10 Jan 2018 • • by Heather Lou

Fitting and Full Bust Adjustment // Kelly Anorak Sewalong

Tips for fitting a jacket and a full bust adjustment for a dartless bodice // Kelly Anorak Sewalong

Today let's talk fitting for your Kelly Anorak. I think for most of you, the pattern won't need any modification. With its casual fit and generous ease, Kelly should work for most body types right out of the package, and the vast majority of our testers didn't require any major pattern adjustments.


I believe the most common adjustment will likely be to the length. Kelly is meant to end at the bottom of your butt. If you are much taller or shorter than the 5'-6" we draft for, you might want to consider using our length/shorten lines to make it suit your frame. I tried our sample on a petite 5'-2" friend and could have pinched out about 1 1/2" of length at the waist. Having said that, Keena, our model for this pattern, is over 5'-10" and I thought the length worked well for her. If you're in doubt, make up a quick muslin of the body pieces before making a decision.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to make a muslin, I strongly suggest trying on the coat body before sewing in your drawstring. I intended it to sit at the natural waist when drawn closed, so the suggested location on the pattern may not work for you. I think our drawstring is actually an inch or so too high on Keena since she has a longer torso, although the drawstring height is exactly right on me and we are more or less the same size. It's important to figure this out before you install your grommet or drawstring buttonhole since you can't take that step back once you've done it.


The sleeves of the Kelly Anorak were drafted to be slim and slightly fitted while still being roomy enough to layer a sweater on underneath. As always we suggest making a quick muslin to ensure the fit works for you; the most common adjustments to the sleeve with be to add length or width. If you need to do anything more complicated (ie. changing the sleeve cap or armscye opening) I suggest reading this great post from Threads on fitting sleeves; it covers everything you'd want to know.


If your arms are shorter or longer than what we drafted for, you may want to adjust the length. I am only showing this modification for adding length, but if you want to shorten the sleeves the principle is the same; you'll just overlap your pieces instead of spreading them apart.

To start, lay your sleeve pieces on the table with grainlines parallel and double notches more or less aligned. Draw a horizontal line through both pieces at the top of the notch. This creates a guideline to help you figure out where to cut the sleeve pieces at the same point.

Cut along this line on both sleeves and spread or overlap the pieces the desired amount. Fill in the space with some scrap paper and true or smooth out your seam lines. If you are lining your Kelly, make sure you make the same adjustment to the lining pieces.


If you find the sleeve too slim on your Kelly Anorak, the best thing to do is add some width through the bicep; this adjustment will be made to the upper sleeve only. Start by taking the upper and lower sleeve and laying them on your table with grainlines parallel to each other. Line them up at the top of the seam allowance; your single notch should line up approximately as well. Now draw a straight horizontal line across both sleeves at the bottom of the armscye. It's important to find where the armscye ends on the upper sleeve to make the following adjustment.

Once you have that line marked, you can put the lower sleeve aside. Draw two vertical lines on the upper sleeves, diving the pattern piece in approximate thirds.

Cut up those vertical lines until you reach the top of the sleeve cap, but leave a little hinge at the top so you can rotate the sides out.

Now cut through the line you horizontal line you marked earlier on the lower left and right pieces, again leaving a hinge at the side seam. Add the desired width, and then rotate the bottom left and right pieces so they touch the bottom middle piece. This ensures you are not adding more width through the wrist. As you can see, this lets out create two wedges of space through the sleeve.

Tape paper underneath the pattern piece to fill in the gaps, and "true" the line along the bottom so you have a nice smooth line along the wrist hem. True or smooth the curves where you rotated your pieces. This adjustment has only added width to the middle of the sleeve; the length of your outside seams has not changed, so everything should still line up when you sew the sleeve together. If you are lining your Kelly, make sure you make the same adjustment to the lining pieces.


If you have a larger bust, you may want to consider doing a full bust adjustment to this pattern as explained below. Again, I suggest making up a quick muslin first since there is a decent amount of bust ease and you may not find it necessary. Since there is no bust dart it's not a typical FBA, and I had a little mental struggle figuring out the best way to do it. Thankfully I have access to a great sewing braintrust and called upon the sewing wisdom of a few friends; thank you Renee, Carmen and Betsy for giving me your two cents!

To make this modification we will be modifying the lower front coat; while there is a slight "dart" built into the seamline along the yoke, after a lot of thought I decided it was just too complicated to try and adjust . This is a simple FBA that should give your girls enough room without having to do any deep tissue pattern surgery.

To start with, let's locate the bust point. I suggest taping the yoke to the front along the seam line and holding it up to your body to find your bust apex (or the center of your breast, aka nip city); the center front for the coat is at the first set of notches so align those notches up with the center of your body. If you want to save time, the bust apex as it was drafted is located as indicated below, although this is for the size ten; the apex would shift as it was graded, and let's be real, everyone's nip city is located on a different place on the map.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Draw a line from the bust point straight down to the bottom of the pattern. Then draw a diagonal line from the bust point to the top left corner of the armscye. Last, draw a line from the bust point to the side seam, a few inches below the armscye.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Cut from the bottom up through the second diagonal line, but do no cut through the armscye - you want to leave a little hinge here so that the two pattern pieces are still connected. Swing this piece out so you make a little open wedge above the bust point.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Cut the other line from the seam line to the bust point, but again, don't cut all the way through, leaving a little hinge. Rotate the bottom portion down so the right side of this piece is parallel to the adjacent line. Play around with the angle of the two hinged pieces until you have added the desired amount of bust width. Since you are also adding length with this adjustment, make sure you slash and spread along the center front portion so that the hem line matches up on either side.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

You have now created a bust dart through the side seam. I am going to show you how to remove it in a moment, but if you'd like to keep the bust dart you may. Simply redraw it so that it's angled towards the bust point, ending at least an inch away from the point. Fill in the rest of the space you created with paper and true or smooth out any janky lines or curves.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

To remove the bust dart for the clean lines of the Kelly as drafted, rotate the bust dart back so that the two diagonal lines meet.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

We are now going to "fake" the side seam line. Draw in the side seam line as it appeared on the unmodified pattern before you rotated it at the point indicated below.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Trace the entire front with new armscye seam and redrawn hem seam. You will have to extend the side seam line as much as you lengthened the entire bodice.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

Fill in the gaps with extra paper and then cut off the extra wedge along the side seam. Please note you will need to add a little width to the sleeve so that it matches the widened armscye.

Full Bust Adjustment on Dartless bodice pattern // Closet Core Patterns

It is very important to note that however much length you end up adding to the front as a result of your FBA must be transferred to your other pattern pieces. You will need to slash and spread the back and your zipper placket and facing so that everything lines up when you sew it together.

Hope that helps the busty ladies out there!


Read the next post in our Kelly Sewalong series. Get the pattern here.

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