2: Choosing your pattern size and planning the pattern adjustments

Welcome back readers!

Today we will talk about how to measure yourself and how to determine the pattern size to use. We’ll also plan the appropriate pattern modifications.

Let’s start!

Measure yourself

It is very important to first of all measure yourself. Here is a very complete post with detailed instructions and pictures on how to do it. If you are working on a dress or a  blouse, you basically want to take measurements of your chest/upper bust, bust, waist and hips.


Determine your pattern size

The Bust Measurement normally determines final pattern size for tops, dresses, jackets & coats. Patterns are usually drafted for the B-cup figure. However, for us curvies, with a bust fuller than a B cup, the rules are different.

In order to determine the pattern size you are going to work with, you may find it easiest to list your measurements and select your pattern size by comparing the bust size that best approximates to your chest size, like so:

3In a third column, subtract the difference between your measurements and those of the pattern you have selected. For example: my bust- pattern bust (size 16) = 48″ – 41″ = 7″

Plan your pattern adjustments
Because your bra cup size is larger than a B cup, and the pattern is usually drafted for a B cup (unless it says otherwise), our first consideration is to add fullness to the bust through a full bust adjustment (FBA). This will ensure that there is enough fabric to cover your bust and the garment will fit properly.
First, we need to determine how much fabric to add at the bust, and for this you need to know your cup size. If you don’t know it, you can figure it out here.

4The cup sizes are A: 1″, B: 2″, C: 3″, D: 4″, E: 5″ and F: 6″. I am an F cup, therefore, 6″ is needed at the bust. If the pattern is drafted for a B cup, then there is 2″ already integrated at the bust. Therefore, in my case I would have to add:

(F: 6″) – (B: 2″) = 4″

of fullness at the bust.

I can therefore add 4″ total of fullness at the bust, waist and hips, and after this adjustment we are left with:

5So we should distribute another 3″ around the bust, 1″ around the waist and 3″ around the hip. Such insertions or extensions are generally done on the seams, most commonly the side seams.

So now we have a plan:
– add 3″, 1″ and 3″ extensions at the bust, waist and hip respectively

– add 4″ total around the bust through an FBA

Performing these adjustments will ensure that there is enough fabric where it is required and your garment will fit your bust to perfection.

No more gaps nor wrinkles from buttons pulling on the fabric of your shirts and jackets!

On the next post of the fitting series, we will discuss how to bring the planned adjustments to the pattern, to ensure that all we have learned so far comes together.

That’s all for today folks, stay tuned!

❤ M


6 Comments Add yours

  1. Gema says:

    This is so helpful!! And easy to understand! Thank you! 🙂 (I’ll be using this in my next project….)


    1. Sweet!! Thanks for your comment Gema, I was wondering if making posts like this would benefit anyone.
      Let me know if you have any questions.


  2. sewingzoe says:

    I really like your blog and your topics. About measuring and choosing a pattern for full bust adjustment, I use Kathleen;s Cheetham method to measure (from her class on Craftsy, Adjust the Bust). It is a bit different from what I knew before. Measure SNUG and HIGH the chest measurement to get your frame and add 2″ – this being the hypothetical breast tissue I should have if I had a B-cup. It may be a more relaxed measurement than Patti Palmer’s, but you get a smaller bust dart because some of the ease ins in the pattern Chest measurement + 2″. It is easier to understand if you see the pictures on my blog, than to explain here. Thank you for sharing. What you write is very inspiring.
    Hugs from the Netherlands

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Cool! 🙂
      Thanks for following me and thanks for the link to your blog Carmen! I’m glad you enjoy visiting! 😉
      I haven’t taken that class, mainly because I thought the one from Barbara was quite complete and clear on general plus- size grading.
      I did take the one Kathleen has for trouzers and although I watched it, I haven’t used it much thoug…
      Greetings from Montreal! 🙂


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