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Conversational Threads

Full Bust Adjustment – Burda Pattern

sosewnem | Posted in Fitting on

I’m back to sewing for myself since it is basically impossible for me to find a RTW blouse to fit my low 37DDD full bust. 

I bought Burda 8363 and made my FBA on it, though the dart looked bigger on the Burda pattern than on a pattern from one of the “big 4”.  Do they make theirs for a “C” size cup as a “norm”?  I’m guessing that it is for a “C” cup because it was a larger dart.  With my FBA, at the side seam, the dart with the FBA is 4-1/4″ wide.

The top fits pretty well, though the dart I sewed in the trial garment has a pucker at the tip because it is so huge and comes to a point too abruptly, but there doesn’t seem to be much I can do about that.  The dart ends about 1-1/2″ from the bust point.  Would some kind of a curved dart be better?  If so, would the dart arms be convex or concave?  I don’t know if I should lengthen or shorten the dart a little.

I’ve mulled over in my mind making 2 darts, but don’t know how to divide the one dart into two – and where would I put the other dart?  Make two right next to each other?  I know I could put one from the waist, but really do not want to as my stomach area is still in need of trimming down.  My preference is to keep this blouse a simple one – with the one dart at the side. 

Another thought is to possibly trim the dart after making it to avoid having so much bulk at the dart area.  (Part of my reasoning with this is that I need to make a white blouse and I have a nice white peachskin, but it’s still too sheer for my liking and I want to self-line it, which means twice as much fabric at the darts.)

Maybe I’m making a mountain out of a molehill – obsessing over the pucker. 

Any suggestions for this dilema? 

Thanks so much!




  1. Brine | | #1

    Is there any possibility that you can split the dart intake? Perhaps you could get the extra needed room by adding another dart at the shoulder.

    1. sosewnem | | #3

      I was hoping to not have to split the dart and transfer it elsewhere.  I wanted a smooth fabric without princess seams - I prefer a classic style.  Darts scattered to various locations breaks up the smooth look and unfortunately, I don't want them all pointing to what is a huge chest.   I get enough stares. 

      I thought if I curved the dart somehow, it might help.  I just didn't know if anyone had an experience with this type problem.  The other option was to either lengthen or shorten the dart to try for it not to have an abrupt point, which has caused the puckering.  I might consider spliting the dart and have both from the side seam, however, I just don't know how to do this.  I guess I haven't searched hard enough in all my many sewing/fitting books. 


      1. dotty | | #4

        I haven't tried this myself yet, but what are the opinions out there about rotating it into a french dart? I understand thats a flattering solution. I am always having the problem you describe.I'm planning to try a french dart out soon.I've also found that different fabrics behave differently. I haven't really learned to predict which ones work well . Softer seems to help. But sometimes I like crisp. I'm also better off with not all that much ease at the side seams.

        1. sosewnem | | #5

          I just googled French Darts, but don't find an answer to what a French Dart is.

          Could you explain?


      2. SewNancy | | #42

        I have a DD cup size and there is no way to sew a very large dart without a pucker. You are better off rotating half of it out. I understand that you want a simple style, but honestly dartless just doesn't work for anyone over a B cup, if then. I understand that you want to avoid calling attention to your large chest, but I have found that clothing that skims the body is so much more flattering and slimming. I don't like to call attention to my middle either, but clothing hangs off the part of your body that sticks out the farthest, ie your bust, just makes you look like a big block instead of the illusion of shape. If you rotate half the dart to the waist, you will actually be much slimmer looking. This does not and should not be so tight as to show your lumps and bumps. If you ever watch What Not to Wear, they do this all the time with women who have large chests. Easy way to lose 10 lbs. Fabric and styles with structure don't cling to those parts we want to hide. I am making a dress right now out of 4 ply Silk crepe with princess seams and cf and cb seams and boy is this a flattering dress. I have fitted it to skim my body without being too big. Vertical lines are very slimming. The easiest way to fit is to have more seams rather than less which is why princess seams are so much easier to fit. If you do want to rotate out the dart, Fit for real people has a very good illustration and explanation on how to do this.

