Darling Ranges Dress Full Bust Adjustment, FBA, Vancouver Sewing Blogger

Another Darling Ranges Dress and How I Did a Full Bust Adjustment

Darling Ranges Dress Full Bust Adjustment, FBA, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

Hallo you. Spring has finally sprung and, as promised, I’m back with a second Darling Ranges Dress and the deets on how I did a FBA {full bust adjustment}. This large scale floral fabric has been in my stash for three long years. I bought it when I was hunting down fabric for the 2014 Mad Men Dress Challenge. It wasn’t right for my Betty Draper Dress…but…I was smitten with the gorgeous colours and had to have it! It’s a linen-like cotton and I can honestly say I was not even a little bit cold when we took photos! 

Okay, before I get to the nitty-gritty of the post, I want to give a quick shout out to Barbara of Lilliepawillie. Barbara has recently published a comprehensive post on pants patterns {or trousers for my UK friends}. HERE is the link. She’s showcased a number of Indie pants patterns, many that I was unfamiliar with. {PS There is an image of me wearing my Morgan Jeans by Closet Case Files…thanks so much for the mention Barbara!} 

Darling Ranges Dress Full Bust Adjustment, FBA, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Blogs, Vancouver Sewing Blog

All righty peeps…I’m not here to re-invent the wheel. There are several fine FBA tutorials out there. I, for one, was glued to Workroom Social’s TUTORIAL: HOW TO MAKE A FBA ON A BODICE WITHOUT UNDERARM OR SIDE SEAM DARTS when I altered this very pattern. The reason we’re hanging out together today is because it was the placement of the Darling Ranges waist dart that had me scratching my head.  I figured out a solution…one that works pretty brilliantly…for me. But who knows, maybe I made the whole exercise harder than it had to be? That being said, there might just be a few of you out there that are as perplexed as I was.

Darling Ranges Dress Full Bust Adjustment, FBA, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Blogs, Vancouver Sewing Blog

1. I’m using my tape measure to indicate a straight line slicing through the middle of the waist dart. And oh…looky dat…the line is on a diagonal to the grain. Wot? Well that can’t be good. All the instructions I found for doing a FBA on a waistline dart were based on that straight line being parallel to the grain line and ending at the shoulder seam.
2. First up…I traced the dart in my size.
3. Then I marked my bust apex….lower. Nope…lower. Sigh…gravity at work.
4. Okay… with prep work done, I followed Jennifer’s tutorial on doing a FBA on a bodice that does not have darts. Yep…I totally ignored the waist dart…for now. Once again…the link to Workroom Social: FBA Tutorial. It’s just that good.

Darling Ranges Dress Full Bust Adjustment, FBA, Vancouver Sewing Blogger, Vancouver Sewing Blog

5. Ta Da! I now have a bust dart on my Darling Ranges pattern.
6. In this image you can see the width I’ve added to the front bodice.
7. Now it’s time to add the waist dart back in. I’ve highlighted the bust apex and drawn a short line 1/2″ below it. {I didn’t want my dart to end too high.} I placed my traced dart on the pattern with the tip of the dart at the marked line and the right edge parallel to the original dart’s right edge.
8. The last step is to true up the bottom edges of the dart. That’s it. We’re done! If you are familiar with doing FBAs you know that the waist line measurement increases proportionately. In my case, it worked out perfectly and I did not need to narrow the side seams.
I don’t think shirt dresses ever really go out of style, but it definitely feels like the season of the shirt dress! Also, #sewtogetherforsummer is still open. I’ve got two Darling Ranges completed and two new shirt dress makes coming soon. Thanks for reading!
My other Darling Ranges Dress:
My Darling Ranges at the Red Barn
Darling Ranges Dress : : Megan Nielsen Patterns




  • Reply Suzanne May 1, 2017 at 4:32 pm

    This is literally Greek to me but I do love the dress!

    And the gorgeous backdrop of flowers. You look beautiful Sue.


