Bust adjustment: simple techniques to adjust the bust for a perfect fit!
While some commercial and indie pattern companies will offer a variety of cup sizes, the majority do not. Often times, the bust dart is drafted to fit a B cup. We know that every woman is not a B cup!
If your bust is larger or smaller than a B cup, you’ll need to know how to adjust your pattern accordingly. Is there anything worse than cutting your fashion fabric and finding out that the garment is ill fitting?! YIKES – that’s why I stress always making a muslin (toile) before touching your fashion fabric.
There are a variety of bust adjustments you may need to make. For example, your bust may be higher or lower than the “standard” bust height. Alternatively, you may need to increase (or decrease) the size of the bust dart. Let’s take a closer look at these simple techniques to adjust the bust for a perfect fit!
*TIP* As a general rule, when you are slashing (or cutting) pattern pieces, always shoot for ¼” per cup size for anything over a B cup.
Raising or lowering the best dart
If you have a high or low bust you may want to adjust the bust point on your bodice pattern. The bust point is almost always going to be marked on the bodice pattern. If it’s not, find yourself a new pattern company to support!
The first thing you need to do is determine the approximate distance you need to move the bust point. I cannot tell you how far you may need to move the bust point. You’ll need to make a muslin of the pattern and perform your own fitting to determine this measurement.
- Determine the distance the bust point needs to move either up or down
- Mark the new bust point on your bodice pattern
- Redraw in the dart legs to connect the to the new bust point
- Make a muslin and test the fit
Increasing the bust dart (full bust adjustment)
It requires a little more work to increase the bust dart. While there are multiple ways to make this adjustment, this is just an alternative way of making a full bust adjustment. You can see another option in my post about adding a dart.
The first thing you’re going to need to do is slash your pattern. Make sure to slash through the bust point.
- *Slash your pattern as shown in the image below, directly through the bust point. In this case, slash TO but NOT through the shoulder and CF (center front) points
- Spread the pattern by ¼” per cup size
- Securely tape a new piece of paper (or tissue paper) under your pattern
- Redraw dart legs to the original length
- Make a muslin and test the fit
*The point in which you slash to but not through is determined by the position of the bust point.
To decrease the size of the dart, often called a small bust adjustment, simple do the same thing, but in reverse! Slash you pattern along the bust point and overlap the pattern by the required amount. The new dart should be smaller than the original patterns darts.
What to do if you have a larger bust
If you have a larger bust, odds are that you may need to perform multiple bust adjustments. In that case, I’d recommend performing one adjustment at a time. First, adjust the height. Then, adjust the size of the dart.
With that said, there is no one right way to make a bust adjustment, full or small. Remember, pattern making is an art, not a science!
My best advice – make a muslin (toile) first…and then make pattern adjustments…and make another muslin…and do that as many times as needed to perfect the fit of any pattern.
Don’t be afraid to experiment with your pattern adjustments my friend. The more you experiment, the easier and more intuitive your adjustments will become! Good luck and keep me posted!
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