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A Most Delightful Pattern Hack

The French Dart Shift | Button Back Tutorial

The French Dart Shift is possibly the most versatile pattern you will ever sew with and I have another little pattern hack to share with you today!

 

I originally made the Indigo Moon spot sample for The Festival of Quilts as I wanted to showcase the Corozo buttons that Mr.M had sourced. Corozo is a natural, sustainable product that works in harmony with the rainforests of Equador, and as it is an excellent alternative to plastic buttons so we felt it was an important message to share.

The sample and the buttons proved to be very popular and there were lots of requests for a tutorial on adding a button placket. The buttons and buttonholes are functional, but you don’t need to undo them to get the top on and off. I’ve added the buttons down the back of the garment, you could just as easily use these instructions and have them down the front instead. I’ve made this French Dart as a top but you could make a button through dress version, just be aware of how much ease you have in the hips and bum area – too little and your buttons and buttonholes may strain or pop open when you sit down! I made the top sleeveless – it was the height of summer here in England – you know that 3-day window where the sun shines consistently before normal British weather resumes when dressing involves sunglasses, factor 50, a cardigan and canoe, because who knows, but best be prepared?!  I made no alterations to the pattern to make it sleeveless, just left the sleeves off and bound the armholes.

| HABERDASHERY for a top|

For all sizes | 1.5m of 150cm wide fabric (you will have enough fabric to cut out short sleeves if you don’t want a sleeveless top).

Indigo sample | Indigo Moon Fabric, 7 Corozo buttons – 24 ligne (15mm) || white linen sample | the linen was found in Ikea bargain corner, 7 Agoya shell buttons in natural – 24 ligne (15mm)

TOOLS | French Dart pattern, paper, scissors, tape, buttons, lightweight interfacing, buttonhole foot, and the usual sewing stuff!

ABBREVIATIONS | CB: centre back | CF: centre front | WS: wrong side | WST: wrong side together | RST: right side together | RS: right side | SA: seam allowance

| THE PATTERN |

First, you’ll need to alter the pattern. As always when altering a pattern trace off a copy so your original stays intact (if you have the PDF version you can always print another). Copy the collar, back and front but don’t cut them out yet.

I left out the back darts to make it a slightly boxier shape.

Decide on your length. I made the CB finished length (the length when it’s all sewn up and not including any seam or hem allowance) 60 cm and added a hem allowance of 4cm (pattern length including hem and neck SA – 64.6cm). No need to overcomplicate this bit, I just measure up from the hem in several places and draw a new line before chopping off the length. The only things to be aware of are;

  1. make sure the new line intersects the CF and CB lines at right angles to stop weird pointy angles.
  2. make sure your side seams are the same length and run smoothly around the body, again to avoid weird pointy angles.

| ADDING THE BUTTON PLACKET |

 

Working on the BACK BODY of your copy pattern, mark the CB line in a red to make it clear (the original ‘cut to the fold line’ is the CB).

Draw a line 1.5cm away and parallel to the CB line, creating a button placket. This will be the folded edge.

Draw another line 4.5cm away and parallel to the fold line, this makes the back facing.

*I used 15mm buttons. If you are using bigger/smaller buttons you can adjust the width of the placket and facing to accommodate your buttons and buttonholes.

When the facing folds back into place it should be the same shape at the neck and the hem as the main body. Fold the facing along the fold line so it sits in place, pin to hold and cut through both layers of paper. Make sure the neck and hem intersect the fold and CB at right angles. When you unfold the facing it will be exactly the same shape as the body. Make a notch in your pattern on the fold line at the neck and hem.

Fold up the hem in the same way before cutting out to make sure it is the same shape as the body when folded into place.

| COLLAR | 

As we have extended the CB by adding 1.5cm for the placket, we need to add the same amount to EACH end of the collar so it still fits. (Don’t worry about the seam allowances as they are already on the pattern, just add the 1.5cm.) Remark your notches.

| INTERFACING | 

Cut a strip 5cm wide and the length of your CB pattern and press onto the WS of the facing. By making the interfacing slightly wider than the facing and you’ll be able to press a nice sharp fold in your fabric.

| CUT AND MAKE |

Make your French dart according to the instructions.