    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:03 pm

      Ah…and Greek is a beautiful language. Thanks so much for your sweet words Suzanne!

  • Reply Sheila (of Ephemera) May 1, 2017 at 5:59 pm

    This is just a gorgeous dress on you, Sue! Well done on the sewing! I have a skirt (linen) with a similar print to that – makes me want to get it out and wear it!

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you Sheila! YES! Get that skirt out…we need as much good weather intentions as possible, LOL!

  • Reply Margo May 2, 2017 at 2:50 am

    What a beautiful print Sue!! Love it and your pics are lovely!

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:04 pm

      Thanks Margo! Hope the east coast weather is being kind to you!

  • Reply Helen Wilkinson May 2, 2017 at 6:27 am

    Gorgeous dress, Sue! Aren’t the blossoms so pretty right now? I always find this time of year so magical :). I love the print you chose and great tutorial for the bust adjustment!

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      This second round of cherry blossoms are really my favourite! They are so full and fluffy! Thanks for your lovely comment!

  • Reply hana @velvetribbon_sew May 2, 2017 at 8:51 am

    Gorgeous dress, Sue. Love the happy print, beautiful pictures and enjoyed the tutorial ❤❤❤

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:05 pm

      Thanks sweet Hana! The print does indeed feel happy! Now…I just have to figure how to do the heart emoticon!

  • Reply Cheryl May 2, 2017 at 8:59 am

    The diagrams, of course, are complete gobbledygook to me, but I love the dress! Spring is still a few weeks away out here on the prairies, so I’m enjoying your blossoms.

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      Greek, gobbledygook…yes, my diagrams have that effect on some people, LOL.

      Good to hear from you. I trust you were able to enjoy Mexico to the fullest before returning to prairie-town!?

  • Reply No Fear of Fashion May 2, 2017 at 9:22 am

    I understand what you are doing, but I still cannot follow it. I am so much better at just buying it in the shop. But… being a busty girl myself, that always brings on the dart problem. Or better said the lack of them, so ill-fitting tops, shirts, dresses. That is such a pleasure when you can make it yourself. It fits!!
    This new “dahling” dress is beautiful. Feminine, happy (I love the pattern and colours of the material too), just lovely. I like the length of the dress, very elegant. Still like your hair this long. My preference.
    And the background for the photos… stunning.
    I had a look at Barbara’s blog and saw your photo. She makes lenghty blogposts! And she is Belgian (our neighbouring country).

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      It is a little extra work initially…learning how to do the proper fitting…but yes, so worth it!

      Happy you like my dahling dress. 🙂 The length on this one is a little longer than the first one I made, and I have no idea why, LOL. I must have turned up the hemline that little bit shorter, but I like it too. It also looks good as a duster! And me too…loving my hair longer again!

      I think Barbara’s post was long mainly because of the content she was attempting to get in. I think pretty easy reading for people that sew. 😉

  • Reply Sabine May 2, 2017 at 11:59 am

    What a beautiful dress, dear Sue! It’s like a poem praising spring.
    Sabine xxx

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:10 pm

      Aw Sabine…you are always so poetic with your English! Thanks my friend! xo

  • Reply Shybiker May 2, 2017 at 6:54 pm

    What a beautiful dress. I envy girls with mad sewing talent.

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:11 pm

      Thanks so much Ally! As I’ve gotten older, I really do appreciate that I can sew. It’s a skill I’ve come to value greatly! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Louisa May 2, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    You out-shine the trees in your flower power dress! Perfect FBA there. Somehow that bust point just settles. No idea how that happens?

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:12 pm

      Why thank you, thank you my dear Louisa! Hahaha…yep, the bust point settles…no doubt about that!

  • Reply Lynn May 3, 2017 at 5:34 am

    Beautiful! I love the fabric. I am so impatient for summer. We had a freakishly warm winter but now it’s like we’re getting the second half of the winter we didn’t get back when it was supposed to be winter.

