Meet My Chest!
Never let it be said that the inhabitants of Didyoumakethat Towers can’t take a hint. Specifically, never let it be said that I don’t listen to Lucy! She’s been nagging me for a while now, pleading, begging, wringing her hands. ‘When will you do an FBA? You NEED an FBA!’
For anyone else who, like myself, once never knew what this stands for: No, it’s not Frank Balderdash Assessment. Nor is it Finely Boiled Arse. It’s a Full Bust Adjustment.
What’s one of those, Karen? Well, when you need to accommodate your finer features – and I’m not talking about your prettily flared nostrils – you need to make more room in a top or bodice. Lucy advises me that simply adding extra yardage at the side seams doesn’t really work. You need specific extra room in specific parts of your bodice.
So, I have decided. On my second make of the Hazel dress, I am going to attempt an FBA. I have only two criteria, should you wish to follow my adventures:
- Don’t expect me to know what I’m talking about. This is as much a mystery to me as it is to you. I’m taking it one step at a time!
- Don’t laugh when I fail. I have no idea where this journey will end.
As I’ve said, I’ll be working on Colette’s Hazel dress and closely following Symon Sez’s blog post guide to an FBA on this dress. The Hazel bodice construction is pretty unique, so this isn’t necessarily an adjustment that will transfer easily to other bodices or tops. Well, let’s see where we get to. I can always attempt another FBA on another bodice pattern, possibly one that will be more widely useful. I am assured that FBAs are far less intimidating than they sound. I guess we’ll find out!
This evening’s task was to measure my high bust. When making an FBA, you trace your pattern pieces according to your high bust measurements rather than your bust measurements. (Apparently.) See where I’m measuring? That’s the sweet spot.
My high bust measurement is only two inches smaller than my bust measurement. My fitting is more to do with addressing consistent issues with a narrow upper chest, rather than accommodating large breasts. (Though, of course, it’s all relative. Define large.)
In an ideal world, you would get someone else to do this measuring for you. I don’t live in an ideal world and many others don’t (so I’m told). So if a person has to take their own measurements, let’s not sweat it too much. Agreed?
A lot has been written about FBAs on t’Internet and in books. If you fancy some further reading before dipping your own toe, I suggest these links:
- Gertie touched on this topic two years ago here.
- Rhinestones and Telephones has a blog post on FBAs, specific to the Hazel dress here.
- Megan Neilsen also has a tutorial here.
- The Colette Sewing Handbook covers bust fullness alteration on page 88.
- Pages 156-159 of Sandra Betzina’s Fast Fit covers fitting for a large bust.
I’m not going to link to much more. There is a lot out there and the information can be overwhelming. Do leave a comment if you have a favourite FBA guide that you can recommend. And as I travel down this road, feel free to add constructive criticism, tips or guidance. I am very open to constructive criticism. You know, the helpful kind, as opposed to – Karen, you’re a stinky pants living in stinky poo land. I don’t need that type of comment – that’s what my IRL friends are for!
So, let’s get going, people. I need to prove to Lucy that it was worth persisting.