  2. FitnessNut | | #2

    You can split the dart into two parallel darts, which is a nice design detail that I've done on tailored jackets. I place them at equal distances above and below the original dart and make them the equal lengths, probably shorter than the original. When doing the cutting/folding out of the original dart, make sure to extend it all the way to the bust point and cut the two new darts on an angle to the point as well. Then shorten the two new darts to an appropriate distance from the bust point. I'm probably not explaining this very well but I don't have the ability to show you a drawing of what I mean. If the darts are still too deep once sewn, yes you can trim some of the fullness away. As always, make a test garment to ensure that you like the results of your tinkering.

    I obsess about puckers too...they just aren't supposed to be there. So I feel your pain. ;-)

    1. sosewnem | | #6

      I like the possibility of the idea you gave - and the funny thing was I was typing about it this afternoon while you were posting a reply with this very thought.  I saw it after I posted mine.  

      I have taken a couple of photos to post here - is this what you had in mind?  I wasn't following exactly how to do it, but did the best I could with it.

      I figured that if I took the dart I'd made and divided it in half and traced two of them, that I would have the same amount of fabric taken in as the one dart.  Since I was not sure if I was suppposed to actually cut it out of the pattern, for now, I have decided to overlay the two darts pointing to the Bust Point (BPt in photo 2).  I left 1/2" between the two darts and have both aimed at the BPt.  There is only 1" between the end of the dart and the BPt and I don't know if there should be more than that.  Maybe I'll have to play with it?  Ok, here's the two photos - first one showing the original dart and the second showing the two darts. 

      In photo one, I believe I had used the dart with the PINK line, though in reality when I sewed the darts on the muslin, they went a couple stitches longer.  The black line was my attempt to try to figure out if it needed to be shorter & curved.

      I just tried out the photos I put up and for some reason the second one has more pixels than I wanted it to have - if you have a problem, let me know and I'll re-post it. 


      Edited 2/2/2007 6:32 pm ET by sosewnem

      Edited 2/2/2007 6:35 pm ET by sosewnem

      1. FitnessNut | | #7

        Hmmm....for some reason, I can't open the second photo. Could you try to post it again?When you transfer a dart, you don't have to cut it out. Just cut along the line for the new dart(s) and fold out the original. They all extend to the same point, in this case, the bust point. Put paper underneath to fill in the gap between the dart legs. When you finalize the pattern, the darts are shortened to their final sewn position, however far from the bust point that may be (and it will change depending on the location of the dart). Also, the larger the bust, the further from the BP the end of the dart will be. Sometimes it is best to make this decision when it is made up in muslin - you need to see it in action, if you know what I mean.As for curving the dart, I'm not at all sure that this will solve the problem. It could make it worse. Again, a sample garment (or even just one half of a front) could answer that question for you. Somehow I think that dividing the dart intake into more than one dart would work better.

        1. sosewnem | | #10


          Thanks for letting me know that photo #2 would not work.  I thought I'd shrunk both of them in size the same way, but apparently I did something differently.  It's so hard to get used to these new-fangled photo software applications - they're rather complicated. 

          Here's photo #2 again in a better size - should not be a problem this time.

          I did not understand what you meant by cutting along the line (what line?) and "folding it out".  Did you mean cut along the dart arm line(s) and fold them in opposite directions to create the two new darts?   In any case, do see the photo as what I did was to cut out a copy of the original dart and then fold it in half and then made two copies of that, which I pinned in place as seen in the photo. 


