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How to Lower a Bust Dart Tutorial

HOW TO LOWER A BUST DART TUTORIAL

Let’s talk darts first, I do love a good dart!

A good dart takes away fullness where we don’t want it, enhancing our lovely shapes!

A bad dart, well doesn’t. It points to the wrong bits. Sits too high, or low, or long, or short and drags the fabric.

It’s easy enough to get your darts looking pattern perfect. They can be altered to sit lower, higher (though that’s unusual, but perfectly possible), the angle of the tip can be changed, shortened or lengthened.

THE BASICS | anatomy of a dart 

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

PRESSING DARTS: A quick note on dart pressing darts, As a general rule contour and other vertical darts are pressed with the excess bulk towards the centre front or back. Horizontal darts, that would be bust darts, are pressed with the dart excess down. I know some sewists prefer to press upwards as this is supposed to be more youthful. I press downwards, that was the norm in industry, but mostly because my needlework teacher told me they go down so they don’t get full of dust. Yuk! She also said I wouldn’t pass my ‘O’ level needlework and was quite wrong there. As there is no such thing as the Sewing Police, please do what makes you happiest, I won’t judge you.

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

A common dart alteration is the need to lower a bust dart. The Kitty Dress has a bust dart at the centre front seam, a lovely feature. But what if the dart is not in the right place for one’s boobage and it needs moving? I do mean move the dart, not the boobage. Panic not, ‘chop and slide’ that dart is the way forward to get that dart (or indeed, any dart) sitting where we want it.

METHOD

As always wear your intended underwear before you start fitting and measuring, if you are going to wear a padded bra go pop it on. Remember that a well fitted bra will make all the difference to how your garment fits.

EQUPIMENT:

COPY OF PATTERN PIECE (OR ABILITY TO REPRINT ORIGINAL!)

RULER

PENCIL

STICKY TAPE

TAPE MEASURE

PAPER SCISSORS

PATTERN PAPER

TRACING WHEEL (optional, but very useful)

BUST POINT | BUST APEX

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

1. One of the first things to do is find your BUST POINT (BP) (also called the APEX).

The BP of the pattern is easy to find, extend the central line of the dart and mark the BP 2.5cm (1”) away from the tip of the dart. (see diagram below)

If you’ve made a toile try it on, mark your BP and transfer to your pattern.

Or you can also measure yourself from nipple to nipple, and then from mid shoulder to the nipple.

MY PATTERN PIECES HAVE THE SEAM ALLOWANCE ON! Just mark your seam allowance if you leave them on. I would suggest a consistent approach to leaving them on or taking them off for alterations so you develop your own process.

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

2. DRAW LINE 1: LINE 1 length is HALF the nipple to nipple measurement. Draw it horizontally across the pattern starting at CF STITCH LINE.

3. DRAW LINE 2: At the end of LINE 1, draw LINE 2 parallel to the grainline,

4. DRAW LINE 3: from the mid shoulder draw LINE 3 the same length as shoulder  – nipple measurement, it will intersect LINE 2 at your BP.

The difference in height between the pattern BP and your BP is how much you need to move the dart.

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-02

 

5. DRAW LINE 4: Draw a line vertically through the dart tip, parallel with the grainline

6. Draw a box around the dart.

7. On LINE 4, Measure down from the base of the box, and mark the distance the dart is to be lowered

CHOP AND SLIDE !

8. Cut out the box, slide it down along LINE 4 to your mark.

 

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-10

 

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

 

9. Tape the dart in place. Tape a piece of paper behind your pattern to fill in the gap.

10. Redraw the dart legs. Remember, the tip of a bust dart is usually 1” (2.5cm) from the BP, but this can change depending on you – it could be ½” (1.2cm) if you are small busted and up to 3” (7.5cm) if you have a fuller bust.

Carry on…we haven’t finished yet!

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

GOOD DART | BAD DART

DART EXTENSION | truing the Centre Front Seam

Take a look at good dart / bad dart.

