Monday, June 29, 2015

Results of the FBA revelation: vintage Simplicity 7530 in Kokka border print

Oh Full Bust Adjustment, why did I not try you sooner?

Thank you for all the lovely feedback on my previous post. It seems I'm not alone in my avoidance of the FBA issue, and that it was a helpful thing to share.

If, like me, you are a pear-shape with a bra cup size greater than B, I highly, highly recommend you get onto the Full Bust Adjustment if you have not already. Of course, everyone's shape is unique and this may not work for you exactly as it has for me. However, even as a starting point for fitting, I've found it nothing short of a revelation. Here are the details of my second garment-with-FBA.
The pattern: Simplicity 7530, from my, ahem, fairly extensive collection of vintage (mostly 1960s) patterns. Which just happened to be in my high bust measurement of 34 inches. Woot! And to think until recently I presumed I'd need a complete size grade-up to make this fit.
The fabric: a fantastic mid-weight border print by Kokka of Japan. (Selling quickly so not up in the web store but still a bit left so call us if you are keen!)

For a bit of background, here's how my first FBA attempt (from the previous post) worked out:
pardon my chins
Pattern: Christine Haynes Emery Dress, size 6 (34" bust) with 3.5"FBA (1.75" each side).
I was pretty happy with the fit of this, but learnt a few things:
- if your pattern calls for a zip, go to the effort of basting a zip into your muslin, as pinning simply will not ever quite match the effect of a zip. I only pinned on the muslin for this, and could have fitted it more, particularly at the waist. Not entirely sure how to fix the under-bust wrinkly foldy bits.
- with a fairly substantial FBA, darts can become very large, or in this case, I chose to split it into two. I thought French darts (much longer, starting lower) could be helpful here.
- I could probably get away with just a 3" FBA which would help with the gigantic dart issue anyhow.

My vintage pattern has French darts and aside from that, is a very simple but nicely-fitted shape, perfect for testing out another FBA. At the back it is fitted with small shoulder darts and double-ended darts in the back curve.

After a simple 3" Full Bust Adjustment (again following this Curvy Sewing Collective tutorial), I made a muslin, and basted in a zip, which in truth is probably quicker and easier than getting someone else to try and pin the dress up anyhow. It actually fit! Not only did the FBA accomodate my bust, it also added enough width at the hips. Magic.

In further adjustments, I lowered the ends of the bust darts, tapered the side seams in a smidgen around the waist and raised the back double-ended darts by 2" - just shifted the whole dart up - which worked better for my short waist. Also, I trimmed down the neckline a bit. Those 1960s shift dresses often had very high necklines!

And the on to the 'fashion fabric'.

Et voila: some ninja pattern-matching skillz down centre front seam...
fitting under bust may be improved by moving ends of French darts further down and centre?? advice welcome!

some slightly less-stealthy matching down the centre back... (oops matched wrong flower stem!)

and pretty happy with the side seams too. Unavoidable mismatch at top because, darts.
The neckline, armholes and hem are finished with black cotton bias tape turned to the inside. I trimmed the armholes down by 1/2" before applying the bias because there was a 5/8" seam allowance for facings or sleeves.

I'm very pleased with the result, which is fairly fitted but very comfortable. I can see myself using this pattern again and again in the future. In fact, this 'may' have been a sneaky queue-jumper version (the fabric!) that got in ahead of other plans I have for this pattern right away.

And then of course, there's the newly alluring call of all the vintage 34" patterns....

Have you tried an FBA? Do you have a vintage pattern collection? Do projects jump to the top of your sewing queue on a whim?

- Jane & Fiona xx


  1. Oh man!! Thanks Jane for putting the prickle under my bum! The comments I wrote after your last post got 'eaten' & disappeared - but the short of them is that you have prompted me to get off my tush & get the FBA sorted. This dress looks FABULOUS & is a marked improvement on your non FBA items. WELL DONE!! I've probably got a year left of breastfeeding but I'm itching to finally make up my vintage patterns. I might even work up a sneaky trial muslin in the interim... You know, striking while the iron's hot etc. Thankyou!

    1. Thanks for the feedback Renae! Urgh sorry about the comment 'eating' - hate that! It's so great to know that these sort of posts are helpful. We find the online sewing community is such a goldmine of information and if we can contribute to that, all the better!
      Can't hurt to get going on the muslins... I promise the FBA is not that hard once you've done it a couple of times! :)


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