          1. FitnessNut | | #15

            Thanks for the second photo. It certainly helps.What I intended for you to understand is how to use traditional patternmaking techniques to pivot your original dart into the two parallel ones. Do you not transfer your darts by drawing the new style (dart) line (to the bust point), extending the original dart point to the bust point, and cutting along the new dart line? When you fold out the original dart as if sewn, the new dart opens out and will be automatically the correct width for its position on the garment. You then shorten the dart point an appropriate amount from the bust point. When doing this for the two parallel darts, you cannot extend them both straight to the bust point - you have to decide how long they will be, mark that point, and draw from that point to the bust point for your cutting line. When the dart opens up, mark in the centre of the space for the new dart tip and draw in the new dart legs. Clear as mud? I wish I could show you a drawing to make it clearer.This is how I learned it in patternmaking class at design school and it works very well. But if your method gives the intended result, and fits well, then that is how you should do it. There is more than one way to do just about anything, in patternmaking just like anything else! I always, always test in muslin just to make sure that everything is as intended.

          2. sosewnem | | #16

            Hi FitnessNut,

            I went ahead and did make the two darts on the pattern - and figured out while I was working with it what you meant.  Although I did not "fold it out", I actually cut out the dart and cut to the bust point.   I knew about where I needed to make the two darts and drew lines to the bust point.  I pivoted theoriginal dart closed and laid out the two sample darts to see how it would work and then cut the new line(s) open & adjusted the darts and taped everything into place.  I think this will work out and will know once I've sewn them, which should be tomorrow.

            I do have books that show pivoting darts and I should "play" with darts more to become more adept at doing this.  I just didn't have any instructions on spliting up a dart into two and having them right next to each other, though I knew one could split them and have them in two different locations. 

            Thanks again!


    2. SewNancy | | #17

      You can split the dart into two parallel darts, which is a nice design detail that I've done on tailored jackets.This is a great suggestion for after the fact problem solving. A large dart like this will almost always pucker. You can also try shortening the dart. Next time, split the dart in two by rotating to have half or a little more comming up fromt eh bottom of the blouse. This will look better on a large bust and be more thining. I am a DD so I do understand. You need a good fitting book like Fit For Real People. They have a wonderful diagram of how to rotate darts. I have rotated to the shoulder for jackets, but for a blouse I think that in future you might try adding a vertical dart. I also always look for lots of fitting lines to fit my bust. I especially like princess from the armhole best. With clipping and pressing this can be molded over the bust to look really good. Don't forget to measure your bust point from the shoulder. The first thing that I do is lower the bust shaping and then I do an FBA. If the fullest point is not at your fullest point you will get drag lines.

      1. FitnessNut | | #18

        ITA with what you are saying, but Sosewnem specifically says in her post that she doesn't want a vertical dart. With such a large bust, it is absolutely the best approach to have more than one place to divide the dart excess. Otherwise the dart will most definitely pucker or be pointed. I've learned this one the hard way. ;-)

        1. SewNancy | | #19

          I agree with you about more than one dart, but I think that without a vertical dart the fabric will hang straight down from her bust and make her look like her body is the size of her bust instead of a slimmer, semi fitted look. I am not talking about a tight fit, but by skimming the body she will look thinner. Edited 2/5/2007 10:40 am ET by SewNancy

          Edited 2/5/2007 10:41 am ET by SewNancy

          1. sosewnem | | #21

            I'm posting a few photos of the work in progress.  The neckline is not done and the side seams & hems are not done.  (side seams were basted so I could try it on).  I plan a side zipper at the bottom in one side to open up and make taking it on & off easier.  I did do away with the side-by-side dart - it just didn't look right. 

            The neckline was too low on the pattern, so I added on there, which meant the shoulder seam was too long & hung off the shoulders.  I'd forgotten to take it off when I re-made the pattern, so I cut off 1/2" at the shoulder and tapered that further in the front than in the back. 

             I guess it's open to critique and any advice anyone wants to give.  My husband says it fits well.  I had him take some photos and then I could actually see the back.  It looks like the sleeve needs some tweaking in the back at the seam.  And possibly it needs shoulder pads to help it look right??


