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
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.
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.
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.
COPY OF PATTERN PIECE (OR ABILITY TO REPRINT ORIGINAL!)
TRACING WHEEL (optional, but very useful)
BUST POINT | BUST APEX
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.)
12. 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….
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.