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Fitting a full bust and proportional hips
thefunimalist
thefunimalist
Member since 3/10/13
Posts: 24
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Date: 3/10/13 6:49 PM

Hi everyone, this is my first post on Pattern Review. I'm a beginner at sewing clothes. I've successfully sewn a skirt and drawstring shorts, but I can't figure out how to fit tops for my body. My bust, waist, and hip measurements fit into the same size on most size charts, but I have a large bust and definitely need to make alterations. I'd greatly appreciate some fitting advice!

My measurements are below. I'm interested in making the Colette Sorbetto and Sewaholic Renfrew tops, so I'm putting my size in those patterns in parentheses.

Overbust: 35 (Colette 4, Sewaholic 8, going by full bust measurements)
Bust: 38.5 (Colette 10, Sewaholic 14; my bra size is 30GG, I have a very narrow back)
Waist: 30 (Colette 10, Sewaholic 10, my waist looks narrow from the front but my belly sticks out a lot viewed from the side)
Hip: 42 (Colette 12, Sewaholic 10)

I'm not sure what the best strategy is to fit these tops. I made a test version of the Sorbetto in a size 10 without any alterations. There was a lot of gaping at the armholes, so I took the excess out with a dart and then the shoulders fit ok, although they could be a bit narrower. Everything looked good from the front, but the size seams didn't hang straight because there was too much room in the back and not enough in the front at bust level. There was some excess length at the back too, creating a sort of bulge at the upper back.

A lot of tutorials about FBAs suggest starting with the size that matches your overbust measurement. I'm afraid if I did that, there wouldn't be enough room in the back at the hips. For the Sorbetto, could I do something like a size 8 with a slight FBA for the front, and a 8 on top graded to a 12 at the hem for the back?

The Renfrew pattern seems a bit easier. I think I could get away with a size 10 with an FBA using the method shown in this turorial and perhaps just narrowing the shoulders a bit, what do you folks think? Hopefully the knit fabric will be forgiving.

Thanks for reading--I would love to get some help with this from more experienced sewists! By the way, I was trying to think of a less judgmental-sounding way of describing my measurements in the post title than "proportional". What word would you use?

Calendria
Calendria
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Alaska USA
Member since 7/4/05
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Date: 3/10/13 7:50 PM

I would say from your measurements that you're probably a pear. good news! you have a defined waist! I am still learning to how perfect things for your body but I'd just put it out there to just say pear shaped or something like that.

Nancy K
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Nancy K
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In reply to thefunimalist <<
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Date: 3/10/13 7:59 PM

I mostly choose patterns by my upper bust measurement and make an fba, which you definitely need. You'll get a better fit in the bust and upper body and your side seams will hang properly. The other issue with a larger bust is that you not only need horizontal room in the front but you need more length to go over your larger than B cup size, which is what most patterns are drafted for. The Colette if my memory serves is drafted for a C cup. You need to adjust the hips to fit your hip measurement. That's a fairly easy alteration. Just blend out to the correct size since it's probably in the same grouping of sizes.

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www.nancyksews.blogspot.com

marymary86
marymary86
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Georgia USA
Member since 7/20/08
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Date: 3/10/13 9:19 PM

You are so smart to start with those two patterns. You either read a lot or someone is giving you some great advice!

Welcome to Pattern Review by the way.

eta: I'm learning how to fit a full bust too. Reading your OP reminded me that I printed out Sorbetto and I have some navy and white gingham. I'm going to add making a muslin out of the gingham to my list.
-- Edited on 3/10/13 9:20 PM --

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Mary


thefunimalist
thefunimalist
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Date: 3/10/13 10:10 PM

Thanks, Nancy, I'll give it a try.

Mary: I don't have much experience sewing, but I've been following a lot of sewing blogs and reading about pattern alterations for months. So I know sewing in theory but not in practice.Good luck with your muslin!

