Full Bust Adjustment -Bodice with Hips and Waist Darts

A dress sewing cup size diagram. Learn to sew inclusive size vintage, everything from full bust adjustment on vintage patterns

When your full bust measurement is 3 inches (7.5cm) or more  than your high bust measurement you will often need to make a full bust adjustment to your front bodice sewing pattern pieces. 

Don’t let the diagrams intimidate you. Once you have done it once its will feel natural. This method will help put the extra ease and fabric just where you need it, over the fullness of your bust and lift your sewing .  

For other types of bodice click the link buttons to show diagrams how to make a full bust adjustment  (fba) for almost any type of garment.

If your full bust is 42″ (107cm) and your pattern is 40″ you need to add 2″  (5cm) total so halve this and you add 1 inch (2.5cm) to each side. 

full bust adjustment of sewing pattern

For  bodice with bust and waist darts. Trace the pattern piece and mark darts and waist line.

If your pattern piece does not have seam allowances included add just along armhole.


Draw a line through the centre of the bust dart to the bust point which is above the waist dart. The bust dart will not always be at a 90 degree angle like the diagram, it may point upwards or downwards.

Draw a line from bust point to centre of waist dart

Draw a third line up to the arm arm hole as shown. 

Cut along the centre of bust dart as shown. Cut up from bottom along line through waist dart and just to the arm hole seam allowance line so a bit it still attached. 

large bust adjustment

Open up the pattern ppiece as show, the arm hole is still joined by the width of the seam allowance. The bust dart is cut so a small hinge still holds it to the top section. Don’t worry if yours tears or you cut too far. as long as you arrange the pieces correctly. The hinges help me but if you prefer to cut all the way then do so.

large bust adjustment

Lay pattern piece onto another layer paper and as we are adding 1″ (2.5cm). draw 2 parallel lines 1 inch apart on the bottom sheet of paper. 

Tape the pattern piece to paper as shown, arranging so the bust dart is along the 2 parelel lines that are 1 inch (2.5cm) apart. the arm hole will raise at the bottom as the hinge opens. the lower edge of pattern will be lowered until its laid as shown. Tap in this position.

large bust adjustment

Cut along the waistline from the centre and lower until it   is aligned with the adjusted piece.

Tape into place. 

Draw around the new shape and remove the old pattern pieces. 

You now have your new pattern piece with the extra allowance mainly in the full bust area. Draw in the bust and waist darts and waist line.

For larger sizes the pattern will have a distinct curve  the underarm side. so the waist line may not be  a straight line but angle up under the bust dart side.

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