August 10, 2020

Introducing High Bust Measurements on Cashmerette Patterns

A geeky but exciting announcement today: we’re introducing high bust measurements to Cashmerette Patterns!

Why is this exciting? Because this new measurement makes it easier to pick the right cup size the first time when you’re using Cashmerette.

The same high bust measurements apply to all our patterns, so while we are phasing them into the envelopes and instructions of new patterns (and updating old ones as we go), it doesn’t matter if the pattern you’re using doesn’t have them included – it’ll be the same high bust measurements for all our patterns.

Imperial (inches):

12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
High Bust 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57
Full Bust Cup size C/D 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
Cup size E/F 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61
Cup size G/H 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62

Metric (cm):

12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
High Bust 94 99 104 109 114 119 124 130 135 140 145
Full Bust Cup size C/D 102 107 112 117 122 127 132 137 142 147 152
Cup size E/F 104 109 114 119 124 130 135 140 145 150 155
Cup size G/H 107 112 117 122 127 132 137 142 147 152 157

What are Full Bust and High Bust measurements? 

Traditionally, when you see “Bust” on a sewing pattern measurement table it means Full Bust. To measure your Full Bust, put the tape measure around your body at the height of your bust apex, making sure it’s parallel with the floor all the way around. Your bust apex is the part of your bust that sticks out the furthest (and no, it’s not necessarily your nipple, depending on your breast shape).

How to measure Full Bust

How to measure Full Bust

To measure your High Bust, put the tape measure around your body and under your arms, bringing it up over the top of your boobs. The tape will go diagonally across the sides of your body. Make sure you measure with your arms down. Take this measurement while NOT wearing a bra.

How to measure High Bust

How to measure High Bust


How do you use Full Bust and High Bust measurements to pick the right cup size in Cashmerette? 

  1. Compare your High Bust measurement to the High Bust line in the Body Measurements Table, to pick your starting size.
  2. Compare your Full Bust measurement to the Full Bust line in the Body Measurement Table for the same size. There are several possibilities:
    • If your High Bust and Full Bust are both in the same size (for instance, your High Bust is a 53″ and your Full Bust is a 57″), then you simply pick that cup size (in this case, 28 E/F).
    • If your High Bust is in one size, and your Full Bust is larger than any of the options in that size (for instance, your high bust is a 53″ and your full bust is a 59″) then you likely* need to do a Full Bust Adjustment. In this case, you’d start with a size 28 G/H and do a 1 inch FBA.
    • If your High Bust is one size, and your Full Bust is smaller than any of the options in that size (for instance, your high bust is a 53″ and your full bust is 54″), then you’ll likely* need to do a Small Bust Adjustment. In this case, you’d start with a size 28 C/D and do a 2 inch SBA.
12 14 16 18 20 22 24 26 28 30 32
High Bust 37 39 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57
Full Bust Cup size C/D 40 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60
Cup size E/F 41 43 45 47 49 51 53 55 57 59 61
Cup size G/H 42 44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62

* why the asterisks? Well, there’s sometimes some wiggle room here.

  • If you’re making a knit and you’re only 0.5 – 1.5″ inches (or so) bigger than the G/H cup, you may still be fine in that cup thanks to the stretch.
  • If you’re a small amount (0.5 – 1″) bigger than the G/H cup and you’re making a pattern with a lot of positive ease at the bust (e.g. the Webster Dress), again you may be able to get away with it thanks to the flowy nature of the pattern.
  • In some cases, you can grade between sizes between the shoulders (the size your High Bust is in) and bust (the size your Full Bust is in). Is this ideal or the “proper” way to do it? Nope! But it does work for some people and can help avoid an FBA if you’re just going between two sizes (I would not do it across more than 2 sizes).
  • For SBAs, the inverse is true  – for instance, if you’re using a knit with a lot of negative ease and you’re only 0.5 – 1.5″ (or so) smaller than the C/D cup, you may still be fine because it will still stretch over your bust, just less than intended.

What should you do if your High Bust is between sizes? 

The High Bust measurements go up by 2″ for every size. If you’re between sizes – for instance, if you’re a 50″ high bust, then always go *up* for your starting size. So for 50″ high bust, start with the size 26.

Are your pattern cup sizes “sewing cup” or “bra” sizes? 

Cashmerette Patterns cup sizing system is based on a foundation of European bra cup sizes, and not sewing cup sizes, which are calculated in a different way. There’s a long explanation for why we set it up like this, but the main reason was that so few people are familiar with sewing cup sizes (especially newbies) that it’s very easy to see “D cup sewing size” and assume you won’t fit in it because you’re an F or a G bra size. Our current cup size system broadly correlates with European bra cup sizes – for instance, I’m a UK 38 H and I fit in the 18 G/H.