          2. SewNancy | | #22

            You said that you wanted a critique and here it is.
            I think that both your side and vertical darts are too long. If you draw a 2" circle around your bust point the darts should enter the circle, but on a large cup size they should be just at the edge. The angled dart should be longer than the vertical dart. I think that the side dart is not pointing at your bust apex and thus causing the drag lines you see on the side. I also think that the shoulders need to be taken in, they are too wide for your body, moreso in the back, a narrow back seems to be the issue. I think that you also have a pressing issue. First press the dart as sewn on both sides to meld the stitches. Then press down with brown paper under and press on a ham. It is important to press curves on curved surfaces. Also press with strips of brown paper under the dart and don't move the iron around, press and lift so that you don't stretch the tip.
            I know that that sounds like alot, but you are well on your way to a good fit. I like to pin fit a new pattern and if it is complex, like a jacket, I like to make a muslin too. It is so much easier to fix fitting problems before you start to sew or all you get is an expensive muslin. When you solve your fitting problems ahead of time you will enjoy your sewing a whole lot more! I hope that this was helpful to you.

          3. sosewnem | | #23

            Hi SewNancy,

            Thank You for the feedback.  Yes, it is helpful.  I also wonder if when looking at the side view, if I should bring the shoulder seam forward on the pattern - it appears I have rounded shoulders and the seam is back from the shoulder.  If so, should I keep it about where it is at the neck and taper it out at the shoulder - about 1/2" forward?

            As for pressing, I am pressing the stitches on both sides prior to pressing the dart down and I'm not aware that I'm gliding the iron along - I usually lift to check the pressing then reposition the iron, but I'll try to be more conscientious on that.  I should used the paper under the darts though.  (This is peachskin and does not produce a crisp pressing.)

            I've copied my photos into MS Word and also your feedback.  I'll be putting that with the pattern so I can tweak the pattern further. 

            I'll work on the blouse some more today.  Yah know, it's better to have feedback from the forum than your husband who says "it fits well" - though it's far better than anything I could possibly find in the store.  RTW blouses are a big ball of frustration.

            Next project is a skirt - that should not be too hard. 

            Edited 2/7/2007 10:03 am ET by sosewnem

          4. SewNancy | | #28

            Yes, I forgot to mention the shoulder issue. It does look like it is pulling to the back. Fixing the shoulder issues first and working down is important. Posting pictures for a critque takes guts, but how else can you sew better? Husbands are programmed to say it looks good. Well, mine is pretty good about telling me about wrinkles in the back I haven't seen. I would rather have the truth about my sewing. He knows how picky I am about fit.

          5. Josefly | | #29

            I just want to add some encouragement. All the suggested alterations may sound over-whelming, and it does take guts to post photos of yourself in a garment that doesn't fit well. But stick to it, and you're going to get a great-fitting blouse you'll be proud of. I think I'm going to need the same kind of feedback while trying to fit myself in some trousers. I swear, with all the clear instructions given in the Palmer/Pletsch fitting pattern I have, I still can't see what's wrong when I get the fitting shell on my body. I can't think of a better use of this forum than that kind of feedback. Good for you!

          6. SewNancy | | #30

            I have learned that the more I sew the pickier I am about fit, the more I see that needs fixing and the more I learn about it! You have to be obsessive about staring at yourself in the mirror oe better yet take a digital pic. It shows every wrinkle you are ignoring or not seeing in the mirror. I don't particularly like Nancy Zienemans fitting book, but at the end she has a diagram of wrinkles and how to deal with each one. It is worth the price of the book. I finally figured out how to fix the inverted pleat I was getting at cf crotch of pants.

          7. Josefly | | #32

            Good idea about using the camera to help me spot the problems. It's not actually that I can't see problems at all, it's that the wrinkles don't seem to match the ones I've seen illustrated, and that I see more than one problem at once, and correcting one affects the other. Grrrr. I'm sure you've already experienced that, since you've gone through the process successfully.I remember when you posted some messages mentioning your verticle wrinkles at the front crotch. Can you let us know what you did to solve the problem?