  • Stay tape the neck – for the back neck use half the given measurement and add 1.5cm, or finish the tape at CB if you forget as I did 😉
  • Close and neaten French darts, shoulder and side seams. Leave out the back darts for a boxier shape top.

| COLLAR |

Press 1cm SA on the long edge to WS (STEP 14 in the instruction booklet) and pin in place.

Mark the midpoint between the SA notches.

Keep the 1cm SA pinned in place and fold collar RST in half at the midpoint, align the SA notches.

Close CB collar seam with 1cm SA, keeping 1cm SA folded in place and 6mm SA hanging free below.

Trim top corner to reduce bulk.

Turn through to RS and press seam so as not to roll to either front or back but to sit right on the edge.

| FACING |

If you haven’t already, apply your interfacing to the facing.

Neaten (overlock or zigzag) the edge of the facing. Press facing to WS and pin to hold at the neck edge.

| ATTACH COLLAR |

Place collar RST with body aligning the 6mm SA edge with neck edge. We are just attaching a single layer so keep the other side of collar free. Align notches and place the back seam of collar flush with the folded edge of the facing (you don’t want a step!). Stitch collar to the neckline with 6mm SA.

Trim corner of SA to prevent bulk.

On the WS of garment bring the free edge of the collar to the neckline to cover the stitching by 3mm and enclosing all the SA. Tack and then stitch in the ditch from the RS to finish. This is the same as our usual method of attaching the collar – we are just enclosing an end.

| HEM |

I allowed a 4cm hem allowance. I pressed it to WS by 4cm and then pressed the top raw edge under by 1cm and topstitching it at just under 3cm making it a clean-finished hem.

TOP TIP – Make sure your backs are EXACTLY the same length now before you start buttonholing.

| BUTTONS & BUTTONHOLES | 

I’ll only briefly explain how I mark my buttons and buttonholes because that could be a whole post by itself!

I always mark my button positions first (on the side of the garment to be buttonholed) and then mark my buttonholes around them to get the correct spacing. My first button was 1cm below the neck seam (my buttonhole foot wouldn’t sit any closer to the seam) and I had an 8cm spacing between each button.

I did my top buttonhole horizontally and started it 3mm to the right of the CB seam to allow the button enough space to sit on the CB.

The other buttons were all vertical and positioned centrally to the button positions on the CB line.

Once the buttonholes are made and cut, I pin the back bodies WST and push a pin through each buttonhole…

… and mark a dot on the other side to show where to sew each button.

And there you have it…yet another garment from the French Dart Pattern!

 

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The French Dart Shift – BOILED WOOL

The French Dart Shift | BOILED WOOL

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

Lovely Nicky (@nickynackynoo_) sent me an Instagram message back in the middle of November asking would the French Dart Shift work in Boiled wool? Now, I always get quite excited when someone asks or suggests a pattern variation/hack I hadn’t thought of – oh, the delights and benefits of sharing ideas on the internet! That particular day was freezing here in the UK, and as I had bemoaned frequently that I never find any jumpers that I like, I ordered some fabric that very day and did a test.  And it worked beautifully if a tad itchy, but absolutely fine with a skinny t-shirt underneath. And was just perfection on a recent trip to Paris (in a chilly January!). It was très Chic, in fact!

THE FABRIC |

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

Boiled wool is a knitted fabric that has been washed and agitated, so the fibres have a tighter felt like finish. There are lots of options regarding fibre content and weight.

I used a grey boiled wool from Backstitch in smoke. (Weight: 368gm², 60% viscose, 40% wool – 142cms wide.)

The care instructions on the Backstitch website are to dry clean (but it is meant for a lined jacket or skirt, so fair enough). And the general advice for pre-washing boiled wool is not to wash and just give it a really good steam to shrink it, and then allow to cool. Which is fine if you’re making a coat or something similar. (You generally should allow stuff to cool after pressing to help stop it stretching and creasing while still warm.) The Colette blog recommends a damp towel and a tumble dryer method, but I don’t own a tumble dryer so not a method I could test, but sounds a good plan.

