August 18, 2013

I am Starting to Understand the Illusive FBA

I have made it to wearable muslin stage in my custom black blazer for a client. Third time was the charm for the pattern alteration which I described here
I started with a base pattern Simplicity 2446 and have over come huge hurdles in this project. 
  • The pattern is designed for cup sizes but only A, B, and C. Fantastic if that is what you are in the market for but if you need a larger cup you still have to FBA (I learned this the hard long way). 
  • The pattern has 1" seam allowances.  I love this Amazing Fit pattern they provide tips and steps to fine tune as you sew. learning while sewing a garment = knowledge and knowledge is power. My problem arrived in that I did not have the luxury to fit as I was sewing as the garment is not for me. In the end I found that I would have been better served to remove the extra seam allowance from the start as became an issue as I was altering to accommodate the SA plus the added ease. 
  • This pattern has so much ease, 5" (12.5 cm) in bust, 8" (20.5 cm) in waist, and 4" (10cm) in hip. The desired outcome of my garment was a semi-fitted jacket so I had to omit the ease. 
My missteps in the project: 
My actual FBA adjusted pattern 
I made my first muslin (in yellow) true to the pattern (except for adjustments in length, due to my clients petite frame) based solely on the full bust measurement with an appropriate ease calculation. This made the muslin a perfect length but a baggy mess every where except the bust. So logically I began altering to desired fit removing the excess fabric at the seam lines. I had a large gap that was forming at the bust from the armscye. My logical instinct for the second muslin (in green) was to alter at the apex to remove this dart. This caused a huge series of other issues within the armscye. I learned that when you have this armscye gaping a FBA MUST be done. Because the FBA moves the fullness from the armscye gap to the fullest part of the bust where that additional fabric is needed. The FBA adjustment isolates the alterations to only the bust NOT altering the back or area where a smaller size is needed. 

So for the third muslin (in black polka dot) I started over, first I completely sized down the pattern. Starting with a size 14 C cup I added a 1" FBA to the side front pattern piece.

 Next I adjusted the waist and hip to correspond to the original alterations. 

I ended with a jacket that is close to the desired fit: 

I found the bust to be too pointy so the seam above the bust was altered to remove some excess fabric as you can see with the pinning. 

I am also going to add a slight sway back adjustment to remove the center back waistline pucker. And I found that I removed too much ease in the upper back shoulders so I will add some back into this area in order to remove some restriction in the arm movement when wearing the jacket. 

I found that my strength is still gowns but I love to learn new things! 
And just for fun here is an obligatory party shot of my lovely bride and wedding party (ladies in my bridesmaid dresses!)


  1. Nice work! I am also working on perfecting my fba. It is always a new mystery with each new pattern The princess seams are going to be a challenge, but I feel like I understand so much more now about a good fit.

    1. Thank you Anna. Yes, those princess seams were a bit of a puzzle but I was able to pin out my excess in the fitting. I wish you the best of luck perfecting your FBA.


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