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Pattern Adjustments to Fit a Small Bust

Work from a muslin or pattern to reduce width and length

Threads Issue #211, Oct./Nov. 2020
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If you typically find that garments are too loose over and around the bust, you may need to make a small-bust adjustment. Commercial patterns are drafted for a B-cup bust, where the full-bust circumference is 2 inches larger than the upper chest circumference (above the bust). If the difference in your measurements is less, there’s a chance the front bodice pattern includes too much length and width

proper dart intake
With proper dart intake, the bodice hangs straight to the waist, with no flare.

Current demographics show that more individuals are full-busted, and there’s a lot of information available on making full-bust adjustments. A proportional fit is best on any figure, though, and it can be difficult to determine when a design incorporates too much volume for a small-busted person. I’ll show you how to diagnose a small-bust fitting issue on a muslin, and how to adjust a pattern to produce a better…

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  1. Grandma2six | | #1

    Thanks for this article. The information was great, but I would also love to see something that includes fitting a mature small bust. That type of bust usually rests lower and presents problems.

    1. SarahsMom | | #2

      I totally agree

  2. CarolFresia | | #3

    These are excellent points. These methods work for a lower bust in much the same way. You'd need to lower the dart or the princess seam shaping. We unfortunately didn't have a model or dress form to work with for this article that represented a lower bust point (ask me how hard it was to find a small-busted form at all!).
    We are hopeful that, in the next year or so, it will be safer for us to work with "real people" models who have some of the common fitting issues that are discussed in articles or requested by readers, including fitting for a lower bust.
    Carol Fresia, Senior Technical Editor

  3. Grandma2six | | #4

    Wearing a mask (as I always do these days), I would gladly volunteer to be a model for a "mature series" of common fitting issues, but you are probably located far from me, so I guess we'll have to wait! Thanks though for keeping this idea on the burner for future articles!

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