VivianZ
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VivianZ  Friend of PR
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In reply to thefunimalist <<
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Date: 3/11/13 10:34 AM

I sympathize with you. I have a 32DDD and my daughter is a 30DDD. Here is what I have found. TAKE your time and learn it right. There is no fast easy way to do this, but once you learn it, it becomes routine. My first book that I found useful was Nancy Zieman's Fitting Finesse . I took a class and that is the book the teacher used, but she spent so much time on others with bigger problems, that I just did it on my own. Her book has you rotate out at the shoulder, so the shoulder fits, and the increase is in the bust. The book also show how to do multiple adjustments to hips, and waist and bust in dresses.
Next class I took was with Sarah Veblen on bust alteration, here on PR. She sends every thing you need in a little kit, and if you do the classes and the homework, you get a good idea on basic bust adjustments. I also have an old Vogue basic sewing book that I refer to periodically.
Good luck.

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height 5'2" bust 36, waist 31, hip 39.
I have way too many yards to count, and I will never use them up, but I will die trying!

thefunimalist
thefunimalist
Member since 3/10/13
Posts: 24
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Date: 3/27/13 8:32 PM

Hmm. I tried making the Sorbetto in a size 4, going by my high bust measurement, with a 3.5" FBA and adding a bit to back hem width, and the fit is worse than when I just made a size 10 and added an armhole dart. I'll try to upload pictures in a few days; I'll need to find someone to help me take them first. But it seems that it will be easier to start with a size closer to my full bust measurements and alter it to fit. I think the main issue is excess back length--could somebody point me toward a resource that could help me fix that?

LauraTS
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LauraTS  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/28/13 6:29 PM

It could be that you're petite (relative to the pattern) which is why the smaller patterns work better for you in length. You can, of course, use the length of a size 4 and the width of a size 10 - that kind of approach is what I use when tracing magazine patterns, except in reverse, because I'm tall.

Also, almost everyone tells you to use your high bust and then do an FBA if you're busty. That's not wrong per se but you can also do it the other way around and do a narrow shoulder adjustment on a size that matches your full bust, or close. It does sound like you are pear-shaped and for the pear-shaped (i.e. a larger chest, ribcage and hips) that can be just as effective and sometimes faster and less frustrating. (I know that's not the standard advice but it's worked for me.)

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meleliza
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meleliza  Friend of PR
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Date: 3/31/13 7:36 PM

Grading out over the hips is really easy to do, so you should definatley start with more like a size 8 or 6 in sorbetto, make the fba and grade out for the hips. Sorbetto is a great one to practice with because it's so simple and it's free! The only issue is that the bust dart is already large and when you do the fba, it might get too large to be workable. So maybe the 8 and you could fudge it a little by just adding some straight width to the center front of the pattern. If its too big in the back waist, you could also add a center back seam and curve it inwards to take out some of the excess.

Sewaholic patterns are drafted for a pear shape with a tiny waist like yours. Perhaps they would work for you? In any case, as you move forward, seek out patterns that highlight your nice tiny waist!

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Melanie

Silk Challis
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Silk Challis
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In reply to thefunimalist <<
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Date: 4/1/13 6:50 AM

Quote: thefunimalist
my bra size is 30GG, I have a very narrow back

These measurements suggest that you need an FBA.

Quote: thefunimalist
A lot of tutorials about FBAs suggest starting with the size that matches your overbust measurement. I'm afraid if I did that, there wouldn't be enough room in the back at the hips. For the Sorbetto, could I do something like a size 8 with a slight FBA for the front, and a 8 on top graded to a 12 at the hem for the back?


Fit the top and bottom separately. It is easier to choose the pattern size that fits the shoulders and to adjust for the bust for the top and the size that fits the hips and to adjust for the waist for the bottom.

Try this way:
draw a line for the waist line and trace the pattern for the part above the waist line according to your chest measurement. Trace the part below the waist line according to your hip measurement. Do not worry if these do not match at the waist for now.

Separate the two parts at the waist line.

Perform the FBA for the top part. With your measurements, this is not going to be a slight adjustment.

Fit the bottom part according to your hips and waist measurements.

Put them together at the waist line and adjust to make the waist measurements match. I think you will end up with the top part being larger than the bottom at the waist line: go with the larger part and add a dart to compensate.


I think you will find helpful the book and the companion DVD "Full busted? Sew clothes that fit".
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