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This archived content is from Mary Wilkins’ sewing and quilting message board “Sew What’s New,” which was retired in August 2007. It is being provided by “Sew What’s Up,” which serves as the new home for many members of “Sew What’s New.”
From: Cynret
Date: 03-09-2006, 02:36 PM (1 of 3)
Oh, help! I am trying to alter a pattern which fits in every way except the bust. I have very narrow shoulders, like a size 10 and a 40 inch bust. The rest of me is a 12-14. I know I have to adjust the sleeve opening as well as adding more material. I want to add only in the front as the back and shoulders fit fine. Is this possible and, if so, how do I go about it. Any and all help appreciated. Cynret
User: Cynret
Member since: 05-25-2003
Total posts: 17
From: paroper
Date: 03-09-2006, 04:37 PM (2 of 3)
Try this publication. I think the one you need is C228. I can't pull it up on this computer (locks up on PDF files). It is a quick reference for all kinds of alterations. If you can't find it in this list, I printed it out on another. It is easier to make a top (just front and back) in a stable throw away fabric, a plaid or gingham check is easiest so you can keep everything grain straight. You baste the front and back pieces together at the side and shoulders. For reference, I usually run a colored basting stitch around the neck and sleeve seamlines. Then, you do not slash across the sleeve line unless you actually need more in the sleeves, the full bust line is below that. You will cut the pattern all the way across the full bust line of the pattern and pivot the opening. As the pattern opens it will add height and width to the bust. As you pivot, you bring the waistline back to its natural position. You'll either need to stand in front of a mirror to do this or you'll need a good friend to help. Now, the way I do it is I take several pieces of fabric about 2 inches in width and fold them in half just to make them a little more stable and I pin them in the opening so that I can keep that measurment. Then, the outside edge becomes a dart. You will need to mark YOUR bust point on the mock pattern piece. If you use a strip across the bustline, you can just put a pin in the center of the bust up and down and across. Now, all of that being said, you may also need to slash upward from the waste and add fullness from that direction too because of the extreme difference between your bust and your natural garment size. If you do, you will pivot toward each shoulder and add your darts below the bust point as well. I think that I would make the horizontal changes first and the, if needed, I would do the lower portion as a second step. The slash that I would make toward the shoulder would be to slash upward to the (new) bust point, then cut a slash toward the sleeves and toward the neckline (maybe 30 degrees?) and pivot from there if needed.

When you make your new pattern piece from this, your dart will begin at the edge of the pattern where it will close the "gap" in the bustline and stop just one inch before the full bust mark you made on your rough pattern. Once you have the fit you want, fold your bust pattern in half and make a new pattern piece. Just to make sure you are satisfied with your new pattern, make up a new front to try on and sew it in the place of the old, using your new darts (and all markings).

Bernina 200e, Artista V5 Designer Plus, Explorations, Magic Box, Bernina 2000DE & 335 Bernette Serger, Bernina 1530 Sewing Machine, Bernina 1300 DC Overlock (with coverstitch)
User: paroper
Member since: 02-03-2004
Total posts: 3775
From: sweetpea1
Date: 03-10-2006, 04:47 PM (3 of 3)

I have the same fitting problem. If you can get your hands on "The Busy Woman's Fitting Book" by Nancy Zieman (I found it on for $0.7 plus shipping), you will get all the info you need to make the appropriate adjustments. It shows how to add to the bust area with and without a dart, add darts, move darts, etc. Easy explanations too for the "pivot and slide" technique. Also, if you contact via email, they will send you instructions on how to adjust darts to accommodate a larger than B cup bust with the "slash, pivot and slip" technique. However, I found the "pivot and slide" technique to be the easiest.

Good luck and let us know how you do.
User: sweetpea1
Member since: 10-10-2005
Total posts: 56
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