If you have a large/ small bust or a sway back you may have noticed that your garments aren’t sitting exactly right. Sewing patterns, just like shop bought clothes, are created to fit average dimensions; that is, they average out measurements when grading patterns. There is no shame in varying from the norm, in fact, there is really no norm! I am a fierce advocate for positive body image, and I find it really powerful to know my body and create clothing that actually fits me well.
I always recommend sewing a new pattern up in a cheap fabric, we have poplin for $4.10 a metre and it’s perfect for a toile as a stand-in for lightweight to medium fabrics. Today I will cover the two pattern adjustments I discuss the most with customers: full bust adjustment, small bust adjustment, and sway back adjustment.
Once you have your toile sewn up, stand in front of the mirror and assess the fit.
- Do you have pull lines radiating from your bust line? Are your button plackets gaping? You will need a full bust adjustment.
- Does the fabric hang vertically from your high bust to waist? You will need a small bust adjustment.
- Is there a little pooch of fabric popping out from the small of your back? You will need a sway back adjustment.
Full bust adjustment.
The Curvy Sewing Collective blog demonstrates how to alter your pattern to accommodate your bust measurement.
Small bust adjustment.
Megan Nielson demonstrates a small bust adjustment. This alteration is similar to the full bust adjustment but you move the pieces inwards rather than outwards.
Sway back adjustment.
Here’s another great post from the Curvy Sewing Collective on how to alter your pattern for a sway back. Even though I don’t have a sway back, as someone with a more ample derriere I can attest to the power of the sway back adjustment!
Next week I’ll discuss narrow, wide, sloping, and rounded shoulder adjustments. Sewing for your body is empowering! Here’s to better fitting clothes.