Hi there, Justine here from the Sewing Rabbit Team! Today I’m here to share how to adjust the Stepford Dress pattern to fit fuller busted women. Most women’s sewing patterns are drafted for a B cup so if you are larger than that, you may find your dress bodices and top projects riding up in the center, or being too short waisted, as well as being too tight around the bust and maybe not even reaching at the side seam. Pulling forward of the armhole is another telltale sign.

You may be tempted to buy a pattern in the size of your full bust in order for the pattern to fit the bust, but that’s a mistake. The bodice or top will then be too big in the back, shoulders and armholes. I would recommend you always buy a pattern to your high bust or high chest measurement instead, and do a full bust adjustment (FBA) to the bust area for better results.

For instance, I usually buy a size 12 pattern . My measurements are 37 – 28- 37. So If I bought a pattern in my bust size it would be a size 16. It would fit my bust and it would be huge everywhere else. So I buy patterns based on my upper bust which is 33.5 inches. And The I do a FBA.

Here’s how I adjusted the Stepford Dress pattern to fit me. Hopefully you will understand. I’m among the math challenged , so it took me awhile to understand how to do a FBA. Hopefully this tutorial will smooth the path for your FBA learning journey or odyssey!

How to do a Full Bust Adjustment


First, I always make a muslin of dress tops and shirts. I only sew up the basic pattern pieces and don’t add any other sewing details. This helps check the fit in other areas of the pattern as well, like the waist, shoulder, and neckline fit.

As you can see from my muslin of The Stepford Dress above the bust is way too small. But how do I know how much bigger I should make the pattern to fit?

You will need to measure the difference between your full bust and the measurement on the pattern. Since my full bust is 37 and the pattern is a 34 I need to increase my pattern by 3 inches. BUT, I’m only working on half my pattern here, so I need to open my pattern up 1 1/2 inches. So: Find the difference between your full bust and the pattern’s measurement and cut it in half.


First patch the dart on the pattern so you have a space to draw a line through the center of the dart.


Note where your apex or bust point is on your muslin and mark it on the pattern.


Draw a straight line from the center of the dart to the apex. Draw another line from the apex into the armhole.


Cut through the lines from the waist to the armhole but not all the way through the armhole. Open the pattern until the opening at the apex is as wide as you need. I opened my pattern up 1.5 inches. Do you see how the dart looks so crooked from the bottom? I need to make the opening going down the line I cut 1.5 inches and parallel all the way from the apex to the waist. Also, at this point my dart will be way too huge, so I need to add a side dart to the pattern to allow some of that extra room in the waist dart to move over to the side dart.


Draw a line from the side seam to the apex but not all the way through it. Open the line and magically a side dart will appear and the center opening will straighten!

Adjust the opening until the opening of the front dart area on the pattern is the same size all the way down to the waist. Parallel lines.

Here is an important thing to notice at this point. The left side of the pattern is now LONGER than the right side. That’s the amount of length that needed to be added . So not only did you make the pattern longer but wider in the center as well to account for the extra length needed too. But because I added a dart to side seam the side seam, the side seam won’t be longer than the back piece. The length has been added tot he center of the pattern only.


Patch the pattern from behind.


Cut out the new dart. Hopefully that should do the trick!

To see the Stepford Dress Pattern (used in this post), and all of its variations, click the image below…


Thanks so much for stopping by, and until next time…

Happy Sewing!

How to do a Full Bust Adjutsment with Justine Abbitt