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Add A Bust Dart Article

Ocrafty1 | Posted in Feedback on Threads on

I got my copy of issue 142 last week and am still trying to figure out Louse Cutting’s reasoning, for how you should measure on fitting a bra. She states that you should measure under the bust, and add either 4 or 5 inches to get your band size. I measure 33 inches. That would make me have a 38″ bra band size!!  It would slide right off of my body! I take my above bust circumference and use that measurement for my band size. If I purchase a 32DD; that fits perfectly.  Unfortunately, those are hard to find, so I usually buy a 34 and make it smaller. Can anyone explain why she would recommend buying any bra that is so much bigger than your torso?



  1. starzoe | | #1

    If you go into as many bra manufacturers' web sites as you can find you will find that each one has a different technique for measuring for your bra size so apparently there is no "right" way of measuring.It was an eye-opener for me.

  2. User avater
    ThreadKoe | | #2

    I do not know why manufacturers tell you this either. Some tell you to add as much as 6 inches to this measurement, others as little as 2 to 4 inches. Just remember, this is just a STARTING POINT for fitting. Depending on how wide across the back you are, or how deep under the arm your bosom starts, you may have to go up or down a band size, or up or down a cup size. The important part to remember is that the cups should sit as flat against the breastbone as possible! Bulges and ripples indicate an improper fit, and a larger band is needed. Do not expect the stretch to accommodate the difference! It is there for ease only. Cathy

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #3

      I put up this post because I think it is so confusing, especially for women who want to learn how to get a good fitting bra; and I really wanted to figure out 'what the author was thinking.' The method she describes really does not make sense. If you add inches to your under bust measurement that will only ensure that your bra band is too big!  

      I've known how to measure for a bra for years, and have told nearly every one of my clients how to measure and fit a bra. It is very difficult to custom fit clothing for women when their bras just don't fit. Every single one of them has been amazed at how much better they look and how much better their clothes fit.  My favorite reaction was from my 72 yr old aunt.  She didn't realize that 'the girls' could look so perky at their age.'  I still chuckle when I think of her amazement!  It made her feel much younger...and she began to act like it, too. LOL


      1. jjgg | | #4

        I think measuring for bras is a lot like measuring for shoes, you can measure all you want, but you still have to put the darn thing on and try it out. I can wear one size in one brand and a whole different size in another brand. I just don't pay attention to sizing anymore. I just try things on till I find what fits comfortably.

  3. sewslow67 | | #5

    I'm still waiting for my copy of the new issue.  Is it absolutely wonderful?  It just drives me nuts to have to wait so long, when most everyone else has theirs.  Crumb!!

    1. KharminJ | | #6

      No foolin'! We haven't gotten it in at my store yet, either...I'm bummed!Kharmin

      1. Ocrafty1 | | #7

        Some of the stores in my are still only selling issue 140!  They are way behind.  There are some interesting articles about fitting in the new issue....It isn't one of my favorites, but they are all good.  I'm sure as I read it more thoroughly I'll enjoy it much more. 


        1. User avater
          ThreadKoe | | #8

          I guess the mail out problems have been ironed out in some areas, and we are getting our issues well before the newsstands. Sorry! Makes it hard to discuss the articles when we all do not have access yet. Cathy

  4. gailete | | #9

    I loved that article and plan to work through those changes on a top of mine that I make several times a summer. The articles made sense to me, but I haven't worked through it all yet. I would just like to have a top where the bust darts go where they are supposed to.

    One question though. Am I the only one in the world with asymmetrical bust points? One is a good inch lower than the other. I've never seen this addressed in an article. It is like the assumption is that whatever change you make you do the identical thing on the other side, but wouldn't that look funny? Any ideas?


    1. Ocrafty1 | | #10

      I loved the article....but had the question about the measuring for a bra insert on the right.

      My eldest daughter just had br. reduction surgery 2 wks. ago. I took her for her 1st check up...Believe it or not, the Dr. told her that she'd corrected her 'bust points' so they would be even. She told us that almost every woman is a slightly different size on one side, and this makes the bust points uneven.  When they do the surgery, they 'correct' this 'mistake by mother nature.'   Soooo, you're not different....have you tried tightening the strap of your bra on one side or the other?  You may have to shorten the strap....or you could buy the 'cutlets' and only put one in your bra.  They sell them at my local JoAnn and cost about $8.