I eventually decided to ignore the general advice and wash it in the machine. My theory being I was making an everyday jumper style top, I knew this fabric would shrink (probably a lot) and I knew I would NEVER be bothered to handwash it, and I really wouldn’t be bothered to dry clean it – I would, in fact, chuck it in the machine when I had to. And my friend Maria told me to do it.MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

So I did as I was told and chucked it in the machine on a short wash at 30°. It felted up a little more, so felt slightly thicker, but was still quite delightful! I did get a few of these bobbly bits, but they pulled off easily enough. What I didn’t do at the time was check how much it had shrunk. A post-cutting garment calculation puts it at about 20cm on 1.5m length (roughly 14% length shrinkage, never thought to check the width shrinkage!) I didn’t allow for that much shrinkage when I bought my fabric, but I managed to squeeze my top out. I had to do ¾ length sleeves rather than the full length ones I intended but hey-ho, such is life!

*I feel like I should put a disclaimer on bunging your boiled wool in the machine…it worked out fine for me, but I wouldn’t want you to ruin some hideously expensive cloth. Consider carefully how you will treat the finished garment, is it something you’ll chuck on the floor (me: “yes”) or is it one of those garments that you’ll hang up carefully and cherish. Be warned there are no guarantees when going against the stated care advice!

SEWING WITH BOILED WOOL | tips

Boiled wool is quite an easy fabric to sew with but there a couple of things to be aware of.

The thickness of the fabric: it’s bulky, so best not to have too many seams and details. Also, it’s easy to overpress it, which can lead to shiny marks or a stretched garment.

*Stabilise seams to prevent stretching

*Use a ballpoint needle

*Longer stitch length (I usually stitch on 3 and went up to a 4, test on a scrap of fabric for your machine)

*Walking foot: I tested on a scrap first without a walking foot and my sample was fine. Then as soon as started to stitch the garment – it wasn’t a happy bunny, it just didn’t want to feed through so I had to do a quick machine foot switch-a-roo! (My machine is pretty knackered now though, I’ve had it since 2001 and the stitch length is, shall we say, is inconsistent at best.)

* Boiled wool doesn’t fray, so doesn’t need neatening! Wahoo!

*Boiled wool doesn’t fray, so it doesn’t need hemming either!

*PRESS on a low heat, press gently and sparingly. Use a pressing cloth to help protect the fabric as you press. 

*Do not drag the iron (you may stretch the fabric) – that’s why it’s called pressing your garment and not ironing your garment.

*Press all the seams OPEN and trim/grade the bulky bits.

KEY: FDS | French Dart Shift   S/A | seam allowance   RST | right sides together   CB | centre back

FOR REFERENCE | what I did

 I cut a Size 10 (my usual size) with a finished CB length of 60cm with no hem allowance as I was leaving it raw and unfinished. 

¾ sleeves with a finished length of 46cm and 3cm hem allowance. I’m short – you’re going to want to check those measurements for you, measure something that you like to wear. (tutorial for lengthen a sleeve here!)

I left out the back darts: I marked the darts with tailor tacks, but didn’t stitch them so I could try on the top first. The shape was nice without, so left them out to reduce bulk.

Changed the collar pattern (see below).

COLLAR | cuttingMAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOLThe collar for the French Dart is normally cut on the bias grain and then folded over – giving you 4 layers of fabric. I think we can all agree, in boiled wool, that was going to be a smidge thicker than comfortable so I cut it half the depth to eliminate the roll-over part of the collar. (Keep the length of the collar the same but you can make it any depth you fancy: pattern = finished depth of collar x2 + 6mm S/A to attach & 1cm S/A on the other edge). With boiled wool being a knit fabric that has been felted, I cut it on the straight grain. And I only cut the notches on one side of the collar (the one with the 6mm S/A to attach at neck).

