Finally Breaking the Awkwardness

of the Full Bust Alteration ("FBA).  Sewing garments for only a few shorts years, I experience some frustration with my finished garments being too big in the neck, shoulder, and armhole area.  In an attempt to get a better fitting garment, I would go through a song & dance of tweaking the garment when the garment was partially completed. 

I usually cut the size according to my full bust size (40D)/pattern size 16 or 18 and then the issues would occur, gaping neckline, shoulder issues, bodice too short, and armholes too big.  Then the song & dance routine would start, reduce the shoulder seams, darts at the neckline to remove the gaposis, and sewing up from the side seams for an inch or so into the too large armholes. For the most part that worked for me I have the song  & dance routine down pack.

Of course, I've read numerous posts and read reference books pertaining to FBAs, but just did not grasp it regardless of how many times I stared at the pictures and re-read the instructions.  With that, continued on with my song & dance routine.

In come the Sewing Divas... Andrea, Monica, Cennetta, & Rachelle.  We call one another and talk endlessly about sewing, ideas, inspirations, body challenges and the like. Of course, we lament about what we go through or the challenges we take on to get our garments to conform to our bodies and understand if that's the technique that works for you... by all means go for it.  

Well during one marathon conversation, I went into depth about the song & dance routine I go through to eradicate issues that crop up when fitting my garment. Rachelle stated all I needed to do was a sure fire FBA and that would eliminate some of the issues I was having and that I did not have to cut the large pattern size.    I meekly confessed that an FBA intimidated me and despite looking/reading numerous posts on the subject, I just wasn't grasping it.  The conversation continued on and we discussed the various sewing dvds we have and realized that we have some of the same dvds.  I've purchased several sewing dvds, but mainly viewed the ones that showed garment construction techniques, and letting the fitting dvds collect dust.  

The conversation ended with the plan that I would truly take the time and view the Threads Bust Fitting dvd. I also viewed Learn to Sew a Shirt or Blouse dvd that also demonstrated how to do a full bust alteration.  Replayed the fba section several times and finally grasped it.  FINALLY...understanding, my full bust point, my center front and so on... and the inside of my head experienced a 4th of July wonder of  Also learned to do a round upper back adjustment too.... I feel like a big girl now....and feeling that I am entering the Alteration Sewing Diva

Used New Look 6967 Version C with Version A sleeves.

Tie dyed batik cotton I purchased during one of my vacations last year.

and instead of cutting my usual 16 or 18 , I cut a 12.  I really should have cut a 14,  read the size chart wrong in looking at the European sizing, but that was quickly fixed.  Rachelle and I discussed my faux pas and that by cutting the 12, I would eat up the ease and needed to add to the side seams. 

Increased 3/4 of an inch width & length

Round upper back adjustment

Must say an FBA isn't as intimidating as I thought, it was just a matter of putting my fear aside and doing it.  Also, the bestest.. yes... I said the bestest part of it all is talking on the phone and  having hardcore conversations about our sewing ventures, that our blog posts don't always reveal or better said, time doesn't allow. I totally enjoy blogging, the IRL meet-ups and the sharing and learning of new sewing techniques and wisdom amongst sewing friends and giving a big shout-out.


The garment is still a work in progress, but the fit is perfect and hope to have pics of it on soon... here are some pre-sleeve mannequin pics

collarless view, the bust darts & fisheye darts are hardly visible in the print... always a plus

Back view with back darts

close-up of the mandarin collar

 facings done

Until then, Have A Great Weekend... off to make a phone call... lol


Looks good so far.
FBA's are a beast.
Aminat said…
You are doing so well. I didn't understand FBA until I read Debbie Cook's blog, now it's part of my regular pattern fitting, it puts the girls where they actually belong without gaping or pulling..
Patty said…
I think when the light bulb finally lit up for me re the FBA, I gained a new confidence with my sewing. And the confidence grew the more I used the FBA.....which isn't daunting to me anymore. Congrats!
Am I the queen of the FBA or what? LOL. You did a great job and I am so proud of you. Now you'll find that you spend much less time fitting after the fact.
Minnie said…
I'm glad you worked out your FBA issues and the top looks fabulous. Love the colors.
Sue said…
Your top is looking great and I do think you will get a much better fitting gaarment making the fba. I must admit to being relieved that since I have lost weight, I have no need for an fba... may have to read ub sba though! :)
Faye Lewis said…
Congratulations! Now you have a great fitting solution.
velosewer said…
So glad you are FBA-able. I used to do an FBA and a FDA d= derrière. You will definitely enjoy the better fit.
MushyWear said…
The blouse sure is looking summery! Love the tie-dye. It must feel so good to have learned the FBA adjustment. Way to go!
Sister said…
Yay for you, and the blouse is beautiful. That's why I loved my 2-day sewing camp. Getting to be around sewers and talk about projects and problems is so cool!
SEWN said…
Good for you!!!!
Clio said…
Oh, I need to get on board a bit more with the FBA. Sigh!
tigergirl said…
Lovely blouse. Such a great pattern - might just have to put that on my wish list.
Cennetta said…
Girl I see you work that FBA out! I still plan to post some details about my how to. Congratulations! The top looks great.