      1. gailete | | #11

        Tightening my bra up doesn't do anything but hurt (I have enough chronic pain in my life to refuse more). Large and saggy and uneven is me now. Considering I used to get teased by the other girls in school for being flat chested, it makes me wonder how big they turned out! I have learned to live with it, but makes me wonder WHY it is never addressed in articles for altering bust points since we all come that way.


        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #51

          The issue of assymetry can best be addressed with a good basic block pattern. If you have never made one for yourself this might be a good time to dive into the experience. Making a full pattern (both right and left sides as opposed to a half pattern with markings to "place on fold") allows you to properly "map" your unique figure. Your basic block can then be used to adjust any new pattern you may wish to make.Of course, fashion is really the art of illusion, so I'm all in favor of using "professional" tools such as shoulder pads, bra cutlets, etc. to adjust any anomalies in our bodies in order to create the illusion that we are simply perfect! :o)

          1. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #52

            One of the first things we learned to make in our tailoring class was a shoulder pad. Good thing we did, because with more than a 1/4 inch height difference between left and right shoulders, it makes a big difference in how a jacket, blouse or dress hangs and looks! Just being able to adjust even that tiny bit the one lower shoulder, makes the funny pull across the front of a blouse disappear. Cathy

          2. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #53

            Absolutely...I recommend such tricks to my students who struggle with a pronounced assymetry all the time. The idea of making your own fashions is to fool the eye into seeing what you want others to see! Or not!

          3. gailete | | #58

            You know I think living through the 80's and the football sized shoulders due to shoulder pads have scared me away from them. I'm so broad shouldered, I guess I figured any more there would just make me look bigger. I do think I need to work on a basic block for me, but I think before I jump into that, I'm going to make me something that doesn't need fitting. I saw a pretty purse pattern and I'm going to try making one of those first. Get my confidence back up after the camisole I just finished. It sort of fits, but only to wear in the house and I did a lot of altering to get it to that point.

            I've been dropping weight again so really do need to stabilize first on that issue. I'm overweight and need to lose weight, but since I'm not trying--it is my general health and the meds I take causing it--it isn't something I get real happy about. I dropped about 30# a year ago and now this month about another 5+ have gone away. Hard to sew when you are actually in the state of flux.


          4. User avater
            artfulenterprises | | #59

            Sure feel your dilemma Gailete. "Flux" is my natural state of being! :o)

          5. User avater
            miss_kodama_loli | | #64

            I'm very familiar with the weight in flux thing... and recently I have been dealing with another of "mother nature's" curveballs: learning how to design clothing that looks the way I want it to, yet can allow (in a comfortable and somewhat flattering way) for the way I instantly swell up like the Michelin Man from surprise allergen exposure (a constant battle).

            Have you tried making a loose fitting casual night gown? They're a decent practice project to keep you in the game while your weight is shifting, if you are looking for a project.

          6. gailete | | #66

            >>if you are looking for a project<<

            LOL! I have a whole page in my notebook of projects I NEED to do besides the one in my head of the ones I'd like to do. All my projects usually take awhile as I only sew when I'm feeling good, but I did whip up a couple of throw pillows a couple weeks ago and that camisole, plus machine embroidered a pillow from Jenny Haskins Summer Wine book--I was not happy. The second to last color combined two colors which I didn't noticed until it was done stitching out, plus I've never seen so many jump stitches in a project. I emailed her about the problem with the design, but no answer back at this point. So anyone with a Janome machine, watch out for design #19 in the Summer Wine book. This was a stitch out that took over 2 hours for one design, I don't know how anyone can make a whole quilt that way.

            My problem with projects is trying to decide to do the need to things or the want to things or the should do things or the try something new things! I end up doing whatever inspires me for the day.


          7. User avater
            miss_kodama_loli | | #68

            LOL- I usually go with the "want to's"- it's when your work is at its best... mind, I haven't posted photos of the things that I've created yet... they're pretty excentric.  ♛ ♅  (o_O) !?!