          8. SewNancy | | #34

            This was a really difficult problem to solve for some reason. I have many fitting books and every article Threads has ever published on fitting pants and no one, but no one ever showed this problem. It looked like I had an inverted pleat pointing at my crotch. this is what I did and it worked. I pinned out the pleat, then I transferred it to the pattern. I drew what amounted to a pointed oval shaped dart on the pattern. I drew lines perpendicular to the grain line through the shape about 1/2" apart and through the nearest seams and then measured and tranferred that amount to the seam. This shaping extended above and below the crotch point. I connected the dots and added a sas to the reshaped seam line and that worked. I was really stymied and went back through every bit of fitting info that I had and in a simple diagram at the a book I never use, Nancy Zieman's Fitting Finesse. I don't like her alteration method, but her wrinkle chart and specific instructions for eliminating each type of wrinkle is worth the price of the book.
            She uses a different method for changing the pattern, but both work, hers is perhaps easier than what i did.

          9. Josefly | | #36

            Thank you for that explanation. I've used Zieman's book from the library before, but I think I'll buy it.I was curious about your solution, because your front vertical pleat sounded like the one I get in the back when I pull the back waist up to get rid of the bagginess in and below the seat. I think to correct this I have to try one of the vertical tucks in the back suggested by the fitting instructions in the pattern.

            Edited 2/9/2007 12:43 pm ET by Josefly

          10. sosewnem | | #37

            I am back posting the most recent photos of this work in progress.  This is what I've done so far:

            *Tried to create an "s" dart, but I suspect they are too low or maybe not shaped enough - or both.  They pucker a line right up the the BPt and don't shape in all that much under the bust.  I pressed one and not the other because I had to move it over and have had this blouse on & off so many times already - and I caught my husband in a free moment to take a couple of photos when he was passing through.

            *I took in the side seams to give it more shape.  That said, I think I probably should take it in abit more along the sides at the bust - up to the sleeve.  Yes??

            *I put shoulder pads in temporarily since I have not covered them yet.

            I have yet to put a zipper in one side seam to make it easier to get on and off. 

            (I have not hemmed it yet and the front is longer by about 1-1/2" to 1-3/4".)

            Typically I tuck my blouses in when wearing them.

            I'm not expecting perfection, but sure have been aiming for it to be better than before.   Am I heading in the right direction?

            Feedback appreciated.  Thanks!!


          11. Josefly | | #38

            It certainly looks to me like you're getting closer. The shoulders and upper chest look like they fit smoothly - did you alter that area, or just put in the shoulder pads? I know what you mean about being in and out of the blouse often. It's the same in my fitting efforts. Let's keep at it, shall we? I hope the other posters will be checking back in and offering their expertise.

          12. sosewnem | | #39

            Hi Josefly,

            Thank you for your feedback. 

            In a previous post, I mentioned that I took in one shoulder just a little because it was about 1/4" or so off compared to the other one.  Other than that, I didn't take anything in in the upper chest area.  (The neckline is finished in these new photos, however.)   I do think the shoulder pads do help and plan to cover them and put them in.

            I'm still concerned that my vertical darts aren't quite right.  I might "play" with them some more, but probably not tonight.  It's been a learning experience and hopefully I will have an easier time with my next project.

          13. HeartFire2 | | #40

            If I may, and I apologize if I'm being too critical here, but...
            The first thing I noticed in your picture is the lopsided shoulders, your right shoulder is much higher than your left, so it doesn't need as high a shoulder pad as the left. (if you are using this white fabric as your fashion fabric, cover the shoulder pads in a pale flesh color). Also, your right should length is too short, this may be a factor of the higher shoulder.

          14. Cathie | | #41

            Although this was all written in Feb., and I am just reading now, and didn't post earlier, it is really helpful. I have a 46 inch (D) bust, but narrow, sloping shoulders. In desperation, I am trying (again), but keeping it simpler. I am making a Quik Sew T, with lots of tweaking. The shoulders are too big, and slope wrong. I am so interested in all this, as I really want some pretty clothes, after I make some basic, shell-type shapes (almost slopers). The bias idea is good, and the draping fabric to fit self (explained well here). Also, I get weird pouches of fabric in pants too, and, was thinking of modified FED (fish eye darts). I am very curvey, and want some discreet shape to clothes. I am learning, and thanks for the great suggestions about darts and dart rotation. Also, very brave to post photos to be critiqued. (I don't have a digital camera). I ask Hubby, and pose obsessively in front of my mirrors, looking at the back/sides with a hand mirror. The cats are very amused.

