Monday, September 3, 2018

Dolman FBA

Dolman tops are so easy and such a quick sew!

I needed a quick Labor Day BBQ outfit and this Tamara dress came through for me!

I used this really pretty, fun pineapple double brushed poly from the Fab Clique. 

I did a quick full bust adjustment and used the natural waist option (the pattern also has an empire option).  This is a dolman style top, so the adjustment looks a little different than a standard block bodice like I did in this post.

I can get away without a full bust adjustment when I'm using stretchy fabric like DBP, but I much prefer the look of sizing down so that it fits my upper bust and waist.

Fabric Choice

This pattern looks great with a drapey fabric!  

I recommend brushed polyester, spun poly or bambooRayon Spandex would work for the top length, but the weight of a dress might cause it to lose its shape.

The amount of stretch your fabric has may affect the fit of your garment.  If you’re using a more stable knit, with less stretch, you might be more likely to need a full bust adjustment even if you normally get away without doing one.

Do I need a full bust adjustment?

That's a difficult question to answer.   The usual rule is if your upper bust and full bust measurements are more than 4" apart then you would need a FBA.  Another way to know is if the pattern lists an upper bust and a full bust measurement and your upper bust is in one size and your full bust in another.  It really depends on the designer, the fit of the pattern, etc.  

Another easy way to know would be if you have made the garment already and you're noticing your side seam being pulled forward and always having to dug your blouse down.

Measure your bust!

Upper bust - measure just under your armpits, across the top of your chest. This should be a fairly snug measurement.

Full bust - measure across the fullest part of your chest, wearing your usual bra.

Subtract your upper bust from your full bust.

Mine is about 46.5"-42.5" which is right about 4".

Getting started


Print and assemble your pattern.

The great thing about layered PDF patterns is that you can print just your size or sizes if you're going to grade.  If you need to grade your waist or hips, turn those sizes on too.

Be sure to choose the size that matches your upper bust.  Since you're doing a FBA, the bust measurement on the chart for your size will no longer be a constraint.

Slash and Spread

Another great thing about PDF patterns is that you can reprint, unlike a tissue pattern where you can't afford to mess up.

With a normal block bodice, you'd immediately start working on the bodice.  Because this a dolman, you first need to define the armcye and remove the sleeve portion.

The Tamara has a a sleeveless option which means that the armcye is already drawn!  I use this pattern as a reference for defining the armcye of other dolmans too. (I love the All Seasons!)

Create your Pivot Point

I start by marking a dot in the center of the bust. I hold the pattern piece up to me to double check the location.

Then draw a straight line to the side seam in line with the bust.

Then connect the center bust point to the bottom center of the armcye.
Cut up the center line, up to the armcye. 

Cut into the center from the side seam.

Normally you'd also cut across the waist, but since the Tamara sits at the waist, that wasn't necessary.

Spread based on how much extra room you need.  I need about an inch.

I've shown where I'm adding space in purple.

Now we need to put the sleeve back on.  

Butt the bottom of the armcyes together - the top of the sleeve will extend a bit above the shoulder.

Lengthen the shoulder to meet the arm. 

(Note:  this may make your neck a little lower - my neckband still fit fine, but if you're making a big adjustment, consider the impact.  This would not be a concern with a self-binding neckline like the All Seasons).

Tape together and trim and you're ready to proceed with the tutorial in the pattern as normal!

All done!

Pattern stats:

Maternity:  Yes!  This skirt is very forgiving.  For later wear, consider doing the empire cut bodice and swapping out for a traditional rectangle gathered skirt using the full width of fabric for the most available space - measurements for that rectangle piece can come from the Madrid Pattern.
Madrid Dress (blog post)

Nursing:  Yes.  This is the low front neckline and it's very low. Especially because I lowered it another inch with my FBA.  Pair with a cami for lift up access for modesty.   I like the Halla Hey Babie Cami.  See it in action under my Be Captivating Dress. 

Be Captivating (Blog Post)

This post may contain affiliate links.  They don’t change the prices you see, but I might get a small percentage to help fund materials for my next post.
If this post was helpful to you, and you’re planning to purchase the pattern anyway, I’d really appreciate it if you’d use my affiliate link:  Tamara Dress/Top Bundle

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