Use this pattern adjustment tutorial to make a Fuller Bust Adjustment (FBA) to a top with a flat front, that has no dart or other shaping, such as the Breeze Shirt, Pixie Coat, or the Men's/Straight Fit Pathfinder Vest (this will create bust shaping for those who prefer a vest without princess seam shaping).
Note that this adjustment is useful for adjusting the full bust measurement of a pattern by one size (up to 2"/5cm). If you need to increase the full bust by more than one size, you will get a better result by adding a bust dart (see this tutorial for instructions).
Gather some basic materials to adjust the pattern pieces:
- Top Front pattern piece (we're using the Breeze Shirt)
- measuring tape
- scrap paper
To determine the size of adjustment necessary, measure your high bust and full bust.
The high bust measurement is taken around the body, with the tape snugged up to the underarms, and above the breasts.
The bust measurement is taken around the fullest part of the breasts.
Determine your base size based on the Upper Bust measurement in the garment size chart. If your full bust measurement is one size larger than your upper bust measurement, use the Fuller Bust Adjustment (FBA) described here.
Note: If your full bust is 2 or more sizes larger than your upper bust, refer to this tutorial instead: Fuller Bust Adjustment (FBA) for a Flat Front Garment: Adding a Dart.
For a difference of one size, we will do a 2" (5cm) FBA. We will divide the difference in half, since we'll be working on half of the Front pattern piece (because it is cut on the fold). So, in our example, we will add 1" (2.5cm) to the pattern piece.
Before you begin adjusting your pattern pieces, compare your bust apex point with the bust apex point marked on the pattern. Everyone is different, so this will ensure you are adding the extra ease to the right place for your body.
To take the bust apex measurement, place the end of the measuring tape at your high shoulder point (about where your neck starts to curve away from the shoulder) then measure down to the fullest part of your bust. Note that the bust apex is not necessarily the same as your nipple position.
Be aware that the bust apex position depends on whether or not you wear supportive underwear (bra). When taking your measurement, wear a similar under garment to what you will wear under the finished top.
To compare your measurement to the pattern, lay your measuring tape on the pattern with the end of the tape 3/8" (1cm) from the neck point of the front and mark on the pattern where your bust apex falls. Mark this on the pattern and use this point as a reference for making the pattern adjustment. Here's an example:
Adjust pattern piece
1. Mark a line parallel to the centre front edge, through the shoulder to the hem. Then, mark in the stitching line (3/8"/1cm) at the shoulder and at the point where the lengthen/shorten line meets the side seam.
2. Cut through the vertical line drawn in the previous step front the hem up to but not through the stitching line marked at the shoulder. This will leave a little bit of paper intact at the shoulder to use as a pivot point. Then, cut through the lengthen/shorten line from the centre up to but not through the stitching line on the side seam, forming another pivot point.
Slide a larger sheet of paper under the pattern piece so that you can tape it in place as adjustments are made. At this point, tape the neck section to the larger sheet of paper.
3. Pivot out the Side Front section at the shoulder point on the line until the gap between the pieces measures the amount you need to add in at the bust apex position (1"/2.5cm in our example). Tape the armhole section in place to secure it.
4. Pivot the lower section of the Side Front at the side seam/lengthen shorten line until the hem point touches the Front section. Tape in place.
If you also have a larger abdomen, you may choose not to pivot it all the way back to the front section, but leave a gap to add some room for the abdomen, like this:
5. Cut through the lengthen/shorten line on the Centre Front section and slide the lower section of the front down by half the amount you added into the width of the front (1/2"/1.3cm in our example). It helps to draw a line extending from the neck point along the centre front line before sliding this piece to keep the centre front line straight. Tape in place.
6. Blend the shoulder, side seam, hem and centre front edges so they are smooth. This alteration can add more curve to the front hem, so you may find it easier to finish the hem with a smaller seam allowance or add a facing for a wider hem.
Continue to cut and sew your garment as outlined in the tutorial. Enjoy wearing a top with a custom fit!
Read more Breeze Shirt pattern adjustment tutorials here: