Busty Pattern Review + One Pattern, Two Bodies | Love Notions Sunday Romper

Today, I’m pretty damn thrilled to collaborate with Camilla, the gorgeous qween behind She/We Sew Fabulous!

It’s no secret that Camilla and I look different. I’m an hourglass, with an emphasis on the top — giant boobs, small waist, pretty big hips. Camilla describes herself as “a Mediterranean gal with big hips and small boobs.” So we thought it would be fun to try making the same pattern and see how it looks on our very different body types!

Here are Camilla’s super fun versions!

Doesn’t Camilla look great?! Most importantly, she loves the romper! So much, she made it twice. And I agree with her assessment that it looks amazing on her!

I’ve had this pattern forever, so I was excited to use it! I grabbed some Girl Charlee pineapple print cotton spandex from my stash — originally slated to be a Charm Barbie bodysuit, but then I fell out of love with that pattern and with Charm — and I was off!

The Sunday romper comes with two bust options — a regular front and a full bust front. Camilla used the regular front, while I used the full bust one.

Time for some honesty: I don’t hate mine, but I can’t say I love it either.

The photos I chose for this blog are the most flattering photos I could get, but here’s how I feel in it:

Basically, I feel a little like … shapeless? I prefer garments that clearly define my waist, and this particular garment has too much fabric at the top to do that well. It feels like it goes out at my bust and, despite the elasticated waist, doesn’t really come back in until my hips. So I get a square shape that I don’t prefer.

If I were to make it again, I would shorten the bodice substantially, since getting rid of some of that extra fabric would help me love it a lot more. (When I tuck in the top a bit, I get a shape I actually quite like!)

The original pattern also had the shorts going much longer, as you can see in Camilla’s pictures. But I felt very frumpy with longer shorts, and honestly was on my way to totally hating this romper, so I chopped them to the tiniest inseam. Here’s what my romper looked like before I chopped the shorts:

If you ask me, shaving off the shorts saved this romper for me. It went from 🥴 to 🤔 in my book! I won’t reach for 🤔 regularly, but I’ll definitely wear it sometimes. I’d have probably donated 🥴.

There are a few things I love about this romper though. Namely, it’s suuuuuper comfy and it has pockets! And I honestly think it’s perfect for a day on the beach, as a swimsuit cover or just for lounging.

Camilla LOVES hers, though, and I agree that it’s super flattering on her body. As she puts it, she loved it so much she made it twice! Just goes to show that fit is one thing — both of our rompers technically fit — but some patterns are just going to work better on some bodies. (Though, I want to say, this is a matter of preference! Any body can wear any garment! It’s really a question of whether the wearer enjoys wearing it!)

Sewing the Sunday Romper was pretty straight forward. Camilla opted for her serger and coverstitch, but y’all know I hate serging, and I don’t have a coverstitch. So I used my Pfaff Ambition 620 on a narrow zigzag for most of this garment. (I prefer the narrow zigzag over a lightning stitch or a stretch straight stitch.) The neck band was the trickiest part for me, but it wasn’t too bad!

This was such a fun experiment, and I’m glad Camilla and I teamed up to do this! I hope we do it again! I got to try a new pattern and ended up with a garment I’ll definitely wear to the beach, as well as any time I need a comfy frock.

I want to note one more time: “flattering” is a social construct, and we all have different ways of defining it. For me, this romper isn’t the most flattering on my body because it doesn’t fit my preferences and because I don’t feel super confident in it. But I don’t buy into the idea that only certain bodies can wear certain styles. That’s rubbish! This romper could totally work on another busty body, and other people might even prefer the way this hugs the body!

Community Blog | Making a Ruched Dress from the Allie Olson Kila Tank with Sasha

Hey it’s me, Sasha from Kingdom Daughter Makes and Im here with my first blog post with SewBusty.

With the help of the Sew Busty database, I was able to find this Allie Olson Kila tank. I had been on a hunt for patterns that accommodate a D Cup because I had just grown tired of doing full bust adjustments on every pattern. While I don’t mind learning and making sure I get the fit right, I’d like for the FBA to be one less step for me. So I was glad to see the tank came in a D cup.

From there, I decided to design this ruched dress. Now this is not an original design and I’m sure we have all seen this dress somewhere on Instagram or pinterest. The top half of the dress is just the tank top chopped off at the waist.

When it came to drafting the bottom pieces, I found the apex of my tank and then drew a straight line down from there. I looked for my apex by measuring down from the top of the sleeve cap. I also took my apex to apex measurement. There are a ton of videos that help you determine where your apex is on a pattern but my favorite people to watch are Made to Sew and Lifting Pins and Needles. Lifting Pins and Needles has a series of videos on pattern adjustments for tops and bottoms. Whoops! Looks like we may have gotten a little side tracked there, back to this dress. 

Then I cut the two pieces from the waist down and added a half inch seam allowance. This became my middle front and side front (same applied to the back). When lengthening my skirt portion I just decided to bring it down to just a few inches below my knee. I didn’t want a ton of ruching. And you will see in the pictures that my ruching is not nearly as exaggerated in most skirts you will see. This was an experiment more than anything.  So I just drew straight line down. I’ve seen YouTube tutorials where they chop the patterns pieces into 2 inch slices and then spread them out to create a new pattern. I decided not to do that. 

