2, cut through the seam allowance on the armhole from the other direction, but leave a small amount unsnipped so you can use this as a ‘hinge’ to move the pattern.
7. Cut through line 3, but again leave a small amount uncut at the bust apex.
8. Tape your pattern down onto a piece of pattern paper, just along the centre front and line 1 to start with. Draw a line parallel to line 1, at the distance you need to increase by to the left hand side of this line. (For us this is 2cm.)
9. Move the pattern until it sits exactly on this line, as shown above. Tape this section of the pattern in place.
10. Line 3 will have opened up to accommodate the width you’ve added, so tape it in place where it has opened up. This will look like a dart, and you will need to sew it up like one when making your dress.
11. To level the waist on your pattern, cut all the way along the lengthen/shorten line on just the right hand side part of the pattern. Shift this new piece down until it lines up with the waist again. This is shown above with the orange lines.
12. You will then need to true up the centre front again, by re-drawing the neckline. Simply draw a straight line connecting the furthest point of the waistline and the shoulder.
13. Trim down the excess paper around the pattern, except at the side seam as you still need this.
14. You then need to redraw the dart. Double check your bust apex is in the right place by holding your pattern up against you. Re-draw it if it seems slightly off. Create two dart legs connecting the bust apex with the cut openings of line 3 on the side seam.
15. As you’ve used your true bust apex to draw in this new dart, you’ll want to move it slightly on the pattern to avoid any pointiness once the dress is made up. You’ll want to move the dart tip slightly away from the point you’ve just drawn, towards the side seam. We recommend between 2.5cm and 3.5cm from the original point. The bigger your bust, the further away you will need to make the new dart apex.
16. Draw in the new dart legs as shown above.
17. Fold the dart closed, bringing the lower leg up to sit on top of the upper leg. Tape or pin down. Cut along the side seam of the pattern piece, at the same time removing all of the excess paper.
18. Remove the pin or tape and open up the dart again. It can be helpful to cut in new notches for the dart leg ends at the side seam at this point so you remember to snip them when cutting out your fabric.
It is possible to remove the dart, but we highly suggest leaving the dart in for the 1940’s Wrap – it’ll give you extra shaping where you need it and will stop the bodice looking too blousey. The excess you’ve added for your bust at the waist will likely fall between the gathering notches, so you can simply gather the fabric a little more to make it fit the waistband to keep the nipped in waist.
And that’s your full bust adjustment finished! In our next posts we’ll be talking small bust adjustments and sleeve alterations, and then it’s onto the sewing!