STABILISE THE SEAMS |MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

 

The neckline of the French Dart is taped to prevent it stretching, but when making in boiled wool you will also need to tape the shoulders and the armhole to prevent them stretching. To find the measurement – mark your seam allowances on the pattern and measure the stitch line/finished seam lengths. We don’t want to tape into the S/A as we don’t want to add any extra bulk at the seams.

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

For the neck and armholes I used a lightweight stay tape (I always trim the width in half for the neckline), follow the instructions how to tape the neck. Tape the back shoulder seam and position the tape so when you close the shoulder seam you will be stitching through the tape. MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOLFor the front and back armhole, I cut some ½” wide (1.2cm) strips of knitted fusible interfacing on the bias and ironed them into place. Because it’s cut on the bias it follows the curves nicely. I purposely made them a few millimetres wider than the seam allowance of 1cm so when stitching the sleeve into the armhole you will be stitching through the interfacing to control the seam. (Actually would have been OK to cut them a smidge wider at 1.5cm.)

BUST DART | sewing

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOLStitch the French dart, and cut open the S/A a bit further towards the apex and gently press OPEN. (The pin marks the end of the dart.)

BODY | sewing

Close shoulder seams, side seams, underarm seams of sleeves.MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

 Trim the bulky bits away! This is where the dart intersects at the side seam. Press open.

Set in the sleeves.

HEMMING | sleeves and the hemMAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOLMAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

If you are going to hem the sleeves and/or the hem, trim away the bulk and blind hem by hand. (Follow the instructions in your pattern for hemming, but leave out the neatening stage.)

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

Or Just leave your hems raw and unfinished.

COLLAR | sewing

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

 

Close CB seam of the collar and gently press open.

With RST attach the collar to the neckline (as described in instructions). Press neckline seam OPEN.

NOTE: I edgestitched the seam allowance on the body side of the seam, to flatten it a bit. Personally, I prefered the look of the garment without the edgestitching, but if you have bouncy seam allowances that won’t behave, edgestitching them flat is going to be the answer. You could actually twin needle the seam, with a row of stitching either side of the neck seam.

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

Fold the free edge of the collar to inside side to cover seam and allowances. Stitch in the Ditch of the seam from the right side to hold the collar in place.

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

Tah da!…..Or……
MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

just leave the collar to flop over!

MAVEN PATTERNS_FRENCH DART SHIFT_BOILED WOOL

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The French Dart | Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)

What is a Full Bust Adjustment (FBA)?

Sewing patterns are generally (and there are exceptions) drafted to accommodate a B cup. All Maven Patterns are drafted with a B cup. Unfair I know, but unfortunately, it’s just not possible for us to produce a pattern that will keep all body shapes happy, as we are all unique and the variations are limitless!

So, great if you are a B cup, but not so much if you are bigger (or smaller). In which case you might need to do a Full Bust Adjustment – FBA (or a Small Bust Adjustment – SBA). An FBA is a pattern alteration that will put a little more room in the bust area to accommodate a fuller bust should you need it, and if we are going to go to the trouble of making our clothes, might as well make them fit as well as we can!

Can’t I just go up a size?

You can, but the pattern will then most likely be too big across your shoulders and your back. What you need is more width and length in your pattern at the right place – to go over and around a fuller cup. The idea of the FBA is to do this without messing about with your armhole and sleeve and keeping a great fit in the shoulder.

How do you know if you need a full bust adjustment?

Your toile may be gaping at the armhole, will have drag lines pointing to the bust, and probably looks a bit ‘strained’ over the bust, your boobage just looks a little squashed in there!

Small Bust Adjustment side note: A SBA is basically the same process, but involves overlapping the pattern to reduce instead of spreading the pattern to increase the bust cup size. If you need a Small Bust Adjustment, there will be too much fabric over the bust area, and your bodice will be too long at the centre front.

*EDITED TO ADD* While the tutorial is illustrated with diagrams for an FBA, I have added an illustration for an SBA at the end of the first section.

