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princess seams and high bust

ricstew | Posted in Fitting on

Hi all!

I have been lurking for a while and reading the posts but cant find an answer to my quandry……….so I am hoping someone will help me sort this out.

I need to make work shirts that are fitted at the front and loose at the back so I am trying am armhole princess seam version. I plan on making a yoke and pleated back.

But I have a very high small bust ( at least according to the pattern) I need to raise the bust 2″. Following the FFRP guidlines I have boxed it an moved it up the 2″. Now the bust line is higher than the seam line! I dont think this can work! or at least I dont know how to make it work! I dont know where to true it so my seams match……….

To make a plain front blouse I usually just fold the extra length out of the top section above the armhole and then lower the armhole……….

any advice would be apprectiated…………




  1. HeartFire2 | | #1

    I'm not sure I really understand what you are asking, do you usually have to raise the bust 2 inches?? are you a petite?

    If you are trying to raise the bust curve on the princess armscye, you will have to raise the level where it hits the armscye.
    and then add the bit you take off from the center front piece at the armscy and add it to the side front armscy

    What is FFRP guideline?

    Edited 2/3/2007 1:04 pm ET by HeartFire2

    1. ricstew | | #2

      Thanks Heartfire

      Yes I usually have to raise everything..........darts are usually not a problem but this has me bamboozeled. I have attatched a pic so you can see what I mean. Its a bit rough!I scanned it from the Fit for real people book ( FFRP)

       I think you mean I have to draw a new seam line? in order to get the raised pieces to match? I tried doing the fold it up but it distorted the armscye too much......

      I generally have to manage with what I can find patternwise. I cant buy patterns locally and cant justify the expense ordering from America..........sometimes its all a bit hit and miss!

      many thanks


      1. HeartFire2 | | #3

        Yes, you need to draw a new seamline. Draw it in where you want it to hit your bust and make a nice curve into the armscye ( You can eye ball it for a pleasinglooking curve and use a french curve ruler to make it sharp - this will hit higher up in the arm hole. Cut that part off the center front and attach the cut off part to the side front. You will have to true up the seams a little and remember that there should be about 1/4 inch of ease over the bust point area. - Locate the bust point on the center front, (on the new line) and measure about 3/4 inch above and below the point, these will be notches or match points, locate the bust point on the side front and measure about 7/8 inches above and below that point and mark. Now measure from the bottom up to the lower point on both pieces, this measurement should be equal, and above the points to the arm hole, these too should be equal lengths, and you will have 1/4 in ease over the bust point. If you are really flat chested, then you may not need 1/4 inch ease, you could reduce it to 1/8 inch, for larger busts you could have up to 1/2 inch ease, but distribute it over a full 2 inches.

        1. ricstew | | #4

          Many many thanks Heartfire! Now I get it!

          As soon as the room cools down ( it's gonna hit 44 deg c today ) I am back into it!



          1. HeartFire2 | | #5

            Where do you live?There is another book I really like on pattern alteration "Fitting & Pattern Alteration, A Multi-Method Approach" by Liechty, Pottberg & Rasband. It explains each problem and show the actual flat pattern piece with the alteration needed. Between that and FFRP (which I do have) its all pretty much covered, Though I do have to say this book didn't cover your issue of a princess armscye and high bust exactly. To quote the book - "On princess style garments, release the seamline across the bust area. Let out the seam allowance of the side panel at the bust level enough to relax the fabric and restore the ease. Take in the side panel below the bust level to remove the excess fabric. Blend smoothly into the original seamline above and below the bust area. Stitch the seam. (FWIW)Oh, and with the instructions I gave earlier, please remember to deal with the seam allowances - I don't know if the pattern you have has seam allowances on it, but you will have to add them at the new line you cut and take them away from where you are attaching the pieces (I hope I'm not insulting you with this bit of advice, I never know how much someone know about alterations and drafting)Judy

            Edited 2/4/2007 12:37 am ET by HeartFire2

          2. ricstew | | #6

            Hehehe you are not insulting me Judy! I agree its hard when you dont actually know the person!

