Sunday, 18 December 2016

Moving Bust Darts, Tutorial

This Wednesday will be my final session of a 9 week Pattern Drafting course lead by the wonderful Leann Marie Marshall here in Sheffield. It's been an absolute whirlwind of learning, every lesson has had it's very own lightbulb moment where something in my brain has clicked and I know I've just discovered a new lifelong skill.

I've learnt much too much to sum up in a blog post. We started off with taking measurements then following a guide with some crazy maths to plot out our very own block. We considered style lines to make our own design from the block then transferred onto pattern paper so we could cut out dress pieces to make our toile.
The block we created features a dart from shoulder to bust point. In later classes we played around with this dart placement to create different styles of bodice. So this is my quick guide to moving dart placement! I'm not sure if the same principles can be applied if the dart is in a different place to being with, but here goes....

*1. Trace bodice between current dart lines onto paper

*2. Cut out the shape (This involved cutting a straight line to join dart point to dart point)

(Imagine I haven't cut into this paper, that bit comes later)

*3. Draw on a straight line where new dart is to go. This could be from the side seam pointing diagonally or horizontally or potentially from the arm hole. This line should reach the bust point of the current shoulder dart

(For this example I have decided to create my new dart from the armscye)

*4. Cut along new dart line to make two pieces

*5. The bottom piece stays fixed in the original position. Move the top piece to meet the outer dart line of the shoulder dart. This will open up a new space. Make sure the bust point stays fixed.

*6. Trace the new piece as a whole (inc. neckline right up to centre front) to create a new pattern piece. Trace the space of the new dart, *but move back the bust point by about 2cm*. Add a little triangle at the side seam of the dart to ensure there is enough fabric to meet the seam allowance. I just guessed the angle of my triangle and it seemed to work! What I mean here is maybe a little clearer in my last image.

*7. Cut out the new shape. Yay! You've moved your dart placement! Welcome to an endless world of potential!!

Here I have cut out the darts and separated the pattern with a curve to make a side panel. Don't forget to add seam allowance to these pieces!

For this piece the dart was moved to the under arm side seam for a traditional looking bust dart. You can see what I mean about adding a little triangle at the end of the dart at the side seam, and the point of the dart is 2cm back from the original bust point.
I've marked on the bust line from my block- as you can see it goes a bit crazy but once the fabric is sewn this line appears horizontal on the body... Magic!

It looks a bit daunting but it really isn't! Once your know your bodice fits there's a whole world of dart moving fun to be had! I have just toiled up my first self-drafted dress using an armscye dart/panel design and it's looking really good! Dying to share it with you but it's still top secret!

Please let me know if there's anything I could have made clearer and I'll try my best to explain. If there's a pattern drafting class going off in your area I strongly encourage you to sign up. If you are in or around Sheffield I suggest you get in touch with Leann with the details on the flyer above as she has been absolutely outstanding.


Currently listening to: Tumbleweave, Black Moth


  1. Hi I'm from Sheffield too , do you attend any classes in Sheffield if so where please ? X

    1. Hi Wendy, yes Leann Marshall who took my pattern drafting class is doing more.... She's on Twitter as @WorkingBespoke - Looks like the next pattern drafting course starts 22nd March. Hope this is helpful! She's a great teacher! xox