W ith the A-line silhouette of the Clare Coat, it’s important to get the fit right through the bust. I highly suggest doing an FBA if you are larger than a C cup. If you’ve never done one before, please read this great post from the Curvy Sewing Collective. They explain really well why you shouldn’t skip this step.
An FBA for a raglan sleeved bodice is a little different than one you may be used to doing but the principle is the same. I’m showing how to do it here on View A, but it’s the same process for View B as well. To begin, hold the front pattern piece up to your torso so the center front notch of the front piece lines up with the center of your body. Indicate on the pattern pieces where your bust apex is falling (aka the fullest part of your bust).
Draw a straight line from your bust apex to the hem (1). Next, draw a straight line from your bust apex through the center of your dart (2). Last, draw a straight line from your bust apex to around 1/3 up the pattern from dart to neckline (3). Repeat for both sides. Please note that the front piece for View A is not perfectly symmetrical so it won’t be exactly the same on either side.
Starting at the bottom hem, cut up the long straight line you just drew and then along the line going to the raglan shoulder seam. Do not cut all the way through at the raglan seam; leave a little hinge at that corner. Rotate out the side of the pattern piece to add the desired amount of width at the bust (if you don’t know how much you need to add, read the CSC post on FBAs as they provide the math you’ll need to figure it out).
At the outer dart corner, cut along the line you marked earlier to the the bust apex, again leaving a little hinge. Rotate the bottom piece so that the long, straight line is now parallel with the adjacent pattern line. Repeat these steps for the other side of the front coat. The center piece of your pattern will now be a little short – make a horizontal cut along the bottom and lower this center hem portion so that it’s even with the hem on either side. Tape scraps of paper beneath your pattern to fill in the slashed and spread lines.
Smooth out the raglan shoulder seam and draw in your new, wider dart. The point of your dart should end 1-2″ below your bust apex (the norm is 1″ but bigger busts may need 2″). If the dart point is too close to your apex, you’ll have to lower it as well to doing the FBA.
You have now added bust fullness where you need it!
Since this coat has a lining, we’ll also need to do a FBA on the front lining piece & facing. The darted right side will follow the same procedure as above. However, the left bust dart has been transferred into the facing, so we need to do a little McGyvering to make sure we are adding width to the left side of the lining and facing as well.
Do your best mirror the FBA cut lines from the right side of the pattern piece to the left. Clearly the lines on the left will be a little bit shorter as a result of the facing. We’re sort of fudging this part and since you don’t really see the lining so I don’t want you to stress too much about making it perfect; just make some room for the girls.
Follow the same slash and spread procedure on the left side of your lining to add a little width. Since you are adding length to the outer seam of the lining, you need to slash and pivot your facing piece and add the same amount of length to it so that facing and lining seams match up later.
Layer paper beneath your slash and spread pieces and tape together. Smooth out your curves, and lower the center hem piece to even out the hem like we did for the coat front. Add the same amount of length to your facing piece so that again, your facing and lining match up.
If you’d like to lengthen View A or B, simply cut along the indicated line on front, back and side panel pieces and move down the desired amount. “True” or smooth out the lines so that you get a nice, continuous line.
If you’d like to shorten your coat, cut along the indicated lines on front, back and sides and overlap until you remove the necessary length. True or smooth out your lines.
And that wraps up our posts on pattern alterations! See you next week as we move into actual construction.