FBA- what the heck is it?

This is the question I kept finding myself asking as I read the numerous inquiries on popular blogs and the numerous convoluted tutorials that exist on the web where I am not exactly sure what they are fixing. Ok I finally get it. I’ve definitely dealt with it on a professional level, but in a different context. When I am in a plus sized fitting it is so common that we just call it ” the armhole issue”.  The armhole is the area that shows the first symptom of an FBA.

Symptoms include:

1) Gaping armhole- the wad of extra fabric that you just want to pinch out. Problem is if you just pinch

2) Stress lines (pulling)  originating from the apex point

3) Front hemline is wavy and or pulls upwards

What creates the need for a FBA?

Well, this is maybe a stupid question to those who require and already know, but let’s break it down as far as engineering goes. When you drape a piece of muslin over a dress form to be fitted, as you shape around the curves you pinch out the extra fullness and turn them into darts. As a chest gets larger, not only do you need a wider panel for the front, but more shaping for rounder chest and added length to cover over the chest.

Many sewing patterns start out as a missy size base from which all sizes are subsequently graded (making all sizes). Rarely do these pattern companies grade the dart depth. This is crucial because the deeper the dart the more shape for the chest. Also, the deeper you make the dart, the front chest becomes wider as well.

How deep should darts be?

Well, this really depends on your cup size, but I haven’t really broken it down that specifically, but I’m sure someone has. A general rule of thumb for me is a 36″ chest should be 1 1/2″ deep for a side seam bust dart and a 48″ chest  side seam bust dart should be around 3″ deep (make sure your darts are long enough as well). These are just guidelines and it really depends on the styling. When you have numerous seams to add the darts to such as a shoulder princess seam, waist princess seam and side seam bust dart then the 3″ dart depth is distributed in each, but the amount can vary.

How to Fix it- pt 2 coming soon….


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