Emery Dress Sew-Along: How To Do A Small Bust Adjustment


Hi everyone! The lovely Haley is back again today with a pattern adjustment for the Emery Dress Sew-Along, this one for the smaller busted ladies. I was happy to hear through various forms of social media that many of you enjoyed yesterday's Emery Dress Full Bust Adjustment tutorial! I told you Haley knew what she was doing! For today's pattern alteration, I give you again to Haley!

Hello again seamstresses! In today’s post I will be demonstrating a small bust adjustment for the Emery Dress


Much like full-busted ladies, women with a smaller bust may find a pattern straight out of the envelope to be less than ideal in fit. If you are an A cup or smaller, a small bust adjustment (or SBA) can greatly improve the fit of your bodice.


If you are following the Emery Dress Sew-Along, you have already made your muslin mock up. If you experienced any sagging or excess fabric in the bust, the following adjustments will help!


Your Emery Dress pattern
A clear ruler (I use a 2” x 18”)
Paper shears


Tips on choosing a size: Unless you are a B cup, I usually recommend using the size based on your waist measurement. This gives you a better idea of your size based on your frame rather than your bust.

Try on your muslin bodice. Carefully pinch and pin any excess fabric at both bust points. This amount is the amount you will need to reduce your pattern by. In these photos I am decreasing by 1/2”, this will more than likely be the amount you will need to decrease by if you are an A cup.

Prepare your pattern by marking the sewing line on the armcye of your front bodice piece.

Draw a line through the center of your side dart extending beyond the dart point. This will be line “A.” 

Draw a second line through the center of the waist dart, making sure this line is parallel to the grainline, this will be line “B.”

Draw a third line from the bust point to the armcye sewing line. This will be line “C.”
Now all of our slash lines are in place and we are ready to cut.

Very carefully begin cutting through line “B” starting at the waistline. Pivot and continue cutting through line “C”, stopping at the armcye sewing line.

Cut through line “A” starting at the side seam, make sure to leave a small paper hinge at the bust point, keeping the tissue intact. We can now manipulate the bodice to create less room in the bust.

Keeping in mind the amount you wish to reduce by, draw a line parallel to the center front portion of line “B”. I am reducing this pattern by 1/2" at each bust point, so my line is 1/2" away.

Maneuver your pattern so that line “B” lies on your reduction line. This part can be finicky, but using pattern weights to stabilize the tissue pattern can be helpful.

Secure lines “C” and “A” with tape.

You can also tape down line “B” above the lengthen/ shorten line.

You will notice that the center front of your pattern is lower than the side. To even up the waist line, cut along the lengthen/ shorten line at the center front. 

Move the cut piece up to align with the lengthen/ shorten line on the left side of the pattern.

Redraw the dart legs using the original dart point. I find that using a contrasting colored marker makes the new dart easier to see.

Fold your darts so that the dart legs are aligned (as if they were sewn and pressed), and trim the excess.

That's it! See you tomorrow for the wide shoulder adjustment!

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Thanks again to Haley for guiding us all along with your expertise! If you have comments or questions, Haley will be checking in from time to time to answer any questions you might have. Thanks and happy adjusting!

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All adjustment photos by me.
Photo of Haley Glenn by Devon Iott of Miss Make.