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Fitting a Full Bust

Video: Cari Delahanty, Jeff Roos, Carol Fresia

Full-busted women often have trouble finding a good fit in ready-to-wear garments, and it’s not much easier when working with commercial patterns. Daryl Lancaster, a frequent Threads contributor and sewing instructor, explains how to determine the pattern size you need for your body structure. Then she explains how to add or increase a bust dart to improve the fit.

Daryl suggests working with the chest size, rather than the full-bust measurement, to determine which pattern size to sew. Take the chest measurement around the body, above the bust and under the arms. Then measure the full bust. There’s an easy formula for using these dimensions to calculate the pattern size you need.

You’ll also learn how commercial pattern sizes were developed in the decades following World War II, and why they don’t fit most women straight from the envelope.

Patterns are drafted for a figure with…

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  1. Deleted | | #1

    “[Deleted]”

  2. User avater
    Sue1143 | | #2

    Thank you for such a complete presentation of this- MY! - sewing issue. Daryl is an amazing teacher

  3. user-7028407 | | #3

    Enjoyed this! Very clear and helpful!

  4. JinglefishArt | | #4

    Great information and clear presentation. Well done. Thanks!

  5. tinainanderson | | #5

    Where can I get a copy of those 2 charts Daryl uses in the video?

  6. user-6942640 | | #6

    When doing the FBA on pattern without a dart, how deep should the dart be?

    1. Marsha428 | | #7

      Having wrestled with this issue my entire sewing career, I would say the dart needs to be as deep as it is once the FBA is done. However, this can create a HUGE dart, particularly in woven fabric which can necessitate a different way of handling the construction. I've learned how to manipulate some of the fullness to other areas. In knits, like a tee shirt the fullness can be eased into the side seam if you don't want a dart. I hope this helps you.

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