When I joined my middle and side pieces with a zigzag stitch, I stitched down the seam allowances to the dress to create a casing. You can see here that I was undecided on if I was going to create two channels or one for each panel. But I thought one channel was easier. I created my drawstrings by just cutting long strips of fabrics and sewing them down. I found out quickly that the zig zag stitch was best to prevent thread popping. I chose to leave my edges raw on this dress but you can also create a hole on the right side of the dress at the bottom where sits so that you can hem it properly.

Sasha is from New Jersey and has been sewing since 2015. To her, the most fascinating part about sewing is pattern adjustments and fit. You can find her website here, and see her makes on insta @kingdomdaughtermakes.

Amelie Sew Along Week A | Choosing a Size & Materials

For August and September at Sew Busty, we’re doing a button challenge! Post a make that features buttons on instagram with #sewbustychallenge by September 30 for a chance to win a prize!

As part of that challenge, we’re doing a sew along for the Untitled Thoughts Amelie Dress – a cute little number that features buttons down the back of the skirt, as well as an open (but bra-friendly!) back. (Check out the picture of the dress on today’s post, as I accidentally earlier shared a picture of the non-bra friendly! For the full sew along, including bonus content, click here!

The Untitled Thoughts Amelie has been on my to-make list for a while, so I’m really looking forward to sewing this up!

This dress has a couple options: You can choose sleeves or sleeveless, knee length or tea length, and fully open back or bra friendly-back. For this sew along, I’m going to be sewing the sleeveless, tea length, and bra-friendly back! But you could easily sew along with any of the options, the instructions might just be a bit different.

This is an intermediate sew, so we’re going to take things a bit slower this time. Sew along installments will be released weekly over the next 5 weeks, but you’ll have until the end of September to finish up before we start the next sew along in October! The schedule for this sew along will be:

  • August 9: Choosing a Size and Materials
  • August 16: Preparing Your Pattern: Doing a Full Bust Adjustment on the Amelie
  • August 23: Sewing the Bodice and Waistband
  • August 30: Sewing the Skirt and Attaching the Bodice
  • September 6: Finishing Touches (including BUTTONS!)

Choosing a Size

This dress comes with a bunch of options. First, it’s available in US sizes 0-30, which corresponds to a waist measurement of 24-50″ (60.9-127 cm). Second, it comes with both garment B cup and garment DD cup options. (Remember these are not the same as bra cup sizes! For more info, check out our guide here.) Third, the pattern comes with two sleeve options – slender bicep and full bicep!

So many options! So how does one choose?!

Using your high bust measurement + 2″ (5 cm)

When choosing a size, we always start at the top and work our way down. So we need to choose based on our high bust measurement. (Not sure how to take your high bust measurement? Check out our guide and free measurements printable here!)

We don’t use our full bust because the size chart “bust” listed is for a B cup. And we, my friend, are not B cups.

A lot of full bust adjustment tutorials will tell you to directly substitute your high bust measurement for the full bust line on the size chart. This is also wrong. Like I just mentioned, the “bust” line on size charts is generally for a garment B cup – 2″ (5 cm) between full bust and high bust. So if we directly substitute our high bust for the “bust” line on the size chart, we’ll be choosing too small a size.

So, what’s a busty person to do? Add 2″ (5 cm) to your high bust!

For example, my high bust is 35″ (89 cm). When I add 2″ (5 cm), I end up with 37″ (94 cm). I call this my pre-FBA measure, and this is what I’ll choose my pattern size based on.

Now, let’s look at the size chart! (Slide for metric!)

You’ll see I’ve circled the bust line on size 5, which corresponds to my pre-FBA measure of 37″ (94 cm). This means I’ll start with a size 5.

do I need a full bust adjustment?

Now, if you’re not a B or DD cup (and maybe even if you are … more on this below), you’ll need a full bust adjustment. Next week, Brittani – the designer behind the Amelie – will be on the blog to show us how to do an FBA to this pattern. But, for now, let’s explore how to determine if you need an FBA.

The reason I say you may need an FBA even if you’re a garment DD cup is because the DD cup on this pattern isn’t exactly 5″ (12.7 cm) at all sizes, which is what we’d expect from a DD cup. So how do we figure this out? Look at the finished garment measurements, of course! (Slide for metric!)

My full bust is 40.5″ (103 cm), so normally, I can wear a DD garment cup without change, as that extra 1/2″ (1.3 cm) gets accounted for in ease. But on the Amelie, that’s not the case. The 5DD only gives a finished bust of 40.25″ (101 cm), so that leaves me needing some extra room. This means, if I made the 5DD as drafted, it wouldn’t quite zip, as there’d only be 40.25″ of fabric around me! You also want a bit of ease.

I find this chart from Something Delightful helpful in determining how much ease you want. A lot of drafting methods will say the minimum ease you want at the bust is 3″ (7.6 cm), but I know I tend to like less ease at the bust, so I break that “rule.” I like somewhere around 1.5-2″ (3.8-5 cm) of ease at the bust, personally. So I need the finished measurement at the bust to be at least 42″ (106.7 cm) to include enough ease. (For reference, the Eden Jumpsuit I made recently has a finished full bust of 42.5″ (108 cm).)

I’ll probably add about 2″ (5 cm) to give me a finished measurement of 42.25″ (107.3 cm), offering 1.75″ (2 cm) of ease. Again, next week’s post will cover the full bust adjustment and preparing your pattern, so just keep this in mind for now!

