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Full bust adjustment on T shirts.

mem | Posted in Fitting on

I just went and had a look at The Pamelas patterns site which is a link on an answer to a question to altering T shirts. There is a lovely T shirt pattern which includes a full bust adjustment and “essence of waist”. My question is : can one do a FBA and NOT have a dart somewhere?? Is it possible to rotate the dart into a verticle waist dart and the remove this width by shaping the side seams??  I hope someone will know as I have been wondering about this . Somehow a T shirt with darts seems all wrong .

Regards Marianne




  1. Teaf5 | | #1

    I always need a full-bust adjustment on all my tops. When I finally found a commercial t-shirt that fit properly, I made a pattern off it for future reference.

    Some of the differences I found in these better-fitting tshirts were: a narrower shoulder and smaller sleeve, a front piece that is wider than the back piece (instead of equal or the reverse), and a side seam that has a pronounced hour-glass curve to it (tapering in at least an inch on each side).

    Now I use that pattern to alter ill-fitting commercial tshirts and to make new ones of knits that I like.

    1. mem | | #2

      So when you talk about the front being wider than the back was that specifically across the chest or right through ?I guess that is how they accomodate the full bust adjustment? I dont have anything againnst darts its just that i would like to NOT use them in a T shirt . I guess that it is possible as long as the fabric is soft and very stretchy.I agree about the sleeve and armhole fit . I have raised the arm hole and narrowed the sleeve too. The ourglass fit is true too . I have also found that a shallower V neck is very flattering It does all the things a V neck does as well as widen across the upper shoulder s which then also makes the waist look a bit smaller . I also add in small shoulder pads which I stitch in the ditch .

      1. Teaf5 | | #3

        Yes, my best fitting tshirts are wider across the bust starting at the armscye and down about three inches, but not across the upper chest.  When laid flat, the front piece is overall wider than the back, and the side seams angle out quite dramatically right before they end at the underarm. 

        Wow, it's hard to describe this in words!  It's so much easier to work from a completed garment, but if we could find those fit perfectly, why would we sew? I just try on tshirts from all different companies in all different sizes till I find one that fits, then I use waxed paper to cut a pattern off it.  Recently, Mossimo, High Sierra, and Anne Klein have produced tshirts that fit well for a full bust.  They were fairly cheap, and the patterns I produced worked well on other knits and other tshirts with nice fabric that didn't fit as well as I'd like.

        1. mem | | #6

          Thanks for you answer TEaf I have been on holidays for a few weeks and havent been reading my email. From what you describe I have tweaked a pattern to pretty much do this and i guess that I have actually fixed this problem . Thank you again .

          1. Teaf5 | | #7

            I learn so much from other posters on this forum that I'm grateful when I can contribute something.  Let us know how your tshirts turn out!

          2. mem | | #8

            I will !!

    2. MaryinColorado | | #4

      I would love to know what pattern this is, please.  Mary

      1. Teaf5 | | #5

        It's not a commercial pattern.  I take a ready-to-wear tshirt that fits well--hard to find but worth the effort--and pin it flat to my ironing board or cork board.  Then, using more pins and lengths of waxed paper, I carefully trace the seamlines, folding the sleeve in half to trace the front half and then back half.  I go over the seamlines with permanent marker and measure 3/8" seam allowances and mark those.

        After I cut out the waxed paper pattern, I can use it to cut out new knit fabric or lay it onto other shirts to see where they differ and then either restitch or take apart and re-cut them to fit.  It sounds time consuming, but I can now re-fashion a tshirt in less than a half hour, and all my tshirts fit much better.

  2. SewNancy | | #9

    Marcy Tilton did an article on getting great fit in a t shirt some years ago and one of the things she did was add a 1/2" in length agross the bust and out about 1/4" on ea side in a curve at the bust. This is eased to match the back length.
    It works nicely.

    1. mem | | #10

      Thanks I am going to print out this thread as its so full of great advice.

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