Posted on

The French Dart Week | Jumpers

We have more ideas to share today to encourage you to get the most from your French Dart Shift pattern! It’s been so chilly here in the UK for the few weeks (it’s supposed to snow here ANY SECOND according to the weather app) that I’m quite delighted to share with you my love for the FDS as a jumper pattern.

I really like the idea of a pattern being an all rounder, so it could be a key piece in your wardrobe. What I hadn’t expected was just how creative everyone would get with the pattern and suggestions from a couple of Maven Makers led to 2 tutorials – one for a boiled wool French Dart and one for a knit French Dart. The boiled wool version really was just an experiment to see if it would work. And yes it did! It’s been one of my most worn items of clothing and actually does makes the perfect jumper!

When shortening to make a top or jumper I just chop the extra length from the bottom of the pattern. Nothing fancy – just remember to trace off your pattern first to keep your original in tact (or you can reprint a PDF), add a hem allowance and check that the hem line will run together in a nice smooth line when you join the side seams. I like my length to finish at about my hip but I sometimes cut them a bit shorter after making them, I find different fabrics need different proportions and I’ll just try them on before finally hemming them.


A recent make of mine was this sweatshirt in a Khaki green Mind the Maker brushed sweat shirting fabric  which became a French Dart & The Somerset pattern hybrid. Which, I must say, has been lovely and cosy for lockdown wear!

As the fabric was quite thick I decided to make the collar half the depth, so it doesn’t roll over but stands up rather nicely. And I decided at the last moment to topstitch the shoulder seams to hold them flat, again as the fabric was bulky but it makes a nice little detail. Other than that the construction was quite straight forward. I did not tape or stay stitch the armhole as the fabric was quite stable, but I did tape the neckline as usual. I often leave the darts out of the back when I’m making tops with The French Dart pattern, you still get a nice shape but slightly boxier. If you are not sure wether to dart or not, mark them on the back (use something non-permanent to mark them!), make up the body and see how you like the shape without them. That’ll still give you the option of sewing them in if you change your mind.

The sleeve is basically a mash-up of the FDS bishop sleeve (version 3) and The Somerset bishop sleeve. I followed the Somerset Maker instructions to attach the cuff, but found this fabric didn’t really like the shirring elastic method, so I went old school and pulled up gathering stitches. So far, at the time of writing, so good with no cracked stitches during wear.

WARNING | This is how I did the sleeve but it comes with a warning! It was never intended as a tutorial. I was just making a top for me because it’s a bit cold…so this method is best described as ‘quick and dirty’ or as my Dad would say ‘a proper bodge job’. So you follow at your own discretion and perhaps don’t try it on a really expensive fabric the first time.

  • Trace off your French Dart sleeve pattern before you begin to keep original in tact.
  • On both sleeve patterns draw a line straight across at the underarm.
  • Fold the Somerset sleeve along this line, and fold the sleeve head out of the way.
  • Place the Somerset sleeve on top of the French Dart sleeve.
  • Line up both patterns along the underarm line that you drew and centralise at the grain line.
  • Check you are going to be happy with the sleeve length as is, if you want it longer slide Somerset down a bit further. Don’t forget to consider the depth of the cuff.
  • Mark in the hem line of The somerset pattern and a little bit of the side seam. It should be the same (mirrored) either side of the grain line.
  • Move the Somerset pattern out of the way and join the hem to the underarm point for your size with a straight line.
  • You’ll need to use the cuff pattern from the Somerset.
  • Good luck!



Like I said before, this one has been a really good make. All the details of The Boiled Wool French Dart can be found HERE. It was written in 2018 and it’s stood the test of time as I’m actually wearing it right now!


The French dart pattern has been made quite a few times in knit fabrics too. Ponte de Roma has been especially popular as it makes up easily and is quite stable for a knitted fabric while being very easy and cosy to wear. #Secret Pyjamas. Bear in mind the pattern won’t give you a body-con style fit in jersey it’s more about comfort.

This is one I made in a knit that I bought from Anna at Eternal Maker. It is a 100% cotton jersey knit. For this one I cut the collar as the pattern.But first,  I did fold the fabric to ‘mock’ the collar, creating 4 layers, before I cut out to see if I thought it would be too bulky.

The The Knitted French Dart tutorial can be found HERE & The 3/4 length sleeve tutorial can be found HERE.



Have you made a cosy French Dart, either a top or a dress?

We would love to see it! Old or new, share (or re-share!) them with us on Instagram Remember to tag us @MavenPatterns #FrenchDartMaven

and keep your eyes open for our PDF giveaway this week on Instagram!