Let’s be real: tshirts and sweaters (generally) don’t fit busty ladies very well.
Unfortunately, this is insanely common and we often overlook bad fit in lieu of a cute novelty crew neck or pull over sweater.
Bad fit on a knit top usually manifests in the following ways:
- Giant fold from the armscythe/armpit to the bust area
- Stretching between the bust points
- Weird gape of the armscythe seam, exposing your bra (if a t-shirt)
- Tightness in the back bra area
- Skewed/crooked/wavy side seams, especially next to the bust
Once you see it, you can’t unsee it. Especially if you rock a larger bra size than the standard B-Cup.
A quick Google search of the Astoria Sweater used in this tutorial will yield beautiful sweaters… except for that giant full-bust pull on some of the curvier ladies (including on my own!)
This weird fabric pull made me feel extremely self conscious and super aware of the awkward fit every.time. I wore it.
Why does my sweater fit weird? Its knit- it should be fine. Why does it bunch up all weird over my bust? There’s enough stretch to cover my bust- why is does it have this weird fold?
The a-ha moment came when I started looking at the bodice as a woven- rather than a knit. The fold pointing towards the bust point? It means that even with the knit fabric stretch, the pattern piece isn’t accommodating the larger bust.
The next challenge was to figure out how to do a no dart full bust adjustment: how can you do an FBA when there’s no dart on a garment?
Luckily, a no dart full bust adjustment takes a little bit of thinking outside the box but is TOTALLY manageable.
To get the ball rolling, get your tools ready:
- Rulers (clear straight ruler, french curve)
- Mechanical pencil and eraser
- Tape dispenser
- Paper scissors
Step One: Measure the distance from the center front of the garment, to your body’s center front.
After sewing a muslin using your Upper Bust measurement to select a size, you’re ready to determine how much to add for your full bust measurement.
Since the Astoria sweater is cut on fold, I cut the front muslin piece + seam allowance, and marked in the muslin where the seam line would be. I used that line as the center front and proceeded from there.
You’re looking for the distance between the muslin center front to your body’s center front.
Covered at timestamp 1:38 in my tutorial video, use a ruler and measure the distance between center front seamline and the center front of your body, comfortably and accommodating a gentle stretch of the knit fabric.
Step Two: Draw in all appropriate FBA markings.
Covered at timestamp 1:28, draw in all your important markings:
- Seam allowances
- Bust point (if not already marked on the pattern; in my example Astoria sweater, I guesstimated from the muslin’s natural pull point)
- Regular full bust adjustment lines (a total of three lines, converging on the bust point, where “normal” darts would be placed)
Step Three: Slash and spread your bodice for a normal FBA.
Luckily, this step is pretty simple- tape down your bodice front and measure out the amount determined in Step One, covered at time stamp 2:36.
You have now created two darts. DON’T PANIC.
This tutorial is for a no dart full bust adjustment: I’ll show you how to remove those darts!
After lengthening the bodice to create an even hemline, you’ll be closing the side dart and rotating that fullness to the bottom dart, timestamp 3:20.
Please note: your side dart (before rotating) will be pointing in a weird direction. Keeping the dart legs of your side dart in place, point that dart to the bust point, essentially pivoting the direction of your dart. You want to do this BEFORE rotating the fullness to the bottom dart.
Step Four: Pivot the Dart off your Pattern
So close to being done! Covered at timestamp 4:09, fill in any open areas with paper. This includes the bottom dart as well as the bottom hem!
The bottom hem is extremely important, as it is a straight hem in most shirts and sweaters. After completing the Step Three (opening up the bottom dart), your hem is diagonal and needs to be redrawn out straight. Add paper to the bottom of the pattern piece, drawing out a straight line from center front.
From there, use your French curve to blend the side seam.
Now, the magic happens!
Measure the distance of your open bottom dart.
Measure that distance from the side seam.
Cut that distance from the side seam up to the armscythe.
Boom. Done. You’ve just completed your first no dart full bust adjustment.
In my case, I went ahead and also readjusted the sleeve slightly to accommodate a little bit more wearing ease (timestamp 6:14), but other than that, the no dart full bust adjustment is complete!
Adjustments of this kind don’t have to be scary!
I know it can be extremely overwhelming to think about so many changes at once, but when they’re broken down, one step at a time (with plenty of muslins)- it’s not too big of a hurdle to tackle.
If you follow me on YouTube, you may have seen that I’ve recently started a playlist series DEDICATED to doing full bust adjustments and everything that these sorts of adjustments affect. I rock a 41″ full bust, so these sorts of adjustments are my bread and butter.
Don’t forget to check out the playlist and subscribe on YouTube if you’d like to be notified of new video tutorials like these ones. Or, you can sign up for my Newsletter, which notifies you of this as well (as well as some behind the scenes stuff!)
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Have you tried the no dart full bust adjustment before? Are there any projects that you want to try where you may need to include this process? Let me know!