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Having To Adjust For The Bust By Leila Breton

3 Oct

This guest post is from the lovely Leila Breton, a lady who I have come to know and adore via Twitter. Leila is a fellow busty beauty and has taken matters into her own hands with regards to finding garments that fit. Check out her amazing blog here.

I’m excited to be guest blogging here, as Georgina’s blog has helped me gain confidence in undergarmenting (what? that’s not a word?) and not giving up until I get the right fit. It only makes sense that I’d be attracted to her blog and her urgency for fit because I’m on the same quest, but from a sewing point of view.

I started sewing with my mom when I was a kid but only since 2000 did I really start to sew with an urgency I haven’t felt in a long time. I don’t need to add that I sew a lot. I used to knit a lot but that became frustrating because I couldn’t a good fit in a sweater with my then US size 10 body and 34DD or so bust. Back then, I must have worn a bra that was the wrong size but didn’t know it. There’s no way I was a DD, unless you’re talking about high school. I was already a B cup in the 8th grade.

Back to sewing. When I say I sew, I really should edit to say I spend most of my time fitting. The sewing part doesn’t take nearly as long as it does to fit what I’m making. With all the potential fitting in mind, I choose relatively simple patterns since I know I’ll be spending a lot of time altering the tissue.

In a couple of posts, I’m going to share my process with one dress. From fitting the pattern to the final product. I should add that I spend my days with my kids so the process takes longer than if I were at home with no distractions. That said, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

First, here’s the pattern I’m starting with:

I took the bodice pieces and performed minor surgery, creating room for the ladies, as I now know I’m a US 34H. If you sew, you may already know that most pattern companies assume a B cup when drafting the patterns. So, when you go to a pattern and you’re bigger than that, you have to make some kind of alteration. If you go with a pattern size that matches your bust, you’ll get a baggy final garment. You don’t want that.

Over the last week, I’ve spent it fiddling with the bodice pattern, until 8 test bodices later, I’ve got the fit I want. I’ll still have to make a couple of minor alterations but at this point, I’m not making another tester, aka muslin.

First, let me show you the first two fittings:

The first muslin was too tight across the back. Once I added width to the back, I found that the adjustments I made to the front had to be taken in. After these first muslins of the bodice, I kept going back to fiddling with the already altered bodice pattern. I won’t bore you with muslins #3-7. They were frustrating and after each fitting, I swore I’d throw the whole thing away. The sleeves have been a big issue.

At a certain point, I had to accept my time loss and start calling all the work on the mangled pattern “learning”. I went back to the original pattern pieces, went up two sizes and did a small Full Bust Adjustment. That gave me the nearly final muslin.

Here’s muslin #8

The arrows point out the small alterations I still need to make: Add ease for the sleeve, add to the armhole, lengthen the bodice which will relax the V-neck and won’t require a plunge bra.

Here’s the back. I’m so glad it finally fits.

Fitting is so tricky when you sew in a bubble like I do. Maybe it’s just me. I need to make myself an updated duct tape dress form. At some point I’d also like to try a plaster cast home made dress form. When my husband helped me make the one from last year, I didn’t yet have the best fit bra in the world. Now that I have it, I’m ready to clone myself once more. Fitting is so much easier on a dress form.

Next time you see me here, I’ll be sharing with you the next chapter in my McCalls 6433 making saga. After 8 muslins, it really does feel like I should make this into a movie!

Thank you so much for sharing your amazing talent and passion with us Leila! Does anyone make or adjust garments or have you been inspired to do so having heard from the lovely Leila? Why not leave a comment :)