What if you’re between the B and the DD cup? It sort of depends on how close you are to either measurement. I’d say you want at least 1.75″ (5 cm) of ease at the bust, and up to 4″ (10 cm) of ease. So if your full bust is between 1.75-4″ (5-10 cm) less than the DD cup, I’d cut a straight DD. This will probably cover most busty people who fall below the DD cup finished measurement!

Looking at the waist

Back to the size chart we go! (Slide for metric.)

Alrighty! For me, this is going to be easy. My waist is somewhere between 29-29.5″ (73.7-75 cm), depending on how much ice cream I’ve been eating 😂😂 I know I like about 1-1.5″ (2.5-3.8 cm) of ease at the waist, so the finished waist measurement at size 5 of 30.5″ (77.5 cm) is perfect.

Technically, my waist falls between sizes 5 and 6, as you can see at the body measurements chart on the top. The pattern is designed for slightly more ease at the waist. But I’m not going to sweat it, because I know I like less ease.

If your waist measurement falls into another size, don’t fear! You just have to blend sizes. For example, if my waist was 30″, I’d probably want to choose a size 6 at the waist. Then I’d just blend the 5DD (with FBA) at the shoulders and bust into the size 6 at the waist down.

I like this tutorial on Cashmerette for blending sizes. You’ll just need to print two sizes on top of each other: your bust size (which for me, is a size 5) and your waist size (which, in the hypothetical where my waist is 30″, would be a size 6).

Finally, the hips

The hips are pretty easy on this pattern, because the skirt is a gathered, full skirt with plenty of ease. So most people will be able to keep the same size for the waist and hips.

For hips on skirts like this, I like to totally ignore the body measurement chart and look only at the finished measurement chart. Why? Because the ease makes it so looking at the body measurements doesn’t much matter. For example, my hips are actually 38″ (96.5 cm), but the finished hip measurement on this is 65-69″ (165-175.3 cm) at size 5. In other words, even if my hips were, say, 44″ (106.7 cm), which technically would fall into a size 8, there’d still be plenty of room for my hips at a size 5.

What does this mean? Well, for most people, you’re not going to need to grade or blend sizes for the hips. Just keep the same size at the hips as you have at the waist.

Choosing Materials

This pattern suggests different fabrics can achieve different looks. You can go drapey or structured! For drapey, the pattern suggests chambray, silk noil, linen, cotton voile, or rayon challis. For structure, canvas, cotton, and denim are suggested.

I want a slightly structured look, but not too much. So I’m going for this lovely burnt orange cotton I got at a thrift shop! (Yes, that $4.25 price tag for 4 yards is accurate!)

This chart gives you yardage requirements for this pattern. For me, I’m making the sleeveless long skirt, so I’ll need 3-1/3 yards (3 meters).

You’ll also need a few other materials:

  • 1 yard/meter of lining (I’m going to live dangerously and hope to get away with 4 total yards of this cotton, buuuut I’ll use muslin for lining if I need more)
  • 1/2 yard/meter of interfacing of choice
  • 15 buttons, 1/2″ (13 mm) (or 13 buttons for the knee-length skirt)
  • Matching thread
  • A set of needles appropriate for your fabric of choice

As usual, you’ll need your normal sewing tools, listed in this post.

Your Homework

This week, you should:

  • Purchase, print, and assemble your Amelie pattern. Print in layers the sizes mentioned in this post – one size for your bust, and, if it’s different, one size for your waist and hips.
  • Gather your materials

Next week, on August 16, we’ll talk about doing a full bust adjustment for those of us who need a bit more room at the bust!

Designer Q&A + AUGUST/SEPTEMBER SEW ALONG | Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Y’all, it’s August.

You know what that means?! A new sew along!!!

Remember, though, Sew Busty is changing the way that we (lol, I) do sew alongs: They’ll now happen every other month, giving you more time to catch up! You can read more on that decision here!

As I talked about in this post, we’ll be sewing up the Untitled Thoughts Amelie dress for August and September! The sew along will cover the bra-friendly back without sleeves.

This pattern is available for a 24-50″ (60.6-127 cm) waist and comes in either B or DD garment sewing cups.

(Remember that garment sewing cups are not bra cups! Your garment cup size is probably smaller than your bra cup size! Read here for more! That said, if your garment cup size is not a B or DD, read on! We’ll have a tutorial for you!)

Here’s the schedule that you can expect for the Amelie sew along:

  • August 9: Choosing a Size and Materials
  • August 16: Doing a Full Bust Adjustment on the Amelie (which my lovely friend and Untitled Thoughts Designer Brittani, interviewed below, has authored for us!)
  • August 23: Sewing the Bodice and Waistband
  • August 30: Sewing the Skirt and Attaching the Bodice
  • September 6: Finishing Touches (including BUTTONS!)

Remember, for August and September, post any me-made garment that features buttons on instagram with #sewbustychallenge for a chance to win a prize! Submissions due by September 30.

Now, wouldn’t it be just dandy to hear more about Untitled Thoughts and Brittani, the designer behind the company, before we sew up the Amelie? I thought so too! So, without further ado:

Designer Q&A: Brittani from Untitled Thoughts

Q: What is your name?
A: My name is Brittani Bumb (yep, that is my real last name! Loads of people have told me it sounds made up, haha!)

