Couture Lunacy

Exploring Fashion One Thread At A Time

A Full Bust ……….. and the forces of evil – or GRAVITY


English: A tape measure. Deutsch: Massband

English: A tape measure. Deutsch: Massband (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Heavy duty OLFA SL-1 cutter against a cutting mat.

Heavy duty OLFA SL-1 cutter against a cutting mat. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes. Boobs sag. Even if you’re young and your boobs are big. They fall down and look ridiculous. You can cover them up – you know hunch over – wear loose jackets over everything. Or buy a minimizer bra – oh the pain. Or maybe an underwire bra – even worse pain. But no matter what you do your boobs will sag whenever you take off these tortuous garments. And you will have to live with it.

If you make your own clothes and use patterns drafted by The Big Four – Vogue, Butterick, McCalls and Simplicity – you will be amazed to know that they base their patterns on women with a B cup. I don’t know any B cup women – only C or up or maybe an A cup or two. But oh yeah these companies make patterns for women with small boobs.

Right off you know the clothing will not fit. It will hike up over or under or around the “breast mound” and be seriously uncomfortable. You will tug at your shirt all day or even worse – never wear it again.

We have to rectify this situation. So now those expensive patterns need adjusting. First you have to buy pattern tracing paper or material. You could use plain old printer paper but you can’t trace through it. So on with the pattern tracing material. I found some I love at It’s like ah $2.15 a yard. This is cheap and shipping is free if you spend $35.00 or more. Or more.

You need a pencil, an Olfa cutter and tape. We are going to do a FBA otherwise known as a full bust adjustment. I always trace off my pattern before I do this – I am working on the pattern material copy – not my pattern. We do not want to mess with the pattern. You may lose 50 lbs. and need to make the smallest size – just copy it.

Now take a tape measure – flexible – and measure your upper chest just around and under the arms. Then measure the bust at the largest point. The difference in these measurements are what you will need to add to your pattern. An example of this is

  • 1″ or less: A cup
  • around 2″: B cup
  • around 3″: C cup
  • around 4″: D cup
  • around 5″: DD cup
  • Add to your pattern the following – for C cup – 1/2″, for D cup – 3/4″, for DD cup – 1″

First hold the pattern up to your chest trying desperately to get it all lined up right. Or use your dress form which is such a good investment you will wonder how you ever made anything without it. Put an X at the highest point of the breast mound.

Now you pick up your straight edge (which I forgot) you need too. You can always use your ruler you should have with your Olfa cutter. Draw a line from the bottom of the pattern (like we’re talking about a top here) to the X you marked. Draw another line perpendicular to the first toward the armscye (which is fancy schmanzy for armhole)  Slice the first line with the Olfa cutter. The line toward the armhole you will slice from the X toward the armscye leaving a tiny hinge of paper and not slicing through the armscye. Now spread the first long cut to add what you need for more room in the bust. The armscye cut will open also – and look like a dart shape. These two places give you the room you need so the top will fit and not pull or strain over your bust.

The dart that is created can be problematical. What if you have this lovely print that will not look good with a sewn dart? Or you are making a knit shirt and the dart would weigh it down too much? You rotate that bad boy out of there! You don’t have to make a dart although you could if you want one and it will look good with the pattern and fabric. You just need the room – so now you can rotate this anywhere to get it out of the dart area. Here’s a great link to rotating a bust dart –

You will find that you do this fitting adjustment without thinking after you’ve done it a couple of times. The fit of your shirts will make everyone stare in AWE!


Author: Jennifer

I came from a family who made things. My father was a carpenter with a passion for making furniture. My mother sewed, crocheted, cooked and made a home on a shoestring. My grandmothers both quilted. As a teenager, I found batik through a wonderful art teacher who allowed me the freedom to batik yards of fabric. I then cut them up into a pattern and wore the item I made. I was ecstatic. I painted in my teens and twenties and my parents gracefully supplied me with oil paints and turpentine. When I needed an easel, my father took me to the shop where he worked and made me one. When he found unused and unwanted canvas, he brought it home and stretched it for me with wood from his shop at home. I was indulged at every step of the way. I wasn't ever told that I could not do something or that I should not do something. I was given freedom to chose my path in life. A blessed life I have lived, for sure.

2 thoughts on “A Full Bust ……….. and the forces of evil – or GRAVITY

  1. I had NO idea! Thank you for this information! I have struggled with this forever! It is so eye opening.

    • I found out their dirty secret after wondering why nothing I made fit and I had to add and inch to all the underarm seams – which just made it baggy but it didn’t look good! After much futzing and steaming I finally figured it out – thanks to the internet! Happy Sewing!

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