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Deeply confused about sizing
todayistheday
todayistheday
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Date: 9/20/13 8:24 PM

I am both petite and full-busted. I measure 33 1/2" around the bust, 26" in the waist, and 36 1/2" in the hips. This means that technically my measurements almost exactly match the Big 4 size 12 (besides the being petite thing, easily solved however).

However, my high bust is 30", which means that the difference between my high bust and full bust is 3 1/2", which makes me a D cup in the garment world (correct?). Most Big 4 patterns are drafted for a B cup. Colette is drafted for a C cup, which is how I originally learned that I'm not a C cup.

Fit for Real People advises that full-busted women buy patterns based on their high bust measurements, and adjust to fit. The McCall's website suggests the same. This is utterly hopeless for me, as few patterns go smaller than 31 1/2" . I suppose, then, that I sew that size (an 8 in Big 4)? What about when patterns have separate cup sizes available? I am a D cup, yes, but since my upper bust size is not available, should I sew a C cup instead?

I have only sewn three or four actual patterns recently. More often, I just make rub-offs of existing garments so that I don't have to deal with it. I have quite a stack of patterns I want to sew, however. I always sew a muslin when working from a pattern and of course I don't expect anything to fit right out of the envelope, but I feel it is still worth knowing which size I should be tracing off to achieve the best possible initial fit.

Does anyone have experience/advice about this?

2mulie
2mulie  Friend of PR
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Date: 9/20/13 9:07 PM

You are a 6 in Mccalls, Vogue and Butterick if you go by high bust and then adjust for FBA as mentioned in Real Fitfor Real People.
What the how to measure section on MVB also says is to consider your bone structure...if you are fine boned pick a smaller size or the opposite.
After sewing for more than 40 years I finally got the DVD Full Busted? Sew Clothes that fit, another palmer/pletsch product and finally understand the buy your high bust size then adjust. It still requires a muslin for highly fitted bodices but you get it done with one! Well worth the $.

Debbie Cook
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In reply to todayistheday <<
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Date: 9/21/13 1:15 AM

Quote: todayistheday
What about when patterns have separate cup sizes available? I am a D cup, yes, but since my upper bust size is not available, should I sew a C cup instead?

Pick the main pattern size using the same method -- your high bust -- and then use the bust piece for your cup size. Most multi-cup sizes come with a D.

You may still need to experiment (tissue fit?) to pick the cup size. I'm a D or DD (depending on bra) and often use a C pattern piece in multi-cup patterns.

------
--
"I base my fashion sense on what doesn't itch." Gilda Radner
http://stitchesandseams.blogspot.com

Nancy Rhodes
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Date: 9/21/13 8:25 AM

And don't forget you might need to raise or lower the bust point (apex) to get the differing circumferences worked out with the FBA. But when you do, look out! you will have the sewing tiger by the tail

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... cleverly disguised as a responsible adult!

AnneM
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Date: 9/21/13 8:36 AM

You describe a slim, full-busted pear. You will be an expert at FBA's!

Just 2 additional comments adding to what the others have said:

You might want to try Sewaholic Patterns, which are drafted for pear figures and come in small sizes. I expect you would still have to do a FBA but it might be an easier starting point. (I have not tried these patterns so I am not speaking from experience - not that I would have any experience with a FBA anyway.)

You might already realize this, but you can grade a multi-sized pattern to a smaller size by using their lines as guides. One simplistic way of doing this is to sketch a few points of the left side on the smallest size (let's say it is an 8), and then slide the paper over so that your marks are over the next size up (10). Now trace the left side of the smaller size (8); when you slide the paper back you will have a size 6. Repeat on the other side. This isn't perfect but it gets you in the ballpark.

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

KathySews
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Date: 9/21/13 10:37 AM

You need that smaller size to get the shoulders, neck and back fit correct. FBAs get easier as you do them and yes, I get tired of doing muslins, but it is so important to avoid disappointment.

Nancy Zieman has an interesting method You Can Read Here

todayistheday
todayistheday
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Date: 9/21/13 11:33 AM

Thanks so much, everyone! I'm much less confused now! I've been pretty frustrated about this for several months now, but it's better knowing exactly what my issues stem from and why I can't just sew a 12 and have a well-fitting dress (or a 10, for that matter, or a Colette 0). It's a bit of a nuisance having to grade even the Big 4 patterns, but I think I'll have better luck with Sewaholic since they do go down to a 30 bust.

thaiyal
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Date: 9/21/13 2:55 PM

You mentioned you have taken rub-offs of RTW garments... Those must be from well fitting RTW.

You can place that rubbed off pattern on top of any sewing pattern and determine what your starting point for size will be. Just go with the one that fits shoulders and you cando an FBA. This method will also tell you how much of an FBA will you need for the specific sewing pattern.

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