Colette Macaron: FBA Part 2

26 Oct

Alright ladies, this is a massive post so be sure to put your big girl pants on and let’s go! 🙂

Picking up where we left off in Part 1, I now know I need to add 2 inches to my full bust.

  1. With the Top Front Yoke and Bodice Front still pinned together, draw a straight line through the centre of each dart until they intercept. This is the bust apex, mark it with a circle.
  2. Secure the centre front in place. I used a piece of card as backing and secured it with pins. This was my budget version of a proper cardboard cutting mat.
  3. Daw a line from the middle of the shoulder seam at the stitching line to the bust apex, then, staying parallel to the centre front, from the apex to the bottom. This is line 1a.
  4. Draw Line 1b from the apex to the arm hole stitching line by the notch marking.
  5. Mark Line 2, from the apex along the centre of the horizontal bust dart, to the edge.
  6. Draw a horizontal line, about 1/3 of the way up the Bodice Front. This is Line 3.
  7. Because I have a reasonably large FBA to complete I made a Y-adjustment rather than just a standard FBA. This meant sharing the 2 inches between Lines 1a + 1b.( If you have an adjustment less than 2 inches, you will probably only need to use 1b, so skip this step.) With scissors, cut up Line 1a, and spread the apex by 1/4 of your total adjustment, for me this was 1/2 an inch. As you make each adjustment, secure the tissue to the backing card with pins so it doesn’t move.
  8. Cut Line 1b and spread the apex by your total adjustment amount, e.g. 2 inches for me. If you skipped the previous step, continue the cut down the vertical part of 1b and spread the full amount.
  9. Cut Line 2 up to the apex but not through it, leaving a little hinge. Now swing the bottom part down so that the two edges marked in green above are parallel and an even 2″ apart. This opens up a deeper dart along Line 2.
  10. When we rotated the piece along Line 2 we also increased the length of the pattern piece so to true the edge we want to cut along Line 3 and spread the now separate piece to match the bottom edge of the pattern, keeping Line 3 parallel along the green edges.
  11. Fill all the gaps with paper (I’m just using regular lunch wrap, but if you’re smart you can use grid paper to help keep things square) with the exception of the horizontal bust dart (Line 2).
  12. Try the pattern piece on and check that the centre front matches to your centre front, then mark where the apex really is on your bust. If you’re young and perky, it may be at  the original mark but often with a full bust it is a little lower. For me, the difference was 1 1/4″.
  13. Fill the horizontal bust dart with paper. Check your existing darts (in blue) and see if they point to your new apex (in yellow). Luckily my horizontal one does but my vertical one is way out. At this point I have two options. I can cut a box around the vertical dart and just move it over to the new apex or I can rotate the darts. I know I don’t want such a bulky horizontal dart so I decide to rotate the dart out. First I draw lines from the base of each dart leg to the hinge point (in pink).
  14. Cut along the pink lines, leaving the hinge point intact and secured to the board with a pin.
  15. Now swing the middle piece down to close the vertical dart and tape in place.
  16. Draw a line from the base of each horizontal (Dart 1) dart leg to the new apex. Because I have so much bulk (seen as the empty space in dart 1) to rotate into the darts I decided to make two vertical darts instead of the original one. To mark where these fall I drew two lines (Dart 2 + Dart 3) from the bottom edge to the apex. I just guessed at where I wanted them to fall.
  17. Cut along the lines of Dart 1 and remove the paper between.
  18. Now cut up the lines for Dart 2 and Dart 3 to the apex but not through it, so the hinge remains. Now you can rotate and spread the space in Dart 1, between them all. So long as all the darts point to the apex, you can spread these as much as you like.
  19. Because our boobies are round rather than pointy, we want the darts to end 1-2″ from the apex. Fill the gaps created in step 18 with paper then draw a line from the apex along the centre of the dart (green dashed line). Measure aprox 1″ along this line from the apex and mark. This is your new dart point. Draw a line from this point to the base of each dart leg (pink lines). This is your new dart. Now pin the darts together and try on the tissue again to check for fit and dart placement.
  20. When you separate the Top Front Yoke from the Bodice Front you may notice the Macaron’s signature sweetheart line has been lost. This is easily fixed by filling in the gap (Pink piece above). You will need to match and fill this new line on the Top Front Yoke too.
  21. Now make up your muslin of the front and back to check for fit. I’m pretty happy but on my ‘real’ version I think I’ll shorten the vertical darts by another inch.

As a reminder here’s what we are aiming for:


And here’s what I have so far:

Whew, finished muslin should be up tomorrow.

16 Responses to “Colette Macaron: FBA Part 2”

  1. Lia October 27, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    I just wanted to pop in and say thank you for these posts! When you posted part 1, I was just tracing my macaron pattern, and reading through all the other blog posts across the internet on FBAs, but I was confused how I could apply that to Macaron. I’m going to give this a try.

    Also, on yours at least, I actually like the look of two darts better than one. It’s that extra bit of shaping that makes it look that much more tailored to you.

  2. lsaspacey October 27, 2010 at 2:32 am #

    Looking great!!!