Q: What is your pattern company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: My pattern company’s name is Untitled Thoughts. I came up with the name based on my experiences growing up around my inability to express my true feelings most of the time. I was a big rule follower (still am!) and I found that a lot of my thoughts and opinions stayed inside my head rather than being fully expressed. Except when it came to clothing. I felt a real freedom to be myself through what I wore which was incredibly liberating for me!

So the name Untitled Thoughts really represents my views on clothing and it’s ability to tell the world what you are thinking without having to actually say anything. The name is also kind of a call to action for anyone who, like me, feels it’s hard to express their deepest thoughts. It’s my hope that my brand helps to release those feelings and give people permission to be 100% themselves! 

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: As a pattern company, Untitled Thoughts has only existed for a year and a half, but my brand has been with me since college, so roughly 8 years? It has grown and changed alongside me in my own journey with clothing!

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer? 
A: It actually happened totally accidentally! I was actually working at an indie fabric shop (Topstitch Studio and Lounge) when I was introduced to the online sewing community. I hadn’t even realized such a community existed! OR that one could be and indie pattern designer! It was a whole new world that opened up to me and I completely fell down the rabbit hole.

I started experimenting with pattern design using patterns that I had already drafted for my previous RTW collections and trying to adapt them into sewing patterns. Through that process, I realized that pattern making utilized a variety of skills I had picked up over the years. Never before had I had a job that required me to pull from all of these random skill sets, and I found that I really loved the diversity!

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: Oh this is probably the hardest question of them all! Hmmm…. I tend to lean more towards #TeamShears, but I do love whipping out my rotary cutter for those extra special projects!

Q: What is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Dresses! I have always loved wearing dresses the most and tend to enjoy sewing them the most as well. It’s just so satisfying creating an entire outfit through one garment!

Q: Untitled Thoughts has a focus on sustainability. Can you share more about why sustainability is important to you?
A: Sustainability has been a part of my life for a very long time. I’m not entirely sure when my passion for the environment began, probably when I was a kid running around outside catching butterflies and playing with rollie-pollies! I even found a paper I wrote from my high school days in which I describe myself as a “tree-hugger” so I suppose environmentalism has always been rooted deep within my ethos.

It got much deeper once I graduated college and entered the traditional fashion workforce. I lived in NYC for a few years and my time spent there really solidified my views on sustainability with regards to the fashion industry. More recently, however, I have begun learning more and more about conservation and ecology and have unlocked a new passion I hadn’t realized existed for me! All of my work moving forward has been centered on these two ideas and how I can better serve the environment from those view points. It’s been an interesting road to travel, but one that I feel so deeply passionate about!

Q: And how does Untitled Thoughts practice sustainability?
A: Oh there are loads of little things (as well as big ideas!) I try to incorporate into the day-to-day practices here at Untitled Thoughts. I have outlined many of them in more detail on my website under my About section. These range anywhere from reusing packaging to CFL bulbs to composting to saving all of my scraps and turning them in to something new.

More recently, I decided that moving forward, all of my future patterns will be designed to be zero waste, or as low waste as possible. Through this process, my entire outlook on the design process and what I create and put out into the world has shifted! I’ve written a bit about my intentions for future patterns here. Since writing that blog post, I have solidified my stance a bit more on the direction I plan to take Untitled Thoughts in to the future. It’s both exciting and a lot of work, but I think it’s important work, marrying sustainability + design. 

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: It means a lot. I’ve always had the view point that diversity is incredibly important and is the most beautiful thing in the world. Whether it be the diversity of culture, of food, of personalities, of plant, of animals, of water…. diversity is what fills the world with so much to be joyful of! And body diversity is no different – it’s something that should be celebrated and enjoyed! So it has always been at the forefront of my mind when it comes to the garments I design. 

Because Untitled Thoughts was built on this idea of expressing your inner most thoughts and showing the world who you are, the idea of celebrating each persons’ unique body goes hand in hand. I’ve always championed people to celebrate their bodies, back when I was designing RTW garments, then when I moved into creating custom bridal wear, and now with pattern design. 

Q: What inspired you to offer your patterns for both B and DD cups?
A: Honestly, I was inspired by the community. It wasn’t until discussions regarding size inclusivity and bust size options began happening on Instagram that I was even aware that most patterns were designed from a B-Cup base. Even though I went to college for fashion design, this small fact was never even mentioned. Isn’t that wild? (Editor’s note: YES SO WILD. Okay, back to Brittani)

Once I learned that everything I had designed in the past was based off of one cup size, and that that cup size wasn’t the most universal, I realized that I needed to make some changes to my design process. Thankfully, there were designer’s like Helen from Helen’s Closet and Jenny from Cashmerette that had been researching this very issue and made their findings public. After reading through their research (and doing a bit of my own), I decided to add in the DD-Cup option to all of my patterns. I chose the DD-cup addition because it seemed to be the cup size that would be most beneficial to sewists at the time. 

I would of course love to continue adding additional cup size options to my patterns, but I am unsure how feasible it will be for me in the short term to get this done. As a one woman run-brand, I can only accomplish so much in a short time frame. But it is something I am constantly thinking about and hope to tackle when the time is right!

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when adapting your patterns for the larger cup size?
There have definitely been challenges, but I love challenges because it means there is still room for learning and growth! I think one of the biggest challenges has been getting proportions correct and ensuring that no one dart is too wide and short. The Amelie Dress was actually the first dress I designed to include the DD-Cup option, and it was a mess during the testing phase, even for the B-Cup Sizes! Center Front darts are tricky to get correct and my testers came back and told me that they were experiencing Madonna-esque tips at the bust. 

