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Quick Fixes for Bust Fitting


Take a look at four alternatives to adding a bust dart if you need or want more room for improved bust fitting in your next garment.

These options require straightforward changes to a bodice pattern.

Add a yoke

Give a dart-free pattern fullness at the bust by creating a yoke and adding gathers below. Use scissors or a rotary cutter to cut straight across the bodice front pattern just above the bust. Slash and spread the lower portion by an inch or two, while keeping the upper portion, or yoke, the same. Add seam allowances. When assembling the garment, gather or pleat the wider lower bodice section into the upper yoke section.

Place gathers at center front

Try placing the gathers down the center front for a different look. Achieve this result by slashing and spreading the bodice pattern from the side seamline to the center front. Be sure to create a hinge at the side seamline to maintain the pattern’s side seam length. Tape the spread sections to pattern tissue. Then true the lines to create a new pattern.

2 ways to add invisible bust ease

Curve the side seam

Use a French curve or fashion ruler to draw a curved line on a bodice pattern extending out from the seamline just below the armscye seamline. Add a seam allowance. Ease this extra length into the side seam to create more room for a full bust. Once sewn, this extra length will be unnoticeable.

Include a fabric wedge

Get extra space around the torso by adding a small wedge to the bodice front, back, and sleeve seamlines. Be sure to add the same amount to each area. You can add up to 1-1/2 inches at each side seam and the sleeve seam. Cut new patterns with these changes. This…

Previous: Fitting Princess Seams for the Small Bust


  1. user-3925252 | | #1

    When adjusting the pattern for either a full or small bust the amount is also added or subtracted from the waist. What if you do not want to change the waist measurement? I an see adding a vertical dart for the full bust but what does one do for the small bust? Jaqui

  2. carolfresia | | #2

    Hi, Jaqui,
    This Insider article gives many more details for fitting a smaller bust. It also helps you diagnose the fitting problem you may have (overall too much ease in the front, or just too much dart intake), and explains the fitting solutions for both.


    Carol J. Fresia, Senior Technical Editor

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Basic Torso Adjustments
Bust Fitting
Sleeves and Shoulders
Construction Secrets: Collars, Yokes, Cuffs, Vents, Plackets
Make It Your Own