            I had to cut quilting from the future projects list though, due to the complete lack of enough hours in the day, and I'm one of those people that is attracted to the most complicated designs you can find.

            What? Nano-darts on a brittle piece of antique French lace handkerchief to add as a bib bodice panel on a short puffed sleeve raglan cut dress?? I'm there!!! When do we start??? Urgh. (sigh) ...LOL

            OK, back to the skirt I'm working on...


      2. MaryinColorado | | #23

        I had no idea that our bust points varied so much, thanks for sharing that info from the surgeon.  Between that, and uneven shoulder slopes, curved backs, long or short waist, etc. etc. etc., it's a wonder that "ready to wear" "off the rack" fits anyone!  Celebrate our uniqueness!!!  Thank goodness we sewists have options and resources to work from.  Thanks to everyone for all the great information here at Gatherings!  Mary

        1. jjgg | | #24

          >>>>it's a wonder that "ready to wear" "off the rack" fits anyone!<<<<Oh, but it doesn't FIT! Just take a look at people walking down the street! I just want to go up to so many of them and say 'I could make that fit you better..."

    2. User avater
      ThreadKoe | | #12

      Actually, if you measured L and R on your whole body, you would be out by as much as up to 1/4 to 1/2 inch! We are not built perfectly symmetrical. Some of us have a more noticeable difference than others. The trick is to just minimize the difference. That is why we have a bust point "area" where the dart points to. If the difference is very noticeable, then you have to treat each side separately, as is the case in very uneven bodies. Where you are uneven, like yourself, of an inch or less, just split the difference, one will be a tad high, the other a tad low, but otherwise, the dart "area" will even it out. Cathy

    3. starzoe | | #13

      A question about your bust points - (wherever on the 'net would you find a subject like this?). Is someone else measuring you? It is quite possible that if you are self-measuring such a mistake could be made.p.s. mentioning the subject above reminds me of something very funny. Four of us were at lunch (all women) in a crowded bar/deli at noontime. The topic of discussion was medical, I think. Joan turned to the woman next to her and asked "do you still have your ovaries?" just as there was a lull in the overall hum of conversation and her voice came out loud and clear. You should have seen heads snap in our direction - mostly men!

      1. gailete | | #14

        Once I became a nurse, it was amazing the words that entered my vocabulary, especially ones that gave reference to going to the bathroom that I would have had my mouth washed out for at home. What you learn though, is you have to use the words that communicate to your patient whatever your mother at home might think about it!

        As to measuring, my hubby helps me, but the difference in bust points, to me, is quite noticeable in the mirror with or without a bra. It just seems strange that you never see it mentioned in articles about altering. You will see many tips on what to do with one hip higher than the other, but never one boob higher than the other (even the base line is around an inch higher or lower depending on which 'girl' you are looking at!).

        Thankfully, my at home due to arthritis lifestyle, means I don't have to wear closely tailored garments, but easy on and off clothes as sometimes hubby has to help me get undressed and unfortunately NOT for romantic reasons! He never has to help me dress because if I'm feeling that bad, I stay in my nightie, but flares come when they feel like it so many times I'm caught wearing clothes. I do want my clothes to fit however and am trying to learn how to get things to fit right. What I have been doing is trying to get the bust point for the most obvious side as I figure to have that bust point way off would be more noticeable than the other.

        1. User avater
          paddyscar | | #15

          I'd agree with the comment that we are all asymetrical.  Part of the reason being that our dominant side builds more muscle and behind our breasts, there is muscle.  The variance becomes more noticeable as we age or put on weight (well, it was in my case).

          Recently I made a sleeveless top for a friend, and the size variance resulted in  constructing the top around her.

          I cut out the neckline and shoulder for the front and back from equal lengths of fabric and stay stitched the neck, then stitched the shoulders.  While she wore this, I cut the armholes to suit her body, pinned the underarms together, then began on the darts.

          Lifting the fabric to create a dart on each side of the body, increasing the tuck alternately, until it was a smooth fit across the front of the breasts and a straight fall of the fabric from the breasts, resulted in a very noticeable difference between the two darts and in the length of the hemline at each side.