You may think: well in that case, why not just have people pick their Cashmerette cup size by their bra cup size? Using measurements is in fact much, much better. First, not everyone wears or knows their European bra cup size. Second, there’s huge variation between brands and countries. Plus, many people wear the wrong size bra because they don’t have access to great full bust lingerie or Victoria’s Secret told them they were a 32 DDDDD or something absurd.

Is it a perfect foolproof system?

No, it’s not. There is no perfect, infallible method to picking a cup size, because our breasts are 3D and variable in a way that can never be captured in two measurements. Your high bust measurement is affected by the shape of your breasts: if they’re particularly rounded, top-heavy, or you wear very supportive/push-up bras, then you’ll have a larger High Bust measurement than someone who might have identically sized boobs but they’re bottom-heavy, teardrop shape, or in an unsupportive bra or no bra. And that doesn’t even account for cup fit depending on the height of your breasts on your torso. I have a 43″ high bust and 48″ full bust, and I wear a 38H bra (and broadly speaking have top-heavy/rounded boobs). But you might find as a 38H you have a different combination of measurements! This is also the reason it’s important to wear the same bra when you measure as you’ll be wearing in the final garment, as it can affect your bust – particularly High Bust – measurements a lot.

Given this, we recommend is using our high bust and full bust measuring system to pick your starting point. Then a muslin is your best friend! You’ll then be able to discover if it is indeed the best cup size for you – we think there’s a *very good chance* it is, but there’s no way to always be 100% sure.

Help! I already found a cup size that fits me in Cashmerette, but this chart says I’d need a different size

If you’ve found what works for you, Do Not Worry About It! Do not mess with success. As I mentioned above, there’s no definitive solution, so if you’ve already found what works for you, don’t worry about the new measurements at all.

So what do you think – will the addition of High Bust measurement make picking your Cashmerette cup size easier? If you find you need an FBA, check out my online workshop Fitting for Curves where I take you through lots of different ways to do an FBA.

28 thoughts on “Introducing High Bust Measurements on Cashmerette Patterns

  1. Donna says:

    I love the “geeky” information and your concise explanations. This way, I know what I’m working with right from the start. Thanks!

  2. Claire Smith says:

    There’s no such thing as too much information (as far as I’m concerned!). This just confirms my previous choices as correct – thanks for sharing this extra information 🙂

  3. Eve L. says:

    I am so happy to see this addition! I have not managed to get a well fitting top yet, even though I have made so many muslins. Had already given up, but now am heading over to trace out a 14 G/H… My earlier trials have been in the 16 and 18 sizes, and all of the cup size combos.
    One more point of info would be helpful for newbies like me: if you could mark where the bust apex is on your patterns.

    1. Diane says:

      I agree: a mark on the pattern to know where the bust apex is would be great!

  4. Mary says:

    This is so helpful. I’ve been struggling with finding the sweet spot when grading between three sizes to fit my narrow shoulders and large bust. The addition of the HB measurement makes choosing a starting point easier. Hopefully, I’ll only need to do a very large FBA.

    1. Mary says:

      One more thing…..I highly recommend ‘Fitting for Curves.’ At first the whole FBA thing eluded me…it was like studying a foreign language. Eventually, once I learned the lingo and watched the videos several times it started to fall into place, Now I wonder why I was so confused about the basics. Presently, I’m preoccupied with where to move the darts and if I need to split them.

      Sewing is definitely a process. Gone are the days I fit into a “perfect” industry standard size. Today, I’m learning so much more than I ever knew when I was a perfect size whatever…

    2. Mary says:

      Update. I used this approach with the Concord tee pattern and it worked great! I lengthened the pattern to my knees and made the FBA adjustment at the lower bust notch to get a perfect fitting nightgown on the first try! I started with a size 18 G/H and did a 3 1/2” (7” total difference) FBA.

      While I have a number of Cashmerette patterns this is my first successful project. I had a difficult time balancing the fit of my huge bust with my narrow shoulders and back. I still needed a large FBA but this time the back of the pattern didn’t need any adjustments. Using the high bust measurement to choose my starting size made the whole process easier, faster, and more pleasant! Thank you for updating your fitting system by including the high bust measurements.

  5. Vicki Maggs says:

    This is so helpful, thank you! Just one question: I assume that we are to take our high and full bust measurements wearing the bra that we intend to wear with the finished garment? It might seem like a silly question but one designer I use asks for high bust measurement without a bra on at all.

    1. Yes wear a bra when you’re taking your measurements (the one you’ll be wearing with the garment).

      1. Just as an update: you should take your full bust with the bra on, and high bust WITHOUT a bra on – sorry I didn’t clarify that in the
        first comment!