Abbreviations |

FBA | full bust adjustment         SBA | small bust adjustment      CF | centre front          BP | bust point/apex

Equipment |

  • Copy of pattern (or the ability to re-print)
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Sticky tape
  • Tape measure
  • Paper scissors
  • Pattern paper

Which cup size are you?

Measure yourself while wearing the appropriate underwear. If you are going to wear a padded bra under your dress, go put one on first – it will make a difference to the fit.

Importantly, your cup size for a sewing pattern is not the same as your bra cup size. (I’m a B for a pattern, and wear a D bra)

  • Measure your HIGH bust across your back, under your armpits and above your bust.
  • Then measure your FULL bust, at the fullest part of your bust.
  • Note these measurements and the difference between them.
  • Difference of 1”  (2.5cm) = A cup (SBA)
  • Difference of 2″ (5cm) = B cup
  • Difference of  3” (7.5cm) = C cup (FBA)
  • Difference of 4” (10cm) = D cup  (FBA)
  • Difference of 5” (12.5cm) = DD cup (FBA)

Pick your size |

If you are above a B cup you’ll probably need to do an FBA and should select your size by using your HIGH bust measurement in place of your FULL bust measurement.

This is the most common and popular method, by far, because it will give a better fit in the shoulders and neck area, then you just do a Full Bust Adjustment and alter for a fuller bust. If, on the size chart, you have a size 16 full bust, but a high bust measurement of a size 12, chances are the shoulders of a size 16 pattern will be completely out of proportion for you! You may still need to adjust or blend between sizes for hips and waist.

How much to add?

It’s a bit of chicken and egg situation. There is no one way to do this alteration (or any alteration). It can be a little test and see, and a lot of getting to know your OWN body and how you like a garment to fit on you. Take these measurements as a guide. If you start googling this, you’ll find a lot of different advice and it’s not that any of it will be wrong – just different ways work for different bodies, garments and preferences. You just have to start somewhere to find what works for you! You’ll need to toile and test and tweak your alteration, maybe more than once. A toile is going to be your best friend – the fabric doesn’t lie! Also, consider the look of the garment, a looser fitting garment might not need as much adding as a very fitted garment. Or you might just decide you want more/less ease and adjust your FBA accordingly.

I’ve got 2 options listed below: Either toile and slash open to give an idea, or a bit of Maths. It is very much trial and error the first couple of times until you know what works for you.TOILE: Make a quick toile (just the body, don’t bother with sleeves, collar etc). Try it on and mark your bust point. Cut a cross in the fabric at your Bust Point / Apex, let it spread open and then measure how much extra you need. For an SBA, instead of slashing, pin the excess out of the bust. 

I like this slash and spread and see what you need method. Pay attention to the neck and shoulders of your toile, and see if they fit or if a size smaller/bigger would look better on you.

MATHS OPTION: Take your FULL bust measurement and minus your HIGH bust measurement = TOTAL FBA amount to add. DIVIDE TOTAL by 2 = the actual amount to be added to the pattern (Remember when you are adjusting the pattern you are working with HALF a body front so you’ll need to divide the total amount of extra needed by 2 before adding to your pattern).

Find the Bust Point (also called the APEX) |Find the Bust Point (also called the APEX) | The Bust Point (BP) or Apex is the most prominent point of your boob – usually the nipple. Bust darts point towards the BP but the dart tip is set back so not to create a pointy end. B cup patterns usually have the dart tip set back 1″ (2.5cm) from the BP, but you can adjust this to suit you.

  • Using a copy of your front pattern, mark the seam allowances so you know where the stitch line is. 
  • Draw a line through the centre of the bust dart, and extend it 1” (2.5cm) beyond the dart tip. That is the bust point (BP) of the pattern.

