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Bust alteration
cup alteration in knits
Donna Isler

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Date: 9/25/03 6:31 PM

I am new to sewing knits and am about to cut out a tee shirt.  I always have to do a bust cup alteration on bodice fronts for other patterns using woven fabrics.  Right now this tee shirt pattern's completed bust circumference will be one inch larger than my bust measurement.  Will the bust cup area be large enough without a bust cup alteration? :confused:

Mel.J
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Mel.J
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Date: 9/25/03 7:19 PM

Maybe measure a t-shirt you like to see what the ease is on that, to tell you whether there is enough in this pattern for you to be comfortable.

On another thread someone suggested allowing a little bit of extra length at the front if you skip the bust adjustment, in case it rides up (needs the extra length to go over the front). You can always cut it off when you hem if you didn't need it.

When Gigi's cat wakes up she might have other suggestions...

:) Mel

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Mel (Melbourne, Australia)

Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/26/03 7:16 AM

Good morning!

Sewnewbie, whether or not you need to make a bust adjustment depends on a) how large your bust is and b) how fitted the tee is.  I like my tops pretty fitted so I make a full-bust adjustment all the time.  It might take you a couple of tries to get the amount just right since you can't tissue-fit patterns for knits but remember than anything you add will be an improvement.  Here's how:

Add a bust dart (I add about an inch) just as you would on a woven, this will add not only additional length but width as well.  Instead of adding a dart extension, simply curve out about 1/4"-3/8" at the side seam from just below the armscye tapering in a little below the dart.  You want a nice, smooth curve there.  Instead of stitching the dart, you will ease in this area.

Sew it seams
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Sew it seams
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Date: 9/26/03 8:45 AM

Gigi, What is your method of adding a bust dart to your t-shirt pattern? I would also need one inch as you do. Instead of me guessing where I should increase, I was wondering how you do yours? The easing at the side is how I did my last one, but I just kind of guessed where I needed it and didn't mark the pattern for next time. Thanks!

Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/26/03 9:20 AM

Debe, I mark the approximate location of the bust apex (I kind of just hold it up to me and make a mark).  Then I draw a line from the apex to the side seam, another from the apex to the bottom 3rd of the armscye and then lastly from the apex to the hem (keeping that line on-grain).

Now, cut from the hem up the line through the apex and TO but not THROUGH (am I shouting??) the seamline at the armscye.  Also clip from the cutting line at the armscye TO the seamline - this will give you a little hinge that will retain the length of the seam.

Lastly, cut from the side seam to the apex, also leaving a small hinge.  Now, open up the dart to the desired size, being sure to keep the vertical cut up the front straight as it spreads apart.  At this point, I pin everything into my cardboard table or a cardboard cutting mat.  Make a final horizontal cut in the center section of the garment so that you can drop this down to match up the extra length added in the side section as the dart is opened up.  Then fill in all the areas with tissue.

This method reshapes the armscye a little and adds needed width and length that a fuller bust needs.  

Hope all this is clear - I wish I could draw online!

Sew it seams
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Date: 9/26/03 3:47 PM

Gigi, Thank you so much! You described it so well, I could see it in my mind. You made me laugh when you asked if you were shouting because I was reading your post out loud and while trying to picture every step, I was shouting!! Anyway, I had a good laugh. Thanks. I can't wait to try this.
Debe :D

Gigi Louis
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Date: 9/26/03 4:50 PM

Teehee, Debe, I seem to have the habit of SHOUTING when I need to get an important point across!  I am trying to get used to using asterisks around the word instead.  Hope this works out for you.  ;)

Lorna C. Newman
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Lorna C. Newman
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Date: 10/13/03 11:54 AM

I am SOOOOOOO glad to have found this question already asked and answered.  I have to add 1 to 1 1/4" on all of my tops for my bust and was wondering how to do this on soem fitted knit tops I want to make for the gym.  I have not had success in tapering the sides from one size to another due to the large amount I need to add.  Thank you for this!  I will rescue the one top I have cut out already without enough extra by adding a contrast side panel.  Next time I will do the dart and ease!

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Like Miss Frizzle says "Take chances, make mistakes ..." isn't that what fitting is all about? I am happily taking chances and making mistakes as I fit muslin after muslin ...
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SouthernStitch
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Date: 10/14/03 10:06 AM

I am just starting to sew myself some knit tops and having dart troubles.  I find that although I am a C cup, I am needing a really really big dart on this one knit pattern.  My original dart comes in at a little over an inch.  But, after it is sewed, I find I need it much bigger, and then the dart 'sags' underneath when I re do it.  I followed the FFRP instructions on darting a cut on sleeve, and only added 1 inch total.  I cut the large before doing the bc adjustment, since the XL is right on with my 42" bust.   I am working with a rib knit, with so so recovery.  But, when I sewed this on a poly interlock, with much better recovery,  I found the same thing happened.  The fit is snugger on the poly, but the bust dart is doing much the same thing.  Do you think that my fabric just does not have enough recovery?  I'm sewing KS3036.

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Gigi Louis
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Date: 10/14/03 2:34 PM

Mary, is it possible that your fabric's weight is dragging down the dart?  Try serging off the dart after stitching to see if that helps.

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