And we are back! The first two posts in this series covered using customised patterns and extreme small bust adjustments as a means to getting a good fit for the bare chested.  This post shows how to apply the method taught by Joi Mahon in her Craftsy courses and newly released book – Create the Perfect Fit.

I stumbled on to this method after signing up for the  Craftsy Course, Fast Track Fitting In the Details, when I saw it was on sale.  I wanted to see if there was a method that could retain more of the design features and still create a fitted garment.   I watched the whole course end to end and I could see the potential of her approach to be the solution to all my fitting woes, but I felt I needed more information specific to my situation.   So, I contacted Joi and she let me know that I had taken the second of the two courses and hence missed some of the detail (whoops) and then asked if I would like a copy of the book in exchange for a review.   Yes. Yes I would.

The day I got the book, I was so excited, I got my bodice piece out and started following the book step by step to make adjustments.

The book essentially has you measure key parts of your body and then helps you translate the result on to the pattern.  Simples.  There are even lovely little pages to write your measurements in (although, I was too scared to write in the new shiny book!)

So these are the steps I followed that relate to the bust area:

1.  Measure your shoulder to apex

Without nipples finding an apex on my body was a little puzzling but I just went with what felt natural to me.  You then compare this measurement to the same distance on your pattern.

REVELATION:  The very first measurement and adjustment was a revelation.  I am not wide shouldered or broad backed, I am long in the upper torso.  Whoa.  May I never have tight arm pits again.


2. Measure the “bust curve”

From my nominated “apex”  I measured down my chest to where the base of my breasts used to sit.  Obviously, this was a lot shorter than assumed in my pattern.  I removed the difference from my pattern and redrew the waist dart.  I wondered whether to make this adjustment through the bust dart, and settled on leaving it in on one side of my muslin and taking it out in on the other.  (The book does suggest that for large adjustments in this area, you should involve the dart.)

Joistechniquebodice3. Measure the width

I then measured my front width at various locations and extended the pattern out at the seam line.  All of these steps are very clearly explained in the book but you get an idea of how my bodice changed from the picture above.

Then I followed the same process for the back of my bodice and sewed up the muslin!

Jois SBA


There is a bust dart on the left and none on the right.  I preferred the look of the right, so removed the dart and think I will always do so.

Jois SBA


Looking pretty good right?

Jois SBA

and ample underarm clearance!  You can see the pointy dart slightly better in this photo.

 So what are my thoughts on this approach:

– the book is really easy to follow and for me was the perfect hand holding experience.  I possibly could have done the same thing using just the Craftsy course, but I felt like many of my unanswered questions were clearly and succinctly covered in the book.

– you get to keep the design details like darts

– the process separates the bust area from any other area that might need adjustment, making it easier to pin point any problems

– the book shows you how to adapt any size of pattern to fit you. Hello vintage patterns of random sizes!

– I love, love, love that Joi has now solved my tight armpit issue for ever more : )

Joi Blog Book Web Button


To share the love, Joi also sent me two hard copy patterns (M7025 and M7017) to give away to a lucky reader.

M7025  8x10 size coatM7017 view B

Just tell me what your fitting nemesis is in the comments below before Friday 31 October 12:00 WST (oooooohhh).  Open to international readers.