How to do a Bust Adjustment on a Princess Seam - A Dulcie Pinafore Tutorial

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Even though Dulcie now comes with 6 cup sizes (A to F), you may still need to do an FBA if you sit on the edges of where the 2 patterns cross over, or if you are larger than an F cup (if you're smaller than an A cup, you will do the opposite to the below. Though, there is only a 1cm difference in the high and full bust for the A cup, so you may find you don't need to do one). 

Have a look at the size charts here and work out whether you'll need to do an FBA using the guide on working out your cup size, included on the same page.

For example, if you have a High Bust measurement of 94cm (37") AKA a size 14, and a full bust measurement 104cm (41"), you have a difference of 10cm (4") and therefore an E cup.  The Original Sizes don't have an E cup included, and the Curve Sizes start at a 16, so therefore, you will want to do a small FBA.

In this example, I would recommend using the 14D cup so that you only have to do a small adjustment to get to the E cup.

The D cup has a difference of 7.5cm (3") so to get to the E cup, you'd need to do a 2.5cm (1") bust adjustment. BUT, because we are working with half a bodice, divide this measurement in half to get 1.25cm (1/2").

If you need help with choosing your size and how much to adjust by, just send me an email, I'm more than happy to help. 

You'll need:

  • Your Dulcie Pinafore Pattern - both pattern piece A (Centre Front Bodice) and piece B (Side Front Bodice).
  • Scrap paper
  • Pen + ruler
  • Scissors + sticky tape


1. Draw stitching lines in on both the Centre Front piece (A) and the Side Front Piece (B) of the Dulcie Pinafore (purple lines below).  Your seam allowance is 1.5cm (5/8").

After making a toile, note on your pattern piece where your Full Bust sits. On the pattern itself, the full bust sits approximately at the bottom notch indicated on the princess seam itself. Draw a line straight across on both pattern pieces . This line will be called Line A, in blue above.

Note: on pattern piece B, draw the line stopping at the purple stitching line along the princess seam.

2. On pattern piece B, draw a second line from the notch on the armscye down to line A at the princess seam end (this is line B). Then draw a third line from the bottom of the waistline, up to meet at Line A and B, along the purple stitching line. This is line C.
3. Cut along Line C, starting at the bottom, and pivoting into Line B. Stop cutting at the purple stitching line at the armscye, circled in red below. 
4. Place an additional cut along Line B at the armscye down to the stitching line, leaving a pivot point at the purple stitching line circled.
5. Now cut along Line A from the side seam - you now have a Transformer (hehe).

6. Place a piece of paper underneath your bodice and tape down the seam allowance along the princess seam on the bodice at the arrow indicated below.

7. You now want to open out Line C by the amount you worked out above. For this example, it's 1.25cm or 1/2" (noted by the red lines below - they measure 1.25cm). 

Make sure Line C is open equally by that measurement all the way down, pivoting your other cut lines out until the pattern piece is flat. Tape the bottom left section of the pattern down along Line C.

8. To true up the length of the princess seam, cut along the waistline stitching line (marked in red below) and move that little square down so that it matches up at the bottom. Tape in place.

9. Draw in your new bottom right corner lines.

10. Now we need to remove the dart created along Line A. Trim down the additional paper behind the pattern from step 6, leaving the paper under the Line A dart. 

Extend the top Line A down to the outer edge of the pattern (in red below). Cut this line from the outside in to the pivot point at Line A. Leave a pivot point here too - circled in red.
11. Close Line A by moving the top of the pattern piece down. This will open up a little dart at the outer edge of the pattern, marked in red below.

12. Now we need to remove the additional width the adjustments above created at the waistline, for this example, it was 1.25cm or 1/2". 

At the side seam waistline stitching line, mark in the measurement you added to Line C earlier (ours is 1.25cm) - noted in red below. Then, from the side seam end of Line A, draw a line straight down, removing the extra waist measurement (blue dotted line). 

13. Now we need to true up the Centre Front Bodice length. Measure the purple stitching line length (not the outer edge!) of the little dart created at Line A in step 11, as well as the waist, both circled in red below.  

Cut along Line A on your Centre Front bodice and draw and cut an additional Line D along the bottom waist purple stitching line (in red below).

14. Place a piece of paper under your Centre Front Bodice pieces and spread them apart by the corresponding lengths from step 13. Tape in place.

15. Draw in your new pattern piece lines (blue dotted lines below) and cut out your new pattern. You will then need to re-adjust your buttonhole placements, depending on how much additional length was added.

And you're done!! They look a little funky after you've done all that cutting, taping and drawing, so feel free to then trace over these pieces so you have fresh new ones. Also, I promise that this adjustment looks more complicated than it really is. It's mostly just drawing, cutting and taping lines at the end of the day, so don't stress too much.

If you have any questions about sizing or bust adjustments, drop me a line at jen at jenniferlaurenhandmade dot com. 

You can purchase your Dulcie Pinafore pattern here!




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