Facebook Email Pinterest Twitter X Instagram Tiktok Icon YouTube Icon Headphones Icon Favorite Navigation Search Icon Forum Search Icon Main Search Icon Close Icon Video Play Icon Indicator Arrow Icon Close Icon Hamburger/Search Icon Plus Icon Arrow Down Icon Video Guide Icon Article Guide Icon Modal Close Icon Guide Search Icon

Conversational Threads

Full bust fitting questions

Lilith1951 | Posted in Fitting on

I am very unfamiliar with using muslins, but I have found that I need to with fitting my daughter, as she has a full bust, but wears a size 6 in RTW. I bought a size 14 pattern for her new vintage halter dress (picture Marilyn Monroe’s white one), going by the high bust measurement and the waist size, as it is very fitted there, too.

I’ve basted the muslin and there was gapping at the upper side of the armhole (actually, the side of the halter piece). I pulled in a dart there and pinned it. It is about a 45 degree angle. It now looks like perfect fit on the muslin. What is the best way to translate this before I cut out the fashion fabric? If I cut the fabric in the flat shape that this now represents, will that work? OR do I need to mark the dart and cut out the fabric and do the actual dart in IT? It’s a pale background with an irregular print that I don’t think would be noticeable with a dart sewn in it. I have it pinned so that it still makes a nice smooth line under the arm and it is on grain.

Any help/suggestions would be appreciated. She is so looking forward to this dress and I want it to be really wearable.


  1. User avater
    ShineOn | | #1

    If the muslin fits well and it sounds as if the dart won't be too obvious I would sew with the dart you added. You may search and fuss a lot and not get a better result in the end.  With this type of dress be sure to stabilize the edges of the bodice pieces as it is amazing how much they can stretch and distort the fit. Did you do this on the muslin ? Sometimes a line of stiching is not enough to prevent the edge from growing. Depending on the fabric you might consider adding twill tape or a firm 1/8" ribbon, it will be inside so it won't show. Good luck It sounds like it will be a great dress.

    Happy Sewing.

    1. Lilith1951 | | #12

      ShineOn: I forgot to respond to your comments about stabilizing the edge. I did do staystitching on the edges of the muslin in the places that the pattern suggested--which was only the upper edge of the midriff front pieces. I will certainly take your suggestions about twill tape or ribbon on the halter bodice itself, but are you suggesting the outer edges of the halter piece that extends under the arm? Any place else? I also noted your suggestions about just taking the dart on the actual dress. Since I got two other suggestions about how to re-work the pattern piece, I decided to try the easiest one of those first. If it works, it's pretty much the same in the end as just taking the dart, but would look better than having the dart. I'm in no hurry; it's too cool here yet for a halter dress anyway :-)To all: I have reworked the pattern, re-cut the muslin and re-sewed the bodice back together. Just waiting for daughter to arrive to try it on.

      1. jjgg | | #13

        Lillith, To stabilize the bias edges on the top and keep them from stretching, don't use twill tape, it's too heavy. (I don't know what fashion fabric you are using) but, use the selvedge from the lining fabric you are using. It's the right color and the right weight. Cut the selvedge off the lining fabric leaving about 1/8 to 1/4 inch of 'fabric' on it. place the woven edge of the selvedge along the seamline IN the seam allowance, hand sew in place right near the edge of the selvedge with a tiny running stitch. (this is all within the seam allowance) You can do a few backstitches here and there to tack it so it wont' pull. After the lining is attached, you will understitch the lining and this selvedge will get sewn in with the understitching. Personally, I would likely do the understitching by hand, but that's a whole nother lesson.