I’m inclined to say don’t worry too much about marking your own BP on the pattern yet because, as you can see from the picture above, the BP is going to move and drop anyway during your alteration. The FBA will make the dart drop around ¼” to ½” (6mm – 12mm) and if it’s too high we can adjust this later. If you are very low busted (the dart needs to be lower more than 1.5” / 3.8cm), you can lower the dart a little now, and then go back and get it perfect later. You’re going to need a toile to check the final position when you’ve completed the FBA. Draw the Lines |

  • LINE 1: Draw a line from the BUST POINT (BP) right down to the hem, parallel with the CENTRE FRONT LINE. Draw a line from the BP to a point about a ⅓ of the way along the armhole.
  • LINE 2: Draw a line through the centre of the dart to the BP.
  • LINE 3: Draw at a right angle from CF to intersect with LINE 1 (not crucial where).

Cut the Lines | 

  • Cut along LINE 1. Start at the hem and cut towards the armhole. Cut UP TO stitch line but NOT through it. Cut from OUTSIDE of the pattern up to the same point on the armhole stitch line, leaving a 3mm hinge of paper.
  • *If you hinge your armhole from the outside edge of the pattern instead of the stitch line, your armhole increases in length and then your sleeve won’t fit.
  •  Cut along LINE 2 through the centre of the bust dart towards the BP, leaving a hinge at BP.
  •  Mark sections A, B, C & D as in the diagram.

Slash & spread |

Place some paper behind your pattern pieces. Draw a CF line on your paper (shown in red). Anchor down section A and D with tape or pins (bear in mind, D will have to move again), lining up the pattern CF with the one you just drew. Draw a couple of lines to show the amount being added (the orange lines), keep them parallel with CF.

Open LINE 1 out the amount you need to add for your FBA, pivoting the pattern from the hinges at the armhole and BP. Keep SECTION C parallel the with CF. Let front section slide upwards and allow the bust dart to open wider to keep pattern flat.

Note how the hem is staggered and CF is now too short. Tape section A, B & C down. 

Cut open line 3, no need to leave a hinge this time. Keep CF in line and slide section D down so the hem is level again and tape.

SBA – Slash & overlap |

If you are doing an SBA you will be overlapping your pattern pieces rather than spreading them to decrease the width and length of the pattern piece.

Place some paper behind your pattern pieces. Draw a CF line on your paper (shown in red). Anchor down section A and D with tape or pins (bear in mind, D will have to move again), lining up the pattern CF with the one you just drew. Draw a line to show the amount being removed (the orange line), keep them parallel with CF.

Slide pattern piece C across to the orange line, pivoting the pattern from the hinges at the armhole and BP. Keep SECTION C parallel the with CF. Let front section slide upwards and allow the bust dart to close and become smaller to keep pattern flat.

Note how the hem is staggered and CF is now too long. Tape section A, B & C down. 

Cut open line 3, no need to leave a hinge this time. Keep CF in line and slide section D UP so the hem is level again and tape.

Redraw bust dart | Follow the original seam allowances and extend them to redraw the dart. 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.

A French Dart note |  This french dart has a slight curve on the seam as your body is round and not straight! The bottom seam stretches slightly onto the top seam, to help with the fit.

Toile | Now do a quick toile to check your alteration and the position of the bust dart in relation to your BP/apex. The most likely alteration now is you need to lower the dart or change the length. You can pin the paper pattern together and try it on to check the dart position first but keep in mind paper doesn’t behave the same as fabric and bust darts tend to drop a little more once they are in cloth. Not sure how to alter the dart?… The Lower a Bust Dart Tutorial will help with that!

The ‘Y’ Bust Dart Alteration| 

If you are adding more than 1.5” to half your pattern (3” TOTAL) this will help spread the joy. It helps because the bust dart doesn’t get as large, the disadvantage is that it does add more fullness above the chest, which won’t work for everyone. But the alternative leaves you with a very large bust dart and an extremely severe shape to your armhole, you can see a comparison of the methods at the end of the tutorial. The bonus is you can start to do the above FBA and then change your mind and do this one instead. Again toile to test for your body shape! Draw and Cut the Lines |

The method is exactly the same as before, but we draw one extra line (LINE 4) going from the BP up to hinge at the centre of the shoulder seam.

Cut along LINE 4 leaving a hinge at the shoulder seam, creating a new section called A2.