          15. stitchintime | | #24

            Saw your pictures and the first thing that struck me was that the blouse shoulders are much too wide for you. Your shoulder ends just past the bony protrusion (if you start at your neck and go towards your arm), just before your arm starts. I know the blouse is supposed to be loose, but I think it would also look better if it was taken in a little at the sides as well, so that it goes in at the waist a little and out again at the hips. Then you can go back and play with the darts.

            Marcy Tilton has an article here on line about fitting a basic T-shirt (Not your ordinary T-shirt) Her instructions are for knits, but I think her suggestions about shaping the shirt and making it less boxy could apply to wovens in general and to your case in particular. I know that's changing the pattern but from watching too many "What not to wear" shows, I have learned that a boxy shirt is not too flattering on anybody.

            I suggest you get some muslin or cheap fabric that is like your fashion fabric and make the pattern again, with the changes that you want and using what ever suggestions here on the forum you find helpful. Once you get it fitting better, then go back and make the changes on this blouse. I do this when I get stuck. I stop what I'm doing and make 2-3 more samples of the same thing. By doing this I gain experience and when I go back to my original, I can see what went wrong and how to fix it.

            Edited 2/7/2007 10:25 am ET by stitchintime

          16. fabricholic | | #25

            Hi,I was looking at your pictures and to me, it looks too big. Do you think your pattern could be too big? I know it is easier to add on the hips and waist than to make the top part smaller. I might be all wrong, but that is what it looks like to me. I like the sleeve seam on the end of my shoulder, because it won't pull and annoy me, like it does when the sleeve is dropped off the shoulder.Marcy

          17. FitnessNut | | #26

            I agree with what the others have said, but have something else to add. I think that not only are the shoulders too long, but the garment is too wide across the upper back (and maybe a bit too wide across the upper front as well). Any changes here must be made before even looking at the sleeves.Whipping together a muslin to check the fit is essential when making all these pattern changes, as Nancy emphasized. You don't have to finish anything and can check that it is all okay before cutting into your fashion fabric.You are well on the way to a great fitting garment. Take the time to get it right now and you'll be able to make the pattern again and again (and use it as a base for other designs).

          18. Teaf5 | | #31

            Wow, impressive photos that really clarify a vexing fitting problem! Even if I can't learn how to post photos, from now on, I'll start taking them of myself so that I can evaluate fit much better.I agree with all the others about the pattern being too big. A very useful thread in this forum once explained about the "full bust, flat upper chest, narrow shoulders" figure, and suggested a much narrower, smaller, upper 1/3 of the bodice with a fuller, wider lower 2/3.Perhaps an archive search of "full bust narrow shoulders" would help you find that thread, which had fantastic fitting options, which included using a pattern about 2 sizes smaller for your upper 1/3, and then modifying the lower 2/3 to accommodate your bust. Following those instructions, I got a much more flattering fit without losing any weight!

          19. sosewnem | | #33

            I haven't taken time to reply to any of the recent posts since I posted the photos, but you are so right about them clarifying the fitting issues.  I copied and pasted all the comments into MS Word, along with the 4 photos and then used the highlighting tool in MS Word to highlight the issues and suggested fixes - used 2 different colors.  I printed that out and have made notes on the photos and next to them.

            So far, I have redone the side darts and took out the vertical darts.  I pulled out my box of Threads Magazines and found the one with the "S" dart article - June/July 2003.  (Of course, I found all kinds of other wonderful issues of Threads too - and took at least an hour to look through them.)  :-)

            I didn't admit this before, but I'd already serged the sleeve seams prior to taking the photos.  ("Reverend Mother, I have sinned"  -- Sound of Music)  Ah well, I did take in the right shoulder as it was a smidgen longer than the left.  I still may try shoulder pads to see if that might help it look better.  If I can get it fitting better elsewhere, I will have learned and can improve the shoulder & across the back areas on my next one. 