          Doing this created a great fitting top, but not one that could be folded like commercially made ones that are built to 'fit the masses'.




          1. gailete | | #16

            Interesting what you went through to help a friend. Do you think this is part of why so many of us have trouble fitting our clothes? Women used to have seamstresses to fit their clothes or at least other women in the home or community to help them. It seems most of use are sewing in a vacuum with no one to help. I'm glad my husband is willing to help me and has an eye for fashion (my ex-husband used to glare at me when he saw me sewing!) but I know I'm in a minority of women with a husband that can help. I have rarely had anyone near me who sewed and actually have had more people in my life that mocked 'homemade' clothes rather than were supportive.

            One of many reasons I think that we try to help out others when we can even if only on line. We all need support, help and inspiration.


          2. User avater
            paddyscar | | #20

            Hi Gailete:

            I never thought about the practicality of previous generations having a seamstress - I always thought of it as a perk of being rich.

            Growing up with 2 sisters was a help fitting when we were all at home or still living near each other; but my husband really wasn't a great susbstitute in that arena. 

            When you are on your own (sewing-wise), it helps to find the pattern brand that gives you the best fit and adjust from there.  I make notes on my pattern pieces and envelopes regarding adjustments I have made so that repeat uses are much easier, but nothing beats hands-on help.


        2. jjgg | | #18

          Do you have one shoulder that is higher (lower) than the other? this can offset the breast line.It's very funny how people don't see this in themselves. I had a client I was hemming some pants for, I had to turn up one leg about 1 inch more than the other on every pair of pants. Her comment was that it must be a manufacturing problem, she was a physical therapist and her legs were even!! I looked at the pants she was wearing (not the ones I was hemming) and there was an obvious difference in pant length. I measured her from hip down - yup, big difference. She was so surprised.

          Edited 3/19/2009 3:43 pm ET by jjgg

          1. gailete | | #19

            Yep, left shoulder lower than the right which of course, means bra/slip straps constantly falling down. Could never carry a shoulder strap purse on that side either. I have a leg length discrepancy also. Found out about the leg when I had to see a Physical therapist following a back injury. I think it is one of the reasons my knees gave out so soon. When the doctor replaced my left knee he had to tighten up one of the muscles since it was too long and it had been causing me to have a trick knee most of my life.

            Bodies are strange wonderful things and it is amazing how well they work even when imperfect (although mine doesn't work nearly as well now as it used to), but still how many machines work if one part is an inch longer or shorter than it should be?


    4. BellaGabriella | | #25

      No, you are not. I'm actually two different sizes. If I buy for comfort, the puckers show through my clothes. If I buy for show, the larger one is usually tired at the end of the day. I don't even know what size I am, but Warners now seems to fit me best. I wore Playtex 4163 for years and loved them, but stores seem to have stopped carrying ing that style. I've needed new bras for about 6 months now but get completely overwhelmed shopping for them.

      Somewhere I read that you could have them custom-made for around $80 apiece, but that's way to pricey for me. Has anyone actually made their own bras? 

      1. Josefly | | #26

        Custom bras do sound expensive. I wonder if you could somehow buy two bras of different cup size, split them in the front (or back, depending on where the closure is) and sew them back together, matching up the right and left sides according to the size you need. Seems a little wasteful to throw halves of 2 bras away, but cheaper than custom-made. I'm thinking a strip of grosgrain ribbon placed vertically over the joining centers would form a durable seam, and you wouldn't lose any length with seam allowances that way.Hmmm. Matter of fact, I may just use a similar technique to change some of my bras to front-closure ones, which I much prefer, but which are increasingly difficult to find.

        Edited 3/22/2009 11:23 pm ET by Josefly

        1. gailete | | #27

          Cutting a bra in half would work if your breasts are actually located at the same plan on your chest and it is only the cut size that is different. Cutting a bra in half won't lower the one half if that is part of your problem.

