Friday, May 2, 2014

Completed: Staple Dress x2, incl. tutorial for FBA on cap sleeves

This is my first two Staple Dresses (pattern from April Rhodes), but I am fairly certain I will sew this pattern again. It is simple and quick and the perfect canvas for any busy, crazy woven fabric!

Since my friend Malin has sewn this pattern many times, and I love her dresses, I thought I'd go wild and sew up my first dress without making a muslin. Did I mention I "forgot" to do an FBA? Well, I thought, for some reason, that the simple and generous fit would let me go unaltered, but I was punished. I'll show you soon what I'm on about...

But first I want to show the second one - the one that I truly LOVE! Sewn in a gorgeous, fun print from Liberty of London. The best cotton lawn makers in the whole world.

Relaxed, yet with a lot of shape, and pockets.

The back is nice and flat.

Enough shape, even without a belt, thanks to the shirring.

I added a little lace on the front neckline just to make it a little fancier. I am contemplating letting this dress be worn at a wedding.

And now to the other one, the one without FBA, which a think looks more awful every second I look at it.

Just look at this picture. Obviously, since the pattern is flat, the shirring will add the shape, and if you have boobs on the front, it will create the same amount of boob space on the back! Then it looks like this:
Handy design for people with boobs on both front and back.
And this is not the only problem! See the hemline! Since the boobs lift the fabric up and is not compensated with an FBA, the dress becomes too short in the front. Or to short in my own personal preference, that is. This can and MUST be avoided, people! And now I'll show you how!

FBA on a cap sleeved dress

(For other FBA alterations look at my tutorials here.)

1. Trace the pattern and mark apex and shoulder 

My first dress was a size S on the upper body and a size M on the lower, simply graded in between. The great thing about that is that the whole dress would fit onto 1y of fabric. Because of that Idesperately wanted to avoid my altered pattern to become any larger so that I still would fit it on the fabric :-) So I decided to start my upper FRONT pattern on size XS instead and keep the other parts the same as before.

Trace the pattern and then wear it to mark apex and shoulder line. I put it on my dress form like this:

Pin it to a dress form or to yourself :-)

Mark where the shoulder begins.

Mark the apex.

2. Do the FBA work

Since we have cap sleeves that are part of the front pattern piece we need to cut of the sleeves before the FBA can be done. Draw a line between the shoulder mark you made and the armpit. Then cut it off. Then:

a) Draw a line from the apex mark, parallel with the centre front line, all the way down.
b) Draw a line from the side seam to apex, in the angle you'd like the dart to be tilted.
c) Draw a line from the apex to the lower part of the sleeve.

All the cut lines in read.
 Cut and spread like this. Make sure to not cut all the way through in all places. Look carefully at the picture.

Cut off the sleeve completely

Cut and spread the desired amount.
The desired amount the spread the pattern for me here is to get it to the same width as the size S I used for the back. The alteration will then give me the boob room I need (and the right SHAPE), but still fit together with the rest of the pattern. I put the old sheet on top of it to see how much I need to spread it.

After this it is simply to put new paper into all the gaps and true up the dart legs.

Note!! This will create a dart, which is not part of the original dress design!
Since I use a busy fabric, plus will have shirring at the waist, I don't mind the dart. But if you do, then follow my other tutorial here.

Test wearing the pattern and see the magic you just created!

A lot more shape, and a lot more length in the front!! Yay!

And to really demonstrate that it is making a huge difference, have a look at this...

Without FBA on the top and with FBA on the bottom.

Now, go adjust this for yourself! 



  1. Replies
    1. Thank you!! Sorry, it took me so long :-D

    2. Thanks so much! Just starting this project and almost didn't go looking for fba ideas since it seems so simple. Made as is, my guess is that I too would end up with a poofy back and lifted front hemline. Your red Liberty dress fits you beautifully.

  2. What is FBA? Is it Full Bust Alteration? I'm guessing here...I just finished my first Staple Dress, and it looks EXACTLY like your first one. Is there any way to save it? I used this awesome Charley Harper fabric that I would hate to lose! Thanks! Angie


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