How to adjust the bust size in a pattern

Written by genevieve van wyden
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You've found a really beautiful dress pattern you want to buy but, according to the size chart, it will not accommodate your bust size. Instead of putting the pattern back in the drawer, set it aside, because you can alter the bust size and make the dress by writing down your measurements and fitting the front bodice piece to your actual shape.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Your bust size
  • Clear ruler
  • Red pencil
  • Tape
  • Straight pins
  • Scissors

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  1. 1

    Measure your bust. Make sure you measure above the fullest part of your bust and immediately below your breasts, as well as on the fullest part of your breasts. Write each measurement down.

  2. 2

    Compare your measurements to your pattern's chart. Take the front pattern piece and put it on your body as if it is the actual garment. Fold and pin this piece until you get the best fit.

  3. 3

    Re-draw any necessary dart lines with the ruler and pencil. Take care to draw the new dart lines accurately so the new fit of your pattern will be correct when you cut out the pattern piece in your fabric.

  4. 4

    Check the new seam line for the bust measurement and carefully draw this new line. You will need to adjust the side seams, as well as the actual bust measurement, so your garment fits correctly when it is made.

  5. 5

    Cut out the excess tissue paper on the pattern (or cut the pattern in two and add extra tissue paper) and tape the edges together. Make sure you tape everything together so that the new bust size will be correct.

Tips and warnings

  • Remember, when you adjust the bust size on your pattern piece, you will need to add length to the front of your pattern piece for a larger bust, or subtract length from the front of the pattern piece for a smaller bust, so your garment will not be too short or too long. You will need to add extra tissue paper if you are increasing the bust size. Cut out the correct size from another length of tissue paper and carefully tape it to the pattern piece that you are adjusting.
  • Do not cut your pattern piece until you have made absolutely sure that the new fit is correct.

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