It turns out that my bust darts were too wide and short which left no where for the fabric to go. I didn’t realize that this was something to be concerned about, but after a bit of research, it turns out that there are certain guidelines that you can follow for the ratio of a dart’s length:width to keep the darts lying more smoothly. For the B-Cup option, I simply needed to add a second dart to help redistribute the excess fabric. But for the DD-Cup, I needed to add two additional darts, which you don’t commonly see in patters.

It’s little details like this that I find myself constantly looking for when designing for larger cup sizes. I want to make sure that my garments fit the same way across all my sizes, even when the base garment has differences between each bust size.

Circle back Monday to see the first installment of the Amelie Sew Along! 

Community Blog | Seeing the Full Bust Adjustment as a Series of Adjustments with Kerry

Over the past couple years, I’ve gotten quite confident in my ability to do a successful FBA on a standard two-dart bodice pattern. 

McCalls 6696, my first (successful) FBA!

I’ve even gotten comfortable with the idea that you can pivot darts anywhere you’d like around the apex and that they can be split and transformed into gathers. 

McCalls 6696 again, but modified to have a front yoke and two waist darts.

But I haven’t had a lot of practice with doing an FBA on other types of bodices.

Enter the weekend sew-along hosted by Marika of Enchanted Rose Costumes for McCalls 7974. 

Line art for McCalls 7974

This pattern not only doesn’t have standard darts, it has a plunging neckline and a curved underbust seam. My experience with this style of bodice in RTW has been that plunging necklines are prone to gaping and that underbust seams rarely sit under the bust.

I knew fitting this bodice would likely take several tries, so I started with a straight 1” FBA on the size corresponding to my upper bust measurement. (This is always a bit off for me, since I’m in between upper bust measurements on most standard size charts. I err on the side of slightly too big and then use my toiles to refine if necessary.)

Toile #1. 1” FBA.

This bodice was undoubtedly better than the standard pattern, but the underbust seam didn’t sit against my ribcage. So, even though it seemed like I had added enough width, I had not added enough length. Also, I was able to pinch out some fabric along the front neckline – suggesting it wasn’t going to sit tight against the body.

Back to the drawing table.

The FBA is often treated as a single adjustment, but it’s actually a series of changes. The obvious change is that you’re adding width right at the apex. This makes sense because doing an FBA is often triggered by noting that the full bust measurement on a pattern is smaller than your own full bust measurement. But an FBA also adds length – specifically travelling over the apex – because it assumes that the change in width is at least partially driven by a higher point the cloth must travel over (more forward thrust, if you will). This might not be the case! Or the distribution of that forward thrust may not be distributed above and below the apex in the assumed ratio. There are an infinite variety of body shapes and untangling which standard adjustment assumptions work for you and which ones do not can take time.

For my second attempt, I added length to the entire bodice piece after doing my 1” FBA.

Comparing attempts #1 and 2 with the original pattern piece.
Toile #2. 1” FBA & 1” length at underbust.

This toile puffed out along the sides. (I didn’t bother to cut new back pieces for this toile which is why they don’t match at the side seams.)

The fact that this didn’t work made a lot of sense once I thought about it. The underbust seam actually sat in the right place along the sides in my first toile – it was just under the bust itself that it seemed to float out and ride up. So I marked where along the underbust seam it started to sit in the right place. Then I did my 1” FBA and added on extra length right below the apex and tapered it out to the side seam.

Attempt #3.
Attempt #3 compared to the original pattern piece with bonus sewing cat.
Toile #3. 1” FBA, 1” length under apex tapered to nothing at the side seam.

The style of this particular dress made it really obvious, but as I thought about it I realized that I have had this problem before! Even if I have no other drag marks or pulling after an FBA, I do notice the center front waist pulling up a little. Whatever the assumption in a standard FBA is about how much length to add for how much width, it isn’t quite enough for my particular shape. In hindsight this seems obvious, but I think it took the full process for me to really start to see the FBA as a series of adjustments rather than a rigid formula.

For the actual dress, I also raised the neckline and sewed a strip of organza into the neckline seam to stabilize it, so I wouldn’t have any gaping. 

Success!

Kerry learned how to sew from her mother as a kid, but only recently started sewing consistently for herself. You can see her sewing projects on both her IG @kamtrouble and on her blog.

Designer Q&A | Tasha from Unleashed Patterns

I’m really excited to chat with Tasha from Unleashed Patterns today, because Unleashed has one of the most inclusive size charts out there! Their Empowered Peplum & Dress pattern and their Enlighten Dress pattern are both available for waists 23-57″ (58.4-144.8 cm) and have garment cup sizes A-H available at all base sizes.

Yes, garment cup sizes A-H available at all sizes. You read that right.

(And remember, your bra cup size is not your garment cup size! The two are based on different measurements! I’m a J bra and a DD or DDD garment! Read more here.)

Anyway, let’s hear from Tasha!

Q: What is your name?
A: Tasha Gray

Q: What is your company’s name and how did you come up with it?
A: Unleashed Patterns. It was a team effort coming up with the name, but I love it because it spoke to my freedom to create patterns on my own terms. It also embraces our philosophy as a company in that we don’t adhere to social normatives. Our patterns are inclusive in sizing and labeling meaning we don’t categorize them as women’s and use chest vs breast, etc.

