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Ute with first time FBA

Added Sep 15, 2009

by ncn6

Ithaca, New York...






I recently bought a pattern from McCalls that promised detailed instructions for how to do common alterations (not this pattern, but another one that I will post later when I have a chance to take pics). Lots of little lights went off in my head after reading through these directions, and I figured out some of the reasons I was having trouble with the Ute I made earlier this summer — namely, that I needed a full bust alteration! The FBA sounds like something I should do (I have a full bust, after all) but somehow I always thought that if I cut a smaller size and did a FBA that I would end up with a too small waist. My bust/waist/hip measurements are all pretty dead on for a Burda size 44, and so a size 40 waist would indeed be bad. But after reading the FBA descriptions, I realized that 1) the FBA would help me get a better fit in the shoulder/neck area, not just the bust, and that 2) adding width in the waist is much easier than messing with the neckline, and some FBA techniques add width in the waist anyway.

So, sorry to be long winded for those of you who already knew this, but I thought someone else might benefit from my new FBA insight. For this version of the Ute, I cut a 40 (based on my high bust measurement of 36), and added about 3 inches to the bust and 2 to the waist. The fit is still not perfect I would say, but it is much better (It’s still a little bit gappy at the buttons, but I think that might be more due to the flimsiness of the chiffon than the fit). Armed with my new FBA confidence, I might take on a blazer sometime soon!

Material Notes

silk chiffon




Garment Type


This great tute for doing a FBA on princess seams

4 Comments Sign in to add a post

  • Charlie-deeshadows1_large

    Sep 16, 2009, 05.45 AMby smallone

    Hey there – I too have recently discovered how to do adjustments so stuff actually fits :) and it has made sewing far more pleasurable.

    I highly recommend the book Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marta Alto. They cover off pretty much every alteration you could imagine.

    I too discovered that upper bust measurement gets the shoulders to fit, I also discovered I have a very narrow upper back, how to properly account for a sway back, and rounded shoulders plus at 4-10 I’m pretty petite. I now adjust patterns for all this and voila clothes that fit!!

    I intend to make a sloper next…. my understanding is that a sloper works as a template of you that you can apply to any pattern….I saw instructions for that here on BurdaStyle.

    Your Ute looks a great fit BTW.

    1 Reply
    • 12068bdcf8f8559de50b4f6ade48c167b5d6c5cd_large

      Sep 16, 2009, 04.57 PMby ncn6

      Looks like we’re thinking a lot of the same things… the directions that came with this pattern were actually excerpts from FFRP, a great advertisement for the book! I’m also thinking of making a customized bodice sloper sometime soon, and I have a pretty good pattern drafting book out of the library. If you do make a sloper, I’d love to see it!

  • 1101thumb2_large

    Sep 15, 2009, 10.50 PMby yoshimi

    Good job. Thanks for sharing the story and yours looks surely good! And I love the fabric too.

  • 6e3656aa7036783b3e4bbc29f34d1029385afafe_large

    Sep 15, 2009, 05.46 PMby wzrdreams

    Good job and thank you for your project notes! I love hearing about people’s FBA success stories.

  • 271b6230d7f4cd766994d54d0c1222933059364a_large

    Sep 15, 2009, 05.42 AMby ghainskom

    Good job on Ute! Thank you for your insight in FBA! I wonder, though, where do you find this high bust measurement? The Burda patterns, at least, don’t come with this measurement. Do you measure the pattern flat? But then you don’t know how much ease there is.

    5 Replies
    • 12068bdcf8f8559de50b4f6ade48c167b5d6c5cd_large

      Sep 15, 2009, 12.35 PMby ncn6

      Well, the way I understood it (and the way I did it) is you just use your high bust AS the bust — so with a high bust of 36, I picked a 40 based on the 36 1/4 bust measurement. Since my actual bust measurement is 40 inches, I added an extra 3 inches to compensate (I know this only gives me a total 39 inches, but I figured it would be fine since the pattern says a size 40 has a finished bust measurement of 39 3/4)

    • 271b6230d7f4cd766994d54d0c1222933059364a_large

      Sep 15, 2009, 01.36 PMby ghainskom

      I wanted to answer to your post and reported it as inappropriate! d@&%! Anyway, just wanted to say NOW it lights up. I think there’s going to be a lot of FBA going on in my sewing room… Thanks a lot!

    • Picture_2_large

      Sep 15, 2009, 09.04 PMby alden

      Hey Ghainskom,
      Not to worry, if you mark something as inappropriate by accident I go through all the reported comments and see it they actually are inappropriate or if its just a mistake, they wont get deleted if it’s a slip of the finger :)

    • 271b6230d7f4cd766994d54d0c1222933059364a_large

      Oct 5, 2009, 09.59 AMby ghainskom

      Hi ncn6! I have another (probably silly question): what size did you cut the back in? Your regular 44?

    • 12068bdcf8f8559de50b4f6ade48c167b5d6c5cd_large

      Oct 5, 2009, 03.13 PMby ncn6

      Hey Ghainskom, I cut all of the pattern in a 40, and then adjusted just the front-side panel (not the one with the buttons, the one with the armhole). I think the idea is that you’re supposed to cut a pattern that fits your “frame” and then add room in the bust (and in my case also the waist) where you need it, rather than starting with your largest part and taking stuff in. I’ll take a pic of the altered pieces the next time I make a blouse (hopefully sometime soon!)

    • This is a question
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