Fitting princess seams looks like it can be a complicated process. Fortunately, it’s very straightforward! Plus, with princess seams there are more opportunities to really refine the fit in the bodice area. Find out more on how to fit princess seams for a fantastic fit every time.
Full bust adjustments are easily made in a princess-seamed bodice. The seams offer plenty of places to make adjustments that will lead to a properly fitting dress.
By Rae Cumbie
The full version of this article appears in the Feb/March 2019 issue of Sew News.
Princess seams create elegant lines on a bodice and are a perfect pick for spring weddings and prom. And the good news is, they’re very easy to fit, particularly if you need to make bust adjustments (3).
Most of the adjustments reside to the front and side front pattern pieces so first take your front bust measurements from side seam to side seam. Measure at the high bust, full bust and under bust, then measure the vertical span between these three measurements (4). Compare these measurements to the front pattern pieces when joined at each place along the seamline (5). Full bust adjustments don’t just add width, they also need to add length.
Classic places to adjust the pattern are in the side front and center front along the bust curve and in the bust length. Make an educated guess how much extra you need and change the pattern accordingly (6).
Once you’ve added to the pattern so it’s closer to your body measurement, cut out and baste together a mock-up from the waist up in a similar fabric to test the fit. If the dress fabric has spandex, use a spandex fabric that has similar qualities. Wear the right bra for each fitting and have a friend on hand to help you evaluate and nuance the fit.
Pin the mock-up closed on your body and observe if it fits smoothly. If there’s gaping fabric, pin it out in the seamlines or in dart-like wedges that end at a seam to get a smooth fit. If there’s excessive tightness, release the seams and determine how much additional space is needed (7).
Take off the mock-up and transfer the adjustments to the flat pattern. Add additional paper to the pattern as needed and use a curved ruler to smooth out the new cutting lines. If you adjust a pattern where it joins another pattern piece, remember to adjust the adjoining pattern as well so they match perfectly along the seamlines. Make a new mock-up to test the changes before cutting the special prom dress fabric.