FBA for empire-style top

I have started sewing for myself again! The last few months have been quite intense work-wise, and for relaxation I have mostly been sewing miniature clothes for my doll's house people.

My first full-size sewing project is an empire-style top/camisole from New Look 6558. This style is supposedly flattering to my full hourglass figure.

I am having a devil of a time getting it to fit though. I couldn't find an online tutorial on doing a full bust adjustment on this type of top, so just made it up as I went along. The third method seemed to be the most successful, and I decided to illustrate my steps. (To see larger size images of the steps, look at my Picasa web album here.)

I started with a size 16, based on my high bust measurement (1). I needed to move the bust apex about 1 cm towards the underarm seam (2), and the pattern piece had to be lengthened by 8 cm to fit over my bust (according to measurement from shoulder down over bust apex) (3).

Next, I slashed the pattern through the existing dart to the apex, and also from the centre front, midway between the 8-cm extension (4). Then I rotated the dart to close up the extension on the centre front, making it the length it was before my changes (5). This made the underbust dart larger (6).

I decided to use a second dart to reduce the underarm seam to its original length. I drew in a dart from the extension points to the bust apex (7). For the final "real" darts, I measured points 1.5" from the bust apex and drew in the new dart lines (8).

Here is a comparison of the original and the adjusted patterns:

The red lines on the brown paper pattern show the actual curved stitching line of the dart.


  1. hilde said

    Thanks for this!! I'm quite new to the FBA and I've been wondering how to do this as I definitely need the adjustment.

    Tina said

    I hope it works, Hilde! I discovered a lot of FBA info I printed out last year - I'll add a post with links soon.

    Serenity Love Sincere Peace Earth said

    I'm late, but I adore this method!

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