February 18, 2016

Special technique: Making an FBA for McCall's 7053

Last time (Finished project: McCall's 7053, "An Homage To Two Eras -- Now With Salmon"), I promised to show you the Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) for this pattern. Here 'tis.

To recap: McCall's 7053, View B, is a loose-fitting blouse that includes a scarf-like drapey cowl neckline.
Photo Source: McCall's 7053
Will that gorgrous scarf detail cause complications when it comes to FBA? Yes and no. Yes, because it seems like the FBA would need to be incorporated into that cowl somehow. Can you even imagine the eighteen-dimensional thinking required to add the right amount of fabric, in the right places, for an FBA on that thing? Only a Guild Navigator could do it. Luckily, we don't need one, so before you start overdosing on Spice, listen up: the cowl is immaterial, as it turns out. We can make a perfectly adequate FBA without it.

All the slash-and-spread activities are happening on the piece that surrounds the cowl. If you look closely, the cowl is attached to a square-shaped cutout in an otherwise normal bodice. The FBA tiptoes delicately around this cowl business.

Whew. Let's get started, shall we?

Making an FBA for McCall's 7053

This is a riff on the standard method for a horizontal (bustline) dart. There are lots of helpful tutorials for this technique; search the web, and see what I mean. One of my favorites is the well-illustrated guide from Curvy Sewing Collective, Tutorial: A Full Bust Adjustment On A One-Dart Bodice.

Gather your supplies:
  • Paper for tracing, slashing and spreading. This can be Swedish Tracing Paper, wax paper, butcher paper, whatever.
  • Ruler or yardstick. I like my 5"x24" clear plastic quilter's ruler, because it has nice thick ends that double as a T-square when right angles are needed. But you don't have to use this one! Any straight edge will work.
  • Tape
  • Scissors
  • Marking pen

Trace the piece from the original McCall's 7053 tissue

Be sure to trace these three key elements:
  • Bust apex (the crosshairs-looking circle near the top middle of the piece)
  • Dart, including legs and dart point (duh)
  • Grainline
McCall's 7053, front piece before FBA

Draw vertical and armscye lines

Using your ruler, draft a vertical line from the bust apex, straight down to the bottom. Make it parallel to the grainline if you can (eyeballing is OK).

Then draw a line from the bust apex, up to the armscye. Aim for about 1/3 of the way down the armscye; again, eyeballing is OK.
The first lines goes up to the bust apex, then over to the armscye.

Bisect the dart 

Starting at the middle of the dart, draft a straight line through the dart point, ending at the first line you drew. It will intersect slightly below the bust apex.
The second lines goes from the middle of the dart to the first line.
Alternative: The dart on McCall's 7053 happens to end exactly on the first vertical line we drew. This will not be the case for every pattern. Sometimes the dart ends short of the line. On close-fitting patterns, you would need to break the dart line to get a more accurate fit. How? Bisect the dart as above, but end the line at the point of the dart. Then, continue the line exactly up to the bust apex. The Curvy Sewing Collective's FBA tutorial shows you how.

Cut the first line

Starting at the bottom, slice up though the first line you drew, through the bust apex. Continue cutting to the armscye. Leave about 1/8" of paper uncut, to act as a hinge.
We're slashing now! Cut up to the bust apex, then on to the armscye.

Slice through the dart

Starting at the side, cut through the second line you made, through the dart, ending at the first line. Again, leave a 1/8" hinge near the dart point.
Slash through the dart, and onward to the apex line.

Spread ... spread for me.

OutKast wants you to spread. Believe me, they know what they're talking about.

So, starting at the bust apex, spread the pattern apart. How much? The general guideline is to spread 1/2" for every cup size above B. For example, a D-cup would would be about 1" of spread.

For a more precise spreading guide, check the Curvy Sewing Collective's tutorial. It shows you how to calculate the exact amount, based on high bust and low bust measurements.
Measure the gap horizontally, and spread.

Close the hemline and tape paper underneath

You'll notice that the spread area goes all the way down to the hemline at the bottom. This means the hem will be that much wider. In a loose blouse like this, the extra fabric might not be a big deal. But in a dress bodice, or any pattern that has something attached to the bottom of the piece, the extra fabric becomes a problem. Things won't match up.

If you like, just pinch the pieces together at the hemline. Make sure your FBA spread stays the same. We'll deal with the uneven hemline we've created, later.

Then, tape paper underneath the gap to keep it in place.
Keeping the FBA gap the same, I closed the gap at the bottom.

Tape paper under the dart

As you see, the dart got bigger too. That's great; this is the whole point of the FBA. When you sew the dart, side seam will be exactly as long as it was before the FBA, with the dart gulping up more fabric now.

Leaving some extra poking out from the side seam, tape paper under the dart. If you like, re-trace the dart legs just to show they're supposed to be there.
Leave some extra paper outside the dart for then next step.

Cut the dart extension

This dart will be pressed downward in the final blouse, so we need to make sure the raw edges line up along the side seam.

Fold the paper as if you were sewing the dart, with the dart pressed downward.
A nice little touch: create a proper dart extension.
Then cut straight along the side seam, through the extra paper you left outside the dart.
Chop away the extra paper.
Unfolding the paper, you can see the new cutting line zigs and zags properly, so that when you sew and press the dart, you'll have a nice straight raw edge.
Behold! A perfect dart extension.

Square up the hemline

When I pinched together the gap at the bottom, it made a little jag at the hemline. You can see mine is not very dramatic, but if your FBA is larger, your jag might be a lot more jaggy.

Tape some paper under the hemline, and cut it straight across to un-jag that thing.
Alternative method: With a loose blouse, you can just stop there. But if you want to be super-precise, go back to the original McCall's 7053 pattern tissue and measure the width of the hemline. Then measure your new hemline. If there's a great difference, shave the extra width off the side seam line, grading up to the bottom of the dart.

Perfect! You're done.

Have you made a version of McCall's 7053? Especially View B, with the drapey scarf? Let me know in the comments. Link to your blog if you have one. I'm making a special plea here, because I'm not seeing many versions of this pattern in the wild, and it would be wonderful to see more!

Special bonus: a Pinterest board for FBAs

Want a treat? I saved it for the end, because you made it all the way through.

I've gathered a boatload of helpful FBA tutorials -- including FBAs for non-standard bodices -- in a Pinterest board. Fun!

Take a look, and let me know if you come across any other corner-case FBAs that should be added. I'm here to help!
Pinterest: FBA techniques from Sharp Little Needles
See ya next time, when I will review a pattern that's so addicting, I can't stop sewing versions of it.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial, Teacher!