Did I Say "Easy"? – FBA on an Overlay

A direct quote from me on Stitchers Guild. “Next up? Something easy!
Riiiiiiiiiiight,…. My next project, which actually is quite easy in the abstract, is Butterick 4920, a blouson top and dress, with an underlayer that is a camisole and a bloused overlay.

I am trying desperately to rid myself of stash fabric that I have bought, and I thought I would give this pattern a go. But first, I had to make a few adjustments to the pattern. I do a FBA on almost everything, and this is no exception. FBA is a straightforward adjustment, and there are lots of good tutorials for doing one out on the web. I’m going to assume you have a basic knowledge of an FBA and show you my variation, which is to adjust for a non-standard overlay piece.

First, transfer all markings to the overlay piece.
The first thing you need to do is mark the bust point on your overlay. To do this, place the overlay on top of the underlayer, lining up the side seams and armscye. Trace the bust point onto the overlay.

Mark the Underlayer, then the overlay
Because this piece has a closely fitted underlayer, I first made all my standard adjustments on the front underlayer piece. In my case, I lowered the bust point first, before adjusting the cup size. I did that step on the underlayer, then I put the overlay on top, transferred all markings and made the same change.

After that, I marked my underlayer with all the standard cutting lines for the FBA, using heavy pencil. You can do it with a sharpie, but it will bleed through to your cutting table if you’re using the standard Big 4 weight tissue paper. Once again, lay your overlay on top of the underlayer, aligning the side and armhole seams, and trace those markings onto your overlay piece. You can then proceed to make all your cuts and do your adjustments. Here’s the side-by-side result of the adjustments I made. The underlayer is on the left, the overlay on the right:

These steps are relatively easy to accomplish. The most important thing to figure out before you start is where the overlay attaches to the supporting under-piece. That is where you have to line up your pieces before making your marks and cuts on the overlay. In most, but not all, cases this will be the side seam and armhole.

I decided to make the underlay from some stretch lace that I had in my stash. The lace was in 14 inch galloons, which necessitated piecing. To do that, I traced off the original pattern and cut it into three pieces, a bottom, middle and top, adding seam allowances where appropriate:

I didn’t add them everywhere because I wanted to use the scalloped edges of the galloons as decorative edges. You can see the pieces basted together here:

Honestly, it didn’t take that long to do. If you know how to do a FBA, then it’s quite straightforward to add it to an overlay piece, even one that doesn’t exactly map onto your underlay. I’d say that this probably added about an hour to an hour and a half to the sewing time, and that was partly because I was interrupted a few times. Here’s a picture of the finished top:

But you know the kicker? After all that, I don’t know if I like it. I think it makes me look pregnant. Oh well, live and learn….

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, www.gorgeousfabrics.com. Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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