Bad dart hasn’t been trued, so the dart extension is too short and that seam is a pointy mess. Bodies are not generally that shape, they curve! Bad dart, go hang your head in shame. The dart extension is the pointy end at the seam allowance end. For the dart to sit properly and not drag and cause pulling we need the dart extension to be EXACTLY the same shape as the part of the garment it sits against. And when it’s closed, we want the seam to run in a smooth line. 

11. Fold your dart, along the dart legs as if you are stitching your dart closed, with the excess downwards. A bit of tape doesn’t go a miss to hold the dart temporarily in place. (Now is the time to go excess upwards if that is your preference.)

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-0112. Oh looky, those dart legs aren’t the same length are they? There is a stagger at the CF seam. All you need to do is TRUE the dart and the CF seam. Which is a posh way of saying REDRAW the CF LINE. while the dart is folded, blending the new line in as naturally as you can to get a smooth line.

WHEN TRUING a seam or dart it’s usual to go half way between a stagger, gaining a bit and losing a bit of pattern.

13. While the dart is still folded, use a tracing wheel to transfer the new line through to your dart, creating the dart extension. No tracing wheel? Cut along outside the edge of the pattern, straight through the dart excess. Unfold your dart. Now you have a new CF line you’ll need draw in your new seam allowance.

14. Label your pattern, I always add the date to keep track of the latest version, it’s a good idea to make a note of the alteration(s) done too!

A LITTLE MORE DART FUN

because I know how to party….

LOWER BUST DART TUTORIAL-01

If you don’t need to move the whole dart, it’s easy to shorten or lengthen one instead. Mark where you would like the new DART TIP to be, draw in the CENTRE LINE and just redraw the dart legs back to the base of the dart. Don’t forget to TRUE the dart and seam!
You can also just move the tip up or down, rather than the whole dart, again redraw the legs and TRUE the dart and seam.

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The Bicep Adjustment Tutorial

Hello! What’s a bicep adjustment I hear you ask? Because it sounds painful. It’s not, no biceps were harmed in the making of this tutorial…

So the question is, how are your sleeves fitting? Is your sleeve a little snug and restrictive at the upper arm, or is it a little bigger than desired? But it’s actually a good fit in the armhole.

Well, here’s the answer to your pattern alteration prayers…The Bicep adjustment tutorial. A pattern alteration to help you get a better fitting sleeve without touching the bodice armhole.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT | THE RULES

We are going to cut up the pattern so…

RULE NO 1 OF PATTERN ALTERATIONS: DO NOT DESTROY YOUR ORIGINAL!

Trace off your pattern (unless it’s a PDF – you can always print another – hurray for technology!). If it all goes horribly wrong, you’ve just wasted a bit of paper and time – you can then just start again and have another go. It’s also a very good habit to date your pattern alterations, you can easily keep track of your latest version that way.

RULE NO 2: THIS ALTERATION ONLY REALLY WORKS FOR CHANGING BICEP MEASUREMENTS TO A MAXIMUM OF 2.5CM (1″)

RULE NO 3: TOILE, TOILE, TOILE. Don’t even think about mucking about with a sleeve without testing it out!

RULE NO 4: RULES ARE, sometimes, MADE TO BE BROKEN (except rule 3 – just don’t). There’s more than one way to do anything and you could also need a combo of alterations!

HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH?

First, you need to know how much extra to add. Measure your arm at the fullest part with your arm bent. Measure your pattern (without seam allowance) at the bicep (see below for the bicep line) and compare. The difference is the ease.

As with all things, how much ease you have in your pattern is going to depend on your fabric and how you want your garment to look and feel. There isn’t a one size fits all solution but a good guide is 4-5cm (1.5″ to 2″) should be enough for a woven dress, around 10cm (4″) for a coat to be worn over other garments. And then there’s jersey. Depends who you talk too – some say no ease, so the pattern is the same measurement as your body. Some say add 2.5cm (1″) ease. Some patterns have negative ease they are actually smaller than your body (very stretchy cloth!). With jersey fabrics consider how tight do you want the bicep area and how stretchy is your fabric as a starting point.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

STEP 1: Mark the seam allowances. You can mark the whole pattern piece but you can just do each intersection: at the underarm, sleeve head, hem.

