Generally speaking, women’s sewing patterns (and clothing) are designed for someone with a perfect B cup. Now that is great if you are a perfect B cup. But some of us are “curvier” and some of us are understanding the force of gravity. So, for the rest of us that don’t have a perky perfect size B cup, we will need to make adjustments to a pattern’s bust dart in order to make a bodice fit correctly.
I remember when I was intimidated by the idea of having to make bust dart adjustments. What is this slash and spread thing and where do I cut?
First, make a “working pattern” by tracing the original pattern. You want to have your original pattern intact in case you need to start from the beginning again. This will also give you confidence when you start marking up and cutting into the pattern to make your adjustments. It may feel tedious but doing this step has saved me on more than one occasion.
Before you do anything to the pattern, you need to have a good handle on where your bust apex really is…not where you wish it were but where it is (perhaps having to do this step will encourage you to get that new set of bras that you’ve been putting off…). Wearing a snug, but not constricting, knit top and the bra you will wear with the garment, measure from the point where the shoulder seam intersects with the curve of your neck down to your bust apex (nipple). Make sure that your tape measure is perpendicular to the floor when measuring. If you angle it, the measurement will be off. At the same point on the pattern, measure down from the shoulder and mark were your bust apex is located (for example, see purple lines on illustration).
Measure how far the pattern’s dart point is from the pattern’s bust apex. It can be anywhere from 3/4″ to 1 1/2″, depending upon the design of the pattern. Make a mark equal to that distance next to your apex. That is your new dart point. If you wish, you can draw a line from the dart point to the end of the dart legs. Also, draw a line from the dart point, through the apex and the center front.
You are now ready to make some of the adjustments that Shirley Adams demonstrates in this video…