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:13 pm

      Thanks Lynn! WHAT is with the weather this year/past winter? It’s been crazy all round and I think we in the northern hemisphere are all getting anxious for summer!

  • Reply Flo May 3, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    A perfect dress for spring! Plus you did a great job on the fitting, it looks terrific on. My mom was really good at altering patterns for fitting purposes. Me, not so much!

    • Reply Sue May 3, 2017 at 9:16 pm

      Thanks Flo! This altering thing is fairly new for me. For years, many years, all I had to do was shorten my clothing when it came to the big four…which of course, were nearly the only pattern companies out there.

  • Reply dan May 9, 2017 at 1:01 am

    Here it is another of your lovely dresses. The large scale floral fabric matches perfectly to the backdrop of your photos . Both look very joyful … I am sure that you would be able to solve every kind of sewing problem!!!

    • Reply Sue May 12, 2017 at 9:37 am

      Thanks Dan! I sometimes think that at my age, sewing problems would be all sorted out, but still I get stumped, LOL. Well, learning is good for the mind!

  • Reply seamsoddlouise May 14, 2017 at 6:15 am

    Gosh Id overlooked this pattern. How wrong can you be? Looks gorgeous.

    • Reply Sue May 14, 2017 at 11:47 am

      I think you would love this pattern Louise. You did such a fabulous job with your Vintage Shirt Dress…you will find this one easy to do!

  • Reply Vix May 16, 2017 at 5:53 am

    You are clever! i think I understood most of what you did but whether anything i make would ever look as beautiful and professional as yours, that’s a different matter! xxx

    • Reply Sue May 16, 2017 at 10:11 pm

      Thanks Vix. It’s weird…but I do find enjoyment out of solving some of these fitting puzzles. Years ago I was all about getting it done and fast. I usually had a concert or other event in mind, so I had self imposed deadlines. Now, I take a lot more time to fit and sew a garment.

  • Reply Carolyn May 20, 2017 at 5:29 am

    WOW! that is stunningly beautiful; the fabric, your backdrop, YOU. I want that print toooooo! 🙂 That fba looks insanely complicated… good on you for working it all out and seeing it through so successfully 🙂

    • Reply Sue May 21, 2017 at 1:44 pm

      Aw…thanks so much Carolyn! I thought the same thing about FBAs before I actually attempted to do one. In this case, it’s easier than it looks, LOL!

  • Reply Priscilla May 23, 2017 at 7:16 am

    I found your colorful website through ThriftShopChic. Glad I was curious and clicked! I do well with tutorials when they have good photos, and the photos on this FBA are very detailed and good. I usually have to make shoulder and length adjustments, not bust adjustments, but if I ever have the opportunity to make a dress for a fuller figured friend, I know where to look.
    My goodness, the trees in bloom are gorgeous–you live in a beautiful area.

    • Reply Sue May 29, 2017 at 10:21 am

      OH…I remember Thrift Shop Chic! I don’t do nearly as much thrift shopping as I used to do…more into making my own clothes right now…but I still check out the fabrics available and patterns too.

      Thanks for your kind words about the how-to! It’s more apparent to me now that many, many of us have a routine pattern tweak that we need to do in order to get a good fit!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Reply Melanie May 25, 2017 at 7:11 pm

    You are the queen of full bust adjustments! This is pure science. See, if they taught this in school I would have done better in maths. I didn’t care about train A and train B; I just thought, if train B is too late, go home. You prove that if there’s a great goal, there’s a way. I thought I had commented already… Anyway, I love this dress. This is a big, bold pattern and you look incredible among all those blossoms. Grounded with positive energy. Gorgeous.

    • Reply Sue May 29, 2017 at 10:24 am

      LOL…yah, not really the queen; more of a worker bee. Just following the excellent advice of those that have gone before me…with a tweak specific to the Darling Ranges Dress. And sheesh….those math problems! I was much of the same mind…thinking more of where there were going and what adventures were waiting for them….and who they were, and what they wore….well….pretty much everything except the mileage and time….

