The Bust Circle Defined


Do you struggle with gaping necklines and armholes on your self drafted patterns? Would you like to fit your bodice more closely, or perhaps create a strapless bodice pattern? If so, this video is for you because I'm going to define the bust circle and tell you how it's related to achieving a good fit over your body contours.

First of all, what do I mean by body contours? 

Think of the body as a landscape. It has hills, valleys and plains. Some hills are higher, some valleys deeper, and some plains more expansive.  Imagine a flat sheet of muslin lightly draped over this landscape, you'll notice that in some areas the muslin will touch the landscape, in others there will be voids or empty spaces. Where the muslin touches this landscape you'll likely find hills. Where you find voids, will most likely be valleys. 

Now consider the front of the body. You'll easily be able to recognize the most prominent or highest hill; the bust. The highest point of the bust is the bust point. The deepest valley is directly below the bust point where the bust tissue and the torso meet. It is these two points that will define the bust circle.

By defining the bust circle on our pattern, we can map out what is called contour or gape darts to help us eliminate gaping and excess ease in closely fitted garments, even before we stitch up a sample.

A quick note here:
This method is best used after you've developed a good fitting basic block pattern. If you find yourself constantly struggling with fitting no matter what pattern company you use, creating a set of personalized pattern blocks may just be the right nextstep for you. If you'd like more information about that, I'll leave a link for you in the description of this video.

Before we discuss contour or gape darts further, let's talk about how to determine the position and size of the bust circle.

The bust point is located at the center of the bust circle so it's important to know where this is located on your pattern. If it's not marked on your pattern yet, you'll need to determine its position either by measurement or by referring to the sample of your block pattern.

In order to determine the size of your bust circle you'll need to measure your body to obtain the distance between the highest point of the figure and the lowest point of the figure. The highest point being the bust point and the lowest being the base of the breast tissue where it joins to the torso. This measurement will be the radius of the bust circle.

In order for this measurement to be accurate it is important that you wear the bra or support you intend to wear with the final garment. It's important for the apex of the bust to be supported in order to get an accurate measurement.

This measurement can also be used to determine cup size.

So here's a little added information; an A cup is approximately 2 1/2" (6.5 cm), a B cup is about 3" (7.5 cm),a C cup about 3 ½", (9 cm), and a D cup 4" (10 cm), you can add ½" (1.3 cm) for each cup size above D.

Watch the video now to see how to draw the bust circle on the pattern.

If you're interested in creating a personal bodice block, I can help you create one in Designed to Fit: The Bodice Block. I'll show you how to draft, refine and fit a hip length bodice and sleeve using your personal measurements. Designed to Fit: The Bodice Block