THE BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

STEP 2: Draw a horizontal line joining the underarm points together, this is the BICEP LINE. Halfway along the bicep line (fold the pattern in half to mark it) draw a vertical line at a right angle to the bicep line the entire length of the pattern. It should be parallel (or in the same place as) the grain line.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

STEP 3: Cut along the lines up to the seam allowance (NOTE: I’m using the Kitty sleeve pattern that has no hem allowance as it is finished with a binding, so I’ve cut straight through).

MY TIP: I like to work with a larger piece of paper behind my pattern piece and then on it draw a horizontal line (for the bicep) and a vertical line (the dashed orange lines above). It’s a good guide to make sure your sleeve pattern stays square and doesn’t go skew-whiff! Some cutters don’t do this and are happy to just slide a piece of paper behind the pattern and tape in place to fill the gaps later. Each to their own, neither is right or wrong, as always pros and cons for either!BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

STEP 4: Snip from the outside of the pattern, back toward the seam allowance, leaving 2mm of paper, to make a hinge to help pivot the pattern. They do rip apart, it’s not a big deal, just use pins or tape to anchor in place as a backup/alternative to help when pivoting the pattern into position. The large piece of paper is handy to pin to.

NOTE: All the pivoting will be done from the SEAM ALLOWANCE line, not the outside edge of the pattern.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

| TO INCREASE THE BICEP |

Mark the amount you want to INCREASE the bicep by on the bicep guideline, either side of the vertical line. (I’m going with 2cm = 1cm each side of the line)

Line up the sleeve with the guidelines and then gently slide the underarm points outwards along your guide bicep line until you have gained the extra you need in the middle of the pattern. Anchor them down with a pin or tape.

The hinges will help pivot your pattern into place, keep the hem and sleeve head on the vertical line. As the bicep gets wider, the sleeve head will automatically lower and overlap the lower portion of the sleeve. Crucially, the sleeve will still fit into your armhole because the sleeve head is the same measurement. You will probably need to redraw the sleeve head and hem to smooth the line. (See short sleeve picture below).

When you are happy, tape your pattern back together.  You can just tape in that new extra bit in the middle and cut away the excess, or trace off the whole new pattern piece.

THE BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNSClose up of one section

You can see how the pattern spreads, raises in the centre and lines up with the guidelines.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

| DECREASE BICEP |

This uses exactly the same principle as before. We just decrease the bicep measurement by OVERLAPPING the pattern at the centre, rather than spreading it apart. When you decrease the bicep measurement, the sleeve head raises in height. Redraw the sleeve head and hem to smooth if necessary. Tape back together or trace off the pattern.

BICEP ADJUSTMENT TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

 | SHORT SLEEVE |

Add to your bicep measurement in exactly the same way as the long sleeve.  At the hem, you need to cut through and leave a gap to allow for the extra ease. Mine is pretty much parallel all the way down from the bicep, as I wanted to keep the underarm seam at the same angle. You can also see how I’ve redrawn the sleeve head and hem, it’s not a lot, just enough to create a smooth line.

| RESULTS |

So now you have a new sleeve pattern, with an adjusted bicep. You need to toile (make a test) now, just check it’s working for you. You may need to tweak and add or reduce the bicep again. There are other methods for adjusting sleeves too. You might need a combination of a few alterations so look out for PART 2 of the Sleeve Alteration Tutorials!

 

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Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern Tutorial

How to Lengthen or Shorten a Sewing Pattern

This is just about the easiest pattern alteration to do!

You’ve probably noticed, many patterns have horizontal length adjustment lines marked on them to show where to alter the length. I don’t do that on my patterns, I prefer a cleaner look. It’s so easy to get in a muddle with too many lines everywhere and so simple to mark any length adjustments only if you need them. This straight forward tutorial will show you how simple it is to lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern, to help achieve a great fit.