Draw the (orange) parallel lines in again the amount you need to add to your pattern (I’ve done 2″/5cm) and draw a line at half the amount too.

Place some paper behind your pattern piece. Anchor down section A with tape or pins. Pivot section A2 from the shoulder hinge and spread open half the amount you need to add. Tape A2 to hold. Keep LINE 1 parallel with each other and the CF, slide SECTIONS B & C, pivoting at the hinges, outwards and upwards to add in the full FBA amount, allowing the bust dart to open wider to keep pattern flat. Tape in place. 

Cut LINE 3 and slide SECTION D downward so the hem is level again. 

Tape everything down and redraw the bust dart and shoulder seam and smooth the armhole curve.

Toile to check your alteration and lower the dart or move the dart tip if necessary (How Lower a Bust Dart Tutorial)

Comparing the ‘Y’ Bust alteration|

 

For this example, I’ve added an extra 2″ (4″ total). You will get a slightly different result with each differing amount added.

On the left is with the ‘Y’ dart and on the right is without. You can see how large the bust dart on the right has become without using the ‘Y’ dart method – potentially that could be one pointy dart. But the real worry is that armhole shape, it’s just too severe to be a happy bunny later. Again take the time to toile and see what works for you, but I’m recommending giving the ‘Y’ dart method a try if you are adding over 1½” (3.8cm).

Sources |  I’m not affiliated, just very useful links!

Fit for Real People by Pati Palmer and Marto Alto 

Crafty FBA

Curvy Sewing Collective

Grainline Studios

Colette Patterns

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Sewing The French Dart Shift in jersey!

|SEWING THE FRENCH DART SHIFT IN JERSEY |

I may have mentioned I like to get some mileage out of my patterns and when I was asked about sewing The French Dart Shift in jersey, a Ponte Roma knit to be specific,  I thought let’s see! (And Elfi did make a rather splendid jersey one.)

A few things to remember…

Firstly, this pattern is not designed for a jersey. So the darts are staying and the knit fabric is more for cosiness and comfort, rather then body con type fit!

Second point…I bought this Ponte online and I’m not a huge fan of it. It feels very acrylic-y but for a toile type garment, it does the job. This particular Ponte reminds me of my girls’ school uniform sweatshirt fabric, although it actually sewed up quite nicely.

I chopped my dress pattern shorter (by 12″) so it would be a hip-length top without pockets and made with a 3/4 length sleeve (tutorial here). I had ideas of looking Audrey Hepburn-esque. I stitched the hem in red so it would show up, but school uniform Ponte combined with red stitching actually makes this top look less Audrey in Paris and a little more like British Airways crew outfit. Enough of the styling tips and on with the tutorial…

Sewing The French Dart shift in Jersey

| SEWING JERSEY TIPS |

jersey machine needles

correct-needle-fds-jersey-tutorial

  • Always use a ballpoint needle so you don’t get skipped stitches.
  • I used a walking foot, which helped but I don’t think it was essential.
  • Use a stretch or ballpoint twin needle to create a faux coverstitch for the hem.
  • Use a stretch stitch.
  • Test your stitching on a scrap bit of fabric first. Stitch in both directions, along the selvedge and across the width of the knit, to make sure your stitches don’t crack when you pull them. Tension and stitch settings will vary dependant on your machine and your fabric. Sorry, but you need to get friendly with your manual!
  • Don’t pull and stretch your fabric as you sew.
  • If your seam goes a bit wavy after stitching, very gently steam and press flat.
  • My machine tried to swallow the garment into the footplate at the beginning of a seam, so I placed a piece of paper under the garment before stitching. I had some heavy tissue paper handy but the off-cuts from printed Indie sewing patterns would be perfect!

| STITCHES |

jersey-stitches-fds-tutorial

There are a couple of options for stitching your seams.

