Tag Archives: FBA

Sewaholic Minoru Muslin/Sweater-dress + FBA

29 Nov

I find myself with a bit of a problem. Whilst my brain knows that making a muslin is not a waste of fabric I seem to be physically incapable of disposing of one once it’s made.

Which goes a little way to explaining this odd sweater/dress hybrid.

I want to make an all-weather version of Sewaholic’s latest pretty and practical pattern – the Minoru Jacket. Tasia’s sew-a-long begins in earnest in January but I thought I’d get a head start on the muslin being that it usually causes much feet dragging. I had some double-knit which would work and really I just wanted to check that the full-bust adjustment would work okay on the dartless bodice.

Here’s how it went:

(click to enlarge)

ETA: On regular version add the length created at Line 3 to the front placket and zip, too.

 It worked just fine and I now know when it comes to making the real version I’ll need a 34in separating zipper not a 32in due to the additional length from the FBA.

Still I didn’t want to waste a zipper I can’t really afford on a muslin so I thought to myself… what would happen if I cut the front on a fold (adding in the width of the button placket)? Answer is… a Sweater-Dress. It’s very comfortable despite being unlined and the fact I messed the collar up royally. I didn’t notice the front placket went up to the top of the collar so I forgot to add the additional length and then I went and sewed it on backwards. Oh well, good thing it’s just a knock-around for home.

 The pattern itself is so lovely to sew, and now I have my alterations all done I can’t wait for January.

Rooibos Sew-along: Muslin Two

24 Aug


Today is just a brief one as I’m off to Edinburgh for a couple of days, but I’ve adjusted and re-cut the bodice of my Rooibos muslin so I think I’m ready to roll on the full version, hurray!

Going back to the first muslin here is the photo showing the length issue in the bodice.

The pins indicate where the midriff line should fall.

To make the adjustment I measured the additional length needed (1.75in at the full bust + 1in at the  centre front).

Then I cut a line from beneath the underarm bust dart to the full bust point then vertically down (avoiding the under-bust darts). I left a hinge at the side seam stitching line so the side seam length remained unchanged, then pivoted the bottom piece down 1.75in.

Then I drew a line from the full but point to the centre front (perpendicular to the CF) and slide that piece down 1in before filling the gaps with paper and truing up the line.

This seems to have added the right amount although I had to play with the dart position and length a fair bit in the muslin form because the angle had pivoted down. I think now though, the problem is solved.

Here is the first muslin:

And here is the second:

It certainly feels like a better fit even if the process was somewhat of a guess 🙂

Colette Rooibos Sew-along: First Muslin

21 Aug

More muslining today. This time I’m catching up on Colette Pattern’s Rooibos Sew-along. For the first go around I made a 2in full bust adjustment following the CP tutorial here. Then I graded to an 18 at the midriff and 18 +2in at the skirt.

The pattern itself was surprisingly quick to construct – less than 90 minutes – although being a muslin there’s no facing, zip or hem.

As for the fit, the FBA worked well in terms of width but as usual there’s not quite enough length.

Here I’ve used pins to mark where the bottom of the bust should be.

I’m hoping that bringing the bust down and the midriff properly flat under the bust should fix the slight boxy feeling from the side.

The back’s okay but I’ll add a little more length. Where it finishes now is probably the length I should hem it at so I need to add the allowance to the bottom.

All in all it’s not too bad and I’m loving the little details like the pockets and the neckline at the back. Very excited to get started on the proper one this week.


English Summer Sorbetto

12 Jul

Fabric: Polyester print from Spotlight $8. Scraps from Pendrell Blouse for the collar.
Pattern: Colette Sorbetto, $Free, baby! Self-drafted collar.
Notions: Nada.
Time to complete: 5 hours (including pattern alterations)
First worn: July 7 2011 – birthday lunch with little sis.
Wear again? For sure.

Total Cost: ~$8

Okay, so it hasn’t rained all the time since arriving in London but it seemed like the perfect cliched photo op.

It took me two days to leave the house in the wake of flipping time on it’s head (a 12 hour time difference means midnight is now lunchtime and vice-versa) but Thursday was my 29th birthday and my little sister enticed me out of the house with promise of Wagagmama for lunch and I’m not one to turn down free noodles.

The pattern is a popular new freebie from Colette Patterns – the Sorbetto Tank. It’s an uber simple design with bust darts, and a centre box pleat but it has plenty of draw-cards besides the ‘price’. Most of all it’s ease (only two pattern pieces) and versatility – I decided to make the most of the nautical fabric and try my hand at a self drafted peter pan collar. This was pretty straight forward and mostly successful for a first attempt.

To create the collar, I traced the neck line from the front and back then drew a second line about 2 and 1/2 in width from there. At the centre front I grabbed a jar I had handy and used it to curve off the edges. After that I just built in seam allowances and that was it. For fabric I used the scraps at hand, namely the matte stain from my Pendrell Blouse as it was just the right off-white shade. I underlined this with a thick white cotton which I also used as lining to keep it stiff without having to locate interfacing from one of my packed boxes. I used patter~scissors~cloth’s technique of cutting the lining about 3mm smaller than the main piece so it would turn under nicely then stitched the two together.

After clipping the curves, I turned it out and pressed then basted the raw neck edges together. Then I sandwiched the collar right-side up on top of the right-side of the blouse and under the self-fabric bias binding (made using this tutorial

(Sorry for the lack of pictures – I did take them but somehow they dissappeared in the move)

The back collar I just made one continuous piece.

The only other adjustment I made was a 2 inch basic bodice full bust adjustment, similar to this one, which was about as simple as an fba comes.

This was one of the last projects I made before putting my machines in storage and because of the resistance of the polyester fabric I didn’t need to iron it after unceremoniously stuffing it in my suitcase. It also stood up to the bucketing rain as I played the classy tourist and took photo’s of myself with red telephone boxes and the likes.

