CHECK OUT OUR NEWEST PATTERN, THE DARLA DRESS & JUMPSUIT!

Bust Adjustments for the Darla Pattern





The Darla pattern has a fitted bodice in all views. It's normal with all patterns to have a few fit adjustments so the pattern fits your specific body. For the Darla most of these are pretty basic such as lengthening and shortening the hem or straps. The most common adjustment if probably a bust adjustment for cup size so we will be going over those adjustments today.

What is a Bust Adjustment

Our patterns are drafted for a C-cup (0-18 size range) or a D-cup (14-32 size range). These are sewing cup sizes and not ready-to-wear cup sizes. This is very important. A sewing cup size refers to the difference between your upper bust and full bust and not your bra size. The Darla has both of these measurements on its size chart so it should be pretty clear to figure out if a bust adjustment is a good option for you. To figure out your sewing cup size, subtract your high bust from your full bust, and use the difference to compare to the following chart.

  • 1″ = A cup.
  • 2″ = B cup.
  • 3″ = C cup.
  • 4″ = D cup.
  • 5″ = DD cup.
  • 6″ = DDD cup

If your bust difference is more than the cup your size range is drafted for, you may want to do a Full Bust Adjustment. So for instance, if my upper bust is 29" and my full bust is 33", that is a difference of 4" or a sewing D cup. Since the 0-18 size range is drafted for a 3" difference, I would choose the size that corresponds with my upper bust measurement of 29" which is a size 0, and then do a 1" (0.5" each side) full bust adjustment to the size 0 bodice to get me a full bust of 33".

Conversely, if your bust difference is less than the cup your size range is drafted for you may want to do a Small Bust Adjustment. So for instance, if my upper bust is 29" and my full bust is 31", that is a difference of 2" or a sewing B cup. Since the 0-18 size range is drafted for a 3" difference, I would choose the size that corresponds with my upper bust measurement of 29" which is a size 0, and then do a 1" (0.5" each side) small bust adjustment to the size 0 bodice to get me a full bust of 31".

I will be showing you how to do both of these below. But first, read through the next couple of paragraphs to make sure you need to do an adjustment.

Don't Rush into a Bust Adjustment

The first thing I want to say is not to rush into doing a bust adjustment. We found through testing that the fit can be forgiving, especially for the tie back views. If your measurements are close to the chart or slightly under, you may be able to simply adjust the bodice at the side seam and get the fit you want. I always recommend doing a muslin of the bodice first to see if this is necessary.

Undergarments Matter

The second thing I want to point out is that undergarments (or the lack thereof) matter. With our models we found a complete cup size difference depending on which bra they wore. Make sure you are wearing the bra you intend to wear with the top or dress when taking measurements and making fit decisions. It makes a huge difference.

How to do a Small Bust Adjustment

If you have decided to do a small bust adjustment, you can follow the following steps, plugging in your own measurements instead.

For this tutorial I am using the following measurements:

Upper bust : 32" / Full Bust : 34" (Difference of 2" or a sewing B cup)

Since the 0-18 size range is drafted for a 3" difference, I chose the size that corresponds with my upper bust measurement of 32" which is a size 6, and then am going to do a 1" (0.5" each side) small bust adjustment to the size 6 bodice to get me a full bust of 34".

Start with your Front Bodice Pattern Piece.

Note that the bust point is marked on the pattern piece.

Make the following lines (marked in pink) :

A - Vertical line from bust point to bottom of bodice, parallel to grainline and down the middle of the bottom dart.

B - Horizontal angled line from side seam middle of the dart to bust point.

C - Angled line from bust point to approximate middle of underarm.

Draw in the 1/2" seam allowance at the underarm along line C.

Cut along lines A and C, stoppiing at the top of C (underarm) at the seam allowance.

Make a small cut from the edge of C to the seam allowance, leaving a small hinge of paper.

Make another cut along line B, ending right before the bust apex to leave a small hinge.

Draw a line parallel to line A. The distance of the lines from one another is the full amount you are trying to decrease from your full bust (for me this is 1") divided by 2 since this is one side of your bust. So I am marking it 1/2" to the right of line A. This new line we will call line D.

Cut along the lengthen shorten line of the portion of the bodice to the right off line A.

Using the hinges you made, swing the left cut edge of line A over to line up with the new line D. This will raise the bust point and shorten the bodice. Tape.

Take the bottom portion you cut off and slide it in so that CF is lined up and the top of the portion you cut off lines up with the lengthen shorten line on the left side of line D. The bottom should also line up.

Next, redraw your side dart legs and bust apex. Since the dart is becoming smaller, you may need to trim some of the top portion of the dart first or trace it.

For the bottom dart, start by measuring the width of the dart at the bottom.

Redistribute the dart width so it is centered on line D and ends about an inch from the bust apex. Redraw dart legs.

Depending on how much you took out for your bust adjustment, you may have some distortion along the underarm. Smooth out whatever needs it.

Fold up your darts to true the sides and trim.

That is it for the small bust adjustment.

Before you cut fabric make sure that the interfacing pieces still match the top of the bodice front.

How to do a Full Bust Adjustment

If you have decided to do a full bust adjustment, you can follow the following steps, plugging in your own measurements instead.

For this tutorial I am using the following measurements:

Upper bust : 32" / Full Bust : 36" (Difference of 4" or a sewing D cup)

Since the 0-18 size range is drafted for a 3" difference, I chose the size that corresponds with my upper bust measurement of 32" which is a size 6, and then am going to do a 1" (0.5" each side) full bust adjustment to the size 6 bodice to get me a full bust of 36".

Start with your Front Bodice Piece.

Note that the bust point is marked on the pattern piece.

Make the following lines (marked in pink) :

A - Vertical line from bust point to bottom of bodice, parallel to grainline and down the middle of the bottom dart.

B - Horizontal angled line from side seam middle of the dart to bust point.

C - Angled line from bust point to approximate middle of underarm.

Draw in the 1/2" seam allowance at the underarm along line C.

Cut along lines A and C, stoppiing at the top of C (underarm) at the seam allowance.

Make a small cut from the edge of C to the seam allowance, leaving a small hinge of paper.

Make another cut along line B, ending right before the bust apex to leave a small hinge.

Get a second piece of paper and draw two vertical, parallel lines.

The distance between the two lines is the amount you are trying to increase your full bust (for me this is 1") divided by 2 since this is one side of your bust.

Tape the left side of line A along the left drawn line.

Trim the bodice on the lengthen / shorten lines on the right side of the bodice.

Tape the right side of line A to the right drawn perpendicular line. This will also split open lines B and C. Tape. The bottom portion that you cut off should be taped so the bottoms of the bodice line up, lengthening the center front line.

Draw back in your bust apex and dart points (I like these to be about 1 1/4" from the apex, but that is up to you).

Draw back in your dart legs.

Add paper if needed. Fold up dart legs and true side seams.

Depending on how much you added in for your bust adjustment, you may have some distortion along the underarm. Smooth out whatever needs it.

And that is it for the full bust adjustment.

Before you cut fabric make sure you don't need to adjust the bodice interfacing to match.

If you still need to get the Darla pattern you can do so here.