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Pleats into darts? Help!

cinderelladressmaker | Posted in General Discussion on

Not in the mood to dust off all my books!  Can my fellow sewers help me with this one:  how do you change pleats to darts on a pant pattern?  Thanks kindly!


  1. User avater
    artfulenterprises | | #1

    Generally speaking, the amount of excess in the pleat at the waist line will remain the same for your dart. You will have to fit the dart to your body to determine where they should end but usually the dart closest to the side seam is about a hand's breadth away and the dart closest to the center front is about an equal distance from the other dart (or approximately 4", give or take, from center front depending on what size you are.) The dart closest to center front should line up with what would be an under-bust dart on a bodice. Best advice,
    make a muslin, mark the start and stop points of the pleats at the waist and allow the fabric to show you where the darts belong!

    1. jjgg | | #5

      You may also want to take out the added fullness that was inserted to make the pleat. It gets added all the way down to the hem.If you can imagine this going backwards - from darted slacks to pleated, the dart has to be widened at the tip (point) of the dart so that the pants continue to drape as a pleat. To do this you would slash through the tip of the dart (from the waist line) to the hem and spread pattern. (at the top end narrowing towards the hem) This gives you the added fullness of the pleat across the front of the pant leg. Depending on how wide a leg the designer is making determines how much to spread at the hem. This will have to be removed or they will be baggy in the belly area. It's not just a matter of making a dart where the pleat is.you can really then play with the amount of added fullness you want to remove, and how narrow/wide you want the leg /hem to be.

      1. cinderelladressmaker | | #6

        Thank you! You have just the explanation that I wanted to hear. Not easy, but properly done. That is the route that I will go.

        1. jjgg | | #7

          just curious, why do you want to go to all this trouble? Can't you find a pattern with a darted front?

          Edited 10/3/2008 12:08 am ET by jjgg

          1. cinderelladressmaker | | #8

            Actually, a woman I know posted the question on a site called:

            http://www.sew-whats-new.com   even though I studied Fashion Design/patternmaking years ago, I couldn't wrap my head around this (too many other things going on).  I thought I would throw the question out there to the more experienced sewers who are lovers of 'Threads'.  I could have taken the time to look through some of my old books, but I was lazy. I very much appreciate your answer.  I will copy it and pass it on to my other forum friend. Warm regards, Cindy 

            P.S.  I will have to ask her why all the trouble?

  2. starzoe | | #2

    If the pleats are deep, you can make multiple darts. Just remember, darts point to the high point on the body. If I were to do this I would cut out the pattern with the pleats and then play with the extra fabric at the waistline, experimenting with the location, the number and location of the darts.If you are refining an existing pair of pants, the job would be quite easy.

  3. gowngirl | | #3

    Or you can make it easy on yourself and just sew those puppies down to where they don't poke up anymore! Just a thought-

    1. cinderelladressmaker | | #4

      Laura, you made me laugh!  That was funny.  Handle those puppies just like I am in a rodeo! Love ya!

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