            There are seam allowances and I allowed for them. The front is redone and pinned and its worked quite well! The bright pink patches of tissue are quite fetching! lol

            Now to cut it out and trial it first............before I cut into my good linen!

            I havent seen"Fitting & Pattern Alteration, A Multi-Method Approach" but shall keep my eye on Ebay......the only place I can shop.

            I live in a small country town out in the central west of NSW in Australia........I am the only person I know who sews. I actually make and sell heirloom dolls clothes and reborn dolls. All my dolly clothes are my own design and I have them down pretty pat.

            Now sewing for myself is a different story! I sewed when I was younger but then kids and stuff happened...............now I have more time ( sometimes anyway) and really need to make my own clothes. As you can tell I am a different shape to most ( all ) patterns.

            Whoo it didnt make 44deg.........only 43.6         too hot even for the aircon!

            Many thanks! Judy



          3. spicegirl | | #14

            You are getting lots of good advice, especially in where to shop for patterns - thank goodness for the Internet!  Now, I have a question for you!  This is way out in left field (sorta like the outback, I guess).  Have you ever seen "McLeod's Daughters" on TV?  We used to get it here (mid-west us), but no more.  I really looked forward to each weeks episode.  Thanks for your time.

          4. ricstew | | #15

            Well I hate to say this but its nothing like where I live! Darned if I go out and work cattle or sheep in a singlet and makeup! Besides being hot and sweaty.......cattle are dangerous and sheep are prickly! Thier wool is full of burs and prickles.......

            Tho I wouldn't mind if hubby looked that good in a shearers singlet............

            Australia is in the middle of a terrible drought...........its 43 (109.4) deg today........hot as Hades........brown and dusty.........terrible bush fires............and no sign of rain yet.........

            Sorry to burst your bubble but I have watched a couple of episodes and turned it off because it was so unrealistic...........and I imagine some of the things we watch from the States really don't depict things as they really are...........



          5. Cherrypops | | #16

            From one aussie to another. G'day ricstew!

            I may be on the city side of Sydney but I had to pass on my thoughts.

            I loved your true description of aussie farm life. I haven't personally worked on farms but my male friend has, cattle.

            I have watched the tv show mentioned, and noticed now they are concentrating more on the men..the macho look, unbuttoned or no shirts. And not one speck of dirt on them...My mate worked long hours and was sweaty, dirty, very non glam. He didn't have a bathtub in the middle of a field. It was a pigs trough.

            True life is not a soap opera. True life is tough. True life has pain. True life isn't over in one hour to come back next week and continue.

            I do feel for you and the workers out in our farms with tough times and the drought. My thoughts and prayers for rain and assistance are with you and all.

            Ok, back to the discussion on princess seams! Thanks for asking the initial question, I have also learnt a lot from reading the advice given. Thank you all.

            Edited 2/6/2007 1:28 am by Cherrypops

          6. ricstew | | #17

            G'day Cherrypops!

            Farming is hard but ( when it rains!) it is rewarding and I wouldnt live anywhere else!

            You made me giggle with " not a speck of dirt " comments! That was one of the things that turned us off the show! No one got dirty!. The jeans are new and tight( ok that may the green eyed monster).........but there is no way I couild bend to do anything in those jeans! Mine are baggy and stained!

            but back to princess lines! Yes I have learned heaps too! and I appreciate all the help!

            Hope fully (once the lounge room cools down ) i can finsh my muslin tonight! So far the front looks excellent!



          7. Cherrypops | | #18

            Thanks for your reply.

            I am glad you are proud of what you have accomplished so far.

            Enjoy and please post a photograph or  two of the finished shirts.

          8. spicegirl | | #19

            I agree, real life is nothing like what is shown on TV.  But reality is sometimes depressing and happy, nice looking people with insignificant problems along with the beautiful green vegetation sort of take you off to the land of enchantment.  I have always lived in the midwest but no longer live on a farm.  Believe me, life on small farms here is pretty much as you have it.  Some of the larger farms are being saved in land banks and trusts that guarantee they remain farms so developers cannot come in a build 50 homes to the acre (a little exaggeration here). Today it is snowing.   The temperatures have been below freezing for over a week - about fifteen degrees below what we normally have this time of year.