In other exciting news – my new sewing machine arrived today and I have a few leads on where to look for fabrics in London so I see many more Sorbettos in my future.


Vlog: Sewaholic Pendrell FBA (part two)

30 Jun

… and here’s part two. Warning, my editing software putted out on me so this one is pretty wordy!


In case it’s needed here’s the picture of the adjustments to the front piece:

The first adjustment should match the gap filled at Line 3 on the side piece. The next is to add the amount added at the full bust point. Finally I added an inch to the centre front to make sure the princess line falls in the right place.

From the front

The Back

(you can see part one here)

Vlog: Sewaholic Pendrell FBA (part one)

29 Jun

Procrastination leads me to many crazy pursuits. In my desire to put off packing, I’ve been doing a fair bit of sewing and decided to try making a video of the full bust adjustment on Sewaholic’s Pendrell Blouse.

The result is somewhat awkward (god it’s awful watching yourself on film)  and involves a fair bit of fast motion to make it fit, but you get the idea. (Part two to follow).

Just in case, here’s the pictorial breakdown of choosing your size based on your high bust measurement:

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.

Colette Macaron: FBA Part 1

24 Oct

Armed with my new found knowledge of Full Bust Adjustments, today I embarked on altering my Colette Macaron pattern. I’d already made a couple of attempts on my own but after watching the Palmer/Pletsch DVD reviewed yesterday I took a slightly different approach. There were still many steps to it, hence this being a two-parter but it seemed to come together pretty well. Here goes:

  1. Step one is always to chose the right starting size. For full busts this means measuring your upper-bust, around your under-arms, (indicated in green above). The general standard is to match this to the bust size on the pattern body measurements. I measure just under 42 inches, which on the Colette Size Chart would make me a 14, however, from reading many reviews I know that Colette patterns are cut with much less wearing ease than regular commercial patterns so I chose to start at a 16, instead.
  2. Trace the pattern pieces for the Top Front Yoke (E), Top Back Yoke (F), Bodice Front (A) and Bodice Back (B). Include all markings then add in the stitching line 5/8″ from the edge (blue dashed line above). I choose to trace the pieces that need adjusting so I don’t make a mistake on the original but if you’re confident, you can skip this step, just mark the stitching line on the pattern pieces.
  3. Because we need to see how the arm-hole will fit, tape along the inside of the stitching line (in blue), this will act in the same way stay-stitching does in fabric.
  4. Now the seam allowance can be slashed down to the stitching line and the tape prevents it from tearing further.
  5. Pin the Bodice Front to the Top Front Yoke and the Bodice Back to the Top Back Yoke matching the seam lines. Then pin front to back at shoulder and side seams.
  6. Slip it on, insuring the side seam is vertical and the shoulder seam is true. Check the back first, to see if it aligns to your centre back. For me, it fit well at the neck but I need to grade out to size 18 in the Bodice Back. You can see in the photo how slashing the arm hole helps it contour when tissue fitting (you can also see how much trickier this job is without someone to help you with these things ;)).
  7. Now on the front, measure the difference between the pattern edge and your centre front. This tells you the size of the FBA needed. For me it was 2 inches. Slip off the tissue and remove the pins from the shoulder and side seams. You can  put the back pieces aside for now as in Part 2, we’ll just be working with the front.

Hope this is helpful. Tomorrow I’ll post part 2 where the magic really happens.

Lazy Review: Palmer/Pletsch Full Busted DVD

23 Oct

I’ll start with a disclaimer – I bought this DVD from the Palmer/Pletsch website and paid full price and am not recieving any compensation what-so-ever for this review.

Now with that out of the way… this DVD is awesome!

For those who don’t know, Palmer/Pletsch is responsible for the book Fit for Real People which seems to be the go-to guide for fitting and adjusting patterns in the sewing community. I don’t own the book yet, but based on how useful the DVD is I’m certainly going to hunt it out.

My biggest fitting issue is my large bust. Most commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup but I carry an H so adjusting the bust is always the first step for me… now.

Until this year I’d never heard of a full bust adjustment (fba) and honestly it didn’t occur to me that it was even possible but as I read more I was stunned and now I’m just plain obsessed. I’ve had a bit of a play with a princess seam adjustment, using this fabulous tutorial from Sew, Mama, Sew! but I was struggling to find tutorials for other types of bodice. Enter Full Busted? Sew Clothes That Fit.

Purchasing off the Palmer/Pletsch website was incredibly straight forward and easy – from memory I used Paypal and the DVD arrived here in New Zealand within a week which is a super quick turn-around. The DVD cost US$19.95 and international shipping $6.92.

The content includes 2 hours in which the host, Marta Alto, walks you through adjusting every style of pattern you can imagine:


Princess Seamed


Simple Darted


Empire Line
Twisted/Knotted Front
Kimono Sleeved

All the adjustments are based on a simple slash and spread method to add width and length at the bust apex but keep the shoulder and arm holes fitted to the body. The host is just great. She explains things so simply but encouragingly and you can tell she obviously enjoys teaching. As someone who works in an adult education function, I can say this lady knows her stuff and communicates all the right information – I was never thinking “oh boy, I’ll need to go look that up”, and as a visual learner, everything was clearly displayed.

Another great thing is that the format flows from the simplest of adjustments through to real adjustments on real people of all ages, shapes and sizes, including the tutor herself.

The patterns are generally from the big four, and although Palmer/Pletsch produce a line of patterns for McCall’s (with adjustment lines already printed on them) they only use a couple of these and don’t push them at all.

Bottom line, I can’t recommend it highly enough. If you are bigger than a B, you can learn so much from this and if not – they do plenty of other fitting DVDs on their website.