What a gem!


I have a few pairs of high-waisted pants/jeans in my wardrobe that I prefer to wear a more fitted tee with.  And fitted tees seem to be lacking in my wardrobe at the moment!  Enter StyleArc’s Gem Knit Tee, a remnant from work, and my latest dartless Full Bust Adjustment (FBA) journey was off and racing.


In very simple terms, my bust is usually a size bigger than my shoulders.  I have about a 2″ (5cm) difference between my high bust and my full bust, which in sewing terms equates to a B Cup, which lots of patterns are drafted for.  But… sometimes I still need to go down the FBA route.


Earlier this year I used the Gem Knit Tee as a basis for a tiered tee dress.  The full blog post is here, but let’s look at the slightly out-of-focus photo below to see why I started my latest FBA journey.


Call them little folds of fabric or side boob whiskers, but the bottom line is that there isn’t enough room from the ladies in the green dress even though I added 1/4″  (6mm) to the side seams in the bust area… which is a bit of a cheats FBA.


I’ve referenced Maria Denmark for bust fitting issues before, and she’s updated her method for a dartless FBA since I last fell down this fitting rabbit hole.  The updated  ‘A Better FBA (Full Bust Adjustment) For A No-Dart Front’ was the method that I tried.


Determining how much extra fabric is required can be tricky.  Maria writes:

“In woven fabrics, it’s so much more straightforward: You just cut the muslin at the bust and measure how much extra fabric you need.  In knits, it’s not quite as simple.  You could cut your muslin, but it’s hard to measure precisely because the fabric needs to stretch.  So if you go by that method, you need to add less than the fabric opens up. Usually adding 1 – 2 cm (3/8 – 3/4 “) on half the front is enough.”

For this tee, I went with a 3/8″ (1cm) adjustment to the Front pattern piece, which gave me a total of 3/4″ (2cm) of extra ease in the bust.


And the results… drum roll…



I’m going with it’s an improvement, but there is still a single fold of fabric that is very dart sized!


Will it stop me wearing the tee? Heck no. Would I like to try again?  Heck yes!


My initial gut feeling was that I just needed to add a bigger FBA, but now I’m not so sure. What would you do?


The other three (common) alterations I made to the pattern were:

  • a forward shoulder adjustment
  • narrowing of the neckband piece (personal preference)
  • removing 2″ (5cm) from the length of the tee… which of course you can’t see as the tee is tucked in!


The fabric was part of the digital printed Ashby Jesery range at work.  This particular print is sold out now… I nabbed the final 75cm!


Final word…  I must confess I feel very me in this outfit.  My style is definitely evolving and I find that exciting.


Pattern:  StyleArc’s Gem Knit Tee purchased from The Cloth Shop (work)
Digitally printed cotton/spandex jersey from The Cloth Shop.  This print has sold out, but there are other options.
Completed a 3/8” (1cm) full bust adjustment and a 3/8” (1cm) forward shoulder adjustment, narrowed the neckband and removed 2″ (5cm) from the length of the tee.
Outfit:  Jeans from Manteau Noir, Antique locket from Rutherford’s (gift), antique chain from Chilton’s Antiques and sunglasses and sneakers from Luisa (not current).
Location:  Ballarat


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  • I use a no dart fba from Singers “ the perfect fit “ it’s great and super easy different to any other I’ve seen.

  • I used Nancy Zieman’s pivot and slide method on a Lark and it worked. You can see video on utube or her website.

  • I have the same fit problem.
    In a knit, I run two lines of ease stitching in the armholes of the front bodice, approximately where an armhole dart would sit. Then I ease that part of the bodice into the sleeve. I’ve found that I can accommodate 3/4”-1” or so of excess fabric without any puckers in the seam.
    I was inspired by “Converting darts to ease” in Claire Schaeffer’s Couture Sewing Techniques. Her technique was to shrink the fabric (eg, wool) with an iron and ease it into the waistband rather than use waist darts. A knit fabric is more accommodating than a woven fabric, so I’ve never had to shrink the fabric first.
    Hope this helps!

  • Hi, great fabric in that top. I have similar results with tshirts and suspect there are contributions from the back length/width and more-so from the design of the armsye/sleeve head, not just the width/length for the bust.

    It’s been more of a problem with me with aging – so I’m guessing adjusting for more curved back, forward rolled shoulder, elbow rotation etc.

    This video from J Stern design (How to smooth wrinkles coming out of the base of the armhole) may be a start? https://youtu.be/EXy24UHhv-A.

    It may be that something other than lack of front width is adding to the wrinkle. Particularly as there seem to be almost vertical wrinkles around the armsye and some pulling at the sleeves.

    So, maybe the armsyth isn’t quite the right shape/length or the centre-back is too short (a la curved back, pulling fabric back and up?)

    So, maybe check centre back length in the upper back (a la “round back”) as there may be some drag lines to bottom of armhole in side view of top and the the side seam of the dress perhaps tilts towards back near armhole?

    Or armsye height? other thing I was reading about lately is the impact of the armsye and sleeve head shapes. I’m not across it, but I’m guessing if armsye isn’t tall enough for your body then some of the “width” gets pulled up, dragging the bodice with it.

    • Thank you for your very detailed comment Anthea. I too have been wondering about the armsyth shape contributing to the wrinkles. I’m going to watch that video, pop my tee on and have a good old think! I will definitely report back.

  • Your problem with the excess at the armscye looks exactly like this
    Hope it helps!