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Assistance please

educo | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I have been struggling with this dress for quite some time. I have put it away because I had other commitments but with summer coming up, I’d like to make this dress a success. I had made so many changes to it, bigger, smaller, wider, narrower and these cups are killing me! Can anyone help me with this? I am wearing a strapless bra with this but I wanted to make a built in bra for this dress. But how can I go forward with that if I can’t get these cups to fit? I have included some pics so you can see what I’m talking about. The rope trim is not as narrow as I am intending since I’m making a sample, it’s the only spare rope trim I have available. I welcome all kinds of advice because I’d like to tackle this before summer is over.
Thanks a lot!!


  1. mygaley | | #1

    IMHO the bra cups of the dress are too small in every direction.  They are not wide enough because the underarm seam pulls to the front.  They are not long enough top to bottom; remember a straight line is the shortest distance... and you are covering a bulge which is not straight at all, and therefore requires more fabric length, or top to bottom, if you will.  It appears that the apex of the pattern bust does not match the apex of your bust; usually a normal bust point reaches about l/2 way between the shoulder and elbow and in the picture the dress seam(which substitutes for the dart) is much nearer your elbow.  I am very much afraid you will have to cut a new bodice front top; it won't take very much material as you will only need enough for the two cups as the back is fine and you can line it with something else.  I would cut these cups at least two sizes larger if your pattern shows that, and also allow an extra 1" on the top and bottom seamlines.  Get that seamline in line with your bust point and you'll be good.  Go to a discount store and buy an unadorned  bra in your cup size, beige, not white (try it on).  Pin it inside your dress, matching bust points, centers, sides and mark and cut down whatever part of the bra shows.  Finish the edges with a zigzag stitch or serge.  I like to stitch in the ditch under the arms to keep this in place.  You may want to stitch to the waistline seam.  Be sure to include in cb seam.  This will be between your fashion fabric and lining.  You may want to consider in the future replacing that dark bra, also.  The cups are really not big enough for you and it flattens your bust.  I hope to see the finished product; your work so far is very nicely done.  Galey

    1. educo | | #2

      thank you for your response. I am aware of the apex being too low. I first draped this top, then "corrected" the pattern. I have made so many adjustments to the cups, I'm missing something. I'll slash and spread to make the cups bigger, then I'll remove some from the top line because it gapes, this is torture. I figured because I have struggled with this pattern for such a long time, I would've figured this out already!! So do you recommend that I add to the side seam, add and raise the center cup seam, and add to the top of the cup as well? Please clarify. Thank you once again for your quick response.

    2. educo | | #3

      The dark bra I was using was just to have on so I can see how the fit of the cups were, I am not using that bra for the dress. i don't mind cutting another sample, I am already used to making countless samples for this dress, I just hate that I'm hung up on cups!!

      1. mygaley | | #4

        Leave the seam alone.  You should add at top and at bottom (waistline seam).  Also, there probably should be some distance added between the apexes of your bust; that is why I recommended cutting a larger pattern size.  This will also create a wider pattern piece.  The dart seam will have to be shaped to fit your bust.  What I would do is this:  Use medium stiff interfacing cut out larger size pattern pieces, including l" all around for a total sa of 1 l/2 ".  Even make a cf seam allowance of 1 1-2" What you are doing here is making a full bust adjustment, which you want to learn to do, as you will need it with every garment. 

        Now pin that cf together using 1/2 sa.  Try on to see if it needs to be extended on the side seams, if so do this now (I think your 1" will save you).  Baste that cf seam together and try on wrong side out (pin to tshirt or bra). Mark your apexes.  Now, what you want to do is pin up that dart seam like a dart from the side to 1" short of the apex starting from each side.  also, open that cf seam and do the same thing, starting with a smaller and shorter dart and you should soon have a cup that matches your body.  Be sure and mark waistline seam while it is still on you.  It must be long enough and the bumps you just make will take up fabric length. Take this off, mark every seam as pinned with a pencil and sew up. If this fits you, take it apart and tape together the cf seam lines and you have a pattern to use to cut your muslin.  Remember to allow wearing ease, a strapless bodice doesn't need much.

        I realized that dark bra was just for fitting, but I wonder if it fits you.  When I was a girl, we wore panty girdles, long line strapless bras, and other things too gruesome to mention.  I don't wear those things now and I'm sure you don't either.  Many of the young women who are my customers have never had a bra that fit in a way to enhance their figures and clothes.  Most often this shows up in a too-small cup size.  Stores like Dillards, Hanes outlet stores (my favorite) have employees trained to help you find your optimum size.  Go in, get a fitting (this involves someone measuring you and you trying on the bras in private, then they evaluate the fit) and you may be pleasantly surprised.  I think a bra fits me if 1. it stays up without tight shoulder straps 2.  the center front lays flat against my breastbone. I learned most of this from palmer-pletsch sewing books and the singer fitting book.  Every full-busted sewer should know these techniques.  Also, I recommend interlining on all fitted bodices on pastel and white; different lights make different amounts of show-through. Best wishes, Galey

  2. Teaf5 | | #5

    Wow, great skin and muscle tone! Still, I agree with mygaley that you need a bra that fits well and that the top is just way too small. Unless you are going for the "Dolly Parton/ over the top" look, you need about three inches more over the center of each side and about 1.5 or 2 inches more above the side seam.

    Also, to cover a globe shape, you'll need more curved pieces; the rather squarish, flat pieces you are using would work only for very flat-chested women.

    A fitting article on cups suggested cutting a large circle of paper or fabric, slicing from the outside to center in one spot, then sliding it into a cone shape to give you a rough idea about how much fabric you need to cover a breast. Then, you can slice the cone again and flatten it out to determine where the different pieces would be and how much curvature you need in each one.

    Another possibility, inspired by the lovely rope detail, would be a draped bodice. You'd still need a larger base bodice, but a draped overlay would be very flattering.

    1. educo | | #6

      Thank you! I will do as you and Galey suggested. In the meanwhile could you tell me where you found that fitting article? That would help me greatly in all my future endeavors! Also, the draped overlay idea is fabulous! That is such a great option!

      1. Teaf5 | | #7

        Sorry, I can't remember! On my lunch hour, I read a lot of fitting articles in a variety of magazines carried by our university and public libraries, and sometimes the fitting & sewing books at the nearby Borders store. Since this particular approach started at the conceptual level, had a lot of illustrations and pages, I think it was a new book on fitting. If I get the chance to check that section again soon, I'll see if I can find it again and send you the title.In the meantime, you should check whatever published sources you can find in your area or online about making "full-bust alterations." Several threads under this forum's Fitting category also include many useful comments and links.

  3. mimi | | #8

    I agree with the others who have responded to you, you need to have more fabric added on to the top and the bottom of the bodice of the dress. 

    I would suggest that you re-cut the bodice in a larger size (or two) and have a friend pin it to fit.  Or, make all the seams one inch deep to allow for expansion, take up excess fabric with pin tucking or basting and re-try on after each alterations.  The biggest change whould probably be in the length top to bottom.  Those of us who are "endowed" need a little extra coverage there!

    I applaud you for sticking to this project!  You might want to check out Susan Khalje's books, especially her wedding dress book.  She gives great advice on the inner construction of evening wear.  They are available at http://www.Amazon.com


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