             Sorry to get off the subject of our favorite past time.    Happy sewing and keep cool.

  2. fabricholic | | #7


    I have a question for you. Is the postage from USA to Australia that expensive? I was wondering why you can't buy patterns from here. If it is, can you tell me how much in dollars? I am curious. I think it would be awful, if I couldn't buy patterns. It seems like there would be some way we could fix this problem. I take buying patterns for granted, I guess.


    1. ricstew | | #8

      Hi Marcy

      I suppose its all relevant to how much you want to spend.............any of the big four cost around the $15.00 mark here up tp $30 for the dearer Vogue ones.......I think there is a lady in town that sells quick sew but they have to ordered in. By time our dollars are exchanged ( 1$ us = about .75 Aud ) and postage is around the $15.00 US ( that's what I paid for one smocking pattern!) its makes it a fairly slow and expensive proposition! And Oz is a season behind as well I think!

      and then I have to alter the darn thing anyway! lol

      I am playing with the Lutterloh method and have had some success with it.......but needed to fiddle to work out how to change the princess lines...... thanks to everyone's help my muslin is ready to sew up tonight!



      1. jatman | | #9

        Sorry to sort of butt in (!) but I have noticed that http://www.sewingpatterns.com  offers international shipping at (USD) $4.95 for the first pattern and (USD) $1.25 for each additional pattern.  I don't know how long the shipping takes but it beats the higher priced shipping.  And this website very frequently has sales on patterns so if you watch (or sign up for their e-mails) you can get the patterns you want at 20% to 50% off.

        Hope this helps!



        1. ricstew | | #10

          wow! you are definitely not butting in! I didn't know about this site! I will have to check it out more thoroughly! I book marked it! they even have the Lutterloh!

          Many thanks


          1. jatman | | #11

            I'm so glad I could point you in the right direction!  Another thought just occurred to me, too.  I've signed up for e-mails from all of the pattern companies.  A couple of weeks ago Butterick had a special where all of their patterns (other than the out of print ones) were USD $5.99.  Shipping within the US was free but internationally it was just USD $7.00 for the first 4 patterns and went up from there.  Not exactly cheap shipping but with the discount on the patterns, I thought it was well worth it.  I've seen similar offers from Vogue, too.  So if you can catch a sale on the patterns it might make some of the shipping costs worthwhile.  I don't check their websites often enough so I'm glad to have signed up for their newsletters.  Happy shopping!



          2. fabricholic | | #12

            Thanks J.T. for helping her. I just think it is awful that she would have to spend so much for her patterns. I love Hancock because about once a month they have all their in stock Vogue patterns for 75% off. That is when I stock up. There is a limit of five and I am kind of glad they do have a limit, so that stops me from going crazy with it.Marcy

          3. jatman | | #13

            Wow!  75% off?  That is fantastic.  I'll have to check that out the next time I get anywhere near a Hancock's.  I may have to sign up for their e-mails, too, so that I know when their sale is!  Thanks!


          4. fabricholic | | #22

            Definitely, do that. My friend signed up for the mailer, but she hasn't gotten it, as of yet. Every holiday there are sales. I'm talking about small holidays, like Valentine's or President's Day. They usually have 40% off on one non-sale item each month on the mailer. They have 50% off notions on the big sales. I love Hancock's, even though they have too much home dec. items taking up space.Marcy

          5. jatman | | #24

            Hi Ricstew!  Just wanted to let you know that Vogue is having a USD $6.99 pattern.  Shipping internationally is USD $7.00 for 1 - 4 patterns.   Just thought I'd share that with you!  The sale is Sunday and Monday (their time!).