  6. Karey says:

    Thankyou for adding this. I found it really helpful when you provided this on your FBA FB video earlier this year, and am extremely happy it is being added as standard to your patterns. Also helpful to know you’re using bra sizing rather than standard dress sizing. When you get into larger cup sizes, and a big difference between full and underbust, dress cup sizes are not the full picture.

  7. Amazing!!! All patterns should have a high bust measurement imo. At least then the finished garment will actually fit the shoulders properly. I’ve only come across one pattern so far that used a High Bust measurement to determine the size you needed, and then you did your FBA based on the half the difference between the patterns bust measurement and your actual bust measurement. So good to have a garment that i didn’t have to alter more than the bust on for a change lol …. Lets hope you start a full on pattern revolution! ;D

  8. Janis.Brodie says:

    I am hoping that the high bust measurement will help me to get a Cashmerette pattern to fit me at last. I have made many, many muslins without success. The shoulders and above-bust area have always been far too big. My high bust is 45in and my full bust is 52in. However, my breasts are not huge. Large, but not huge. I take a UK 48D. I have a broad back. My hips and waist are far too big for the Size 20/22. I would probably need a 28 as I don’t like close-fitting clothes. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

    1. Hi Janis – so it sounds like you have a broad back but very narrow shoulders? Usually a 7 inch difference would be an H cup+, so I’m guessing that may be why. You will need to grade between sizes – making one size for your bust (including a full bust adjustment), and then potentially grading to a different size at the waist and hip. If you send all your measurements to us at we can help you out with suggestions.

  9. Gale Barnett says:

    High bust is measured with arms down. Funny the difference. I found a bra company that uses high as part of measurement and finally got the right size bra. Tank for designing for curves.

    1. Yes, we say to measure with your arms down in the blog post above.

  10. Heidi says:

    Hello. Thank you for the great work you do. Could you plse give us the measurement charts as a PDF so we can download and store with the patterns? Thank you.

  11. Martha lee says:

    I so like the fact that you’re addressing sizing I’ve seen for 60+ years and still will come across a pattern that the sizing isn’t working for me. I live your patterns. I’m not a little woman and like your styles alot.

  12. K. S. says:

    Great innovative idea to add the high bust measurement to your patterns size charts!

  13. murphyallen53 says:

    Once again, brilliant post! So glad you’re including the high bust measurement. I have narrow ribs and back, but large chest (UK 34J) and it’s been hard to fit shoulders (also narrow) – this will help tremendously. Thank you so much. So far I have simply measured the pattern for shoulder width and back length (I’m shortwaisted) but your patterns seem to take this into account. I’m SO GLAD you are designing for curves!!! Thank you, Jenny and crew! <3

    1. murphyallen53 says:

      Oh and my high bust is 38 and full bust is 45 so I’ll try a size 14 with a FBA on the G/H cup??

  14. murphyallen53 says:

    I just remade the Upton using this new information and what a difference! YAAAAY! Perfect fit. As I remake my other Cashmerette patterns I’ll do this as well. Love it. Thank you so much!

  15. Vicki says:

    This measurement is so helpful. Just to check, is the HB measurement with Bra off or on? In your text you mention Bra off but then in the comments you say take your measurements with the bra you’ll be wearing under the garment. If it is Bra off can you explain why? – I love to know the theory behind stuff!

    1. Sorry for the confusion – we actually refined our recommendations on this over time! So we recommend high bust WITHOUT a bra, and full bust WITH a bra. The reason for HB without a bra is that what you’re really trying to do is measure your ribcage, which gives an estimate of a “B” cup. If you have particularly high boobs or you’re wearing a pushup bra it leads the HB to become a lot bigger – and that then leads people to getting a cup size recommendation that’s too small.

  16. Beanie says:

    Hi there, I’m wondering if you could please give me some advise on choosing sizes for a petite person with curves – my HB is 34 and my full bust is 36.5 – I find it really difficult to work out what size to choose in patterns – and my measurements don’t seem to be on the chart you have shown here.

  17. Sarah T says:

    It’s so great that this information is being included – I am sure it will help people to get an ever better fit with your patterns. But I am unfortunately one of those whose HB and FB measurements don’t capture my large bust. I think there are a few of us out there. I am 35 inches HB and 36 FB – sounds like a smaller bust, right? But my underbust is 30, and I actually have a large bust. (D cup in Australian bra sizes.)

    1. Our size calculator allows for this by also taking your usual bra size into account, so that’s the best place to go to get your size in Cashmerette patterns: go to

  18. Darcie says:

    Hi there,

    This is a great reference, thank you so much! Is there a chart you would recommend that includes smaller sizing? My full bust is 37, underbust is 29, and high bust is also 37. My high bust is on the chart above, but I think the others are before it, unless I’m reading it wrong.

Let me know what you think!