  • stretch stitch (sometimes called lightning stitch)
  • zig zag on a narrow width and 2.5-3mm length (I used this as was quicker than the lightening stitch, and set my stitch width to 0.5 and stitch length to 2).
  • I also tested just using a straight stitch, and it was OK on this fabric, but probably not very reliable on a stretchier jersey.
  • Overlocker – you can cut, sew and neaten your seams all in one go.  3 threads are usually just used for neatening seams, 4 (or 5) threads for all in one seam stitching as it makes for a stronger seam. The pattern has 1cm allowances for the body and 6mm at the neckline so be sure not to cut off more than you should!
  • To neaten your seams either use a zig-zag or overlock together. You could in theory just stitch and leave them raw as the fabric doesn’t really fray, but it seemed a bit lazy.

| Sewing The French Dart shift In Jersey |

| METHOD |

RST: right sides together  CB: centre back  S/A: seam allowance  

FDS: French Dart Shift  WS: wrong side

(Refer to your Maker Instructions for detailed descriptions of general methods.)

 

FDS JERSEY TUTORIAL

Pre-wash and press your fabric, lay up and cut out carefully.

The collar would normally be cut on the bias for a woven cloth. For a knit fabric cut instead on the straight of grain with the shortest edge of the pattern parallel to the selvedge.

Tape the neck as described in your FDS Maker Instructions. (This style has a wide neck and we don’t need (or want) it to stretch. If you are ever making a t-shirt style that stretches to pull over the head DO NOT TAPE the neck!)

Make all the darts.

| TAPE THE SHOULDERS |

fds-jersey-tape-shoulder

Measure a piece of stay tape against your pattern by laying on the shoulder line, including the seam allowances. Pin the shoulders with RST and place the tape in place on the stitch line and stitch the shoulders together through the stay tape. Press the shoulder seam open.

Close the side seams and underarm sleeve seams. Neaten together.

Set in the sleeves.

| ATTACH THE COLLAR |

THE FRENCH DART SHIFT JERSEY TUTORIAL

Stitch CB collar seam, do not neaten. Press seam open.

Fold collar in half with WS together, so raw neck edges are aligned and the seam allowance is enclosed inside the collar.

THE FRENCH DART SHIFT JERSEY TUTORIAL

With RST pin collar onto the body, align collar and body notches and CB collar seam with CB neck.

THE FRENCH DART SHIFT JERSEY TUTORIAL

Stitch together with a 6mm S/A, neaten and press S/A towards the body.

| OPTIONAL |

fds-jersey

Ready to wear t-shirts and sweatshirts often have a row of stitching at the neckline to hold the seam allowance flat. You can twin needle or edgestitch the neckline to mimic this if you wish. Confession: Proceed with caution, I broke my only twin needle when I hit the CB seam, so I continued with an edgestitch. Both look good!

| HEM |

The pattern has a 3cm hem allowance, press to the WS.

Twin needle the hem (I overlocked the raw edge first), again follow your machine guideline and test. My machine and a twin needle meant not using the walking foot and sewing at a slower speed.

| POCKET |

fds-jersey-pocket-1As I made a top it was too short for pockets. Side pockets in jersey generally ring alarm bells for me. It’s perfectly possible to do the pockets but also possible the weight of the jersey bag will be lumpy or droopy under the dress or the pocket mouth will stretch and not sit flat. The final result is really going to depend on your fabric and your sewing skills.

If you made a dress version and want to add pockets, I did a test sample. I’ve followed the basic instructions for the FDS pocket but overlocked the side seam together rather than open. I also didn’t fuse the pocket mouth, unlike the woven version, just to see what would happen really. It was OK but this Ponte is very stable, although next time I would put a small spot of interfacing at each pivot point for extra reinforcement. Again test your fabric to see what works for your jersey, and remember to use the knitted kind of interfacing.

FDS JERSEY POCKET

  • Attach the pocket bags to the body, but don’t overlock.
  • Understitch the front pocket bag
  • Pin front and back with RST and stitch side seam and around the pocket bag. Reinforce at pivot points.
  • Neaten the side seam and around the pocket bag together.

Overall I’m rather pleased with sewing The French Dart Shift in jersey. The collar is lovely in knitted fabric and it makes a very cosy and comfortable little top now that Autumn is upon us!

Sewing The French Dart shift in Jersey