MN2404 Durban / Sewalongs

Durban Sewalong: Bust & Armscye Adjustments

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Bust & Armscye Adjustments

Today on the blog we are looking at a few more adjustments you might need to get the fit of your Durban jumpsuit right for you – this time in the bust & armscye area! Busts come in all shapes and sizes and our preferences on how things fit and sit on our body can vary a lot too – so if you’re feeling like your bust or armscye needs a little tweaking – this post is for you. We’re discussing SBAs, FBAs, changing the position of the dart and you can alter the shape or height of the armscye for a more customised fit. Let’s get started!

Durban Jumpsuit and Romper by Megan Nielsen Patterns available in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34

Small & Full Bust Adjustments

One of the differences between the 0-20 and Curve Durban patterns is that they are drafted for different cup sizes. 0-20 Durban is designed for a “B-cup” i.e. a 2” difference between the upper & full bust, while Durban Curve is drafted for a “D-cup” i.e. a difference of 4” between the upper & full bust measurements. If the difference between your own measurements is less or more than the draft of the pattern you’re using – you may need a small bust adjustment or a full bust adjustment. And guess what! We have some great tutorials on how to make these alterations!

For the 0-20 version of Durban which has a closed dart, you can check out the Banksia FBA/SBA post to help you through the steps to get the fit you need. For Durban Curve cut-away though, while the adjustments will essentially be the same as the 0-20, they will look a bit more like the Dove FBA/SBA which is an adjustment on a French dart – so have a peak at that tutorial instead!

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Bust & Armscye Adjustments | SBAs & FBAs

Something important to note for either pattern though is that when making FBA or SBA adjustments, if you make an even adjustment down the full length of your bodice, the waist of the garment will be increased or decreased. Because the bodice of Durban needs to fit back together with the pants half of the garment however, you will need to do one last step at the end of your SBA or FBA to prevent this. By pivoting the section of bodice below the dart so it meets back up with the other half of the front bodice waist (aligning the pieces at the stitching line – not the pattern edge), you will still have made the adjustment you need to your bust, but the waist will stay the same and will still fit with your pants – yay!

Raising or Lowering the Dart

The exact position of the fullest part of the bust (your bust apex) can vary from person to person – some people’s busts sit higher, some lower – but they’re all normal! If the bust apex of the Durban pattern is sitting higher or lower than your own personal bust apex, meaning that the volume created by the dart isn’t at the right height for your bust, you can raise or lower the dart so it’s giving you the space you need – where you need it!

To do this, draw and cut a box around the entire dart and slide it up or down by the required amount. You can then place a piece of paper underneath to fill the gap that has been left and tape everything in place. You’ll also need to smooth out the side seam edges that have been disturbed, between the the dart legs and the armscye/waist edge seam allowances.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Bust & Armscye Adjustments | Dart Position

Adjusting the Depth or Shape of the Armscye

The height and shape of armholes can be a very personal thing and something that can be a bit uncomfortable when it’s not right. If you find that Durban’s sleeveless armscye is a little high or a little low for you, or that the scoop of it’s curve or width of the shoulder isn’t sitting where you’d like it to be – you can just adjust it!

It’s a super simple change – all you need to do is trim or add to the armscye curve at whatever point you’d like to adjust, then make the same alteration to the facing’s armscye edge so they still fit together. Lastly, you’ll just need to tweak the outside curve of the facing – making the opposite adjustment that you just made to the armscye – so it will be back to it’s original width.

Megan Nielsen Patterns | Durban Sewalong: Bust & Armscye Adjustments | Armscye Height & Shape

And that’s a wrap on out bust & armscye adjustments! If you’ve got any questions about what we’ve covered today – let us know if the comments section below :)

Naomi xx

How to choose between the Durban and Durban Curve sewing patterns by Megan Nielsen Patterns


Here’s the full list of Durban posts and tutorials:

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Order Durban today in sizes 0-20 and Curve sizes 14-34

About Author

Naomi is the Design Assistant here at Megan Nielsen Patterns, and our resident helping hand. She stays busy assisting Meg with pattern development leg work, getting super excited about good instructional diagrams and making green coloured fabric suggestions for every sample we make. She’s a problem solver, a fabric addict, a serial tea-forgetter and a passionate maker.

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2 years ago

This is super helpful! If you lower the armscye do you have to make any adjustments to the sleeve?

2 years ago
Reply to  Annie

Hi Annie! The armscye adjustments shown in this tutorial are for the sleeveless variations (which has a different bodice pattern piece than for the sleeved).
You could certainly apply the same adjustment to the sleeved bodice, but yes you would need to apply an adjustment to the sleeve. If you raise the armscye, you would be reducing the armscye circumference, and would need to make an adjustment to the sleeve to the same value. If you lower the armscye you would be increasing the armscye circumferencde, and would need to adjust the sleeve accordingly.

1 year ago

Is there a way of measuring and knowing if the dart position is too high/low without making a toile?

10 months ago
Reply to  Sue

That’s a great question! A toile is the best way, however as a quick check you could measure from your shoulder point down to your bust point when wearing the bra you would wear with your garment. Then compare that to the pattern (keeping seam allowance in mind).
Good luck and happy sewing!