This is one of the many reasons that I love you blogger friends: You read my insanely long posts about reasonably trivial sewing projects and provide feedback.
I revisited the top pattern today, all set to do what I suggested in my last post. FYI, doesn't matter how short one's dart is, closing a 2.5 inch wide dart, of various lengths, yields a 6 inch span at the hem. Ridiculous. Plus, it makes the armsyce look weird and truncated - like a right angle sort of - which, when I trued for correction yields - guess what? - the same armscye curve as the modified one used the first time. My proposed fix seems destined to fail. I can see it, even if I can't articulate my reasoning well.
Three of you suggested that I probably need to go down a size. That seems crazy to me, but it's sometimes the way. I just redrew the size small armscye (recreating it with a french curve cuz, natch, I cut into the actual pattern first time around, stupid girl) as it appears that what I need is a higher armhole - not a longer one. (My own armscye is pretty high, and that's probably why I can wear all of those high-winged bras without issue, despite my shortness and short-waistedness.)
It occurs to me today that I graded from a small shoulder to a medium bust in the weirdest way. I didn't draw the armhole in size small and move to a medium side seam. I cut a small at the shoulder and graded to a medium along the front armscye curve. Effectively I lowered the armhole while neglecting to remove fabric as assertively as I should have, where I should have.
There you go. Can't say that my new size small - which if I recreated it correctly is exactly the same as the unmodified original - will solve the problem of 2 plus inches of extra fabric. But I did take off a reasonable amount of side seam at the underarm (like, 2 inches per side over front and back pieces) and raised the curve by about 1/2 an inch. Furthermore, I reverted the front and back armholes to a true size small, rather than something half way between a small and medium.
Hilarious, that I've managed to turn a simple shell into a complicated thing. But not surprising.