        1. Lilith1951 | | #14

          Thanks Jigg, but it's a self lining of the fashion fabric. It's a rather slippery and fairly heavy woven poly blend with a satiny finish on the right side. It is slippery as heck and I can't see myself using the selvedge and hand sewing a narrow strip of it. I think I'd be cussing so loud you would hear it wherever you live! Some hand sewing will definitely be done in some areas, but I think I'd be totally frustrated doing it with a tiny narrow strip on that area, plus, I think all that extra handling would make the area stretch more before I even got the strip sewn in.The fabric is quite opaque and I think if I can find a very narrow twill tape, I'll try it. It isn't going to show through and it really isn't too heavy for this fabric.Thanks for your help.

      2. User avater
        ShineOn | | #15

        You may want to consider stay stitching the entire edge of the  piece. It shouldn't take much longer once you are already sewing on that piece and there is potential for stretch along the entire edge.  Yes, I would also stay stitch the outer edge of the halter as well, it is only a slight bias, but enough to cause a problem . I am glad you found an easier way to remedy the fitting problem. I am sure it will come out beautifully.

        Have fun.

        Edited 4/6/2009 7:53 pm ET by ShineOn

  2. jjgg | | #2

    Take apart the muslin, take the part for the front piece you need the 'dart' in. slash right through the middle of the dart all the way to the other side of the pattern piece. Now, lap the edges of the dart leg over each other. You are done. New pattern piece, the side edge is shorter then previous.

    Essentially, you are making a 'dart' all the way across the pattern piece.

    Hope this makes sense. If not let me know and I will try to explain it better

    Edited 4/2/2009 7:54 pm ET by jjgg

    1. Lilith1951 | | #3

      Sorry, I'm not getting that "all the way across the pattern piece" because with this halter top that would actually shorten the neck, too. I will try to post a photo of the pattern piece, so you can see what I mean.

      1. jjgg | | #6

        Can you post a picture?

        1. Lilith1951 | | #7

          Yes, will try to get a photo this afternoon.

        2. Lilith1951 | | #8

          I've posted a photo of the muslin with the darts pinned and the actual pattern piece. I appreciate all the help.

          1. jjgg | | #9

            ok, this will be so easy you won't believe it.On the paper pattern, mark in the dart you have pinned in the muslin. To do this, take a pen and mark the muslin where the pins are before removing them. After you do this, (make sure you mark on both sides of the pins) take out the pins, and 'true up' the dart - make it straight, take a ruler and connect the lines, even if it's not precisely where the pin marks were. Now, take your ruler and draw a line through the center of the dart to the tip and keep going to the opposite end of the pattern piece. Slash the paper on that line all the way through and then lap the legs of the darts over each other,I've uploaded a copy of your pattern piece, the black legs are the dart you pinned out, the blue line is the slash through the center, and the red lines are how it will be when done, yes, you are taking out more fabric then was darted, but it should be OK. You can make the dart a little narrower if needed, but this will shorten the side seam where she needs it shorter and take out the excess fabric.After you mark your muslin, you can either lay the paper on top of it to find the exact placement of the dart on the paper or just measure the muslin and then measure the paper to put it in the right place.

            Edited 4/3/2009 12:38 pm ET by jjgg

          2. Lilith1951 | | #10

            Fantastic, thanks so much for the diagram. Sometimes you just need a picture! I'll give it a shot and let you guys know the results. I am so happy to have people to ask, you just have no idea.

          3. jjgg | | #11

            I'm happy to help

          4. Ocrafty1 | | #16

            OK, Jigg....I'm totally dense tonight...so please help me understand why you altered the pattern this way. I know you really know your stuff and it makes absolutely no sense to me.  I understand trying to get rid of the gap...sort of like with a vest...

            The girls bust is large, so she needs some more shaping in the bust area... darting is, of course, the answer. Mom didn't say what daughter's cup size is, so I'm wondering if there is a need/problem with adjusting for the cup size as well.  I have the same problem with halter style patterns and my 32DD's. I've pretty much just given up on them.  Why would you put a dart clear across the whole bust?  It seems to me that this is going to flatten out the front...or push the bust toward the center, which would allow her to 'spill out.' And it would be pretty obvious in a plain fabric. Why wouldn't you move the bust dart(s) to under the bust, which would make more of a con(e)ish shape?  Is it because there is so little space between the bust point and the bottom of the pattern piece?  Please explain in detail.  I've read and tried lots of the suggestions both from here and in Threads, and still have problems fitting myself with patterns like this. I have a major support issue as large busts are quite heavy...and of course, at 53, gravity has taken over.  But I also have younger clients that will be needing this alteration...so I really need to get my head wrapped around this one.