    2. Teaf5 | | #20

      Australians are paying more for shipping patterns than I ever pay for buying them--poor dears!  At least one of the major fabric store chains in California has patterns for 99c or 1.99 each every couple of weeks, and Vogue often has them for less than five dollars each.  Now you can see why we fabricholics are also pattern-holics!

      Seriously, though, it wouldn't be that hard for stateside friends to mail patterns to our sisters in the Southern Hemisphere, as patterns are lightweight and likely qualify as media rate....

      1. Cherrypops | | #21

        Teaf5, yes we down under are finding it difficult to purchase lovely patterns from the states due to high postage costs. Even on ebay, american sellers charge a high postage price.

        We see the new arrivals on the internet but being the opposite season we have to wait for them to be advertised and then become available in our stores.

        What a wonderful thought you had regarding mailing patterns to your sisters in sewing.

        Where is my pattern list, cheque book/paypal account, i'm willing to give this a go.

        cheers, cherryp :)

    3. Cherrypops | | #23

      Hi marcy,

      Rictstew is correct in her pricing of patterns here in Australia.

      The vogue pants patterns i wrote to you earlier about would normally cost me $25 each aud($42.50 each in South Africa). Luckily, I got them half price on sale.

      Simplicity charge(aud) between $5.75 for 'its so easy' up to $16.25 depending on pattern.

      McCall's charge (aud) between$7.00 to $18.50 again depending on the pattern.

      I always look for our sales, buy one get two free. Although they can be the discontinuation lines or end of season range,  i've noticed if i look closely enough I can adapt these to suit the new arrivals which i have seen on the major companies websites.

      Those who don't have the time to sit and browse books or internet, may unfortunately have to pay the higher cost to ship them over here or wait for the seasonal change.

      It is the same with purchasing fabric. With advice given by one of the ladies here and from Australia, I will take a new step and purchase my winter fabrics online from the states.

      Take care marcy, ill be in touch.


      1. Susannah | | #25

        Hi Cherrypops

        I have often bought patterns from the US.  Our only remaining outlet often seems to be out of stock, and ordering in takes weeks (and weeks, and weeks!).  So I have resorted to buying direct from the Vogue website.  Although the postage is high, if I am ordering three patterns, the cost usually works out about the same as buying locally (depending on the exchange rate at the time).  If buying more, then the cost per pattern goes down a bit.  Sometimes I put in an order for some patterns for me, and some for my neighbour who is also a keen dressmaker.  And the real joy is that the patterns arrive within  a week! 

        This is no substitute for splurging on the sporadic 1/2 price pattern sales, but is great if the pattern you need isn't in stock.  A further advantage is that there is often a bit more choice, and some patterns are available earlier this way.



        1. Cherrypops | | #26

          Thanks Susanah. Great to read you are happy buying online. I will consider this.



  3. Cherrypops | | #27

    Hi Jan,

    I'm curious to find out, how your work shirts turned out.


    1. ricstew | | #29

      Hi Cherry sorry! I only have one finished! and I wore it to work today.

      A little tight across the shoulder /back area. I think i need to cut the armskye a little higher and narrower....as a wearable muslin its not too bad! Very pleased with my collar and buttonholes! lol

      and it sure fits better than my proper work shirts!



      1. Cherrypops | | #31

        Hey Jan, don't apologise, we have all been busy with our 'offline' lives.

        Thanks for letting me know. Sounds like you did a great job, glad you are pleased! And you can adjust for the other shirts.


  4. spicegirl | | #28

    We haven't heard from you - were you successful in your alteration? 

    Have you had any luck in finding patterns on-line?  You might be interested in reading today's posting by Cherrypops in the Patterns section.

    Spring is beginning here in southwestern Ohio - hoping your weather has changed from drought to delightful!

    Edited 3/20/2007 11:26 am ET by spicegirl

    1. ricstew | | #30

      Hi Spice.........ive actually had a dreadful run with patterns! I think I will go back to my Lutterloh as I had more success with that even tho theres not much to choose from!

      The weather is still hot and we are still in drought :(



      1. spicegirl | | #32

        Happy to hear from you - unhappy about your dreadful weather. 

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