I was given my first bra at 8….I needed it. I was already a B Cup. I was so young and ALREADY had a horrible relationship with my body because it didn’t make sense to me compared to the bodies of every other girl around me. Everybody else was still a little girl. I had to start covering these things growing on my chest that mostly just got in the way.
Jump forward 27 years filled with avoiding woven tops like the plague because There. Was. No. Way. they were ever going to fit unless they were just unbuttoned.
I am now a 34 H. I laugh in the face of store-bought woven blouses. Like, hysterical, funniest joke I ever heard, crying I’m laughing so hard sort of laugh because…..ain’t no way.
Then I began Sewing….yes….with a capital S because it’s THAT important.
My very first test was for a woven dress. I didn’t use an FBA. I had issues and while I adored the dress and it still hangs in my closet, it would fit better with an FBA.
When you are large busted, or have a bust above the sewing cup size used by the designer when drafting, your clothes will fit your bust just fine, BUT you might find you have extra room in your upper chest, at your waist, etc. Is it functional and wearable? Usually. But is this really your goal when making something for yourself? Okay….sometimes absolutely yes….but usually I am sewing for myself because I want a garment that fits me better than something store bought. I can buy a bigger size at the store.
Then the day came that I heard about the FBA. The holy grail of sewing woven for women with above a B sewing cup size. This is THE KEY to a well fitting woven garment for women with a larger bust.
Here are Petite Stitchery, we draft for a B sewing cup. This means there is a 2″ difference between your full bust and your high bust. (where to take these measurements is illustrated in every pattern). A C would be 3″, D 4″ E 5″ and on and on.
SO…if your full bust is 3″ or more larger than your high bust, you will want to complete an FBA on your patterns for optimal fit. I promise it doesn’t take a ton of time and once you do it a few times, you will be able to do it without reference. It literally took maybe five minutes to adjust the pattern I did for this tutorial (sneak at a pattern coming next week!) and photograph the adjustments. So fast!
Let’s get down to it, shall we?
Yaaaaaaaay for fitted woven tops that fit in your near future!
Cut from the base of up to the apex of the dart, then adjusting your angle cutting to the lower portion of the armscye, but not THROUGH the armscye.
Cut from the point of the dart to the apex of the dart, careful not to cut through to your first cut.
I have placed guide lines on this bodice piece for reference.
If you do cut through at any point (whoops!), go ahead and throw some tape over the cut. I like to do this even when I don’t accidentally cut through just to reinforce that tiny point because it’s about to get bent and moved.
Spread your piece open. I like to lay blank (the wrong sides of extra or whoopsie prints) paper underneath prior to doing this step just so I’m ready and don’t need to measure twice.
You will need to spread to a certain measurement. I spread two inches. My full bust is 4″ larger than my high bust. Since Petite Stitchery drafts for a sewing B cup (2″ difference), I need to increase the full bust to meet my 4″ difference, or sewing D cup. So, I spread 2 inches.
This 2″ is to be measured in the horizontal opening, not on the diagonal, just to be clear. In this photo, I hadn’t straightened my outside bodice portion yet.
Tape your new width in place just on the center bodice portion. We still need to reposition the dart and outside portion.
Reposition the dart an outside portion by bringing the outside bodice piece to meet the inside bodice piece at the hem.
You will then tape all of the openings down to the blank paper underneath.
Redraw the hem.
This is NOT an exact science.
Just gradually redraw the curve. A straight hem will be a tad different, but has the same basic steps for the hemline.
This will not work with a dart at the waist.
Redraw your dart.
You will want to extend out 1-2 cm from the original apex to begin your new dart apex, otherwise, your dart won’t extend far enough.
You will need to redraw the base of the dart as well.
don’t mind my squiqqly lines. I have zero steadiness 😛
just kidding! There are no more steps!
Step seven is YOU’RE DONE!
Now you get to go make all the new and well-fitting blouses for yourself!
Happy woven making!!!
Feel free to send questions our way too! We’re always here to help <3