A new sewing project

A while ago I bought some cotton knits on sale.


Today I thought I’d make a Renfrew top with that one in the front. I had hesitated to buy this pattern because the largest size has a bust measurement smaller than mine. However, I now know that I should select a size based on the measurement above my bust (under the arms) and adjust the bust to fit so the size 16 is the size I’d choose. I decided to make a short sleeved v-neck and to forego the band on the bottom, extending the length instead.

As I was doing this step of extending the length, I noticed that the waist curve was really high compared to mine. So I added the 3 inches at the “lengthen or shorten here” line, figured out where MY waist should go and redrew the curve. The photo is of the front piece after adjustment.

adding 3 inches to front piece

I poked around on the internet for a while to see how others had adjusted this pattern and came up with a couple of useful blog posts about doing a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) without adding a dart. I mostly used this one (which is not specifically about Renfrew). I misread it the first time and took a long detour but basically, when you get to the section “Dart Manipulation”, just follow what she describes in the first 2 paragraphs and ignore the rest. Really.

I adjusted that tutorial a bit based on this other FBA tutorial (for a woven shirt with a dart). What I took from this one is that you don’t have to add the width all the way down. You can isolate the bodice. I didn’t need more width in the front hips.

I’ll walk you through my process (without the unnecessary detour of dart manipulation).

Isolating bodice of front

I started by isolating the bodice. I measured on my body and figured out that my bust line is about 2.5″ below my armhole and drew that line in. Then I cut the bodice off about 3″ below that line.


Then I drew in slash lines for the FBA.

Next I slashed, spread to add 1″ (I need 2″ or so extra. I decided to err on the negative ease side since it’s a knit.)


I also added extra length to the centre front to make that line straight. The bust curve requires both extra width and length.

Next, I rejoined the bottom part. (The unnecessary detour involved slicing this in half so I had to tape it back together. Those bits of tape are unnecessary to the process.)

I used my French curve to draw a smooth curve from the new bust to the waist. And then I measured the side seam length of both front and back by putting my tape measure on it’s edge. The adjustment was more than just the width of the dart because that new curve is a different length. I took that much off the bottom, drawing a smooth curve along the bottom edge.

Bottom added back; side curve adjustedThat looks a bit weird but will be fine on my body because my body is not flat like a pattern piece. 🙂

I do need extra width in the hips. I know from experience that I need that in the back which is where my hip curves are located. After lengthening the back piece I measured up about 5″ (based on a rough measurement of where the curve is) and drew a vertical line about a third of the way in from the edge. I slashed there and spread it out about 1″ at the hem. This increases the side seam curve. I then straightened the bottom edge.

Adding width in the hips of backI didn’t get any further than this because I then realized that there isn’t enough of the fabric I was going to use. I’m contemplating that really bright one though it’s stretchier than the pattern calls for.



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