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Bust Increase Pattern Alteration

Bust Increase Pivot MethodDo you know that most commercial patterns are made for those that wear a b-cup.  Well, if you happen to be larger than a b-cup, I'm sure you've noticed some bodice issues with some commercial patterns.  Without altering the pattern for an increased bust, your options seem to be a bust area that's too tight or fitting the bust and other areas possibly being too big.  There are a few options for full bust adjustment.  I prefer a method that's less damaging to the actual pattern and it's a system called the pivot method.  Using the pivot method to increase just the bustline area, means there's no slicing the pattern up and patching it together.  Hopefully, that means less chance of creating an error or having to deal with other parts of the pattern shifting around like the grainline or darts.  The integrity of the pattern remains intact and it really is a quick and simple alternative.  Whenever you're doing any kind of alteration, whether it be the pivot method or another, it's always best to make a muslin version of the bodice to test your pattern and make sure the amount your increasing the bust is correct.  You can decide to make any further adjustments to your pattern before using more expensive fabric.


Please note that this method works best for those increasing less than 4" total so the armhole will not be distorted.  If you need more than a 4" increase, other alterations such as an extension will need to be added.

Categories:  Basic Video   |   intro to patterns   |   Professor Pincushion Posts   |   Videos

14 thoughts on “Bust Increase Pattern Alteration

  1. Chele

    Loved the video! Would the same concept work for a 7 panel dress? Obviously I would need to divide the total additional amount by 7 rather than four, but not sure how to ensure all the pieces will line up correctly for the V-neck. Do I use the same principle as the sleeve in this video, and just pivot it? theoretically, the entire neckline would be increased, which may lead to a gaping back, as it is also v-shaped… Help please!

  2. ProfessorPincushion

    Watch our increase sleeve width tutorial. The second part of it, I go over if you have to increase the bust by more than 4″ total. You do an added extension in addition to pivoting. I put it in this video since you have to also have to alter the sleeves because you’re changing the armhole by so much.

  3. Erinn

    Darn! I was hoping I could use this method for my increase, but I am going from a B to a DD. The pattern I am using has the following size for my busts: 38.

    I measured 46. So yes, an 8″ increase, meaning 2″ per side. I thought that would be a bit much, but ah well. I will most likely add a piece in the back to help compensate for the large amount of space. Thank you for the video anyway!

  4. Carol-O

    Thanks for the reply. My tunic has no sleeves. I went ahead and tried the 4″ increase using trial material. I adjusted the dart to follow the new side line as my pattern has a point in the side where the dart ends, i kept the original starting point. The trial is pretty good but it actually seems like it needs a second dart coming from the side to end of bust, parallel to floor as there is a bit extra at that point. I’m really trying to find a way to adjust patterns and make clothes that actually fit my bust as I am just tired of ill fitting clothes!! Thank you for your help.

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