Okay small-busted friends, it’s our turn to have to modify patterns with a Small Bust Adjustment! Our FBA-on-every darn-pattern friends get a break. Fair warning, today’s post is long and filled with pictures, but I hope it helps you get a perfectly fitted Appleton Dress! As you saw in the last post on preparing your fabric and pattern, my waist and hip measurements put me in the size 12, but my bust measurement is 37″…3″ too small. Because I want a little more coverage up top, I’m going to take out 1.5″ instead of the full 3″.
Let’s get started! First step, hold your pattern piece for the front wrap up to your body and mark the approximate point of your bust apex, the fullest part of your bust. Draw a line (shown in blue below) straight down from this point, parallel with the grainline, past the waistline. Also, draw in the seam allowance on the arm hole.
Next, draw a line from the bust apex to roughly the middle of your arm hole (shown in green below). This will be at about a 135 degree angle from the vertical line you drew.
Our final line is drawn from the apex straight out to the side seam, perpendicular to the blue line and 45 degrees off of the green line (shown in orange below).
Now cut the bodice off of the skirt at the waistline. We’ll reattach this later, have no fear, but the bodice is much easier to manipulate when it is separated. Set the skirt aside for now.
Draw one more line, parallel to the waistline a few inches up. This is just a helpful reference line later on.
Carefully cut straight up along the blue line to the apex. Turn and cut along the green line just to the seam allowance line. Do NOT cut through the seam allowance line.
Very carefully, snip the seam allowance in line with the green line just to the outside edge of the line. The bodice should still be in one piece, connected just barely by the seam allowance line. If you cut too far, just tape it back together and try again!
Finally, cut along the orange line to, but not through, the bust apex. Again, everything will still be all connected, but just barely.
This is what your cuts will leave you with. You can’t see the cut in the seam allowance because it allows the other pieces to swing, but you’ll see it in the next few steps.
Draw a line parallel to your blue line at a distance of half the amount you want to remove. Remember, I want to remove 1.5″ from the bust, so I’m drawing a line 3/4″ from the blue line in towards the center line of the bodice.
Slide your bust apex over carefully until it reaches this line, keeping the cuts that were the blue and orange line perpendicular to one another. Line the blue line up with your new line all the way down. Tape your bust apex in place.
Now, our side of our bodice is too short, and since we don’t want to lose length in the bodice, we are going to cut along that reference line we drew earlier, and bring the bottom portion of the bodice back down to the waistline. Tape all these pieces in place.
Now, reattach your bodice to the skirt, lining up the front wrap edges rather than the side seam edges. We’ve got all sorts of weird gaps at this point, so tape some scrap paper underneath, makin sure it spans all the gaps. Using a French curve, we are going to re-draw the side seam now. Keep in mind that depending on how much you smooth this curve, you’ll be adding back in some ease to the bust. Try to keep the smoothing mostly below the apex of the bust. Your smoothing will look different depending on the location of your bust apex and how much ease you needed to remove.
The end goal is to have a smooth curve that meets back at the original waistline, as we’re not trying to remove ease from the waist in this modification.
Transfer the side seam dart out to your new seamline. Repeat the smoothing process with your arm hole if necessary, and cut away any excess paper.
Here’s my finished bodice, ready to be cut out! Hooray! You did it! Knit wrap dress SBA complete! Come back on Friday to cut out your fabric and get all ready to sew!