Thursday, March 1, 2001

Alterations: Full Bust Adjustment with Dolman Sleeves

This is the pattern as drafted, except that I forgot to take the pic before I cut off the little dolman sleeve. It's Simplicity 4229. It has a waist dart but no obvious horizontal bust dart. (The slashes you can sort of see are the results of the steps shown below.)

FBA (full bust alteration) begins.

First, I cut off the sleeve (see above) so as to mimic a regular armscye. (You need that "seam" as a pivot point for an FBA.)

Next, I transferred the waist dart to a horizontal bust dart by marking my bust point on the tissue and slashing the pattern to that point where a bust dart would be. I then spread open this new dart/slash enough to close the waist dart.

Next, I slashed and spread the tissue as you'd do for an FBA with a set-in sleeve. Because the waist dart in this pattern is shaped, it will not look completely straight as would a slash through a waist dart in another pattern. Use your best judgment to gauge where the "center line" of this dart would be -- parallel to the grainline mark in this instance is a safe bet. :)

Because I wanted to keep the waist dart and lose the bust dart (to stay true to the pattern design), I rotated the bust dart closed again

I filled in the spread gaps with tissue. Although the original pattern has the waist dart open, I filled this in too (shown in blue) so the fabric would be there when I cut out the pattern, which would let me fine tune how much dart uptake I wanted to sew in as a dart and how much I wanted to sew out at the waist seam. For this top, I ended up sewing about 1/2 as a dart and sewing out 1/2 as waist/hip shaping. I tried leaving the excess at the sideseams but the top would've been a sack with too much flare at the hip (not a good look on me) and too much ease at the waist. After I decided on the final waist dart uptake, I serged off the excess seam allowance, leaving about 3/8".

The last step which is not pictured, is to tape the sleeve back onto the pattern. It probably will not line back up *exactly,* so use your best judgment, true the seams/cut lines and fill in with tissue where necessary.

The final top. The empire "seam" is not really a seam -- just applied lace.


  1. Love it . Im just learning and need to do fba on most patterns as im a plus size , thank you for you help

  2. Okay, I know this tutorial is 15 years old, but still very useful, thank you!


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