Thursday, August 20, 2009

FBA: This looks crazy. Will it work?

I've decided to try to use the Claire Schaeffer's Custom Couture Collection V8259 pattern. Like most others, I can't find my size in this pattern (14-16), so I have the larger size pattern (18-20-22). My plan is to draft my smaller size based on what I have. Plus, I get to do an FBA for the first time. My high bust is 35" and my full is 40" so this adjustment cannot be avoided
I used Erica B's instructions for doing an FBA on a shoulder princess seam. (Thanks for the instructions, Erica B. Sorry for squatting on your website all evening.)
Here's a photo of the front piece (with button band on the right side). As you can see the original pattern piece is on the left and my drafted pattern is on the right with changes for a smaller size and for FBA.

Chanel front pattern piece with FBA

THIS LOOKS TOTALLY CRAZY. The original has a nearly straight line, but my drafted piece has an enormous open parenthesis.
How will this jacket go together with such a crazy looking front piece?
Should I try to draft this again in a different way?
Or is this ready to try on my practice fabric?
Do I need to modify the side front for FBA?

Thanks for your help!

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  1. I don't know if it will work, I've never attempted a FBA that looks like that before - it looks like a method that will add width, but not length to the bust area.

    I have done a lot of FBA's in my time, and I swear by Palmer/Pletsch's method as described in their book, "fit for real people." It adds both width and length, usually by adding an extra dart. The fit is excellent. In a princess seam, you can remove the dart, as I did for my jacket.

  2. I agree with Mary Nanna, that won't add length, just width. I also think that is going to make your princess seam go off to the side.

  3. This might sound crazy and I haven't done a FBA on princess seams. Just looking quickly at your pic,I question if you did the FBA on the correct pattern piece. Shouldn't this adjustment be done on the inside front piece?

  4. okay--I just looked at Erica's . I think you are doing it in reverse. The protruding part is faced the wrong way.

  5. I am not an expert on FBA, but it doesn't look good. Take a look at this tutorial:

  6. AnaJan that is a perfect tutorial. Thanks for pointing us there.

    There's a typo in the website address, it's

  7. Just checked out the tutorial - that is the method I use. It's very accurate, I highly recommend it.

  8. Thanks for all your comments and help.

    I looked at the tutorial of the FBA for armscye princess seam. Does this tutorial's method of FBA still work for shoulder princess seam construction?

    Mary Nanna, thanks for the tip on the book. I read the FBA sections (via amazon) and learned the answer to my own question: yes, the type of FBA shown in that tutorial can be applied to shoulder princess seams also.

    Evidently, doing a side panel FBA (as shown in this tutorial) is the most common FBA.

    I just learned (from reading "Fit for Real People" page 150) that I did a less common FBA on the front piece. Michelle, you are right: my princess seam now moves towards the side. This type of FBA works for a wide apex distance. (Ah, that makes sense!)

    As you all noted, my major error is that I needed to cut the right side of the pattern piece horizontally to lengthen it.

    After walking away from my FBA dilemma for a few hours today, then giving it some thought, I've come to the conclusion I need to make my FBA on both the front and the side panel for my custom fit.

    And I will purchase a copy of Fit for Real People.

    Thanks again for y'all's advice. I fretted about this all night long last night. I should have just gotten out of bed and read your comments!

  9. I'm also a fan of Fit for Real People's method for FBA's. They have a DVD that really clearly spells out putting one in in a princess seam. I haven't done any FBA's on princess seams yet, but I've done a half dozen now on other garments (yesterday on a knit fabric in which I took out the dart that I needed for the alteration), and every time I think I have the same fear. Amazingly FBA's are like magic and the second you pop on your pattern to check your work, it's like Christmas how well it fits. I don't have any helpful advice except to say--go for it. FBA's are life-changing.

  10. The bottom line here is to make up that muslin - for me that's what the muslin is for. If you need to add more, you can in the muslin - if you need to take it up - either way you can see it clearly in the muslin. When you do the side piece have you thought about adding a side dart? It won't show in the fabric and could be the length and width you're needing.