Tools:

Your pattern (or copy of your pattern if you don’t want to alter your original)

ruler

pencil

tape

paper

 

Things to be aware of:

  • If you are doing lots of alterations to your pattern, do any length adjustments first.
  • Keep the grainline or “place to fold line” IN A STRAIGHT LINE, do not allow them to stagger.
  • The Chain Effect: when altering one pattern piece, also alter the corresponding pattern piece in the same way and remember to check they still fit together after your alteration. It is very annoying to end up with the front skirt longer than your back skirt!

STEP 1:

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-01Once you’ve made a toile, you’ll know how much and where you need to add or subtract length to your garment. You can just change the bodice length, or a skirt length or the sleeve, or all 3!

Draw an adjustment line horizontally across your pattern at a right angle to the grainline or to the “place to a fold line”

On a bodice: mark the line above the waist line but below a bust dart, and straight through any waist darts.

On a skirt (or skirt portion of a dress) below the hip line, but avoid any pocket details – no point making life complicated!

On a sleeve: half way along the underarm seam, unless it’s a fitted sleeve or has an elbow dart, then divide between two lines. (See “Good to Know” at the end)

Step 2:

LENGTHEN A PATTERN:

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-02Cut along the adjustment lines and separate the pattern piece.

Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your pattern to it.

Extend the grain line. Draw a line parallel to the your adjustment line the amount you need to lengthen the pattern by. Tape the lower portion of your pattern to the new line, matching up the grainline. Re-draw the seam lines so that they match up again, these may need to be curved or may be straight depending on your pattern piece. It’s quite usual to need to blend the new lines together, adding a bit to one and taking a bit off the other.

SHORTEN A PATTERN:

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-03Cut along the adjustment lines.

Place a piece of paper behind your pattern and tape the top portion of your pattern to it. On your pattern, draw a line parallel to the adjustment line the amount the pattern is to be shortened. Overlapping your pattern pieces, tape the lower portion of the pattern to the new line, matching up the grainlines. Re-draw the the seam lines so they match up again, in the same way as lengthening a pattern.

STEP 3:

Check your pattern pieces still fit together before cutting out your garment. Toile again if you need to!

Good to Know:

The Maria Wrap Apron: lengthen the straps

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-06

 

This is a great method to use if you need to alter the length of the straps of The Maria Wrap Apron too. Be sure to keep the grainline aligned as before, but you can just chop through the strap, spread the pattern the required amount and re-draw the edges with a straight line – all without changing the length of the angled edge that attaches to your apron! You will need to do exactly the same alteration to both the TOP and UNDER straps.

If you are lengthening or shortening a larger amount, you can spread the amount between two lines.

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-05On a bodice, for example, take the amount needed to lengthen and place half above the bust dart, and half below the dart, this will of course lower the bust dart a little, so be sure you want it lower!

On a skirt, especially a maxi skirt style, half could go through the skirt in two places, this will lengthen the skirt and keep the hem circumference the same as the original. Alternatively, use one adjustment line and extra length could be added straight to the bottom of the hem, but the hem circumference will get bigger.

For a fitted sleeve: Spread the amount between two lines one above and one below the elbow/elbow dart.

Now, do I always use this method for changing the length of every pattern? ( I’m 5’2″ so it’s always shorten, shorten, shorten)

HOW TO LENGTHEN OR SHORTEN A SEWING PATTERN TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS-04NOPE, I don’t! If it’s only a little bit, or a boxy shape I’ll just chop it off/add the extra on to the bottom of the pattern. That works just fine too in some cases.

I do hope you’ve found this tutorial useful, and can now confidently lengthen or shorten a sewing pattern.

Happy Sewing!

