Thursday, 30 January 2014

The Stella sew-along #2 - How to do an FBA & SBA by Heather...



Welcome back to the second post for the Stella sew-along, peoples! I hope you have gotten your shit together with finding your size, tracing the pattern and cutting out the fabric and are ready to get stuck into some juicy stuff with your Stella blouse? In case you need a refresher or are just dropping in today on the sew-along you can find the first blog post here.

Today's post will be for those who have discovered that they need to make some fitting adjustments to the pattern.

You may remember that i mentioned that Heather from Handmade by Heather B will be helping me out around here on the blog. And here she is today with an excellent post on how to complete an FBA & SBA on the Stella blouse as well as making some adjustments to the bust darts. Hopefully this will help those of you having some fitting woes.

So take it away Heather!


Hello Stella Sew-a-long Ladies, today we're going to be talking about bust adjustments. I'm going to take you step by step through a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA), a Small Bust Adjustment (SBA) and how to fix darts for low bust apexes.  Bust adjustments seem a little complicated at first, but trust me after a little practice you'll be able to knock one out direction free. Or with just a glace at directions, I won't tell.

But before we start hacking up the Stella pattern, let's talk about how to calculate your personal bust adjustment. My go to method for determining this is to do a little tissue fitting over a T-shirt. You might want to mark your CF on the T-shirt with a pin. I just eyeball what seems to be the center point between my breasts.

- For a full bust adjustment, take your front bodice pattern piece and lay it on the front of your body.  You'll want to position the pattern so that the side seam is over top the T-shirt side seam.  Now look to see how far away the CF of the pattern is from your real CF. Measure this amount and record it as your Full bust adjustment. You will be adding this amount to the pattern.

- For a small bust adjustment the tissue fitting principle is the same except the CF of the pattern will over lap your natural center front. Measure the distance between the pattern CF and your CF and record it as your Small bust adjustment. You will be subtracting this amount from the pattern.

Now that you know how much you need to add or subtract to the pattern, let's get out our tools and start cutting.
-Items needed: A traced copy of the front bodice, extra paper, scissors, tape, ruler, flexible tape measure, pen/pencil.

Crib notes - Through these tutorials I'm going to use the term "mark the center of the dart."  This means to measure the dart at the base and mark half the total measurement.  Then use this mark and the dart tip to draw a line through the dart. This line is the center of your dart.






 Bust Apex - The fullest part of your breast, usually at the nipple.


Full Bust Adjustment
1. To start take your front bodice pattern piece and draw in the 5/8" seam allowance at the armhole. You will need this marked to do a proper adjustment Then mark your pattern with the following lines.
A - Mark the center of the waist dart and extend the line up to the side seam dart level.
B - Mark the center of the side seam dart and extend the line to meet the waist dart line.
C - To find the starting point of line C you need to calculate 1/3 of the front armhole measurement. Measure the armhole on the seam allowance line with a flexible tape measure.  Take the measurement and divide by 3. If you get a crazy number like 2.8333 it's OK to fudge the mark a bit and mark the armhole at 2 7/8". Using your new armhole mark draw a line from there to meet lines A and B.









































2. Start cutting line A from the bottom of the pattern.  Cut up to where line A joins with line C.  Then cut line C up to the armhole seam allowance.  You want to leave a little "hinge" here so cut the seam allowance from the outside just a bit.























3. Cut line B from the side seam edge right up to where it meets lines A and C. Again don't cut all the way through but leave a small hinge.




















4. Very gently pull the right side of the pattern down and out. Then put a piece of scrap paper behind the gap you've just created. Tape the paper to the left side of the pattern. (Don't use too much tape cause we'll be moving this side later.)

5. Using the left side of line A as a starting point, measure the width of your full bust adjustment and make a parallel mark.  I'm adding 3/4" in my example, so my new guide line is 3/4" away from the cut edge.







































6. Now take the right side of your pattern and move it till the the right side of line A is on top of the new guide line. Also make sure that a side seam dart area is laying as flat as possible.  Tape the right side of the pattern in it's new position.  You'll see that the side seam dart is larger and that the right half of the pattern is lower.







































7. Add scraps of paper to the side seam dart and line C area to fill in any gaps.

8. Now it's time to fix all our darts. We'll begin with the waist dart.  Normally with a FBA you'd add paper to the bottom of the pattern to make the hem level. On Stella I'm going to draw in a cut line above the waist dart and move the left side down. That way we don't have to redraw the whole dart.
To start draw a horizontal line about 1/2" above the dart tip, then cut that line.  Pull up any tape you had anchoring this piece and move the left side down till it's flush with the right side.  Remember to keep the left side the same width away from the right side. You don't want to undo your FBA. To finish fill in the gap you just created with some scrap paper.








































9. Time to redraw the dart tip for the waist dart.  You should still be able to see the location of the original dart tip on either side of your added FBA width. Put your ruler in that location and mark the center of the FBA width. That will be your new dart tip.  Draw in the new top of the dart by connecting the new tip mark with the sides of the dart.
























10. Next up is to fix the side seam dart.  Mark the center of the dart and draw your guideline.  Right now the dart goes all the way up to your bust apex, we want to make it shorter.  The general rule of thumb is that darts should be at least 1" away from the dart apex, they can be shorter if you prefer.  To mark the new dart tip, measure back from the bust apex along the center dart line.  In my example I'm marking 1 1/2" away from the apex.  This mark will be your new dart tip.  Draw in the new dart legs at their new wider width.






