Before we talk about bust sizing, I just want to say WOW! My inbox has never gone as crazy as it did last night! Thank you all for your support for Tiramisu- as I write this you all have purchased 135 patterns! I set a goal of 150, but the pre-sale will be on until the 5th of October, as I said it would. The more, the merrier!
This post in The Circus will show you what I did with the bodice piece for this dress. I want to say now that this is a dress pattern- it will not magically solve the world’s problems and cure cancer. If only. In a perfect world, it would be possible to make a pattern that fit everyone out of the envelope.
But that’s perfection, not real life. I definitely think perfection is a great ideal to strive for, but I also don’t let it own me. Tiramisu will not fit some of you out of the envelope and I don’t want to make it sound like it will. That’s not realistic. However, I believe I built the pattern in a way that makes it easy to check for fit and simple to alter.
This is the draft for size 45 high bust. It features four sizes. That means that the bodice front piece comes in 20 sizes. I hesitate to use the word “size,” because strictly speaking the A, B, C, D choices have more to do with proportion than size. “Cup” sizing is a very strange issue. This pattern does not necessarily reflect actual cup size. Rather, A-D are a handy way to mark different bust proportions.
I think many, if not most of us struggle with bust fit. Part of the issue with fit is the width required to cover the bust, and part of the issue is creating a good proportional relationship between the back and the front. In this system, the A cup front is the same width (well, slightly wider on the larger sizes) as the back, with gentle shaping. The B and C cups give a bit more room and shaping in the front, and the D cup is designed to accommodate larger types.
In this chart, you can see that the D cup for one size and the A cup for the next size up are quite close to one another. In fact, for the fabric we’re working with (knits), they’re essentially the same. This means if your front is proportionately much larger than your back, you can choose the D. If you are proportionately smaller in the front, you can use the A. The B and C help those in between.
For example- I have a high bust measurement of 36″ and a full bust measurement of 40″. I used an unaltered 35D for my Tiramisu bodices and it works quite well. The front doesn’t even gape! Imagine that, busty ladies. I also found I could quite easily stuff myself into the C, the B was pushing it but still wearable. But the 35D was optimal.
Also, note the two lines on this pattern piece. One is to aid stripes matching (yaaaay!) and the other is to aid bust alteration. The Cake site features a simple tutorial on altering the bust for fit, and the address will be found on the pattern piece. I thought it would be the simplest approach to build the alteration into the pattern this way.
Now- I know this is a bit different. That’s why I’m showing it to you now. This seemed to me the best way to tackle the bust issue. Some future Cake patterns will not be this detailed in the size area because the design won’t demand it. However, for this dress we have an underbust seam and a mock-wrap front to consider, and that means it’s important to pay attention to proportion.
Width/ease preferences are much easier puzzles. Fit is important to me, but it’s a very individual aspect of sewing and it’s not possible to build all of the fit into the pattern. But that’s ok. I show you how to make it work. No need to guess. The pattern is designed for you to play with the side seams to achieve the fit you want, and this means we also have a little leeway in choosing the “width” of the bodice.
Also, this dress uses knit fabric cut on the bias, and every knit will behave slightly differently. This is another reason I chose to focus more on proportion and less on a precise fit for the bodice, with supplementary material to help you if you need it as you sew. And of course, I am always available via email for issues not mentioned in the supplements.
Yesterday, a sharp eyed reader noticed my metric tables were a little “squishy.” I generally use a 2.5cm conversion to inches when I’m working with knits. It’s a round number I can easily multiply while I’m working. Knits are different to wovens- they behave completely differently. With a fitted woven dress, precise measurements are essential. With a knit bias dress, the numbers can be somewhat fluid. In fact, I think that’s probably preferable. However, in the interests of science and precision, I’ll go back through and re-work the charts using a 2.54 cm to inches conversion and use 2.54 in all future charts and tables. No problem.
What do you think? :)
If you’d like to pre-order a Tiramisu Dress pattern for $11 (retail $17), please visit my Etsy shop. Pre-sale closes on October 5th!
Next: Field-Testing A Design and Design Inspiration. Then we’ll get into some knit sewing guides! And there’s a giveaway coming up so you can make a dress like Penelope’s!