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On the multi-cup pattern

As some of you rightly saw, I’m not too disappointed by the wadder. This just happens sometimes. I do have more of the white fabric, I’m thinking of using another pattern for the body part and use the collar and sleeves.

I’ve been giving the pattern drafting some further thought however. It was the first time I did use a pattern in which different cupsizes were included. But how to determine the size to use?

a. On the envelope, you determine your size by (full) bust measurment

b. In the instructions, you are told to determine the difference between your full bust and high bust, with a clear drawing where to measure. Based on the difference between these two measurement, you dertermine to use A/B/C/D cup pattern pieces. But nothing is said about the basic size to start with.


Women with the same full bust measurement (pattern size) can have a completely different cupsize, this depends on how your proportions are. Someone with my full bust measurment can have an A-cup, or an E cup, while I’ve a D-cup. When some years ago I discovered the need of doing a FBA (full bust alteration) the way to go is start with your high bust measurement and alter the pattern to fit your bust. This way you’ll get better fit in the back and shoulder area. It worked and I was happy to have discovered this method. Perhaps the same would be true for the Vogue pattern, and would it be better to choose your pattern size by high bust measurement? I’m not trying, but as this is a new pattern and many would want to try it, perhaps this is something to keep in mind.


  1. I've sewn a few of these cup sized patterns, and find that using your high bust to determine the pattern is the way to go. They are basically the same old Big 4 pattern, just with the FBA done for you. I always sew a 10 in Vogue blouses, and with the cup sized patterns, I still sew a 10, just with the C cup pattern piece (despite the fact that I am actually a D cup - word to the wise).

  2. I choose my size by my high bust measurement. The garment seems to fit better around my neck and shoulders and then I do the FBA, add extra to the waist and hips, usually, and sometimes also I need to do a broad back adjustment. But overall these are minor adjustments to make for a better fitting garment than to go by my full bust measurement which would mean a badly fitting neck and shoulder area. I do tissue-fit to make sure the bust dart will sit in the right place and see if I need to alter the position at all.

  3. I agree that the guidance for these patterns is really not clear. I also don't like most of the designs that they offer for the multi cup size. I don't love the Easy Vogue patterns with their lack of detail and I wish that they'd do this for complicated designs where it's hard to make an fba. This type of thing I can do in my sleep.

  4. It's definitely true for Vogue patterns too. I'd start at least a size smaller if you're a D cup, that's what I do (standard is a B cup). Probably calculate what your bust measurement would be if you were a B cup, and use that.

  5. I tend to follow the "size according to high bust" camp - then add a bit of width at full bust & a bit of length to front. I also tend to measure pattern pieces: back width at shoulders, front width over bust, etc., just to make sure. But as you found out with this pattern, fit is more than just the raw numbers. This pattern would've been very nice on a flatter chest, but I doubt that those flat & narrow side princess panels could ever look good on someone with more bountiful proportions. To please the eye, he depth (width) of a princess seam really should change with the depth of the bust it covers. Vogue didn't think this through...tsk!

  6. I had never thought about this, and I should. I have used 3 or 4 of the cup size patterns, in McCalls and Vogue, but like Katie (KID,MD), I generally start with a size smaller than that indicated by my high bust measurement (so 10, instead of 12) then use the D cup (pattern piece for a D cup bust).The bust then has quite a bit of ease - I could probably get away with the C cup version. I would not choose to start with my actual bust measurement ( between size 16 and 18), as that is several sizes too big at the neck, shoulders waist etc. When I sew these for my daughters, again, I find that the size smaller than the high bust measurement gives the best fit (and the A/B cup pattern piece is very generous with ease for an adolescent B cup bust)

  7. Yup, there is an art to this, for sure. I sometimes make a size 18, sometimes a 20. Usually the smaller the size, the bigger the bust alteration, but not always. And of course I use different FBA techniques depending on the pattern. If it's a princess seam and the pattern is loose fitting enough, I might use Sandra Betzina's which adds only to the length. If it needs both length and width, I use the Palmer/Pletsch technique. If it's a stretchy knit, I do the FBA, but then ease it out - I don't like sewing darts in knits.

    I could go on. As a G-cup, I get LOTS of practice. ;)

  8. I agree that they don't make it clear what size you should use, in a pre-FBA'ed pattern. We're all so used to having to 'fake' it with the Big 4 that cup-sizes seem like a novelty. Like others have said, I've also used my high bust measurement, which since I'm a C cup basically means that I use a size smaller than I usually would if I were to use my high bust measurement. I'm sure as one gets bigger in the cup size the distortions and the variations in the rest of your body size get trickier.

    Also, usually somewhere (sometimes only on the pattern tissue itself) there are finished measurements listed, and I use those as my final check to see if I'm choosing sizes appropriately. If all else fails, I can flat-measure the pattern and get a decent idea.

  9. Interesting. Could it be that you're more conscious of the variety of cup sizes within the same measurements due to the under garment making that you do? At any rate, the system Vogue hasn't doesn't seem foolproof, but I think it is a step in the right direction.

  10. Palmer Pletsch teach to use High Bust to determine size, and then do the FBA as required - they also do tissue fitting to work out what the FBA number is.


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