          Shopping for bras has always been irritating because when I would find one that 'fits' you can't find any more. I finally searched for my bra company and style on line and now can buy they cheaper on line than in the store, so look up that Playtex bra you like. I can't see me spending $80 on one bra either. I do feel for the ladies that are hugely busted as I have no idea where they get a bra or how they can even afford one. When I went in Victoria's Secret one day to try for a bra the sales clerk asked me my size and when I told her she said they don't carry that large of size go try Lane Bryant. I was shocked as from the commercials I would have sworn that Victoria's Secret catered to the big busted women!

          Working on a camisole now that I altered the pattern to lower the bust level. Only got the the bust darts sewn before I got too dizzy to sew anymore (haven't felt well this weekend).


        2. BellaGabriella | | #33

          Sewing two halves together, that's a thought...

          I used to hand wash my bras, but after awhile they didn't come clean, they just smelled better. If you were a princess it may work but working full time, cleaning house, shoveling snow, gardening and hot flashes ruin them anyway. Hmmm, do you think mamograms add to the droopiness of breasts? lol


      2. User avater
        ThreadKoe | | #28

        Hmmmm. The price issue on Bras. Here is one area of women's apparel where cost seems to bother women. I know they are expensive, and the larger the cup size, the bigger the cost. Yet we have to wear them every day. We often only own one or two at a time, yet we often scrimp the most on them. Here is my POV: I am heavy chested. I buy a bra and make sure it fits. I find the prettiest one I can. I buy 2 or 3. I pay whatever it costs. Sometimes they cost as much as $75 dollars each. One to wear, one to air, one to wash. Why? I wear one every day of the year. Expected life is only 6 months before they disintigrate. It is the one thing that affects the fit of my clothing most. It affects the way I stand and move. If my "girls" are not supported properly, they hurt. They get in the way. My husband complained once. Only once. I suggested to him that if his "package" was sitting up front in the middle of his chest where his arms were, would he not want it supported, protected and looking good? He winced, agreed, and not another thing said. Cathy

        1. gailete | | #29

          Unfortunately, some of us don't have the option of paying that much for one bra especially with the thought of tossing it in 6 months. Even when I held a regular job that kind of spending wasn't in the budget and now that I'm disabled it really isn't affordable.

          I have found that keeping my undies out of the dryer has immensely improved their life span and wearability. Once I saw how those things were holding up better, I started hanging all my clothes to dry and have been surprised how much better they last. Even my aprons don't go through the dryer anymore.


          1. starzoe | | #30

            Just last night on TV (in Canada) a woman was talking about how hand washing the bra after every wearing would increase its longevity. She suggested eucolan (sp?), a "green" product. Turns out some bras go unwashed for as long as six months! I've looked into those custom-fit bras that are really expensive - they looked like sturdy nursing bras to me, heavy fabric, multi layers and pretty ugly. Of course I looked at the ones for the well-endowed, maybe smaller ones are more attractive. But why would a 32A need a custom-made bra anyway?

          2. gailete | | #31

            Who knows? Seems that is about the size I see all the time, but I'm sure there is a reason. I just wish the ones that make larger size bras would at least have some pretty colors--like red or pink. I saw a girls bra strap that was a beautiful shade of aqua once and I was rather jealous. The only way I can get a pink bra is run a white one through the wash with some red fabric that runs really bad!

            Maybe this discussion has gone on long enough that a bra manufacturer will see it when googling someday and get some fresh ideas!


          3. jane4878 | | #32

            I think that I saw the same show--she was on Steve and Chris on CBC.  A show I never watch normally, but I caught that little bit. It makes sense that cleaning them gently, daily will keep them lasting a lot longer. She said perspiration, perfumes, oils etc. break down the lycra and they stretch out.  She showed a really old bra that was in excellent condition from being washed every day.  You're right, she used Eucalan and didn't need to rinse.  Delicate cycle on the machine was OK too.

