Thursday, July 2, 2009

Problems with the FBA

I had hoped to have a completed dress to share by now.
I don't.
The past few days I have spent making many muslins. (Try saying that 3 times fast!) :P
I decided I wanted a princess seamed bodice, a wide scoop or slightly V-shaped neckline and little cap sleeves. A full skirt, either gored or gathered to the waist. Perhaps a ruffle at the hem.
Simple, right? Not.
I at first tried a pattern for a princess seamed open-front blouse I have. It looked okay when I put the muslin on, but it just sort of hung over my bust in a very unflattering way. When I tried to take in the seams below the bust to give it more shape, the hem edge curved up towards my center front.
I was stumped, but remembered someone posting something on the Sense and Sensibility board about Full Bust Adjustments. I had no idea what this was but decided to look into it. I found out that since I have a 5" difference between my high bust (taken just above the full point of the bust) and my full bust, I needed to make this adjustment to my pattern.
So I tried.
It gave me the needed length, but also made the armpit area way too baggy and there was too much excess fabric just above the bust.
I gave up with that pattern.

I tried drafting my own, but had the same problem.
I tried a simplicity dress pattern that had a basic bodice with one dart on each side of the bust, going up vertically from the waist, and one dart on each side of the back, going up vertically from the waist. This was promising. I still needed more room over the bust, so I added length. It worked!
I tried this muslin on again today and attempted to figure out how to convert it to a princess seam bodice. I found some tutorials online for making princess seam bodices out of darted ones but all the darted ones had two darts on each side of the front - one going up vertically from the waist and another one going horizontally or slightly diagonally from the side, up to the bust.
I finally pulled out my Vogue sewing book and right there was a fitting section with how to adjust patterns for a larger cup size! (Most patterns are drafted for a B cup) I tried this with the original basic pattern and it worked much better than my other attempts.
It still is not perfect. Here is the front. As you can see there are some funky wrinkles going on just to the side of the bust and under it. I don't know how to get these out. They were worse, but I pinned out a teeny bit more of the dart under the bust and it helped smooth things a bit. I don't know what to do about the pulling. I wonder if the weight of the skirt, when I attach it my "real" bodice, would pull it down enough to get out these wrinkles, or is it another fitting issue? Sigh. Oh, and yes, the neckline is wavy and the shoulders have a bit too much fabric in them, but I can easily take that out when I draw in the new neckline and position of the shoulders. It's the bust and below that has me discouraged right now.

Here is the side. I'll be so glad when I'm a C-size again. Hopefully. You can also catch a glimpse of my lovely stomach flesh.
I think my problem is that:

1) I am short waisted
2) My high bust is 35", bust is 40" and underbust is 31". From high bust to underbust is about 7" or so. So within a 7" space I have to go from 35" to 40" back to 31".
3) I am short waisted
4) I have about a 6" space from my underbust to my waistline. This does not leave much room to make a tidy looking midriff area.
I could just use this muslin as-is for my pattern. I could make the dress up in a darker, heavier sort of fabric and it probably would look okay. Not fabulous, but passably okay.
But I really want to make a nice fitting muslin so I can use this as the base for more clothing. I doubt I'll change size much until after Malachi weans and I'm not going to wait another 6+ months to make clothes for myself.
Any advice or helpful tips? :) I'm wondering if boning the darts at the waist would help. I'm wearing the muslin over my best supporting Medela nursing bra but it still gives a kind of floppy look. I guess fashion and breast feeding don't mix. But honestly this looks a lot better than my other bras do except for a super supportive rather hard-cupped flesh colored bra that gives a fantastic shape but is not convenient for nursing. It's definitely a High Fashion Bra.
I think I'll put my sewing up for now and work on rolling out that sugar cookie dough I made earlier today and making some, star-shaped, with red and white and blue icing for David. And the little boys. They have already tried picking at the dough in the refrigerator!



  1. Ahhhh. Short waisted and big busted. I feel your pain. Nothing ever fits right. When I was young, thin and childless, I could get away with tops and dresses in petites. But when I had kids, the girls grew alarmingly larger, and the petites didn't work anymore. Anything in normal clothing doesn't work, because the standard waistline lands squarely on my hips. While I much prefer the 'hourglass' figure I was born with, at this point, being cylindrical would be an aid in finding clothes that fit.

    Your muslin looks really good, I think. You'll look fabulous in anything I bet.

  2. I just wear my clothes lose fitting so I don’t have as much fitting problems! :-)

  3. Sarah Jane,
    You are so talented and it's interesting to see how you construct garments. Very educational.

    May you have a sparkling 4th of July!
    God Bless,

  4. Me too! It seems most ready made clothes land at my hips or just above, which makes my waist look huge because I have big hips. :(

    I think I worked out my problems last night. I ended up fitting the muslin over my very supportive bra and it looked much better. No more wrinkles! :) I'll probably bone the bodice juse in case I wear this without the ultra-supportive bra so it gives the right shape.

    Now to change it to a front opening instead of a back opening so Malachi can access his food source. . .

  5. Whew, I thought I was the only person out there that was short waisted! Okay, not really, but just about everyone I know is extra long waisted except me. I think your muslin looks good and I expect the attached skirt will help out with the wrinkles (plus, I was glad to see from your comment that a different bra helps). I can't wait to buy some fabric so I can make myself a Regency style dress...I've been assured the style would be comfortable for a summertime pregnant lady! Three cheers for being able to make clothes that fit YOU!!!

  6. Sarah, I feel for you. I was a C before I had Maria, and that presented enough fitting issues. Now I'm a DD and it seems nothing fits right. I know how awfully frustrating it is to try again and again and every time it doesn't fit right. I hope you work things out to your satisfaction. I haven't tried making something so fitted for myself since I had Maria, simply because I am afraid of the problems it's going to create. I admire you for trying this!

  7. I totally feel your pain in the short waisted department. Actually, it's the short everything department for me :-) I'm excited to see your finished dress. God Bless!



Thank you for your lovely thoughts!