It’s not suppose to be this annoying! I’ve read the alteration books, used the techniques, measured, marked, snipped and pinned; then I usually throw something.
If you go and use a larger size pattern, the cup size isn’t changing, but everything else is!
The picture here is of a commercial pattern I picked up at a garage sale. I just really liked it and the size-range was doable.
I had some nice rayon that would drape nicely too; this is one of the big advantages to hording fabric – the odds are real good you have something in your stash that’s perfect.
After settling on version 1 – without the second underskirt – I started measuring and marking the pattern.
A general rule of thumb is to spread open your pattern (in the bust area horizontally) about 1/2″ for every size beyond the “B” cup. That means I’d have to add 4″ to my pattern. Yeah, I’m laughing too. I actually tried that once a very long time ago: you could have fit a whole additional set of boobs in there with me. Stop counting – I’m a DDD – between a 36 an a 38 DDD. Terrifying isn’t it!
In this case, I added to the cup size about 1″ and tapered it to nothing at the size. I cut out a test pattern, sewed up front and back and put it on the mannequin. Hmmm not bad – it might be okay. The back seemed a bit too large at the top, but, I needed to sew up up for real and find out.
Well that was fun. Now what! There were issues… lot’s of em.
- Gaping too much at the arm hole – need to add a bust dart
- Too big through the upper back – need to add 2 darts from the neck to the mid-back where the waist darts are
- The bust are is too wide (not too full – too wide) will regather 2 inches tighter each side
- Need to take in the skirt 2 inches; French seams everywhere though, so a nice 2″ pleat on each side will help.
Here’s the first finished version – I made it work, but will fully alter the pattern to accommodate all the changed I’m making.
What I ended up doing to the pattern was:
- Removing 1″ from the front bust seam on each side to control the width
- Removed 4″ from the upper back! That’s a tremendous amount of unneeded fullness – big bust does NOT necessarily mean big back.
- Lowered the neckline 2″
- Curved the neckline deeper – about 1/2″
- Removed 4″ total from the width of the skirt
- Added side bust darts and redraft the arm hole accordingly
And here’s the second version – I’m much happier with it! Sorry for the only one-view picture, I’ll try to take another few soon.
You can see how much better the bust area fits; and that in turn shows off the waist! The wider neck is more flattering to my shape and the armholes fit well.
I have a workable pattern now that is going to get a lot of use. The next time you have to alter the bust area of your pattern, just send a little sympathy my way and be grateful you’re not fitting the DDD syndrome too.