  3. Angela October 27, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    Wow… it’s look great so far!!

  4. Sarah October 27, 2010 at 6:22 am #

    OMGeeee!!! It looks gorgeous!!!! Fantastic job!

  5. pascale October 30, 2010 at 12:51 pm #

    This is one fantastic tutorial! Thanks sew much! Please keep your posts on pattern manipulation coming, you could make them into a book.

  6. Lia November 2, 2010 at 3:31 am #

    This has been incredibly helpful! I’m ‘following along at home’ and I have a question for you – I’m making a full muslin, and although the top (both front and back) is going relatively well so far, the ‘midriff front’ piece, no matter what I do, is *way* too short. As in: if I center it on the center of the bodice top, there are about two inches on either side where there is bodice but no midrif. My first thought was that I’d mistraced the pattern, so I went back and did it again, but there’s definitely still a gap.

    Did I somehow mess up my FBA such that the two inches I added to the bust also got added to the bottom of the front? Is there an easy way to fix this? I don’t really want to re-do the FBA, because it magically fits me on top…I’m just trying to figure out how to make the midriff front bit fit in with the rest of the dress.

    My other question: if I have to add width to the midriff front, will I *also* have to add width to the other front?

    Sorry for so many questions! I look forward to when you post your muslin, and if you have any advice in the meantime, I’d appreciate it. =]

    • lazystitcher November 7, 2010 at 10:26 pm #

      Hey Lia,
      I totally get the frustration! Whenever I adjust patterns, no matter how carefully I measure and do the maths and geometry on it, there’s always some little bit that doesn’t add up. I’m still working on my muslin (80 hour work week this week – sorry for the late reply ;)) and I’ve found the opposite problem – mine is too long on the back midriff piece even though I haven’t made any adjustments to that bit – I’m fitting a size 18 to a size 18. It could be that the curves have stretched out of shape a little but it could just be a quirk of the pattern drafting.
      My not so expert advice would be to first check the length of the midriff piece against your body measurement. If it is the right length, then you should maybe make your vertical darts a little deeper, which would decrease the width of the bodice front but still keep it at the fullest part of the bust, if that makes sense. But if the midriff piece is just too small for your body then measure the width of the bodice front at the bottom edge and compare it to the midriff piece. This will tell you the width you need to add to the midriff piece.
      If you are making smaller than the size 18, you could just measure the midriff pattern piece and cut the size that is the same length as your bodice front otherwise I would cut the midriff pattern at about 1/3 in from either end and add the necessary width there (i.e. half the additional length at each point).
      What ever you do to with the midriff chances are you will need to do with the skirt also, so check the measurements of your hips against the size you end up choosing – you may need to grade it up or down.
      Give me an email if this doesn’t make sense (it’s getting quite late here) 🙂

  7. Lia November 8, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    Thanks for the reply! That was actually very helpful. I realized I haven’t worked on the skirt as well, and I suspect I’m going to have to make that bigger. I’m already sewing an 18, so I’ll likely just be trying to figure out how much to add where. Your comment about the 1/3 in from the end from the midriff is incredibly helpful! I think I’m going to figure out what the skirt needs first, and then go back and figure out the midriff piece last.


    • lazystitcher November 9, 2010 at 9:34 pm #

      Good thinking. I finally got some sewing time in tonight and just have the zipper and hem to go on my muslin, hooray ! 😉 One thing I found with the skirt is that it is quite short compared to what I’m used to. I ended up lengthening it two inches at the hip (just after the pocket marking on the skirt front) and it still hits right above my knee before hemming so if you like it a little longer I’d definitely make that adjustment before cutting out.
      Let me know how you go 🙂

  8. Kate January 27, 2011 at 9:44 am #

    Oh this is so fabulous! I just found your blog and love to see your detailed fitting descriptions. I too am a size 18 (sometimes a bit bigger) and always in need of a lot of Full Bust Adjustment work. I have long loved the Macaron pattern, and now I have a renewed hope. Please keep your alterations coming.

    You can explore my fit adventures at my blog here I have tagged posts with “full bust adjustment” and “pattern alterations” for easy viewing. I would love your feedback if you have ideas on my fit.

    p.s. One fitting issue I find with my FBA and body shape is that the bodice is often still short in the center front, but long enough at the sides and back (even with the FBA length added correctly). What I have found is that I usually need to add length at my center front (tummy) area because I carry weight and roundness in my middle, but I don’t need to add length to my side. What I will do is cut a vertical slash along the bottom of the bodice front (perpendicular to the grain line or center front), leaving it intact to hinge at the side seam area. Then I will spread the pattern to create length at the center front (usually about an inch or two. This creates a “wedge” of length that tapers to nothing at the side seam. I true up the waistline and the center front darts if they need it, and viola. This usually helps my bodices from riding or pulling up in the center front.

  9. steph July 30, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Thanks so much for this – I’m just about to start making a macaron for a party I have in 6 weeks (it’ll be the first dress I’ve ever made – I do like to leave things to the last minute.) and I’m a 30G cup – after seeing your wonderful FBA tutorial I’m convinced I can get a good fitting top – thanks ever so much!


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