  • Reply Bea May 29, 2017 at 3:03 am

    Hello Sue,
    I found your page by googling for a fix to my bustling bust issue with this dress. According to the measurements on the folder I should be absolutely fine with a size M, my bust measurements is in this range but waist and hips are in size S.
    However, my first muslin test run proved otherwise. With my D cup, I can not even closely close the fronts 🙁
    I wouldn’t say I am a sewing beginner but I do most my stuff in knits. I am determined to find a great fit for a woven fabric though as there are so many stunning prints out there…
    Now, I hope I can get over myself and try your recommended way (slightly scared). As I can see in your images you chose a size S. So as a “beginner for wovens”: do you think I will be fine with this FBA getting the dress to close neatly without any gaping? And naively asked: why should I not just sew up a size L?
    Oh, and I totally love your dress and styling!
    Many thanks in advance and greetings from New Zealand!

    • Reply Sue May 29, 2017 at 10:55 am

      Hi Bea! Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you have been enjoying a beautiful autumn!

      Okay…keeping in mind that I am new to this FBA stuff myself…I will try and help you as best I can!

      The concept behind doing a full bust adjustment is to provide a well fitting garment for those of us larger than the cup size that the pattern is drafted for. As I understand it, most companies draft for a B cup, but that isn’t true of every pattern designer so there seems to be an element of the unknown involved. {Yay for cheapo fabric and quick muslins!}

      The reasoning behind doing the alteration rather than sewing a larger size is because we want a good fit everywhere. If we sewed a size large, the back bodice would likely be too big, the neckline wouldn’t sit well, and the shoulders might be too wide. Make sense?

      I kept my post specific to a FBA on the Darling Ranges dress and did not write about how to determine how much width to add. Jennifer at Workroom Social, and others, have that covered. But, knowing that you are a D cup and otherwise a size small leads me to think that you will benefit from the method I used! 🙂 The one additional step that you may need to take is to shave off some width from the front bodice side seam. As you can see you will be adding overall width to your front bodice in the middle of the pattern piece. Tapering a new side seam from the side bust dart down to the waistline brings the waist measurement back to your desired size. {My waistline has miraculously 😉 expanded over recent years and I didn’t need to do this step.}

      If you have any questions as you are going through the steps, please let me know. When I first attempted a FBA, it all looked so overwhelming…but I did it and YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!

  • Reply Bea May 29, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Thanks so much Sue, you are star! That’s really helpful and I will get on with your method! If it turns out well, I’ll send a pic 🙂

  • Reply Sharon May 31, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    Gorgeous print and brilliant explanation of how you achieved such a brilliant fit.

    • Reply Sue June 2, 2017 at 9:48 am

      Thanks so much Sharon. These little how-to’s are not the easiest for me….I’m always hoping people understand what I’ve done.

  • Reply Barbara June 24, 2017 at 11:31 am

    waaauw, I just read this now, and first would like to say a big THANK YOU for even mentioning my post! That is so incredibly nice of you! Thanks, I feel so flattered with what you wrote! It makes me happy you found it interesting enough to mention 😉
    This dress looks so great! What a gorgeous fabric again, OH My! You have an eye for it! I am impressed with the adjustment! Luckily I don’t need a full bust adjustment (although gravity also worked on me 😉 as did the 2 little ones ;-)), as it seems always so complicated to do real adjustments to a pattern. Although I would really like to learn that a bit better, to be able to get the perfect fitting garments I would so much love to sew… Maybe if you just start by doing it, it is not that difficult at all, especially with the right tutorials… I just have to motivate myself to it. I really often think that the extra time you have to spend on it will make it worth because you end up having a garment that fits so good that you don’t want to wear anything else, but in the end I always seem to chose for the quick and easy things, without going the extra mile… I really might have to challenge myself a bit more there 😉 Anyway, thanks for sharing all the information!!

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