Colette Moneta and the trouble with sewing for a small bust

Colette Moneta

Colette Moneta

I have always had trouble fitting tops and dresses because my ribcage/bust is very small (I seriously have a tiny chest here) so even the smallest size of a top just looks like a big bag. I don’t know what size 0 person with a C cup these companies are making clothes for, but I envy her because she can buy clothes off the rack that fit. Anyways, I figured one of the benefits to learning to sew would be that I could finally make clothes to fit my top! I am finding as a beginner sewist, however, that commercial sewing patterns are also not designed for people with tiny top halves. All the patterns that I have acquired so far start the smallest bust size between 30 and 34 inches and are designed for a B or C cup; lets just say my bust is smaller than 30″ and I am maybe an A cup (if that), so I guess I will have to learn to alter my patterns….

I bought the Colette Moneta knowing that the smallest size was for a 33-34″ bust and that Colette designs for a C cup, but I figured since it was a knit pattern it wouldn’t be that bad. Well after making my first bodice I figured I was wrong about that. The top was just huge at the bust, like a few inches too big at both sides. So I figured since it was knit I could just take it in on each side. So I took off about an inch and a half on both sides of my lining and tried it on and it fit pretty well, but when I did the same thing to the fashion fabric I knew it definitely didn’t work quire right because now the armpits were a bit short/tight.

I looked on-line to see if anyone had written about the Moneta being too big, but found nothing. I did find a post on doing a full bust adjustment on the Moneta, but I figured adding darts was not going to help me. I ended up e-mailing the lovely ladies at Colette and they sent me a link to a tutorial on grading down a patter. I set to work and graded down the bodice by just under 4″ total. I sewed up my lining and it fit pretty well, so I set about sewing my fashion fabric (adorable deer fabric I got at Girl Charlee). When I tried on the outer bodice the fit was really good, the only problem was that I couldn’t get it off without help! My fashion fabric didn’t have enough stretch! Curses! My problem boiled down to this, if I made the bodice tight enough to fit my bust, it would be too tight to take off….What to do? I ended up making the shell and lining of the bodice out of my stretchier knit (the stuff I bought to line the dress). So all in all I ended up making the bodice 3 times.

3 Moneta bodices

3 Moneta bodices

Well, I finished the dress last night, but I am just not happy with the way it came out. I think it would look so much cuter out of one fabric. Additionally I really don’t like the fabric I made the bodice out of. I ordered the fabric online and it is supposed to be Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey, but it doesn’t feel like the other Kaufman Laguna stretch jersey I have purchased. Instead of being slightly thick and relatively stable, it feels super stretchy, thin and slightly spongy. Altogether it makes for a not entirely flattering bodice and you know what, the bodice is still too big at the bust! I guess I needed to grade down more!
What the dress should have looked like!

What the dress should have looked like!

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Crappy bathroom selfie of me in the Moneta

Does anyone have suggestions for knit dress patterns that have a smaller fit in the bust?


7 thoughts on “Colette Moneta and the trouble with sewing for a small bust

    • I guess we all have our own issues don’t we? I suppose next time I will do a better job checking the stretch on my fabric, but I swear there was no recommendation for stretch percentage on this pattern.

  1. Hi I was having the same problem as you yesterday! I am a beginner sewer and was staring at this pattern for hours as I have a small bust and A cup size but I have horse riders arms and backside! I have just read about sewing the sleeves open ( I am making one with sleeves) then sewing up the side seam and straight on down the arms so you can fit and alter the bust with it hung over your shoulders. I am still have trouble sewing straight lines and I do have an overlocker/serger but it just sits in the corner growling at me! Your dress looks lovely and If mine ends up as nice as yours I will be euphoric! …

    • It’s so frustrating that it seems like no one ever writes about sewing for a small bust!

      I’m thinking on the Moneta that maybe I should have just taken in the front and not the back? I don’t know. I am trying the Out and About dress by Sew Caroline next so hopefully the bust on that pattern fits better.

  2. Have you tried the lady skater pattern? The sizing is awesome in that one, its meant for tweens- ladies so the smaller sizes are really smaller. Jill

    • I think you use your high bust measurements as well as bust to get the size. My tall but very skinny 9 year old daughter will probably fit the smallest size in a couple of years.

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