Friday, October 23, 2009

How to do a Full Bust Adjustment on The Tee

Ok ladies, I've posted how to relax the fit ...which works great for lots of people.  But really I think many could use more room in the bust without all the other relaxation.  Others might benefit from both adjustments. 

To start with I want to show you how much I love you all by showing you my "lovely" naked arm....  Here I am in my adjusted Tee.  Before I show you the front view, I want to mention that the knit I used is a specialty fabric that is moisture-wicking with not a whole lot of stretch...(I'm  trying to get some yoga tops out of this tutorial as well.)

When I followed my own instructions and tested this knit using the stretch guide on the back of the pattern, it barely made it to the "it has to stretch to here" line.  ...So, the fit is much tighter than it would be if it had more give.    This top sewn up in this fabric would not even come close to fitting me without a full bust adjustment.  

...In addition to being snug, you can see I'm a little chilly too.  BUT the important thing to note is that the side front pieces around the unfinished armhole are not wrinkling or distored.  The full bust adjustment I did is really "D-Cupping" the pattern.  You can adjust the amount of fullness you add by adjusting the amount you spread the pattern pieces.

If you have a D-Cup     Spread 3/4"
If you have a DD-Cup  Spread 1"
If you have an E-Cup   Spread 1 1/4"  (you might want to draw a double set of lines spaced 1/2" apart. 
         Slash and spread each 5/8" instead of trying to spread one line 1 1/4"
F-Cup   Spread 1 1/2" definitely drawing two lines to work with  (spreading each 3/4".)    

--If anyone needs help with this, please let me know and I will draw it out for you--(anytime I offer, I mean it sincerely!)

If you have a bust size larger than that, I would plus-size the pattern first. (Check out the post I did in Oct, 2008 showing how to do that.)

My full bust measures almost 41" -- I cut out the size xl. 

Lay the side front, center front and lower front pattern pieces next to each other as shown above. 

Using a ruler, draw a horizontal line 1 1/2" below the top edge of the lower front piece.  (This should be where your apex is.)  Then draw a second line that starts just below the notch in the front armhole, goes through the top edge of the lower front next to the notch and intersects the horizontal line. (Pointing to your apex.)

First, slice the side front along the diagonal line, creating a hinge at the armhole. The spread the pattern 3/4" (for a D-Cup).

Tape the pattern piece to the paper to hold it in place.

Then, slash the lower front pattern piece along the horizontal line.  Anchor the top edge to the pattern paper with some tape and spread the lower half 3/4".  Also, trim off the little triangular piece and spread that 3/4" from the center piece as shown.

Use a French Curve to "true up" the top curved edge of the lower front pattern piece.  You will end up trimming off some of the existing pattern.  True up the lower edge of the side front pattern piece as well.

I used a red pencil to color in the area that is added by doing this adjustment.  As you can see, you get more room without adding any width to the pattern.  Adding to the side seams in combination with this adjustment can give you a more comfortable fit as well.

Because you're adding the same amount to both the side front and lower front, the pieces sew together perfectly. 


  1. Thank you for taking the time to post this great information.
    I'm anxious to make a muslin and try this pattern out for fit. It looks great on you.

  2. I assume you chose the size based on the high bust measurement. Is this correct? The amount of spread is therefore 1/2 of the additional width needed for the front piece?
    is the extra length added to the bottom piece always 3/4" or does it vary to match the spread ie does 1 1/2" spread require 1 1/2" additional length?
    I am looking forward to trying this.

  3. Hi Donna,

    This FBA is a little different because of the way the Tee fits out of the envelop. I used my full bust measurement and picked a size that was an inch or so smaller. The high bust area on the pattern is already very fitted. If you have more than a 2 inch difference between high and full bust, you can take in the front/back necklines by creating a few 1/4" darts in the pattern paper (dart tip at lower edge, radiating up to neckline). The amount that you spread one piece should match the spread on the other--that way you are increasing both pieces equally and they will sew back together evenly. Just remember to spread the pattern in two areas if you are adding much more than 3/4" (Spreading the pattern in multiple places makes it easier to true up the edges.) I would love to know how you make out...please let me know if you need help. Thanks Jen

  4. This was very helpful. I think I understood the instructions and the photos helped. I am bookmarking this for future use on this pattern. Thanks for doing this.

  5. This is such a cute pattern. Good idea to use it for yoga. I have only sewn it once, but I love it.

  6. These instructions are great, and your photos demonstrate your points well. Thank you so much for sharing that info. I've just been watching your videos on cutting and sewing The Tee, on the Sawyer Brook site. Very helpful. One question - about the cutting mat you use - what kind do you have that allows you to both cut with a rotary wheel and also stick pins into?

  7. Great story as for me. I'd like to read more about this topic.
    BTW check the design I've made myself A level escort