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FBA on gathered bodice?

kbalinski | Posted in Fitting on

Hello all,

I’m about to cut a muslin for a prom gown, and have all the girl’s measurements.  Here’s the link to a picture of the pattern, view D, but all the front pieces are the same.  She’s a C cup, and the bodice is an empire waist with the top gathering under the bustline.  I’ve  also attached a picture of the pattern piece so you can see the shape.  I’ve also checked PatternReview and no one who reviewed mentioned anything about the fit in the bust or doing a FBA.

My question: Can I still do a standard FBA (slit from shoulder through bust and spread a 1/2″ wider) or do I need something different?  I know this is a muslin anyhow, but the closer it is to right, the easier it will be in the end.

Thanks (in advance) for your help!

Kristine in Michigan


  1. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #1

    First, determine the location of the bust point on the bodice and mark it. Find the center point between the notches at the empire line. Draw a line from there up to the bust point and diagonally across the notch in the armscye. Draw a line from BP to Side seam. Slash through under bust dart line to armscye and from BP to side seam. Spread at the bust point. Probably about 1/2" to go up one cup size. You may find it prudent to adjust the length of the gather line under the bust, but that can be determined in muslin. I wouldn't slit through the shoulder as that would change places you may not wish to change.

    1. Ocrafty1 | | #5

      Thank you for a perfect description of how to do this adjustment. I copied and pasted it into Word for future reference.


  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    I've rarely needed to do a FBA on a gathered bodice, even though I'm a D cup; the gathers tend to have ample fullness.  However, most women with larger than the standard B cup also have a much lower bust point, so we have to add length to top part of the bodice.  And many of us who need a FBA also need to make the shoulders and back bodice piece much narrower.

    The bodice of a prom gown needs to fit snugly, so if you can tissue-fit the girl, you'll save a lot of time and trouble.  Let us know how it turns out!

  3. JanF | | #3

    Blimey - Ive racked my brains - what does FBA stand for? front Back ?
    I cannot think? Jan

    1. kbalinski | | #4

      Full Bust Adjustment

      Most commercial patterns are prepared for a B cup, so for each increase in cup size, the garment needs about 1/2" more length/width (per side).

      Some patterns include separate pieces for cup adjustments... I wish they all did!!

      1. JanF | | #7

        Oh thank you - I should have been able to work it out shouldn't I?
        As a lady with this problem I am well used to having to do this - but in UK very few patterns have anything specific to direct u - just if u use multi-size patterns you can adjust this way. Not ideal - but a simple way to do it for those of use with less expertise in pattern alteration!

  4. Ocrafty1 | | #6


    This looks like a great pattern.  What is the fashion fabric?  Please keep us posted on the progress. I think it is helpful and interesting to 'follow the process' with all of the interesting developments that happen during construction. I know you post some of this type of info on your blog, but will you also post here and the pix here when you're finished so we can all enjoy?


    1. kbalinski | | #8


      I'll try to keep you posted.  Hopefully the muslin will be great, so I can knock it out early.  Maybe it'll rack up some more business!!


      1. kbalinski | | #9

        The muslin is finished, the fitting is tomorrow.  I have all the pictures on my blog, and have also realized a few other issues that needs addressing.  Hopefully, having it on a human being tomorrow, will clear up some of the questions I have!

        I'm just so glad I took the time to do a muslin on this!  And, that there are such wonderful, helpful ladies out there to offer advice when I can't wrap my brain around something!  I love my internet buddies!

        Kristine in Michigan


        1. User avater
          artfulenterprises | | #10

          I reviewed your blog but ran into frustrating glitches trying to post a message there...so here's what I meant to say....Summerset answered most all your concerns on this lovely little number...however, if you still have gapping at the neck edge between bust and shoulder, simply take a tiny "dart" in the neck edge to determine exactly how much excess you have. It may be only an eighth to quarter of an inch and the dart length only 2 to 3" long (or less). Transer this amount to your paper pattern and cut your next bodice test accordingly. Don't worry about trying to transfer this amount to some other dart. It is usually such a small amount it can be folded out and the pattern flattened for cutting with no trouble. Looks like a great job so far!

          1. kbalinski | | #11

            artful: Thanks so much, I really appreciate your advice with the gapping edge! I pinched out the excess at the fitting today, and now I'll have to see how it translates on paper.  I just wanted to say thanks for taking the extra time to make sure I got your message!


  5. Nat1964 | | #12

    In reference to the gaping on the curved edges of the muslin bodice, when I sew the actually garment I use a couture method that I found in Claire Shaeffer" book Couture Sewing Techniques pgs49-50.  I use a 5mm tape which I sew along the stitching line on the wrong side of the fabric.  This helps to stop the fabric edge stretching and stabilises it.  You will also find that the lining will roll around underneath better especially if you understitch the lining and seam allowances.

    Hope this helps, good luck.

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