Back to sewing. I made my alterations to the Parfait and am still not satisfied… to refresh, here’s the fine photo of the bodice of muslin #1 all laid out with my changes marked – remove the gap from the underarm area and add some length to the bodice in order to drop the empire seam. I know this photo is a crowd pleaser and am particularly happy with how this will show up in everyone’s blog readers, all cheerful and granny bra-esque!
Laid out

The goal

A couple of you had mentioned in the comments of the last post that it looked like the empire seam should have been raised, not lowered. And I sort of agree with you – ultimately, the curve of the seam doesn’t work for my large bosoms – at least, it doesn’t work the way I’d like it to! I took one of the pictures from muslin #1 and drew (in green) where I would like the seam to be – this follows the, um, underside of my bustline. I really don’t like how the seam was hitting me sort of halfway down the boobage area. Like jeans that are too short, this empire seam in the wrong place is a lifelong fitting problem that I’m determined to conquer. I’m getting there…

Drop the empire seam

My first alteration before making muslin #2 was to try to drop that seam a bit. I cut the front and back bodice pieces straight across on a horizontal line. I spread the pattern pieces about an inch and filled with tissue. I determined the additional length by measuring from the existing seam to where I had marked while fitting the first muslin (the purple mark was in the photo above.) Here’s a shot of the altered pattern pieces – the new gap is shown in green.

And here’s the result. While it’s an improvement, it’s still not working for me. I would like the midriff piece (the one with the curve) to lie snug against my ribcage, but the ‘hump’ on the midriff is too curved. I’m throwing in the towel for this first version – it’s a sample for the shop, and won’t be something I’ll wear – just WAIT ‘till you see the fabric!! For future versions I will attempt to redraft with less of a curve on the midriff piece to improve the way it lies on my giant mono-boob. I hope you’re enjoying all the boobage talk!

Fixing the gap

The next alteration was to remove all the excess fabric that created a gap in the underarm area. This alteration took a few steps. First I measured the marks that I made when fitting the first muslin – the legs of the fold that I marked were about 2 inches apart.
04_Measure gap

Next I laid the bodice pattern piece over the muslin and traced the wedge.
05_gap_lineup 06_drawwedge

I redrew the wedge to move the point toward the bust apex and then drew a line straight down to the bottom of the bodice piece. I moved the apex so that the fullness that I’m adding in the next steps will be in the part of the bodice that gets gathered when attaching the midriff.

I cut out the wedge and then cut along the straight line, leaving a small hinge at the point of the wedge to allow the two halves of the bodice piece to pivot freely.
08_cutwedge  09_cutslit

The last step of the alteration was to swing the wedge shut, tape and fill in the new wedge along the bottom half of the bodice. I redrew the under-arm seamline, using the sideseam of the back bodice piece to decide how to angle the underarm seam.
10_fill in with tissue

And here’s the results! Excellent!

What’s next?

As I said, I’m planning on going ahead and making a real version out of some foxy brown corduroy with giant pink and orange flowers to wear with my matching orange and pink striped turtleneck. Some pink leggings and a pair of orange chucks are definitely in order as well. Once I’ve gotten that out of my system, I’ll be able to decide what alterations to make for future versions. I have a nice piece of purple and black  plaid that’s aching to be made into a parfait.

Up next… more utilitarian sewing (magnet cozy, magic wallets, giant totebag), unveiling of the most excellent present from Mr. Bug (hint, hint… it has a cord and a foot pedal) and plotting to officially begin for spring clothing. I’m calling quitsies on this awful weather. Full circle skirts and voile, here I come!


  1. She Says says:

    I have always liked this pattern, but the empire scream – oops, seam – scared me. I, too, have curves. Thanks for the tutorial.

  2. Gaidig says:

    What an improvement! Thanks for the tutorial.

  3. K.Line says:

    What awesome work – I totally struggle with the empire issue and I too am destined to conquer it. But think of how amazingly everything is going to fit in the bust when you're done with it.

  4. ladykatza says:

    Oh thanks so much for this tutorial! I was wondering how to adjust this pattern for my overly abundant girls.

  5. tanitisis says:

    It's looking good—I love how the moving of the dart turned out!

    Here's a thought on altering the midriff piece: would it be simpler to just remove some from the middle edge (I assume the pattern piece is cut on the fold) to narrow and lower the bulge, then add the equivalent width to the outside edge of the pattern piece? It might mess with the curve but with your added length I bet it would work. Though I can definitely understand not fussing with it for a shop sample.

    Also, I've watched too many of my amply-endowed friends struggle with the "empire seam Issue", so I understand where you're coming from in that respect. I've even encountered it myself, believe it or not, which is pretty ridiculous IMO. Good work, carry on ;)

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