 

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How to add a Lining Tutorial

LINING TUTORIAL_MAVENPATTERNS_

A Dress Lining Tutorial

I wasn’t planning to do a lining tutorial at all, but happily finding 2 metres of the perfectly coloured gold lining in my stash to match this beautiful Barkcloth, set me off on a path….and I thought it might be useful! So, let’s add a lining to The French Dart Shift pattern

SUPPLIES:

You will need The French Dart Shift Pattern (or similar style dress pattern) and the fabric and haberdashery listed plus

  • 1mt lining
  • paper to make a lining pattern (if you don’t have pattern paper, improvise…wallpaper, newspaper, A4 sheets taped together)

LINING TUTORIAL_MAVENPATTERNS_

 STEP 1: PATTERN

Firstly, you need to make a lining pattern. Yep, really you do. You could cheat and just cut the body of the dress in the lining but as lining fabric doesn’t ‘give’ and you may well find that it all gets a little tight across the back. Sometimes you can add a pleat at the back (like inside a jacket, go on take a quick look at one, I’ll wait) but ideally, you don’t want any extra bulk at the back of a dress, just a little extra ease for movement.

So here’s what you do…The finished lining pattern will be WIDER and SHORTER than the main body pattern, and the sleeve is going to stay unlined, so no sleeve lining pattern needed!

LINING TUTORIAL_MAVENPATTERN

Trace off the front and back body pattern, marking all the notches and darts. Extend the shoulder seam by 3mm and mark with a cross.

Next, mark a point half way down the armhole and 5mm OUT from the pattern and again 5mm OUT at the underarm.

Draw a GRADE LINE on the lining pattern 5mm away and parallel to the Centre Front Line (CF).

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Redraw the armhole: using your original pattern piece as a template to join the points you just marked together.

The side seam needs to move OUT 5mm as well: Take the main pattern and lay on top of the lining pattern. Line up at the underarm (U/A), remember to use the new U/A point on the lining pattern, and the CF with the GRADE LINE (keep the patterns parallel with each other) and re-draw the side seam and bust dart.

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Make the lining pattern 3cm shorter (which is the hem allowance of the dress) than the main pattern. The lining pattern will have a 1.5cm hem allowance so it will finish 1.5cm higher than the dress hem because you don’t want your lining on display when you strut your stuff!

Repeat all the above for the back pattern.

Check your lining patterns against your originals…line them up at the C/F’s and C/B’s, are the lining patterns wider and shorter?

Do the front and back lining patterns fit together at the side seam? Yes? Good! Label them as your lining pattern, the size, and to cut them on the fold.

Now cut them out in lining.

STEP 2: MAKE

Make the body of your dress as described in your Maker Instructions. (Tape the neckline, make front and back darts, shoulders, pockets and side seams and hem.)

Make and hem the sleeves and put them to one side.

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MAKE THE COLLAR: close the centre back (CB) seam and press open, fold collar in half and pin so raw edges are together. Be sure to line up all notches so the collar is not twisted.

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With right sides together (RST) pin the folded collar into the neckline of the dress, align notches to prevent the collar from twisting. Tack in 6mm seam allowance (S/A) to hold.

LINING:

MAKE THE LINING: Stitch and neaten bust darts, make back darts, close and overlock side seams together. Close shoulder seams and overlock open.

FDS LINING TUTORIAL_MAVEN PATTERNS

Double turn hem lining: Press up the hem 1.5cm, and then fold up the hem again so raw edge meets your pressed line, and press in a second line. Re-fold the hem along the pressed lines so the raw edge is enclosed and top stitch the hem.

FDS LINING TUTORIAL-02

ATTACH LINING AT NECKLINE: With RST, place the lining body inside the main body, align notches and pin. The collar is now sandwiched between the body and lining. Stitch the neckline with a 6mm S/A. Press neckline, with the S/A down and pressed AWAY from the collar. Understitch the lining around the neckline.

LINING TUTORIAL_MAVENPATTERNS_06

Pin armhole of body and lining together, aligning all the notches. Tack to hold.

Follow the Maker Instructions and set in the sleeves.

Overlock armhole together to neaten, treating all layers (sleeve/body/lining) as one. Give it a press.

That’s it, you’re done…wear and enjoy!