            One has to realize that this is a great improvement over any RTW that I can possibly try on.  To fit the bust properly, I'd have to try on a 1X or 2X (when I usually take an XL in a knit shirt) - and then it really, really wouldn't fit in the shoulders (which would be several inches off my shoulders) and would be baggy everywhere else - yup, and look just like a sack.

            Also, I had tried a trial garment prior to this white blouse and it was snug across the back when I would cross my arms or reach, so I probably added a little - and of course, the fabric is different.  I'm going to go back an look at the pattern pieces - I think I've got 3 or 4 fronts right now - all tweaked somehow.

            Needless to say, there will be more photos later.  Hopefully it will look improved.

            (and I've been off to reading the other forum you menitoned - found several.)



          20. SewNancy | | #35

            Glad you were happy with all of the suggestions. One other thing that I would like to suggest is that you sew with natural fabrics, not polyester, which is what i believe peachskin is? They sew and press so much better. Polyester silkies are the hardest to sew without puckering.
            I do sew with blends, put for blouses or tops poly is just too hot for my hot flashs to deal with!
            Figuring out how wide to make your shoulders is easy, find your shoulder joint and line up the seam with it. A blouse with set in sleeves will fit better and be more comfortable, with the sleeve in the right place. What you interpreted as wide back could also be from the shoulders not being in the right place.

        2. sosewnem | | #20

          Hi again,

          Well, I cut out the blouse and just began to sew it.  Gosh, what I didn't forsee is that 1/2" space between the two darts probably wasn't enough since that means I have to press one dart up and one down - otherwise they overlap.  Next time I'll try SewNancy's solution, though that is not what I wanted.  I hate making mistakes like this even though it teaches me to think ahead more for the next time.  One of the two darts is some how pulled - puckery all along the stitching as if I didn't line things up properly and I don't know what I did.

          Is it possible to take one out & move it down even though I've already cut the fabric and it won't have the pointy ends that meet up with the side seam after sewing?  (Though I goofed somehow on one of the side-by-side darts and it doesn't meet up as it should.)

          ...Redux surgery looks all the more appealing as time goes on and my frustration grows with not being able to buy RTW and messing up on new patterns in my attempt to make something that will  fit. 

          1. user-51823 | | #27

            more critique here:-)
            i agree the blouse just generally looks too oversized and baggy; it negates the effect of the darts.re pressing, any fabric that does not press flat should be avoided for patterns with numerous seams and darts. with a flatter seam, you could get away with as many darts as ou want.there is puckering around the armholes, but on the bodice. sometimes you get that on the sleeves because the need to be gathered or eased in, but the seam should always be smooth on the bodice side. try stay-stitching the armhold alone first, before inserting the sleeve.2 new suggestions: 1) i would go back to what i said before: pin 2 large cheap fabric panel (do you have an old sheet that needs replacing?) to your shoulder straps (wear just bra and slip) , right and left. start folding and smoothing the fabric to your body in the most flattering way. mark all foldlines, seam lines, etc and pin. mark your vertical side seam lines. remove, and compare with your pattern, and draft a new pattern based on your custom fit.
            2) have you ever thought of sewing on the bias? for an experiment, try a shirt try a pull-over style with no front or back opening (cut a center slit if needed just long enough to slip over your head). try cutting out a simple T-shirt shape from some cheap woven fabric (fold a favorite non-stretch shirt and lay it down on fold of fabric) folded on the bias. NOTE: because bias garments will hug the body tighter, give yourself more width. follow the line of original shirt for neckline, shoulder seams, and 1/2 way down armholes, BUT at that halfway point, pivot the shirt out from center. hard to say how far, but i would make first effort have approx 5-6" added at the level of natural waistline. i WISH i could scan a drawing to show you what i'm talking about! a picture is worth a thousand words!
            A bias- cut shirt could possibly solve some problems as long as you have enough ease at your bust line. give it a try anyway...

  3. NovaSkills | | #8

    People have given you several options, but I thought I'd chime in with my experience.

