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Should I do a full bust alteration?

nmog | Posted in Fitting on

Hello all. I am hoping that someone who is more experienced can help me out.

I am a DD bust and have done the full bust alteration on a few different garments. However, even when I don’t, the bust dart is consistently where it should be on a standard pattern. Does this mean that an alteration isn’t needed? I’ve found the alteration quite helpful on princess seams, but I’m not sure it’s needed on the other garments. I understand about the need for extra length in the front of a garment, and I usually add the length when needed. Does any of that make sense?

Yet another thing I just can’t get my head around these days….

Thanks for the help!


  1. alotofstitches | | #1

    I'm not really sure what your question is.  You definitely need to do bust alterations if you're a DD.  Princess seaming will alter the best and is more flattering on a full bust.  I'd add to the side front at the front seam at bust point, lengthen the center front to cover the additional length.  Sometimes I have to add to the side front at the side seams too.  What about the bust fullness location--does the placement of the pattern's fullest part jive with your fullest part?

    1. nmog | | #2

      Is my confusion clear enough in my question? If I don't do a fba on a darted front, there is still usually enough fabric for the front to fit correctly in the side seams, and there is no pulling at the bust point or in between. However, a fba seems necessary on a princess front just to get a better fit. I guess I just don't understand why I would need to do a fba in one but not the other.I bet it's as clear as mud, now!
      Thank you for your help.

      1. alotofstitches | | #3

        Nicole, It sounds like you purchased the pattern size by your full bust measurement--it will cover you but is probably way too big in the back, neck, shoulders, etc.  Measure just above your breast (right under the arms) to get "high bust" and pattern size to fit that and better fit your bone structure/body size.  You then add fullness only where you need more room--your full bust.  You'd adjust the princess seam pattern on the center front piece, side front piece.  I find that princess seams provide a much better fit that darts especially over a full bust.

        1. nmog | | #6

          You know, as soon as I read your post I had a 'lightbulb moment'! Of course that's the problem! It's a good thing that most of my patterns are multi sized so I can use the high bust on the as well.
          Thank you for your post. I can't believe I missed that!! I think I should know better;)Nicole, the embarrassed

      2. Teaf5 | | #5

        I agree with alotofstitches that a truly good fit requires an fba on darted tops.  The only exception I can think of is a very loose-fitting top out of very drapey fabric, in which case I use open-ended waistline darts instead of full bust darts.

        My frustration with fba comes in princess-seamed garments; since you've mastered that, can you share some tips?  Mine always come out looking like a Mrs. Tin Man costume!

        1. SewNancy | | #9

          I think that even an undarted top should have an fba, just look at Palmer Pletsch book for how to. If you use the upper bust measurent so that the neck and shoulders etc, fit than you will use up the ease built in for that loose look.

          1. Teaf5 | | #10

            I agree; on loose-fitting tops, I do the adjustment at the front side seams only.

          2. thehat | | #11

            hi a thought about that loose fitting blouse that may be you would like to try a yoke and soft gathers  that will give soft look and flow  just a thought

  2. SewNancy | | #4

    Yes you need to do an fba. Everything will fit better. I am a D cup and I always choose size by upper bust measurment and do an fba. This removes the extra fabric in upper body especially at the armhole and if you ever want a sleeveless blouse or top to fit this is crucial.
    After doing it a few times it is not as daunting as it seems.

    1. nmog | | #7

      Yes, I always do blouses with sleeves and find bagginess under the arms. I'm sure the upper bust measuremetn will work much better.Nicole

  3. User avater
    krawz | | #8

    I wear a D cup & before I took a fitting class I was using a size 14 pattern AND doing a full bust alteration. Now I use a size 12 and do a full bust alteration. No more gaposis! I never thought I could use such a small pattern! I'd highly recommend the book Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer which is in a lot of libraries. Taking a fitting class is even better.

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