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Best Approach Question

WandaJ | Posted in Fitting on

I’m considering making a dress (Vogue 2725), which has no bust darts. I need to alter the pattern 2″ – 3″ between the bust and hips. For the bust area would it be better to : a- add a dart (and if so how wide); or, b- leave the pattern intact and add the additional width to the side seams?

I think the dress would hang better with the addtion of a dart. What’s your take on this?

The next question I have is regarding the order of pattern alterations, particularly if I do decide to add the dart.  I believe I’ve read that alterations should start at the top and go down?  If that is the case, should I add the dart, and then shorten the length between the neck and waist, or vice versa. Afterwards, should I then go into working on the circumference?

I do hope I am making sense as I get confused in these areas, especially the order of alterations.  I too am a believer of ‘if I have a question(s) then, I’m sure someone else does too.’

The help Digest Members provide on these issues, I’m sure will benefit not only me but other sewists as well.

Wanda J

P. S. I am good at garment construction, and working on becoming, with your help, really good at initial alterations! :-}


  1. WandaJ | | #1

    Here's a picture of the dress as is copied from the on-line Vogue catalogue.

    View Image

    Out of Print Misses'/Misses' Petite Jacket, Top, Dress, Skirt And Pants

    Ready to Buy?
    How many: 
    View Image AVERAGE
    You pay only: $ 25.00
    1. SewNancy | | #7

      The full bust adjustment will not only add width where you need it, the front but it also adds length as you need both to go over a full bust.
      Secondly, if you are fitting a D cup or above, you might consider shifting some of that dart vertically comming up fromt the bottom toward your bust or into the shoulder. Ther verticle dart is very flatterring and slimming. This is well illustrated in the Palmer Pletsch fitting book. Any dart over 2" will give you difficulties in laying well. Also, keep in mind that you have to back up from the point with a larger bust.
      This sounds complicated, but after you do this a few times it is a really easy and quick
      I can do this adjustment in less than 5 minutes these days!
      Good luck,

  2. suesew | | #2

    If I understand you correctly you need extra length over the bust betwen the shoulder and the waist. Adding this across the front and removing it at the side seams with a bust dart should work well. This is the perfect time to make a muslin try out first. You don't need the whole length - you can just make it to the hip length for fitting purposes.

    1. WandaJ | | #3

      Thank you for the information on the front bodice adjustment. Your description of the problem does make sense.  Sometimes, we just cannot describe the problem as it really is.  Thanks. WandaJ

  3. mem | | #4

    Wanda are you talking about having a large cup size and wanting to improve the fit of your bust in this design. If so you would do a full bust adjustment and this will add in a dart .

    1. WandaJ | | #5

      Thank you. That it precisely what I want to do. WandaJ

      1. mem | | #6

        to do that you need to do a full bust adjustment and its too hard to describe here so go and have a look in a fitting book The best one around in my view is the Palmer Pletch one Fit for Every Body . I got mine at Amazon.It will lift your sewing to a whole higher level and will help you to get all your garments really fitting well . I have enjoyed sewing so much more since I have read it over and over.

        1. nisee | | #8

          Thank you for the tip on that book. I am off to order for myself. I have just been visiting discussions regarding the fitting issues. 

  4. Teaf5 | | #9

    That's a lovely pattern, but I wonder how well it will look on a full-busted person?  Even with full bust adjustments, that vertical line is going to accentuate the bust--notice that the model is flat-chested--and there is going to be an awful lot of fabric hanging from the bustline.  When I put such straight-lined garments on my curvy body, I look like a circus tent!

    1. WandaJ | | #10

      I do hope that I don't like like a circus tent in this dress!  I thought the straight lines gave a quite slimming look.  I do think the full bust adjustment will work on this pattern.  Oh, I just checked the pattern envelope for style symbols and this design is recommended for all body types.  In that regard, you too would not look like a circus tent if you decided to make this dress for yourself.


      1. mem | | #11

        I dont think you will . I would consider taking some fabric out under the bust with long darts . Maybe even shaping the dart in a bit so that they neep in under the bust . There was a great article on doing this in a Threads a few years back . I dont have access to  my copies as i am doing this at work .

      2. Josefly | | #12

        I think I understand what Teaf5 is saying and maybe this helps to make the point. The long lines of this dress, particularly with the contrasting stripe down the side of the front, would seem to make for a slimming look. But especially because of the straight lines, when you add fabric for a full bust, that full fabric hangs straight down from the full part of the bust, creating much more room across the width of the dress, from the bust to the hem. It might be fine, but it might feel too full, depending on the rest of your figure. Then, if you try to take some of that fullness out by adding vertical darts under the bust, to nip the fullness out, what will that do to that nice straight vertical seam that joins the contrasting fabric? I can't tell from the photos of the pattern -- but I'm guessing that vertical darts are not a part of the design. Good luck with your project!Edited 7/8/2006 5:08 pm ET by Josefly

        Edited 7/8/2006 5:15 pm ET by Josefly

        1. WandaJ | | #13

          Thanks for your explanation. I don't think I would add the vertical darts.  Since I have not yet cut the fabric I will think about it some more before doing so.  I think the straight line of the design is really nice and slimming looking,and that a dart of any type might not compliment it.

          Wanda J

    2. SewNancy | | #14

      Absolutely agree. I try never to make or buy anything that hangs from my bust! I look at least 10 lbs heavier!

  5. mem | | #15

    I have similar issues with a large cup size and the circus tent effect. One pattern I found really good at dealing with this issue is one which has a bust dart and the shaping on both side and center back seams . This might be useful for you given the contrast panel which would be difficult to dart vertically although you could just make the panel wider and dart it any way or incorporate the dart in the seam line between the panels. I would also avoid stiff fabrics. Think of something with a bit of drape which will follow your inward curves and not hang straight down from the bust point. I would do the full bust adjustment and then pin it up and try it on and tweek it at the side seams or center back etc untill you are happy with it. You wont have done anything irreversible and you may end up with a much better pattern than if you just follow the guide sheet. 

    Good luck

    1. WandaJ | | #16

      Thank you for your suggestion. Please share the pattern that you have found beneficial for you and the adjustments you have to make. Thanks. WandaJ

      1. mem | | #17

        i am at work and the pattern is at home . It was a blouse pattern which had a front bust dart in the side seam , buttons down the front and a shirt maker collar. The thing that made it such a good fit was that it had side seam shaping and it had a center back seam which also allowed shaping The lower back seam also had a little split in it. I guess the reason I mention it is that it was an example of how shaping can be transferred to seams and not just into darts. I actually think that the dress you are making would lend itself to a shaped seam on the right front between the contrast and main colour and the in the maincolour a dart in the corresponding place ,if there isnt a seam .If there is a seam then you could just shape the seam.there too. There was a great article in a Threads mag a few years ago about shaping front darts and princess seams under the bust  I started doing this and really the tent look was dealt with very well by this method .Very useful for those of us with a large bust.

        1. WandaJ | | #18

          Thank you for the tip. As soon as I can I will go back into the Threads Archive and look for articles on dart & seam shaping. WandaJ

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