Q: How long has your company existed?
A: Unleashed patterns launched in September of 2020.

Q: When and how did you decide to become a pattern designer?
A: I began drafting patterns about 10 years ago but it was mainly for myself because I wasn’t finding styles I liked and that fit my body. After having children I began drafting patterns for them and that evolved into taking classes and teaching myself how to draft for multiple sizes.

Q: Are you #teamrotarycutter or #teamshears?
A: #Teamrotarycutter but a good pair of shears are definitely necessary.

Q: When is your favorite thing to sew for yourself?
A: Anything with pockets whether it be a dress, skirt, or pullover. I usually find a way to include pockets on patterns for Unleashed.

Q: What does body diversity mean to you?
A: To me body diversity starts with acknowledging that we are unique and there is so much beauty in that. I often tell people that no one other than the person who made the garment knows what size(s) it is so don’t get caught up in that. The important thing is that it fits you and makes you feel comfortable and confident.

Q: Unleashed’s size range is one of the largest size ranges I’ve seen, with waists from 23-57″ (58.4-144.8 cm). Tell me about how you developed this range.
A: When Unleashed Patterns was just an idea, I knew that I wanted to have a range that went beyond what most existing companies were already offering. I know so many people who sew out of necessity because they can’t find properly fitting clothing off the rack. Sewing isn’t less expensive than buying off the rack but it is certainly more rewarding. I do what I can to make sure we include as many sizes as possible and we are also currently working to expand the existing range because there is a need and a demand for it.

Q: You offer one of the largest ranges of cup options of any pattern designer in your Empowered peplum. What inspired you to start offering full bust options for your patterns?
A: I often have to make full chest adjustments when making clothing for myself. After the release of the Empowered pattern and the overwhelming response of people who were so glad to have the full chest options included, I realized how many other people like myself needed to make this alteration. Because we strive to be inclusive and provide a great base to making well fitting garments, I made the decision that moving forward we will include full chest options whenever possible.

Q: What challenges did you face, if any, when drafting the Empowered Peplum for a full bust?
A: Empowered was the first pattern from Unleashed to offer options for fuller chests so trying to find a middle ground as far as fit definitely took some effort. We went through several drafts in testing (thank you to our testers for their amazing feedback).

Ultimately I think we reached a base that worked for us and also including the fit section in the pattern was key. As a designer we can’t anticipate every individual fit adjustment or include it in the pattern pieces, but providing the information to help you achieve a great fit absolutely goes a long way.

Mini Sew Along: Lace Panties with Monica from BravoBella Bras

The Great Bra Sewing Bee starts tomorrow with the Beginner Bee, a day set aside for beginner bra and lingerie makers! With the Bee so close, I’m excited to have teamed up with the ladies over at the Great Bra Sewing Bee and Monica from BravoBella Bras to bring you an exclusive sneak preview of what kind of content you’ll see at the Bee!

Haven’t registered yet? Get registered here! (It costs as little as $49 for 5 days worth of classes!) (And, again, this post isn’t sponsored. I just really think we’ll all have a lot of fun at the Bee!)

While you’re at it, use promo code SEWBUSTY will get you 10% off the Josey, Josey Plus, and Ingrid kits. They likely won’t come in time for the Bee, but here’s a hot tip: use some inexpensive fabric, like the Casa Collection Tulle from Joanns to make your tester bras during the Bee, then, once you have your fit right, use your pretty kits to make a final version in the coming weeks! (I’ve not personally used the Casa Collection Tulle for bra making, but I’ve heard it works great, and it’s available locally to many US-based sewists.)

Now, one more thing I wanted to note about this mini sew along: Unfortunately, the pattern Monica is showing in this video – the Bella panties from Evie la Luve – is not size inclusive, as it only accommodates hips 34-43.5″/83-110 cm. Because of that, I wanted to specifically point out a fabulous size inclusive pattern to which you can apply these same techniques: the FREE Porcelynne Sara Boyshort Panties, which accommodates up to a 63″/160 cm hip.

I know, I know. I’m a total fangirl for Porcelynne. But part of the reason for my fangirl status is how size inclusive Porcelynne is.

Anyway, without further ado, I give you Monica on how to sew lace panties!

Bra Making | My 10 Most Anticipated Classes at the Great Bra Sewing Bee 2021

Hey ho howdy! Did you know that the Great Bra Sewing Bee starts in four short days?! I’m getting really excited to join in the fun, as I wasn’t able to make it last year. I know a bunch of you are also going, so I thought I’d fill you in on my top ten classes I’m most excited to attend! Haven’t registered yet? Get registered here! (It costs as little as $49 for 5 days worth of classes!) And, no, this post is not sponsored 🙂

While you’re at it, use promo code SEWBUSTY will get you 10% off the Josey, Josey Plus, and Ingrid kits. (They may not come in time for the Bee, but you can always use them as you work through the recordings!)

1: Couture Techniques with Jennie

I’ve long been following Jennie, the goddess behind Annie and Myras. Every week, Jennie posts an instagram story about a lingerie-making technique, and I’ve been so enthralled with her vintage-style, luxurious makes. So when I heard that Jennie was teaching a couture techniques class at the Great Bra Sewing Bee this year, I was like 😍 Here’s the wild part: Annie’s class is at 2 a.m. my time, and I’m honestly considering staying up to watch it live rather than catching the recording. That’s how excited I am.

