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Adjustments for a small busted figure

Rosemarie | Posted in The Archives on

Altough I’m a Plus size my bust line is proportionately small. (At one time–which means before becoming a Mom twenty four years ago–I was a 34A, almost, too big for a AA but not quite an A!) So did the fat cells go to my bustline? Of course not!! I’m still a classic pear (albeit a bigger one) and now have a pot belly to boot!

If I just go by my bust line I would choose a pattern about three sizes smaller in Burda, than going by neck, shoulder, and back width. I think I need to use the larger pattern and adjust for a small bust–or just live with a lot of bagginess in that area. I can envision removing the bust dart by folding it closed and then slashing the pattern front from the hem to the bust point and transferring the fullness to the bottom edge (should help with the largre tummy adjustment too). But what would I do with a pattern that has no bust dart, such as a t-shirt style?

I’ve been playing with a piece of paper, slashing and folding–but the bustline seems to stay as full.


  1. Martha_M. | | #1

    With Burda, and the other multi-size European patterns, you can just go from size to size where your measurements indicate by blending pattern lines. For more information on this, you can rent Roberta Carr's Burda fitting video from Nancy's Notions for a few dollars and see what I'm talking about.


    1. Rosemarie | | #2

      *Thanks Martha, I'll rent the video. But I guess I'm confused about making the front smaller, since the back and sleeves, etc. are the right size. Can I just draw the front piece smaller at the bust line? Does it throw off the armhole?

      1. Martha_M. | | #3

        *Both the front and the back are blended into the correct size for your bust area. That way the side seams line up correctly. The sleeve cap is also blended from size to size to match the new armholes. You'll understand better when you can see Roberta Carr explain how it works. I like this method because there is no slashing, spreading, taping or other forms of pattern battering. It is very similiar to what Nancy Zieman does in her fitting book, only she has you use one pattern size and make a new pattern from it, but at least your original pattern is still intact.

        1. Ginna | | #4

          *Martha - If I remember Roberta Carr's video correctly she talks about using the neck size for the neck, shoulder and armholes. I don't remember her saying how to take this measurement and when I attempted to use what I thought was my neck measurement I found it was way off the chart on the high end. Either I have a very thick neck out of proportion with my shoulders or I took the measurement incorrectly. (I did wear a necklace to help find where to measure.) Assuming I took the measurement correctly do you have any suggestions for handling the shoulders & armholes? TIA

          1. Elona_Masson | | #5

            *Ginna, you might try what L Schmitt at Sewingworld suggests: Trace off on paper or plastic the size indicated by measuring your neck at the level of your necklace. Don't freak at this--I, too, was startled to find that my neck base was way upsize, but it turned out to be much more comfortable to use this size. Anyhow, after that, use the same size for the shoulders with this slight change: Bobbi Carr suggests that Americans are happier when they lop 1/3" off Burda's generous shoulder length. Then, trace the armholes, tapering to the correct size line for your bosom, if that is different from the neck size. You'll wind up with a short little pattern, just long enough to see how shoulders and armhole fit when you try it on. Pretty cheap in terms of time and effort, don't you think?By the way, you can get reasonably-priced aid from Bobbi Carr in fitting Burda by asking for her measurement chart. She'll send you a form and directions how to use it; you fill it in with a buddy's help and send it back; and she returns to you little sketches of bodice, sleeves, and skirt with her recommendations for your correct size

          2. Martha_M. | | #6

            *Ginna - see Elona's post about what L. Schmitt said at Sewing World - that's what helped me. I still need to work on this a bit, but I did one sample and was amazed at how much more accurate it was. I can measure my neck 5 times and get 5 different measurements. The paper thing just takes a couple of minutes. I've found that, so far, I need to use a much smaller neck size. I'll tell you one thing - I will never cut a pattern by any sort of "bust" measurement again. I only need that for the bottom sizing of the bodice.

          3. Ginna | | #7

            *Elona & Martha - Thanks. I'll try that.

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