Today, we’re going to have a little Rooibos fit clinic. We’ll be covering three of the most common pattern adjustments, including full bust, small bust, and large hips.
We’ll start with one of the most popular, doing a Full Bust Adjustment (or FBA for short) with the Rooibos pattern.
How do I know if I need a Full Bust Adjustment?
By now, you should have a muslin in made up in your size. When you try on the muslin, take a close look at the bust area. Do you notice any tightness around the bust? Is there strain, indicated by tight wrinkles across the chest? This probably means you need an FBA. Since our pattern block is drafted for a C cup, if you are much bigger than that in the bust, you may need an FBA.
What is a Full Bust Adjustment?
A Full Bust Adjustment is a way of modifying a pattern to allow for more fullness around the bust. In other words, it doesn’t make the rest of the dress bigger or smaller, it just adds room around the curves of the breasts.
For a small bust adjustment, check out this tutorial.
How to do a Full Bust Adjustment
- Rooibos pattern
- your muslin
- Straight ruler
- French curve
- Pen or pencil
- Scrap paper
1. At this point, you’ve already tried on your muslin and determined that you need more room at the bust, right? You should have also marked your bust line, bust apex, waist, and hip.
2. Cut the muslin straight down the center front, all the way to the hem. Put the muslin on again and adjust it until there is a comfortable amount of room at the bust. Measure the distance of the gap at the bustline, in line with your apex. Divide this number by two to figure out how much you want to add on each side of the bust. Write down this measurement.
3. Transfer the apex point to your pattern piece. Here, you can see we’ve marked the apex with a small circle with a dot in the middle.
4. Now we’re going to draw in a seam allowance along the deep curve of the armscye. Use a French curve to draw 5/8″ seam allowance just along this part of the curve.
5. Choose a point along this curve and mark it. This will be your pivot point. You can see we’ve marked it with another circle.
6. Draw a line from the apex point to the armscye pivot point.
7. Draw lines from the center of each dart to the apex (ours are drawn in red).
Normally, when you do an FBA, you simply draw one line from the dart to the apex. Since we have three darts here, we’re going to divide the fullness amongst all three.
Also, if you can’t get your lines to go right through the tip of the dart, don’t worry! Just start them in the middle of the dart at the seam, and end at the apex point. You’ll be redrawing the darts later.
8. Draw a line from the apex point to the side seam (our line is pink). With a ruler make sure that the line is perpendicular to the center front. Your piece should look something like this.
9. Cut along the first dart (red) line, up through the apex, and ending at the armscye point.
10. Snip the seam allowance to the armscye point. Make sure you leave a hinge by snipping close to the point but not through it.
11. Cut the side seam line to the apex. Leave a hinge at the apex.
12. Cut the remaining marked dart lines up to the apex point. Leave a hinge.
13. Move apex apart by the measured fullness from Step 2. For this example we used 1/2″. Allow the hinge at the side bust to spread as you move the pieces apart. You can keep the bottom left piece stationary, moving the other pieces around it until you get the desired extra width at the apex.
14. Spread darts an equal distance so that they’re about the same width between the legs. Tape all openings to hold them in place.
15. Draw a line perpendicular from the center front to the apex.
16. Cut the line you just drew. Move the piece down so that it’s in line with the bottom edge of the pattern and tape in place.
17. Tape a piece of scrap paper beneath the pattern. Smooth the edges by cutting along the bottom.
18. Mark the dart point between dart legs. They’ll be the same height as before but wider since the pattern has changed. Measure each dart leg and make sure they’re the same length, so that they’ll easily fold together.
19. Finally we’re going to add a bust dart at the side. Yes, we’re adding a dart, which means the design line of the dress will change slightly. However, with a larger bust, the added bust dart will help you get a much better fit through the bust area. To start, tape a scrap of paper under the opening at the side bust.
20. Mark the tip of the bust dart about 1 1/2″ from the apex. Draw new dart legs connecting this point to the edges of the opening, as shown in pink.
Now you’re ready to sew the adjusted pattern!
Remember to take your time as you go! Breaks are definitely helpful. If you get stuck, take a breather and come back to it later. Let us know what questions you have in the comment section, we’ll try to help as best as we can!