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While my waist proportions came as a surprise to me, I always knew that I had a smaller than average circumference around my bust and back. So while I may be a size 6 in most parts of a pattern, I might need to take it down to a size 4 near the bust. To adjust for this, I usually do not alter a pattern when I cut it, but rather take the garment in while I am sewing to avoid cutting off too much. To do this, I baste or pin the side seams together and then try the garment on. I'll then mark it with some pins (it helps to have a dress form for this), and take it in accordingly. To widen a garment, cut the pattern at one size larger, and then take in as above where needed.

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Burdastyle

http://burdastyle.com//techniques/adjusting-patterns-to-fit-your-body/technique_steps/3