We’re focusing on this adjustment because overall the Fifi sewing pattern is relatively straightforward to fit to your body shape but, if you do need to make any significant fitting changes before cutting your fabric, this is probably it. You can pin the camisole bodice pieces together, try them on and adjust both the side seams and the princess seams at the back (great for curvy or “sway” backs) to your preference, before sewing them together. You can also change the length of the straps – we’ve deliberately made them a little longer than you probably need and ordered the instructions to give you a chance to adjust them to your shoulders. The shorts have enough ease that it’s likely you won’t need to make any booty adjustments, and the set has been designed with comfort in mind – for lounging in the boudoir – so it shouldn’t be clinging to your body too much.
If you have a particularly large or small bra cup size though, then you may need to adjust the camisole cup pattern before cutting your fabric. Remember you still want a bit of extra space in there for sleeping in comfort though! To determine whether an FBA or SBA would be helpful for you, you’ll need to take a couple of measurements and do some simple calculations...
Measure your high bust (around your upper chest just under your armpits) and then measure your bust at its fullest point (around your nipples). Note down both these measurements, then work out the difference between them and note that down too. Our sewing patterns include a 5cm (2in) difference between the full bust and high bust measurement. If there is more than 7.5cm (3in) difference between your two measurements, you may need to do a full bust adjustment. On the other hand, if you have 2.5cm (1in) or less difference, then a small bust adjustment would be for you.
If you’re going to do a bust adjustment, choose your pattern size based on your high bust measurement plus 5cm (2in). Then work through the steps below to add or remove volume from the camisole cup in this size – the amount you’ll want to add or remove is the half of the difference between your high bust and full bust that you noted down earlier. Half because you’ll be changing the cup pattern which will be cut twice.
Trace off the camisole cup pattern piece in your size (don’t forget the markings) to keep the original pattern intact for the future. Mark a line 10mm (3/8in) from the neckline edge.
This pattern adjustment is all about adding in or taking away fullness exactly when it’s needed without jeopardizing any other measurements and shapes. So we need to draw in the lines where this will happen.
Locate the apex of the bust, which is the fullest point and for most people is their nipple. This is slightly different for everyone, so the best way to find it is to hold the pattern piece up to yourself in front of the mirror. Position it as if you were wearing the camisole, with the 10mm (3/8in) line you just drew crossing the centre of your chest at the bottom of the neckline, the side seam overlapping your side by 15mm (5/8in), and the top point where your straps will start. Using a pen, make a mark where your apex is. (As you can see, the piece I’m demonstrating on isn’t actually my size, it’s too big for me!)
Draw three lines from the apex to the bottom of the cup, each line falling between each of the three pairs of pleat lines (marked on the pattern).
Using a tape measure standing on its side, measure halfway along the curved armhole line. At the halfway point, draw a line back to the apex.
Finally, draw a line up to the to the top corner.
With a fresh piece of paper and some tape at the ready, cut up each of the lines from the bottom, leaving the two points at the top intact by 1-2mm (1/16in) so that they’re just attached. Keep these little bits laid out on your paper in the order you cut them so they don’t get jumbled up! (You can number them if you like.) I recommend taping the large one down at the top of the armhole as it won’t be moving at this point.
Now, remember that measurement you made a note of earlier? Half of the difference between your high bust and full bust measurements – dig that out! That is the amount that you will now spread or overlap your pattern pieces by to complete your full or small bust adjustment.
FULL BUST ADJUSTMENT
Start by pivoting the two large pieces at the sides away from the apex, separating them by the amount you worked out above (I’m adding 2.5cm or 1in). Tape these pieces down.
Now space out the smaller triangular pieces at the bottom evenly in the opening, then tape them down.
Trace around the taped pieces to create your new pattern piece, remembering to trace the notch and pleat lines.
The pleats are now larger to create more fullness without changing the length of the seam line that attaches the cup to the front bodice.
SMALL BUST ADJUSTMENT
Mark two points either side of the apex, the distance between them being the measurement you want to remove from the piece (half the difference between your full bust and high bust).
Pivot the two large pieces at the sides (marked A and B) over the piece between them (C), until the two dots are overlapping (or as close as possible). Tape the pieces down.
Now overlap the three smaller triangular pieces at the bottom evenly in the space that’s left, matching the tips up with the dots. Tape them down.
The idea is that the pleats are now smaller to create less fullness without changing the length of the seam line that attaches the cup to the front bodice. Smooth out the curved line at the bottom – you’ll want to make any changes to this line outside of the pleats as subtle as possible so you don’t accidentally change the length of the seam line. You can double check by marking the stitching line 15mm (5/8in) inside the raw edge of the curved bottom line on both the original cup piece and your adjusted piece, measuring these lines excluding the areas inside the pairs of pleat lines, and adjusting the curve of the new piece so it’s the same length as the old piece.
When you’re happy, trace around the taped pieces to create your new pattern piece, remembering to trace the notch and pleat lines.
And that’s it! I hope you found that helpful for creating a more bespoke fit to your Fifi camisole. Don’t forget to show us a picture of your finished Fifi set, we’d love to see it!
PS. If you're wondering where we got those fabulous pattern weights, here's how we made them!
PPS. You might also like Tilly's tips for tracing sewing patterns...