Boat neck top with full bust adjustment

The whole point of this quest was that I wanted to use this scrap of fabric left over from a shirt I made for the OH. The original fabric came from Minerva a couple of years ago. I kept it as there seemed enough to make a simple top. I had thought of caving in and buying the Ogden Cami but while sorting out my patterns I came across this 1980s pattern, Style 2940, which I made up in my twenties.

Once again this pattern is from when I was smaller, so Iā€™m updating to increase the size. It goes up to a maximum of 16 so I’m going to add one more size to this. I also decided to make a full bust adjustment at the same time, as looking at the pattern and remembering the sizing in the 80s and 90s I think I’m going to need it.

I traced the original pattern and graded it up a size and then followed the instructions from the Curvy Sewing Collective to put in the dartless FBA.

Four cuts are needed, the first is a vertical line down through the apex point, the second is a line from the apex to the arm scye, the third is from the apex to the side seam and finally a line that is perpendicular to the original grainline. this allows additional length because when the slash is spread it will make the centre front rise and the side becomes longer, so some additional length is needed there.

To make the FBA:-

  • from the bottom cut the grain line up to the apex
  • then cut the line which goes to the arm scye, don’t cut all the way through leaving a little bit that as a hinge.
  • cut the line from the side seam to the apex, again leaving a hinge.
  • cut off the horizontal line

Position the pattern so that the two large pieces are parallel. The space between the pieces should be equal to half of the difference between your high bust and full bust. When this is doubled for the other side the necessary extra fullness is added. A side dart is created to accomodate the fuller bust.

As this top has a facing I have to redraft it to fit the new pattern piece. I did this by simply tracing the top of the new front piece and adding a curved line 5 cm deep for the facing.

Just about squeezed the pattern onto my scrap fabric

I managed to fit the front and back pieces but there was so little of the cloth I had to have to use a different fabric for the facing. I ended up nipping to Hobbycraft and grabbing some plain cotton as I couldn’t find anything suitable in the stash.

I cut out the pattern and as is my wont, got distracted by another, more urgent project. When I returned to this top, I had managed to mislay the first page of the instructions which of course held the crucial details of how to fashion the facing. So I had to improvise. My dilemma was whether to join the facing pieces before or after attaching them to the body. I opted for after and I think I got away with it.

I had a couple of shell buttons left over from the Soft Suit Combo project that were the perfect colour but alas, I broke one as I tried to sew it on. Luckily, I had a similar button in the stash, it’s a different colour but I’m not going to cry over it.

I’m very happy with the finished top. The full bust adjustment worked perfectly and I think if fits really nicely. The armholes are just right too. I often find sleeveless tops leave me a bit exposed as the armscye is always very low. Adjusting this pattern seems to have closed up the armhole a bit which is fine by me. There are a couple of things I would change however, I think the neck has come out too high I think I would lower that if I’m making this top again, also while it just fits around the hips I think I’ll give myself a little bit more room there as well. All in all, it’s been a very successful resurrection of a pattern from long ago as well as consolidation of a new skill.

Do you ever reuse your very old patterns? Which sewing skills do you want to add to your Arsenal?

Thanks for dropping by,

About Elaine Batiste

I'm a teacher, a lifelong learner, a traveller, a maker, an adventurer and a 'want to do more' kind of gal.

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