2: Large Cup Considerations with Margarita & Evyone

Obviously, as a busty person, I’m so glad to see that GBSB has a class just for us! Of course, we got a little sneak preview of this class from the Sew Busty post on large cup considerations Margarita and Evyone contributed to last month for bra month! I’m often frustrated by the lack of busty representation in the bra making community, so I’m looking forward to hearing more from Margarita and Evyone on the unique needs of this community.

3: All Things Omega Boobs with Lily

I’m not quite an omega shape, but my breasts have a near-omega shape in that my roots are very wide compared to the overall volume of my breast. (This is actually a common misunderstanding that I’m on a constant mission to correct: not all narrow-rooted, large breasts are omega. Some of us are just noodles.) But, even though I’m not a true omega, I think this class with the magnificent Lily (who sat down with me for a Q&A just last month!) will be super helpful.

4: Pattern Adjustments for Size Inclusivity with Apostrophe Patterns

I’ve said a million times that size inclusivity is the most important movement in sewing right now. Even before more broad body diversity (including my crusade to have more garment pattern designers offer cup options), the first step is size inclusivity. That’s why I’m eager to see what Apostrophe Patterns – a company that offers drafted-to-measure t-shirt, leggings, sports bra, and panties patterns – has to say about adjusting patterns to fit all bodies.

5: Bodysuit Fit with Maddie

I love me some Maddie from Madalynne, and I’m so so so excited to learn more about bodysuit fit from her! I’m actually just about ready to make my first Fenix bodysuit, so I’m looking forward to hearing a few more tips and tricks from Maddie before jumping into the pattern.

6: Wires with Jennifer

Jennifer is the queen of underwires. Her shop (Porcelynne) carries so many underwire styles for all different bodies, so she really is an expert on underwire fit. And y’all know I’m a Porcelynne fangirl: The Eve bra, designed by Jennifer, is my favorite bra pattern, and Porcelynne can do no wrong. It will be amazing to learn more about wires from the wire queen herself!

7: Adding Support to Bralettes with Monica

I used to think, as a 30J bra (in UK sizing), I couldn’t wear bralettes. But then I did a bunch of work to the Pin Up Girls Sweet 16 pattern to alter it for my size and shape and discovered that boobalicious people can wear bralettes. I’m excited to learn more about making bralettes even more supportive from Monica, the lady behind Bravobella Custom Bras.

8: Strappy Bras with Hannah

If you follow any bra makers on instagram, you probably follow Hannah from Evie La Luve Lingerie, home of the Let the Dice Decide weekly challenge. Hannah makes the most sweet yet sexy lingerie, it’s honestly so swoon-worthy. I’m looking forward to hearing more about how she adds strappy elements to her lingerie, as I definitely want to add more strappiness to my lingerie wardrobe!

9: Science of Bra Support with Monica

So I’ve always been pretty terrible with spatial reasoning and physics, but I still find it super interesting. I think it’ll be so cool to learn more about the nitty-gritty of how bras work. I like a little challenge sometimes!

10: Taking the Plunge: All About V Separators with Bodil

I received a v separator in my monthly goodie bag from Porcelynne a couple months ago and, frankly, I haven’t been sure what to do with it. That’s why I’m really psyched to hear from Bodil (of B’Wear) about what to do with these little contraptions!

That’s it, folks! Are you going to join me at the Great Bra Sewing Bee? I hope so! Please tell me on the Sew Busty Facebook group what classes you’re looking forward to!


Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. Using the affiliate links in Sew Busty posts is a great way to support the costs of running Sew Busty, as when you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. This helps me pay for the hosting, domain, design, and other costs associated with administering this site. All opinions remain my own.

Community Blog | Hacking the Ogden Cami for Busty Bodies with Helen

The Ogden Cami by True Bias seems to be one of those sewing patterns you see everywhere. I’m sure anyone who has spent even the smallest amount of time browsing sewing hashtags on Instagram or scrolling through a sewing Facebook group will have seen this pattern pop up everywhere! I absolutely love the simplicity of it with its lovely clean lines, stylish neckline and plunging back. That being said it took me a long time to get around to making one because I just couldn’t see how it could work for me. 

The Ogden Cami comes in two size ranges, and whilst it’s not clear from their website I *think* the larger size range is drafted for a sewing D cup (4 inch difference between upper and full bust). Unfortunately, my measurements fall firmly into the smaller size range which is drafted for a sewing B cup (2 inch difference, again this is not clear on the website). I opted to cut out a size 4 and went with a 1inch full bust adjustment (half inch on either side). When doing the FBA I decided to leave the newly created bust darts to provide a bit of shaping as the roomy shape of this top which hangs from the bust could easily become tent like on a larger chest.

As a busty sewist one of my main considerations was that I would want to wear this pattern with a bra – I really cant stand the faff of a strapless bra and finding one in my size is pretty difficult (and I’m not up to making one quite yet!). Unlike our small-chested friends busty bras tend to have wide straps and the lovely spaghetti straps on the Ogden would just leave them on show. So I set about make this pattern bra friendly. Firstly I measured the width of the straps on the bra I want to wear this with – they are 3/4inch wide so I widened the strap pattern piece to 3/4inch plus seam allowances. I then made the corresponding change to the front and back pattern pieces where the straps join. To do this I cut off the strap attachment section about 2 inches down from the top. I then cut it in half vertically and spread the two halves apart to add in the extra width I needed. 

