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Tips & Techniques > Using "Fitting Finesse" (bodice fitting)

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Posted by: Everyday Sewist

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Member since: 9/14/02
Reviews: 51 (tips: 3)
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Posted on: 11/9/04 9:00 AM
Review Rating: Helpful by 1 people   Very Helpful by 3 people   
This tip is mostly for beginners are others who are new to fitting. IMO the easiest fitting book to start with is Nancy Zieman's Fitting Finesse.

Here is a tip for using the Fitting Finesse book:

Nancy Zieman recommends choosing your pattern size using your "front width" (armpit-to-armpit) measurement. I've found this is a difficult measurement to take accurately.

An easier way is to measure your high bust (all around the body, around the back, right under the armpits and over the upper chest area--not the full bust). Take it snugly and close to the skin. Use this number to choose your pattern size. If you are between sizes, use the smaller size. For example, my full bust is 38 but my high bust is 35 so I choose size 12.

And don't forget, if you make a full bust adjustment you probably also will need to increase the dart. Remember to check that part of the book when making bodice adjustments.

(P.S. the advice to use "high bust" measurement for choosing pattern size is borrowed from the book Fit for Real People by Palmer & Alto.)

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AnneM said... (11/11/04 6:34 PM) Reply
I tend to agree that this is a good starting book for fitting. I found FFRP a bit overwhelming - better for some things, but to get started I like this one better.
D1Diva said... (11/11/04 1:19 PM) Reply
Just out of curiosity, I took both measurements. My front width measurement would be a size 8 (according to Nancy) and my high bust would be size 10. I usually use one or the other as a starting point, but I agree with Mini that measuring the pattern pieces helps too.
Everyday Sewist said... (11/11/04 8:39 AM) Reply
The reason I wrote the tip is because, when I first started sewing, I wasn't very good at measuring. I never quite knew where to start and stop, or how close to hold the tape measure to the skin for that front width measurement. I would get a different measurement every time I tried taking it. (I had the same problem with other measurements where you had to decide on a starting & stopping point, like crotch or shoulder.) For me, it was much easier to wrap the tape around me and see an actual "meeting line" where tape-meets-tape. Nanflan, your comment is interesting to me because using my high bust measurement results in a smaller garment than using my front width (which I have since learned to take accurately.) The key for me, as mentioned in the tip (and in the FFRP book), is to take the high bust measurment snugly and close to the skin. Anyway, maybe I should revise my tip to say try both and see which works best for you.
Mini said... (11/9/04 6:34 PM) Reply
I also like the Fitting Finesse book. The front width measurement has worked well for me, but it always helps to measure the pattern pieces too.
Steffie said... (11/9/04 4:59 PM) Reply
I recently read that the number to use is high-bust plus 2 inches (for the big 4 pattern companies) becase the assumption is a B-cup.
NancyDaQ said... (11/9/04 2:30 PM) Reply
To each her own. I find the front width measurement really simple to take and more accurate for me. I still end up with too large of a garment with the high bust measurement.
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