            I'm brutal on mine--they're thrown in the wash with everything else.  I just fasten the hooks so they don't hook on anything and they last a long time.  ( I don't need anything fancy--not being very well endowed :^)


          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #34

            I agree that not everyone can afford to spend that much for bras in one big spend. I can't afford to most of the time either. I do not machine dry my bras, but do wash them in the washer in a lingerie bag. I am now the owner of a collection of them, some as much as 7 or 8 yrs old. At saving up to 10 dollars a month, I try and purchase a new one every six months or so. So when one dies, I am not stuck. I have summer bras, winter bras, dressing up bras, sport bras. BTW, I only pay cash, no charge. By rotating them frequently, I get to wear them for a very long time. By paying more for a better built bra, I look and feel better. To save up, I scrounge up my small change, or do without some small item a week from groceries that otherwise be a treat. It is easy to throw 2 or 3 dollars in a mason jar. You would be amazed how fast it adds up. I have done this for years for myself, for the things I need, and for emergencies. Cathy

          5. gailete | | #35

            I've been working on making a camisole this evening and when I finally got to the part where I needed to attached the straps I had hubby help. Even with all the altering I did with the pattern the darts didn't come out right. With his pinning help,  once I get the energy to finish it up it should be wearable. I was making it in a 'muslin' of some kind of silky polyester that was fraying all over the place. I might not have gotten the darts right, but I sure was learning some seam finishing! I'll be tweaking that pattern some more and then try it in another 'muslin' so at least I can wear them around the house on hot days.

            Cathy, I used to do the saving change thing in a jar, but since I had to quit working I rarely go out, rarely spend, so rarely have change. My life took a very unexpected turn 7 years ago and sometimes I'm still trying to get used to it.


          6. Cityoflostsouls | | #37

            Speaking of the laundry I had one of the first frontload washers years and years ago-and the first in my neighborhood-and they do save your clothes if any of you are thinking about a new washing machine.  They are much easier on your clothing and clean well.  Those bras will last longer.

          7. gailete | | #38

            Not only easier on your clothes, takes MUCH less water and detergent. My quarterly water bill went down $20 a quarter when we first got it but now we are on a well so don't measure usage.


      3. cafms | | #36

        My sewing guild is thinking about having Anne St. Clair owner of the Needle Nook in Wichita, Kansas do a program on making bras.  One of the members has a sister who took the class and liked it.  Has anyone here taken the class?  There are a couple entries on patternreview that sound good. 

        http://www.ndlnookfab.blogspot.com/  Her website.

        1. Stillsewing | | #39

          The decorated bras in aid of cancer prevention are a real hoot!! Thanks for posting that link.

          1. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #40

            I've not worn a bra since 1989, having had bilateral mastectomies then. It is wonderfully freeing not to have to wear a bra, but clothes off the RTW rack don't fit worth a darn and are often altered. It also takes some bit of altering the front of all patterns so one's clothing hangs and drapes right. My friends and family love that I'm confident enough in my self to not wear prothseses (I think that's how you spell the plural of prothesis). In reality it came about because the positioning of scars is right along where the bra band lies -- in front, from underarm to underarm, and it is uncomfortable after a while. All that said, those art piece bras are really quite wonderful. Since my family and friends think I'm a bubble off center anyhow, I'd love to make one along those lines and flash it occasionally in the right setting, and around a restricted group, of course. Thank you for posting that link, cafms.

            Edited 3/24/2009 12:06 pm by JunkQueen

          2. Stillsewing | | #41

            That's a hard post to answer. You sound wonderfully upbeat and relaxed about your body shape, well done to you. Sorry to hear that that the scars still give you bother even if it is only to prevent you wearing a bra. If it is any consolation I had an operation in 1986 and still have pain in my abdomen.
            I have been gritting my teeth reading some the posts recently as most people complain that the patterns do not cater for the well endowed. Lately I find that anything I make waves about in front of my small chest and looks like a deflated balloon. This used not be the case and I am convinced that the patterns are being made larger in the chest area. This must be a real bummer for you. I think both of us should be inspired to make a version of these fantastic bras -- even if only to admire them and not to wear them.

          3. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #42

            I am so sorry my post was a downer for you lovely women here. It was not meant to be. I am totally comfortable with this and often wear tee shirts. The worst thing is that my clothes require alterations. I had implants for a while but was allergic and had to have them removed, so I just said to heck with it and opted not to have further reconstruction. The scarring is just tender to extended periods of pressure -- like when wearing a bra. Before the surgery I had a hard time finding bras large enough. Triple eee off the rack and size "I" from specialty bras. I suppose I'm an example of extremes, huh?

