Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My First Time: Making a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) on a Camisole Pattern

I've been sewing my own clothes since I was in high school (a long time ago now), but sometimes I feel like my skills have not progressed very much, and I'm in a point of stasis, stuck at mediocre. However, I recently happened across a sewing blog that talked about the "Full Bust Adjustment" and although I now vaguely remember doing something similar way back in fashion design school, apparently it had been erased from my conscious memory. So this is why none of the tops I sew seem to fit me satisfactorily! I thought they were just poorly designed patterns or that my body shape was too unusual to fit any commercial patterns. That's the fatalist, nothing's-ever-perfect side of my personality peeking through.

For those sewists that haven't heard of it, the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) is a pattern adjusting technique for any woman who is larger than a B cup. Commercial pattern makers assume that the average woman is a B cup, and patterns are created with this assumption in mind. But if, for instance, your bust measurement is 45" and you choose a pattern sized for that bust measurement, it may be too big for you in the armholes, neckline, shoulder width, etc., if you are a C cup or greater. So the trick for a better fitting top is to measure your high bust (the tape measure is pulled tight around your chest just under your armpits), and use the pattern size that corresponds to that measurement. I was about to make a summer sundress in a neat navy and white tropical print, but have had trouble in the past with this type of top fitting well. It's usually too short to fit over my bust, but then too loose at the side seams and gaping.

I won't detail the process because there are so many other websites that do a great job with that. For instance, check out these two:
Sewing Lingerie Myself

Sew Sew Sew Your Boat

But suffice to say, that I am pleased with the final outcome on this sundress. I could have added even a little more length in the bust area, as it's still a little short (and on an unrelated note, the straps are too long on my shoulders). But overall, it's a good fit. Here is the finished garment, and below that, a picture of the second full bust adjustment I did, with even better results.

Full disclosure: I am not this slim. I had to pin the dress on my size 12 mannequin to make it fit.
For this dress, I used a gorgeous galaxy print woven cotton. I was going to make a hem that dipped in the back, but chickened out and went more conservative. I haven't worn this yet, but the fit is amazing. Very fitted in the chest area, which makes it very flattering, just right in the waist, comfortable in the hips. Also like that this is not too low cut, so it could be worn for work or family get-togethers. Shout out and thank you to all the sewing bloggers who have put up their FBA techniques to share with everyone and help me advance to a slightly higher level of sewing competence.
Galaxy print cotton dress.
This is the pattern I used.