          5. jjgg | | #17

            I will try to answer your questions, I have 8 people comming for diner tonight, so if I'm brief, let me know and I'll try again another day.>>>Why would you put a dart clear across the whole bust? <<< there is no dart across the whole bust, this is folded out of the pattern. This length along the side seam was too long so we shortened it, Theoretically yes, you could rotate that dart down into the gathering at the underbust and that would work too, but it would also bring the side seam lower onto the underbust (does that make sense?) If this makes the pattern piece too small so you are spilling out of the cup, then you need to add fabric around the outside , perhaps all the way around (see lines in yellow - this was done very sloppily, the lines would be smooth ) When in the muslin, you would see if you needed this to be filled in and could guestimate the amount to add to the sides of the pattern pieceIf you fold the pattern piece on the red lines to take out the dart, you still have a flat pattern piece to cut the pattern out.I"ve mentioned this before, think of a ping pong ball (A cup) and a basket ball, (DD Cup) you will need longer and wider fabric to get around the DD cup, also a deeper dart to curve it.

          6. MDNB | | #18

            Jjgg wow you are a great sourse of fitting info thanks.  Does anyone know of pattern companies that know women have different cup sizes.  there is so much difference in a 36" bust A cup and a 36" bust D cup.  why don't they make the lines for our bodies.

          7. jjgg | | #19

            There is an independent pattern co, she has different cup sizes on her pattern.Silhouette patterns by Peggy Sagershttp://www.silhouettepatterns.com/

          8. MDNB | | #20

            These Silhouette patterns look interesting.  Have you tried them?  What did you think of them?   I find it interesting that the patterns for skirts and pants include "exclusive B,C,& D cip sizing.  tee hee.  It makes me wonder where there bust line is?  tee hee. 

  3. Teaf5 | | #4

    On a halter, a dart coming in from the side may disrupt the line and the shape of the top.  However, you can rotate the dart so that it's coming up under the bodice to gain the fullness you need and get rid of that excess along the side.

    Most fitting books and many websites explain "adding a dart," or "moving a dart" but it's basically just slashing the armhole dart you've created on the tissue (mark it first!) all the way up to the bust point, and then slashing another line up from the bottom of the bodice up to the bust point.  Hold the now-separated outer piece and the main bodice tissue at the bust point, and rotate the outer piece up to close the armhole dart; this will open up a dart directly below the bust point.

    In this way, you have taken the excess caused by the full bust out of the side, and added the necessary fullness under the bust.  If you just folded out the dart on the tissue, the fabric would buckle and strain elsewhere to account for the fullness of the bust.  If the underbust dart is really large, you might want to use gathers or two smaller darts instead.  Adding the fullness under the bust helps the above-bust area fit snugly and attractively.

    Hope that helps; be sure to tell us how it turns out!


    1. Lilith1951 | | #5

      Thanks, I think this makes sense. I don't think a large dart would be a problem under the bust, because it's gathered there anyway. I will try this and see how it goes. Will let you guys know. Thanks for the help. I guess if I'm going to keep sewing for her, I'm going to have to buy a really good book on fitting. I'll check back in the older posts here; I know there are good suggestions already here. I've seen them but didn't need them at the time.You guys are great!

This post is archived.

Threads Insider

Get instant access to hundreds of videos, tutorials, projects, and more.

Start Your Free Trial

Already an Insider? Log in

Conversational Threads

Recent Posts and Replies

  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |
  • |

Threads Insider Exclusives

View All
View All