          4. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #43

            A Downer? I think not Lovely Lady! You are a survivor, with us to inspire us still. That is as upbeat as it gets, and a kick in the pants to us to look after ourselves. So I shall quit my complaining and be happy...Cathy

          5. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #44

            Trust me, I complained vociferously myself when I was buxom! Please don't stop. There are too many readers who have the same problem, and it's essential to discuss these common fitting problems. My most common complaint used to be that I could not wear a suit jacket buttoned up. I hope I can be helpful to other women going through breast cancer. Early detection.......

          6. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #45

            Back to your original post, the problems of doing a SBA, rather than a FBA, is something I have never had to deal with. I have been pondering this fitting puzzle. In a full bust alteration, you add to the dart in length and width. When closing the excess in a SBA, do you remove the width and length? Do you keep the dart, or release it and move the excess fabric to an open dart, or a dart elsewhere? I am having problems visualizing this. If I sew for someone else, which I may end up doing, I will need to get my head around this. Cathy

          7. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #46

            Keep in mind that the length of the center front of a garment is no longer needed. I often do what I term a reverse dart. On my patterns, I usually remove the underarm dart by pinning it. I then remove the excess length by making a fold that tapers to nothing at the side seam. Then I can slash and tape the pattern. If you don't do that, your shirts are longer in front than the side seams and back. I like to keep the additional width as it gives some camouflaging ease. An additional problem is that if you have a tummy at all, and I DO, you can end up looking pregnant. Keeping the width seems to help this. (Wearing an overblouse that you keep unbuttoned can help with the camouflage also.)

          8. User avater
            ThreadKoe | | #47

            GOTCHA! Thanks, I can see that perfectly! There, I learned my something new for today. :) Cathy

          9. sewslow67 | | #49

            Hey Cathy: Have you seen the book, "Fit for Real People" published by Palmer and Pletch?  It is an exceptional book on fitting and is really good for the bust area, too.  I also like Sandra Betzina's "Fast Fit" but the first one I mentioned is much more extensive and gives all sorts of examples for fitting different fashion styles.

          10. Stillsewing | | #56

            Not only a role model but also a teacher. Thanks for explaining how you cope with the alterations to your patterns. You make the necessary alterations sound so straightfoward. I had become so frustrated with getting a pattern to fit me that I attended a course on fitting (at great cost as I went accross to the UK) The tutor did not understand the need for a small bust adjustment. I think she thought I should just go bury my head or go out and have the operation. I have no problem with my shape, its what I'd call "boyish" and I've been an outdoor person any extra weight would have held me back from my long distance walking, climbing cycling etc -- I just like to have flattering clothes, and not have to put up with ill fitting garments.----So thanks for your clear instructions,,,

          11. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #57

            I'm pleased to have been of service. I don't know the "proper" way to make adjustments, I just do what works for me. I was so happy to be alive and healthy that it never occurred to me to worry about how I looked. Helps to have an uber supportive and loving husband, too. ;^)

          12. gailete | | #48

            Congratulations on being a survivor with a great attitude! I go for my Mammo today.

            My youngest son (25) is autistic but high functioning so I was explaining to him yesterday the joys of such a thing and also reminded him that men too can get breast cancer so that if he notices any lumps in that area he needs to get them checked. This is not something that is well known (that men can get breast cancer also) so in light of that conversation yesterday, I'm also mentioning it here so that women can encourage their guys to be checking themselves also along with those other body parts down lower that need checked. Have a 'date' night to check yourselves out each month!


          13. sewslow67 | | #50

            JQ ...you are absolutely amazing ...I mean AMAZING!  What a roll model you are for the rest of us, who either complain or feel disappointed about insignificant issues with out bodies.   I for one, feel very blessed to have you in my life.

            As for reconstruction:  a friend of mine had that done after a bilateral mastectomy, and she just goes without a bra now.  She says she doesn't really need it as the little buggers don't sag anyway.  She just wears soft cotton cami's, and it works out great. 

            I'm off and running my amazing friend.  I'll catch you later.  Have a great day!