11. Final step is to fix the dart seam allowance, which must be changed to reflect it's larger size. Make sure you have some extra paper taped in this area to start. Fold the dart closed as if you were sewing it and pin it shut. Take your scissors and cut right along the side seam edge, removing all the paper that overhangs.  When you unpin the dart and open it up the dart allowance will be correct.





Your Full Bust Adjustment is now finished. Go make up a muslin to check the fit, you'll thank me later.

Small Bust Adjustment
1. You'll need to start in the same manner as the Full Bust Adjustment drawing in the A, B, and C lines on your front bodice pattern.
A - Mark the center of the waist dart and extend the line up to the side seam dart level.
B - Mark the center of the side seam dart and extend the line to meet the waist dart line.
C - To find the starting point of line C you need to calculate 1/3 of the front armhole measurement. Measure the armhole on the seam allowance line with a flexible tape measure.  Take the measurement and divide by 3. If you get a crazy number like 2.8333 it's OK to fudge the mark a bit and mark the armhole at 2 7/8". Using your new armhole mark draw a line from there to meet lines A and B.







































2. Since you will be overlapping your pattern during the SBA, now is the time to draw in your vertical guide line. I'd do this in a different ink color so you don't accidentally cut into it the next step. Place your ruler on line A and mark the amount of your Small Bust adjustment to the left of the line A. I'll be using 3/4" for this example.


3. Start cutting line A from the bottom of the pattern.  Cut up to where line A joins with line C.  Then cut line C up to the armhole seam allowance.  You want to leave a little "hinge" here so cut the seam allowance from the outside just a bit.




4. Cut line B from the side seam edge right up to where it meets lines A and C. Again don't cut all the way through but leave a small hinge.


5. Now that all your lines are cut, push the right side of the pattern over to the left and up. You'll want to move all the parts so that right side of line A butts up against your SBA guide.  Make sure to keep the side seam dart area as flat as possible. When all parts line up and lay flat, tape the side seam dart area but leave the waist dart area free for the next step.







































6. The SBA has made the right piece of the pattern shorter, so now we want to fold up the left side to match. Grab the left side of the pattern and fold a pleat so that the bottom of the pattern is straight again.  I put my pleat at the lengthen/shorten line to keep the middle of the waist dart even. Tape the waist dart area down in this new position.





7. After the SBA your waist dart looks all lopsided so we're going to fix that next.  Put your ruler on the widest part of the dart, at the waist and mark the center of the dart here.  Draw a guideline from this mark up to the same level as the original dart tip.  Mark this location as your new dart tip and redraw the upper dart legs to connect with it.




For the lower dart half, extend the center dart line down through the rest of the dart.  You should be able to see the left leg through your trace paper. Retrace it on top of the overlapped piece. Now take the ruler and measure the narrowest area, right above the pocket placement.  In my example it's 1/8", mark this same distance on the other side of the dart center line.  Repeat the last step at the dart base. Redraw the right leg using your these marks.  The dart will now be skinnier but equally balanced on each side of the dart center.








































8. Final step is adjusting the side seam dart.  The only thing that needs to be changed is the dart seam allowance, but you can darken in your new dart legs to see it clearly.  Tape a little scrap paper to the dart edge and fold the dart closed as if you were sewing it.  Pin the dart in place. Take your scissors and cut right along the side seam edge, removing all the paper that overhangs.  When you unpin the dart and open it up the dart allowance will be correct.










































Your Small Bust Adjustment is now finished. Go make up a muslin to check the fit, no really do it.

Bonus - Adjusting for Lower Bust Apexes/Shortening Darts
Ladies, do your boobs hang low?  It's OK, mine do too. This means we need to change the position of the side seam dart and the length of the waist dart to match our bust apex location. To get a general idea of where your bust apex is once again we turn to tissue fitting. Position the front bodice pattern piece on your body the same way I described at the start.  Try and feel around with your free hand to find where the fullest part of your bust is.  Then put a pencil mark on the pattern in that location. The distance between the pattern's dart point and your bust apex is the measurement you need to use for lowing the dart.

1. Draw in a little box around the side seam dart.  I make the vertical line parallel to the grainline and the horizontal lines perpendicular to it.




2. Extend the vertical line of the box down into the pattern. On this line mark the amount that you need to lower the dart.

3. Cut out the box containing your dart and move it to the new location you marked.  I like to line the edge of the dart with the edge of the pattern. Tape the dart into it's new location and fill in the gap you created with some extra paper.


4. Now you need to "true" the side seam for the new dart location.  Fold the dart closed and pin it in place. Take your ruler and place it on the outer tip of the armhole and up against the dart.  Draw a straight line. Cut off the excess paper and your side seam is now fixed.




5. Moving on to the waist dart, here we just need to shorten the tip of the dart. Mark the center of the waist dart with a guide line.  On this guide line measure down from the dart tip however many inches you want to shorten it. In my example I'm using 2".  Mark this location as your new dart tip and redraw the upper dart legs.  Scribble out the old dart tip so that you don't accidentally use it when sewing up your pattern.






Your pattern is now adjusted for a lower apex. Go make up a muslin to check the fit. Is there an echo in here?



Thanks Heather! 

I hope Heather's post can help out you with any fitting you may with the Stella blouse :) If you have any questions on bust adjustments feel free to leave them in the comments.  

And remember to share your progress with us all! Please don’t hesitate to post your links to the  Facebook page, tweet me and Instagram your progress @bluegingerdoll using the hashtag #thestellasewalong. I have  also created a Flickr group  where you can upload your Stella sew-along ( progress or completed).


See you tomorrow for the next Stella sew-along post.

Happy fitting!

Abby
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Thank you so much for the visit and leaving a comment!
I totally appreciate them all!

Happy sewing!

Abby
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