Felicity Dress Sew Along - Full Bust Adjustment and How to Pivot (Rotate) Darts

Friday, April 3, 2015

Like I said in the SBA post, Felicity is not meant to be really fitted in the bust area, but making a muslin will show you if there are any fit issues because, you may like it just as it is! If you still think you want to do a full bust adjustment, you'll need to draw in your 'dart' lines just as you would have when doing a Small Bust Adjustment. I wrote a detailed post about how to do that, with lots of diagrams here (it's right at the very start!).

Again, I'm not going to go into the specifics of measuring etc, but this post on FBA's is a great one (with pictures included on getting your high and over bust measurements).

Full Bust Adjustment:

Once you've drawn in your cutting lines, you can slash and spread following along with the tutorial for the Emery dress above - it's exactly the same principle. But the next issue you'll have is when it comes time to finish the darts you've created because you'll be left with darts in a dart-less bodice.

So, how do we deal with them?

First up, you are more than welcome to sew them in. I'd personally get rid of the waist dart, but the side dart, you probably wouldn't even notice it. Just make sure you end the points of the dart back from your bust apex, unless pointy Madonna boob is the look you're going for (and hey, no judgement here).

The easiest way to eliminate the waist dart and return your waistline to it's original length, is to move the bottom right corner of your bodice (in red) back to it's rightful place next to line A and then true up the lower centre seam:

1. Take the pattern piece in red and move it left, to match back up with the piece next to it.

2. True up your lower centre front seam (the line in red).

If you don't want to stitch in a side bust dart, we can easily rotate it into the gathers at the neckline! It's actually much easier than you think and you can use this tutorial to move ANY darts around a bodice - it's the same principle. For Felicity, use the 'cut' lines as your dart legs.

Pivoting Darts:
  • Adjusted Pattern Piece from above.
  • Large piece of paper, big enough to put your adjusted pattern onto (and then a tiny bit bigger).
  • A pin (could be a mapping pin or a pin from your pin cushion. You'll need something small and sharp).
  • Pin board or something soft that you don't mind puncturing with the pin above.
  • Pattern Weights (or something heavy to stop your pattern moving. I wouldn't use pins as they could get a little fiddly and you only need your pattern weighed down temporarily).
  • A pen or something to trace with.

1. Take your large piece of paper and place your pattern on top. Put the weights on top of your pattern to stop it moving temporarily.

2. Mark a point somewhere along your neckline within the section that will be gathered. This can be anywhere, as long as it's between the notch and the centre front stitching line. Make sure it's long enough to mark your pattern piece and goes off onto the paper your pattern is sitting on. In the diagram below, it's the red line.

3. Starting from the 'top' dart leg (where the red arrow is pointing - if you were pivoting a waistline dart, this would be the left leg of the dart), trace around your pattern moving up and over the shoulder line, until you reach the mark you made in step 2.

Note: My 'tracing' is done in red and I've deliberately made it a bit bigger than my pattern piece so that you can see it. You'll want to trace your pattern as closely to your original pattern as possible.

4. Take your pin and poke it through the top pattern layer and into the paper underneath at the tip of the dart (marked as a pink dot below), then remove your weights and rotate your pattern piece up (or clockwise, however you want to say it) until the 'bottom' leg of the dart sits where the 'top' dart leg sat (basically from where you started tracing, at the red arrow).

5. Replace your weights and continue tracing the rest of your pattern, starting from the line you marked in step 2 on your neckline that is on the pattern you are tracing, not the piece of paper underneath.

6. Remove the pattern you were tracing from. I've left the red arrow in the diagrams so that you can see where you started and how now, your side bust dart is closed!! Instead, you have a gap in the neckline.

7. All you need to do now is true up your neckline starting from the notch to your centre front seam (marked in black), and your dart has now been magically rotated into your neckline gathers.

Like I said above, this method can be used for rotating any dart around any bodice to anywhere you feel like putting a dart. It can definitely make for some interesting pattern lines if you feel like being a bit different the next time you stitch up a tried and true bodice.

I hope everyone has a great Easter break!!

3 comments on "Felicity Dress Sew Along - Full Bust Adjustment and How to Pivot (Rotate) Darts"
  1. Thank you for this FBA tutorial! I'm excited to see how the Felicity bodice will look on my figure.

  2. This is great! I made a muslin and it was juuuust a skosh tight, but I'm hoping a minimizer bra will fix that issue (how do those work, anyway? I swear they are magic). In the event that it doesn't, I'm glad to have this post to refer back to. My chest is one of the main reasons I've held off on sewing clothes for so long--maybe it's time to face the fear and just learn how to do FBAs.

    1. Tehee, a minimiser bra, I honestly have no idea, do they just kind of squash the gals in there? If you didn't want to do a full on FBA, you could try cheating the extra room at the side and front seams, if it's just the tiniest bit too tight? But, you know your body better than I do, and perhaps an FBA is what is needed. Good luck! Let me know of you have any other questions.


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