      4. tropicalkaren | | #62

        How about using a breast form in the bra for the smaller breast?

  5. User avater
    agfreedm | | #17

    Hi ladies! Saw these posts below and wanted to include Louise's Website so you can email her directly for further answers. Go to cuttinglinedesigns.com to get more information from Louise. I am sure she would be happy to answer!

    thanks so much!




    1. KharminJ | | #21

      Thanks for that information, Ariel! We hadn't gotten the new issue yet at my local JoAnn's (Tuesday) so I haven't seen it, but I'm sure that having Louise's contact info will help with questions. Isn't it included at the end of the article? http://www.cuttinglinedesigns.com Happy First Day of Spring!Kharmin

      1. User avater
        agfreedm | | #22

        No problem! Yes, it is included in the article. Sorry you haven't received it yet at the Joanne's. So sad! Perhaps subscribing would solve the waiting problem. Let us know if there are any further unanswered questions and we'd be happy to assist!


        1. tropicalkaren | | #61

          FYI, Barnes and Noble (here in Florida anyway) carry Threads. Newbie Karen

  6. User avater
    miss_kodama_loli | | #54

    I just read the article on 'adding a bust dart', and wanted to share a tip on fitting larger bust sizes.

    I design and hand draft my own clothing without software, and prefer to have a closely fitted bodice on my blouses, dresses and jumpers.  The usual methods of increasing the chest measurement create a strange gapping fit in the upper bust area and in the arm, and/or a décolletée that looks like a flat football field. (This article doesn't even cover my measurement differential- the author stopped short of my size!)

    This design isn't necessary for the average build, but I wanted to share it for those that are larger busted. My basic torso/bodice sloper is constructed with three darts:

    1- the dart that is placed at the underside of the breast that gives a snug fitting waist and ribcage

    2- the side dart that adds the extra fullness and shape to the main bust area

    3- an additional dart for the bust on the armhole, at the point that the chest muscle meets the armhole.

    The third dart corrects a strange problem that happens when working around a large bust line: it gives a little curve to the upper part of the bust, instead of having it land as an unflattering flat plane that doesn't seem to end, and still allows for a snug fitting armhole.

    I form it by the 'pivot' method, taking some of the excessive side dart and pivoting a portion of it to the arm.

    I hope this is useful for you!

    1. starzoe | | #55

      Thanks for the information, it is a method I use myself, but the printing in lavender is so difficult to read.

      Edited 3/27/2009 12:05 pm ET by starzoe

      1. User avater
        miss_kodama_loli | | #63

        Oops- sorry about the pale font (I guess its lighter than it appears on my monitor screen... I'm using an old laptop PC)! I will use darker/more vivid colors in any future posts!



        1. jjgg | | #65

          If you just leave the font black and use the default font, it really is easier to read. I generally skip over any post that the font has been changed; weird color, too large, all capitals etc.

          Edited 3/31/2009 9:38 am ET by jjgg

          1. Stillsewing | | #67

            I second that, eyesight is too precious, we spend enough time reading a computer skreen anyway, than to add to our troubles. Another type of post that I gave a wide bearth to, are those posts that are wider than the screen, I don't know the technical name for it but you have to keep moving the curser over and back for each LINE. I'm afraid that I have missed/skipped over any of these difficult to read posts. No matter how wide I make my screen some posts are always wider.

  7. Teaf5 | | #60

    It is confusing, but a size 38 bra does not have a 38" band; the size does not relate to inches in any way that I can determine, but the formula can work to narrow down a range of sizes that might fit you.

    My ribcage measures 32", and my well-fitted and comfortable size 36D bras have bands that measure approximately 30 inches unstretched.  My full bust measurement is 8" larger, so I need a D cup (an unexpected outcome of weight gain.)

    You measure ribcage and full bust to determine cup size; the greater the difference in the two, the larger the cup.  As already mentioned, though, size and fit of bras vary widely by manufacturer and style.

    For sewing, it's important because anyone with a bust size over B will need to make an adjustment on commercial patterns, which are graded to fit a B cup.  We can't just buy a bigger pattern to accommodate our full bust because the rest of the garment will be way too big.


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