I also wanted to make sure that the position of the straps would lie over my bra straps – in my case this meant that the front straps needed to be moved out a bit (toward my shoulders) and the back needed to be moved in towards the centre back. I measured how much I needed to move them by and then reattached the top part of the pattern offset by the amount required. I then smoothed all the curves using a French curve and I was done!

Hopefully this little diagram will help visualise those adjustments:

And heres a photo of it on the pattern piece itself!

I made up the top in this really fun bright viscose and it was almost perfect. After a bit of wear I noticed it was riding up over my bust…a good indication I needed a bit more bust room.

I decided on an extra half inch all round so I added the extra to the side seams rather than do another FBA. I also decided I wanted the lining lengthening a bit as it finished right at my bust line. After making those changes I cut out another version in the same fabric and this time the fit was perfect.

Now that I’ve got this pattern to work for me I can definitely see it becoming one of my go-to patterns for summer. In fact I dived straight in for another go and this time hacked it into a sundress by adding gathered tiers. To do this I sewed up the top as normal and then marked where I wanted the first tier to start being sure to get it level to the ground all round (this means it needs to be much longer in the front to go over my bust). I then gathered the skirt and attached it and repeated for the second tier. I also added some faux ties to the straps. It really is perfect for summer, light and breezy with very little fabric touching my skin, and I can still wear a normal bra underneath!!

Helen is a UK based scientist who loves to create her own sustainable handmade wardrobe to suit her personal style and shape. You can find her makes on insta @hshandcrafts.

August/September Sewing Challenge + New Sew Busty Plans

I’m super excited to both announce our sew along and sewing challenge for August and September, as well as a few changes for the way we do sew alongs and challenges at Sew Busty!

August & September Sew Along + Challenge: The Amelie & Buttons

For August-September, we’re going to sew the Amelie dress from Untitled Thoughts as our sew along, and buttons will be the theme of our challenge! Sew any garment with buttons and post using the hashtag for a chance to win a prize!

I’ve long had my eye on the Amelie, and I just can’t get over the adorable back. The best part? The Amelie includes a DD draft at all base sizes, and there’s a way to make the open back cover a bra!

The Amelie sew along will come in three installments: August 9, August 16, and August 23. But, no new sew along will be posted in September, giving you extra time if 3 weeks isn’t enough. (And, as always, the Amelie sew along will live on this site indefinitely, so you can always come back to it at another time of year.)

The Buttons Challenge means that, if the Amelie isn’t your thing, you’ll have the months of August and September to sew up anything that features buttons – a button-up blouse, button-up pants, a cardigan, or even a bag with buttons. Post it by September 30 with #sewbustychallenge for your chance at winning a prize!

Planning Ahead for Sew Busty

Soooo, why is the Amelie sew along and buttons challenge going to span over two months instead of one? Because you asked for more time, and because this will help me not burn out!

If you follow me on insta, you know that I’ve been doing some scheming. This had two goals: First, I wanted to make sure I was giving y’all the content you want. Second, I wanted to make sure my Sew Busty workload remains (or even gets more) manageable, given that I’m one person (and a person with a full-time job and multiple chronic illnesses at that!).

Here are a few things I learned that are being implemented immediately:

Y’all like sew alongs, but you don’t need (or want) them every month.

Whew! This is soooo good to know, because sew alongs take a lot of effort. It’s a lot easier to sew something up quickly than to sew, stopping at every step to take pictures, and then write 3-4, 1500 word posts about how I did it.

So, from now on, sew alongs will happen every other month.

Y’all also like sewing challenges, but again, not necessarily every month.

This was actually a surprise to me. I honestly thought sewing challenges would be more popular than they are. Sewing challenges will span two months. They’ll start with the month of the sew along, and extend into the next month.

So, for example, as you’ll see on the handy calendar below, we’re going to start the Untitled Thoughts Amelie dress in August. You’ll then have August AND September to do a project with buttons and post it using #sewbustychallenge in order to be entered for prizes.

You want more notice on sew alongs and challenges

WISH GRANTED. I love this idea. So I’ll now be putting out a schedule, like the one you’ll see below, every quarter or so. My goal is to give you at least a month’s notice before a new sew along starts. Obviously I’m late for August, but I’ll be putting this out again in early September, ahead of the October/November sew along and challenge.

Pattern reviews are the most sought-after content.

This is honestly also a relief, because writing up my thoughts on a pattern after I sew it is SO MUCH EASIER than the full tutorials. So I’m going to be more focused on writing up every pattern I make.

After pattern reviews, sloper and FBA content is the most sought-after.

This gives me a challenge: Continue experimenting with my sloper! I can’t promise I’m going to do these posts on a particular schedule, because I honestly don’t always have the spoons to play with my sloper, as it’s a new thing for me. Same thing with FBA posts: I often opt for cup-sized patterns because that’s what I have the energy for. But! I will still make an effort to give you more of this content.

People also want more community features.

One idea someone offered was to do interview-based features on people in the community. I love this idea, and will definitely be implementing it. (Want to be featured? Ping me!)

Y’all want things in metric too.

My brain sucks at numbers and math and I didn’t grow up with metric, but I’m going to do this, because I know most of the world doesn’t think in inches 😂 In the last Roseclair sew along, I used both imperial and metric, and that will continue!

As always, thanks for trusting little old me to bring this community of busty sewists together. Y’all inspire me every day. If you ever have feedback, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. I’m all ears!