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My Small Bust Adjustment on the Emery Dress

Emery Dress - small bust adjustment

Hey, I finally did my first small bust adjustment! Yep, I’ve never done one before, which, when I think about it, is both surprising and then not. Frankly I never gave much thought to doing one because I haven’t made many fitted garments. Or I’ve made things from knit fabrics so the bust wasn’t an issue. Most of the ready-to-wear shirts I have aren’t fitted so I’m used to a bit of looseness.

But looking back, I can think of two things I’ve made that needed a bust adjustment – the Colette Patterns Jasmine blouse. I was swimming in it and ended up taking in a couple of inches on the side seams but it was still a big roomy in the bust, which you can see here. Sheesh. Colette Patterns are made for women with generous bosoms!

The 1950s dress I made for the BurdaStyle Sewing Vintage Modern Contest was a little loose in the bust area too. I did made a couple muslins of the bodice but I was focused on changing the neckline from square to boat neck. I really wasn’t paying much attention to the bust.

But over the past year after seeing sewcialists like Leila of Three Dresses Project mention doing a full bust adjustment on garments she’s made. So doing a small bust adjustment has been percolating in my head for a while.

Then when I got indie designer Christine Haynes’s latest pattern, the lovely Emery Dress, I realized that I had the perfect opportunity to do a small bust adjustment. Her sewalong began towards the end of October and includes many tutorials, including a very helpful one on how to do a small bust adjustment, by Haley on Christine’s blog City Stitching. I followed her step-by-step instructions to make my adjustments. There are plenty of helpful photos as well.

I made Muslin No. 1 for size 10 (37.5″ bust, 29.5″ waist), following the pattern exactly and got this (yes, I only did one sleeve).

Muslin 1 of Emery Dress bodice

The fit wasn’t bad but you can see that it’s a little loose in the bust. I could pinch about 1/2″.

Emery dress bodice - small bust adjustment

In this side view you can see how it’s a bit roomy there, especially above the bust dart.

Small bust adjustment - Emery Dress

So I made the adjustments following the SBA tutorial on Christine Haynes blog.

Small bust adjustment - Emery Dress

It got a little fiddly on the bust dart – folding it and then trimming it so I wasn’t sure if I did it right. So on to Muslin 2 with the SBA – a much better fit!

Small bust adjustment - Emery Dress

Here’s the side view of my SBA muslin. Hey, no wrinkle!

Small bust adjustment - Emery Dress

Yippee! My first small bust adjustment worked! The only thing is that the front waist darts seemed a bit long. So I drew another line on the pattern piece as you can see in this photo, to put the apex of the waist dart about 3/4″ lower. Anyway I’m really happy it worked and I’m sure I’ll be doing more SBAs. So thanks Christine for putting the tutorial on your blog!

Small bust adjustment - Emery Dress - csews.com

Have you done any bust adjustments?  How did it go?

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Author:Chuleenan

Chuleenan Svetvilas is a writer who sews and collects hats and shoes. She is a fabric addict and loves classic films and vintage clothes.

4 Responses to “My Small Bust Adjustment on the Emery Dress”

  1. November 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    So far, so good! Looks like you’ve got a good handle on the SBA. I’ve never done one because they scare me a little, but I’m sure that someday I will have to buckle down and learn! I’m also really glad that I’m not the only one who just does one sleeve if I’m doing a muslin! =)

    • November 16, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

      Thanks! I’m know what you mean about being scared about doing a bust adjustment. But if you trace out your pattern, you can make all you mistakes on that. ;) The SBA instructions on Christine’s blog are pretty clear. You should give it a whirl! You can do it!

  2. November 16, 2013 at 9:22 am #

    Looking nice! Congrats on your first SBA! yeah, it takes me a while between learning about a new thing and applying it. But once I apply it, I go to town. :)

    • November 16, 2013 at 4:48 pm #

      Thank you! I’m glad I decided to take the plunge. I think seeing all you FBAs inspired me. =)

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