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darts on shirt patterns

francoisemim | Posted in Talk With Us on

How do I do away with the bust darts that most blouse patterns show nowadays?

I like a slight fit taken on the side seams only.


  1. User avater
    Becky-book | | #1

    A lot depends on how you are built!  Some of us less well endowed women can just skip sewing the dart, and even-up the side seams, others don't dare try such a thing!

    A lot depends on the cloth you want to use...etc....

    Try the 'Advanced search' option, search for the word "dart" and read some of the old discussions.


    Edited 9/12/2006 4:01 pm ET by Becky-book

  2. mem | | #2

    I agree with Becky Book . I think if you are an A cup you can get away with it otherwise you need to have darts . I am a D cup and do a full bust adjustment and sometimes ie T shirts this really bugs me but if I dont do it I look like a circus tent . I have wondered if it is posiible to rotate a bust dart to a verticle dat and the tranfer that to a side seam and take it out but I suspect that it would only be possible in a soft knit. I will give it a try sometime though. The dart is a means of providing fullness for the breast to fill without altering the length of the seam it is in .

    1. FitnessNut | | #3

      "I have wondered if it is posiible to rotate a bust dart to a verticle dat and the tranfer that to a side seam and take it out but I suspect that it would only be possible in a soft knit."It is possible, but there are limitations. Generally, you can't take out the full width of the dart at the waist, only about 3/4 of it. And your bust fit will not be as good as with a dart, particularly with that D cup. It would, however, be better in a knit, as you suggest. Yet another avenue for experimentation! ;-)

      1. mem | | #4

        Thankyou so much for that ,I have been wondering about that for ages.Is pattern making one of your "things" ??I would love to have someone I can talk to about some of the more obscure issues I wonder about with pattern making.

        1. FitnessNut | | #5

          Oh yes, patternmaking is one of my "things", LOL! I excelled at patternmaking in design school, found it came naturally after several decades of sewing and never changing a pattern, and found work in the fashion industry after school as a patternmaker. Unfortunately, I worked for less than a year before my husband was transferred across Canada to a location that had no employment opportunities in my field. So I created my own, setting up a home studio where I designed and sewed women's clothing, primarily formal/bridal wear and business attire. I spent five years drafting patterns for my own designs and a variety of figures. After moving yet again just over a year ago, I'm finally getting back to sewing and drafting patterns.While I can't guarantee that I may always have the answer you are looking for, I'm always willing to talk patterns. I have managed to collect a few pertinent books over the years as well, so sometimes can find at least a place to start with the more obscure puzzles that can crop up in this area.

          1. mem | | #6

            Thankyou so much for this I will take you up on it. I have been reading Harriet Pepins Modern Pattern Design circa 1942 and I love it, I now understand so much better about dart manipulation. She is so easy to understand . I managed to get the book on Amazon and have really enjoyed reading it as the patterns of that time were so complex and do answer some of my questions but then open up others but thats what I love about the whole business of sewing . I envy you your time sewing as I have to fit it in around work and 3 children .It must be hard though when you have to sew something you dont like . I need to like my fabric and garment . Its an indulgence for me , for you its business I guess. 

          2. FitnessNut | | #7

            Pepin's book is brilliant...bravo to you for taking this up on your own. If you work through methodically, you will learn an enormous amount and eventually be able to draft a pattern for any design you choose.The challenge is what appeals to me, I guess. Sewing was once a hobby and, while I still enjoy it, I realized when working with customers that I was most fascinated by the task of making a concept come alive in fabric. Once I was able to perfect the pattern in muslin, the challenge was mostly gone and the sewing became rote. Taking the last year off was essential in rekindling my interest.Don't envy me the time spent at this. While it sounds wonderful to turn your hobby into a career, I was getting burned out, always trying to churn out the garment faster without sacrificing quality in order to earn some cash. Customers frequently want top quality and custom design/fit at discount prices. I was able to take advantage of the situation to work at home, but I can't say I earned much more than pocket money over those five years. But it did enable me to stay at home with my growing family, the youngest of whom is just about to turn 18 (and who has been a major problem during these last few years). Right now I'm job hunting and I've discovered that in Ottawa my hard-earned skills are basically irrelevant.

          3. mem | | #8

            Your comments about people expecting discount top quality is true . i think we have as a society lost touch with effort and time spent getting it right . We are into instant gratification and really i susecdt it is at the root of alot of our troubles . Here in Australia we have community houses where classes are taught to people who are often learning skills for emotional fulfillment . They are funded through local councils .I work in a health center where we are using sewing classes to get across health messages about all sorts of issues to a groupof Sudanese and Ethiopian Ladies who have come under the refugee programs.

            I read Harriets book quite often but havent as yet done any drafting with her method. I just dont have that much time . My husband is working for himself and I am the steady income so I think until we dont have to support our 13 year old boys I will be at work to earn .I have found though that I am able to alter patterns with much greater clarity and confidence  so I guess that is a good start. I also have been able to make my basic blocks and have made up a few easy skirts etc. Itsa lovely to caht with people who are similarly obsessed!

            Regards marianne

          4. jjgg | | #9

            Harriet Pepins book is very good, and I love the styles from the 40's that are in it, but it does leave sokme of the finer points of pattern drafting out.The method of drafting a bsic sloper though is superb. I tested about 8 different drafts (8 diff authors) for slopers and I found that the Pepin draft is not only easy to do but gave the best fit, and it is the one I use when I teach a sloper class, and how to use it to alter commerical pattterns.Without taking a class in pattern drafting, it can be difficult to follow a book, but if you have a decent concept of what you are doing, get Helen Joseph-Armstrongs book, she does cover all the finer details of pattern drafting.Also, by owning several different pattern drafting books, you will collect a better library on styles, sometimes its very easy to look at a picture and figure it out, some times I need a little help with more complex designs (maybe thats because I'm not a very experienced pattern drafter)What I've found at times to work for me is a combination of draping and flat pattern drafting, when I can't figure out just how a piece should look, I will drape it to get the right shape, or the right amount of ease/gathering/fullness etc, and then take the basic shape/amt of fullness and perfect the piece in the flat pattern.I just picked up a couple of Marfy pattern catologues, and I cna't wait to try to draft the patterns myself!

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