How to do a FBA or SBA for the Fable Dress

We are so pleased that the Fable Dress is the first of our patterns to incorporate our 0-32 size range, which includes a choice of sewing cup sizes (you can read more about the new system, and our reasons for adopting it, here).

Choosing a size based on cup sizes will give the best possible starting point for fitting, however since we are all different shapes and sizes, it may still be necessary to make adjustments for a custom fit.  

Here are step-by-step instructions for making an FBA (full bust adjustment) or SBA (small bust adjustment) to the princess seams on the bodice of the Fable Dress.  



Gather some basic materials to adjust the pattern pieces:
  • Side Front and Centre Front Fable Dress pattern pieces
  • measuring tape
  • scrap paper
  • tape
  • pen/pencil



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.  

Measuring High Bust and Full Bust for FBA SBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

Compare your body measurements to the size chart (click here to view, or it can be found on page 10 of the women's Fable Dress tutorial).  

For example:
  Size H Your body measurement
High Bust measurement 34" 34"
Full Bust measurement 36" 38"
In this example, the full bust is 2" larger than the size chart, so a FBA is needed.  
You will be working on half of the garment, so you will add half of the 2" difference = 1".  


Full Bust Adjustment

Adjust pattern pieces

1.  Begin by adjusting the Front Side pattern piece.  Cut a line parallel with the grainline.  Cut across above the notch. 

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

2.  Slide the cut out section over the amount determined above (eg. 1" in our example).  

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

3.  Blend/smooth the line from shoulder to bust point position on the outer edge.

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

4.  Mark in the stitch line 3/8" (1cm) from shoulder to notch and measure length of stitching line.  In our example, this length is 6" (15cm).  

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

5.  Cut across the Centre Front piece just above the notch.  Mark in the stitch line. 

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

6.  Slide the lower section of Centre Front piece down until the stitch line from shoulder to notch is the same as the side front (6" in our example).

Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

7.  Sew a muslin and to ensure that the bodice fits your body properly.  If your full bust is is 6" greater than the size chart for your size you may need to add some width into the centre front piece to account for bust point changes.  In this case, you may wish to add 2/3 of the difference into the side piece and 1/3 into the centre front. 

8.  There are two options for adjusting the skirt:

  • leave the skirt as-is and have a little less gather in the front
  • add the same amount to the foldline of the front skirt piece as was added to the side front
Full bust adjustment FBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

    Small Bust Adjustment

    The SBA works the same way as the FBA, but instead of sliding the pattern pieces out, the pattern pieces will be slid inwards to reduce volume in the curve. 

    Mark and cut the pattern pieces as described above in step 1.

    Slide the cut out section on the Side Front pattern piece in by the amount determined (based on your measurements).  Smooth and blend the line.

    Determine the new length of the stitch line to the notch, then slide the bottom portion of the Centre Front pattern piece up.  


    Small bust adjustment SBA for Fable Dress by Twig and Tale

    We hope that you feel fabulous wearing a custom-fit Fable Dress.

    Please feel free to join us at the Twig + Tale Facebook group where you can ask questions, look for inspiration, and of course share photos of your creations.

    Read more about the Fable Dress here:

    ~ Lovely cover image by Jay Dubb ~