One reason I haven't been sewing much is my fear of fitting. I don't think I'm alone with this fear either. It's one thing to try clothes on in a store and assess if they fit or not and it's entirely another to sew something yourself to fit your body. It's very frustrating to sew something and not have it fit, and feel you've wasted your time and money (although if you can learn something, then it's not all a waste).
I'm fortunate to not have too much of a problem with fit. In the past I have gotten away with making only minor modifications to patterns - mostly cutting a larger size for the bottom than the top. Sometimes I also make an adjustment to sleeves to fit my middle-aged-flabby arms. I sew a lot with knits, which can be very forgiving, but even in a knit I'm not always happy with the resulting fit. The area of most of my woes these days is the bust, which has gotten more full over time. I have noticed a lot on the sewing boards and blogs about sewers making an FBA - full bust adjust - to their patterns. I think it's time I acknowledge that I'm not the B-cup the patterns are cut for - I'm more like a D.
I tried a small FBA on my last project, a simple long sleeve t-shirt, but it didn't really make a difference. I did a "vertical FBA", which is just a way of adding more fabric to the front so that there is more to go over your bust - the excess is eased in at the sides without adding a dart. I didn't add enough to the front, so there wasn't much excess.
My next project is this piece (#122) from Burda Style 3/2012:
I had a suspicion that the bodice would need to be lengthened and/or make an FBA and I was right. When I placed the pattern piece against me, the seam line for the skirt hit way to high under my bust. This was a wadder in the making unless I made some adjustments.
Here is the resulting pattern piece after I made the FBA and lengthened the front. I made a muslin in a knit scrap (yay for saving knit scraps!) and confirmed that it will work.
For the FBA (in red) I used some wonderful instructions from the Petite Plus Patterns site: click here for the link. The pattern included the bottom dart, which I redrew, and I added the side dart.
To add length, I cut along a line perpendicular to the bottom dart line and added an inch (green lines). I did the same for the back piece, which also has a dart.
So now, I am confident to proceed with cutting the fabric. Stay tuned for the results!