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bust alterations

Deeom | Posted in Fitting on

In an article by Lorraine Henry, she claims that the alteration she had described  (altering the bodice front)was for a larger bust, which she says is different from a prominent bust.  How is that different?  Don’t they both need length as well as width enlarging?  Really curious.


  1. jjgg | | #1

    LOL! I'd like to know which one is bigger! the "larger bust" or the "prominent" one!!

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    Maybe she was talking about those of us with small frames, very thin chests, and small rib cages but D cups?  I need extra length but usually need to remove horizontal ease just above and below the bustline to avoid a balloon-type fit.  Typical full-bust alterations make the shoulders and upper chest way too big otherwise.

    1. Cathie | | #3

      I have been away from Taunton's Gatherings for a little while, reorganizing sewing room (LOL). However, now it is "neat" enough for me to sew, and I have found things "lost" in the stash (except my sleeve board, bought a "new" one for 25 cents at charity shop to-day). I have been reading on fitting, and must finish my UFO's. But then will have to remeasure self, and get down to the busness of re-drafting patterns, as the usual do not fit. I have a D to DD cup, narrrow upper chest, and the suggested waist. I do not want the balloon look either. I have been doing "research", and looking at different types of FBA's. I have never tried one (yet), only "extensions", not the best idea for me, as the bodice becomes too wide. I suggest you looking into FBA types, and experimenting. Any good ideas out there? Help needed!

      1. Ocrafty1 | | #5

        Hi Cathie,

        I, too, have a DD bust, narrow chest width and avg. waist. If you like I can scan the pp. from this manuel on how to change the dart depth, waist legnthening and post them here or email as an attachment to you. It was a great help to me....just to review it again. I like the way they recommend doing the changes on waxed paper with a tracing wheel.


        1. Cathie | | #7

          Thanks so much for quick reply!!!!!!! Please, yes, Do send the much needed info. Happy sewing! Cathie

          1. Ocrafty1 | | #9


            Here are the pages I copied. I had some trouble with my scanner, but I think they'll be OK. I had to copy 4 different pages. Pg. 3 is a little faint, but when I opened the attachment it showed up OK. I really like doing pattern alterations this way. Using the waxed paper is inexpensive...I get mine at the Dollar stores...and it is a nice way to have that pattern alteration without doing anything to the original. If it is one that I think I'll use again, I copy it onto a sheet of freezer paper.

            Hope this helps!



      2. sosewnem | | #6

        Hi Cathie,

        I have to do FBA for a DDD cup size for all my outfits and I also have narrow shoulders, so have learned that I first have to check the fit of the shoulder area, then do the FBA.  I have found Singer's book, The Perfect Fit, very helpful as it has lots of photos and enough instruction to go with the photos.  I do have several other books that have helped me as well, but I always refer back to The Perfect Fit.

        That said, there are places on-line that also give instruction on doing a FBA.  In doing one search, I found this site: http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com/ - look on the right side for her link to "My Sewing and Pattern Tips", that will bring you to a page with all kinds of helpful fitting tips - and her illustrations & instructions are wonderful.  She has FBA instructions for various styles. 

        I hope this helps.

        1. Cathie | | #8

          Thanks so much for quick answer. I have that Singer fitting book, but, have not read, as it was Greek to me, but, it is all making more sense, slowly, thanks in great part to you lovely ladies. And, I will now ckeck that blog you mentioned. Thank you!!!!!!

          1. marymary | | #10

            I found this a few days ago.   I have not tried this method.  It isn't as clear as it should be, at least, not to me.  There is no indication of how much you should increase the width or depth.  They leave that up to you to know how to figure it.

            Has anyone tried this method? 


          2. Ocrafty1 | | #11

            I checked that site out. That is the 'slash and spread' method.  I have an old issue of Threads...#45 from 1993. On p.18 & 20 there is an article about fitting a large bust using that method. It says that all patterns are created for B cup, so:

            Width changes:

            B to DD cup: +1 1/4 "

            B to D: +3/4 "

            B to C: + 3/8"

            B to A: -1/4"

            The dart enlarges and the larger the bust size, the higher the point below which extra width is needed.

            Pattern Legthens:

            A: -1/4"

            C: +3/8"

            D: +3/4"

            DD: +1"

            Hope this helps.... I still prefer the Sew/Fit method. The slash/spread is much more involved and (I think) less accurate.


          3. marymary | | #12

            Thanks, Deb.  I will have to dig out my old copy of Threads.  I should have thought to look there.

            I keep trying different methods and have yet to find one that ends up with a nice fitting garment for me.  I have noticed that some directions tell you to move the end of the dart (bust point) after making the corrections, and some don't.  I think to be correct, the placement of the end of the dart does have to be adjusted.  Wonder why that is left out of some of the instructions.


          4. Ocrafty1 | | #13

            Hi Marymary,

            The point of the bust dart should be about 1 -1 1/2" from the apex of the bust. That point should be adjusted before the new dart lines are drawn in. I think in the attachments I sent in an earlier post, it shows when/ how to do that.

             I don't know why they don't tell people to do that, maybe they think it should be a given; but there are too many new sewers who haven't had anyone teach them how to do this stuff.  I learned by doing. I just found Threads mag. about 8 yrs. ago.


      3. Teaf5 | | #14

        A caution on the FBA if you have a narrow upper chest: a single dart is probably NOT going to work well for you! I spent a year dealing with my FBA, producing huge single darts that do indeed get the right amount of fabric over my bust but also created huge cones and way too much fabric below the bust. (My ribcage is 8" smaller than my bust.) Now I use a long vertical dart and a side dart with a little extra width at the top of the side seams for a much more flattering line.As another poster mentioned, it is critical to use a much smaller pattern for your upper chest and shoulders if you have narrow shoulders or a prominent bust. Even then, I need to shorten the shoulder seam by a full inch on each side, no matter what size pattern I'm using!

        1. jjgg | | #15

          You are very right about the single side dart on a full bust. You just can't get the dart to lay nicely because so much fabric is taken up. If you can split the dart in 2, make 2 french darts since they are more on the bias, they will lay nicer. Or, use a princess line pattern.

        2. Cathie | | #16

          Thanks so much, ladies, for great help. Easter is a bit too busy, but will soon finish UFO's, and start to cut out altered patterns. A real stretch for me. I will have your wonderful printed instructions beside me at my "new", antique sewing desk. (Also must learn to fit skirts too). Thank you!!!!!

  3. Ocrafty1 | | #4

    This is sooo funny!  I've just gotten an old copy of the Sew/Fit manual from 1978. Nancy Zieman was one of the authors. They discuss a prominent bust alteration. The silhouette for that poor woman is something else.  Reminds me of the 'cone' bras they wore in the '50's. I wear a 34 DD and consider that a very large bust. This bustline does not seem to 'fill out' the whole chest area, it justs 'sticks out' all in the front. Like she's got on a 'cone' bra...nothing like a 'push up' bra with clevage....Oh, I just found the description in the book... "A figure with an extra pointed bustline and a small waistline."

    I've scanned the page and have attached it....I think this is what you were asking about.


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