Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FBA on a Kimono Sleeved Top: Part 2

First of all, I need to tell you that using parchment paper for pattern tracing is a giant pain in the rear. I really don't like how much it curls, especially when cutting the darn thing.

Now that that's out of my system, let's recap where we stood last time with the FBA on the Simplicity 2254 top:
  • Did a tissue fit and confirmed that a FBA was needed
  • Traced out bodice pattern onto parchment paper
  • Cut 1: Hacked off the kimono sleeve, from shoulder to armpit
  • Cut 2: Cut from the middle of the dart to the bust apex, then from the apex to approximately the middle of the shoulder
  • Forgot to leave a hinge at the shoulder for pivoting
  • Discovered that painters tape doesn't even slightly stick to parchment paper
Last night, I finished my very first FBA alteration! I'm ridiculously proud and hoping that I did it right. I did run into a few snags, though. The very first one was when I went to do cut 3 (cut 2 on Patty's (from The Snug Bug) guide), which has you cut from the bust apex to approximately 1/3rd along the armscye. Unfortunately, there's no armscye on a kimono sleeved top, so I had to jury rig something up.

I initially considered just cutting the line from the apex to 1/3rd along cut 1 (as shown by the solid line in the second photo below), but it didn't look anything like Patty's. So I took a closer look at her photos. In Patty's picture below (let me know if you'd prefer me not using it Patty), I drew a line from shoulder to the side seam, simulating my patterns bodice. Projecting her cut along this line, you can see that cut 3 should be about half-way along cut 1. I think this looks a little better!

Photo credit to Patty at The Snug Bug

When cutting this line, don't forget to leave a little bit of the paper near the arm hole to act as a hinge (I remembered this time)! I swung this part out until there was a total of 2 inch gap near the apex of the bust (shown below). This will give me the 4 inches needed for the FBA!

Now that we have the added width needed for the FBA, we just have to adjust the rest of the bodice to add the necessary darts. Cut 4 will create the horizontal dart from the side seam to the bust apex, and have the added bonus of finishing off the vertical dart below the apex. Patty said to put the slice anywhere along the side seam. I chose a spot just below where the side joins the sleeve (when it's attached, that is). Cut along this line from the side seam to the apex (don't forget the hinge!), and swing the bottom piece down until the edges on the inside are parallel and the same distance as you FBA adjustment (my is 2 inches).

The next cut (#5) will even up the bottom of the bodice, and simply involved cutting a horizontal line and dropping it until it's level with the bodice bottom on the left. According to Patty, this added length is needed to get around your bust, don't fret about the length!

At this point, I taped down all the edges to the parchment paper below it. I had to use a lot of tape because it wasn't holding down that well. If I'm going to use parchment paper more often for tracing paper, I'm going to have to experiment with different types of tape. Next time, I'm trying duct tape.

My next step was to draw on points around the base of the darts and find the points of them. I sort of guestimated were the apex would be on here (and I'm betting there's a better way, or maybe this is something you learn with time and experience), and then guestimated again where the dart points should go. This basically involved a lot of poking around in front of a mirror and my cousin laughing at me.

Doesn't it look great! Well, actually, I think it looks like the instructions for some funky origami project, but I suppose that's what it's supposed to look like, and pretty appropriate.

I was going to simply re-affix the sleeve to this pattern piece, but I just don't trust the tape. So I simply traced out the pattern on a fresh piece of parchment (adding a bit of length where the sleeve attaches), cut it out, and attached the sleeve. It looks pretty good, I think. I tried to draw on the grainline on the pattern, but because of all the slashing, I'm not certain if it's right, and I'll have to play with adjustment when making my first muslin.

If any of you have any suggestions of where to put the grainline after a FBA, I'd appreciate any advice!

I hope I did this right. I tried doing a tissue fit, but this paper was too stiff, so I gave up. I intend to make a muslin anyways, so I suppose I'll find out then. I don't have any pictures of the tissue fit, but it looked something like this:

Photo credit to www.sandrascloset.com

Next step: make a muslin. Sadly, I'm back out in the boonies, so I'm out of unlimited internet access. But that just means you'll get a more complete post, rather than one post broken up into two (or more!)

Happy sewing everyone!


  1. Exciting! It looks good :) I THINK the grain line should run straight from shoulder to bust (so rotated a bit counter-clockwise of where you have it, but what do I know? ;)

    I tend to use newsprint or kids easel paper if I can't get tissue paper, especially for alterations. Though of course there are much fancier options out there, too... :)

  2. Thanks for the advice on the grain line. I actually just projected it on from the back bodice piece, but good to know for next time!

    I considered newspaper, but I wasn't sure how to trace through it. I'll definitely been trying anything else after the parchment paper, though. This stuff is horrible to use!

  3. Seeing as this is three years after the post, I'm sure you've figured it out, but I thought I'd share what I use for tracing/altering patterns. It comes in a roll so big I can use it with impunity, and it holds masking or scotch tape, pencil, pen, whatever! (P.S. Before the link, I just wanted to say thanks for the tute--I found it very helpful!) http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B007AH74VO/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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