    Yes, Burda has more generous cup size than others, probably closer to a C cup.

    If you make a slight curvature to a deep dart, it works better. I start sewing them at a slightly steeper angle than the markings (or, heading more steeply to the folded edge) then about 1.5" from the tip, I flatten out the stitching path gradually, so that by the time I get to the actual tip mark, I'm stiching at almost a parallel path to the fold. This avoids pucker, yet creates the same amount of cupping/shaping.

    The technique is called S-darts, and was even written about in Threads. You don't have to make huge curves in order for this to work; minor adjustments to the stitching path work wonders.

    You might also consider rotating the dart into the armhole. I find it calls less attention to a full bust that way.

    As for linings, press the dart in the lining the opposite direction to that in the fashion fabric. And, yes, you can cut open the dart and remove some of the fabric. This is often done with heavier fabrics, anyway. Pink the edges so it shows less of a bump.

    There are patterns with princess seams that don't roll right across the bust, but are closer to the armhole and have a short, shallower dart added to provide the rest of the shaping. Maybe that will work for you.

    1. sosewnem | | #11


      Thanks for writing about "S" darts.  I know I must have that particular Threads magazine somewhere. 

      I made a shirt from a pattern that had a dart in the armhole, but I rotated the dart to the side seam because I wasn't sure how to enlarge the armhole dart because I wasn't sure how it would affect the armhole.  (It was probably more fear of messing up than anything.)

      I think my next princess seamed top will be one that has the seam from the shoulder to the waist - and I hope it will be easier to deal with than the one I made for my daughter's wedding, which ended up with quite a curve for the DDD! 

  4. HeartFire2 | | #9

    If you understand Fitnesssews instructions, French darts are just side darts that are angled in from the lower edge of the side seam( about half way between where you would put a side dart and the waist line). French darts end up on the bias so they drape better then darts on the straight grain ( darts that come out parallel to the waist from the bust point). The probnlem you are getting at the point with the side dart is because you are taking up so much fabric and its on the straight grain. Put it on the bias and it won't be so noticeable, and, splitting it into 2 darts can be very attractive, as well as the points will be less obvious.
    this web site will help you with dividing the dart and placing it on the French dart

    1. sosewnem | | #12


      Thank you for posting that very helpful link!  Very helpful illustrations and explainations.  I'll be looking at that further tomorrow and in the future.

      I posted the second photo again showing a divided dart, but I had put them horizontally - and will certainly consider making them more on the French angle.

      I will play with the muslin I'd already been working on to at least try a couple of different things. 

      I'm feeling much more comfortable about what to do at this point! 

      To all - thanks so much for posting replies to help me out!  I'm so glad this forum is here so we can all help each other out.  :-)

      1. user-51823 | | #13

        heartfire- what a great link!
        curvy figures need a little extra care to get a flattering fit; it makes sense that going from a flat piece of material to forming smoothly around a curve will take more than one easy dart.
        that vintage sewing site has excellent info. before i saw it i was going to say that since you are a good seamstress and prepared to do some creative pattern adjustments anyway, it would probably be helpful to you to experiment to find you most flattering dart placement by draping some inexpensive/scrap fabric on your torso. pin 2 panels to your shoulders and start smoothing, gathering, and pinching into darts to create the desired look, paying attention to the vertical front center and side seam lines, as they can be greatly effected by the darts and may need to be cut with extra width in specific places. draw your darts, foldlines, etc. When you take it off you may be surprised at how it differs from the layout of the original pattern, and will be a helpful guide to where to adjust it.

        1. sosewnem | | #14

          Hi msm-s,

          That is a good idea to do.  It certainly would be better than trying to do it on my dress form, "Lucy".  "Lucy" just doesn't have my shape and I haven't taken the time to put a boulder-holder on her and stuff it.  (My DH named it.)  It was of more use when I made the maid of honor's dress for my daughter's wedding last May.  (and yes, I still owe a photo of it to the Threads forum for all the helpful advice I received - it turned out wonderful!)

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