Today's post is about eliminating a dart (well at least relocating it so it becomes a little extra ease around the waist).
Just in case you don't already know what a dart is, I will give you a little definition:
Darts are used to shape a pattern to the contours of the body (often the breasts and the booty). You will most often find them at the shoulder, armhole, or waist. Although they can be manipulated in countless ways!
In many cases you will be wanting to move or eliminate the darts all together from where they are located on the basic bodice (normally, the shoulder and the waist) to make your design more interesting.
As I rarely wear close fitting garments, this is usually the first adjustment I make to my bodice block. For the Stripey Stripe Dress, I moved the front and back shoulder darts down to the waist, and then left them open, to create a loose, boxy silhouette.
This tutorial will guide you through the (very quick and easy) process of eliminating a dart. There are two common methods for eliminating darts - the pivot technique (this one) and the cut and spread technique - it is up to you which method you prefer.
To work through this tutorial you will need your basic bodice block.
A sheet of pattern paper (approximately the size of your front and back patterns. But as always, leave a bit of space around the edges to accommodate the adjustments).
A pacer pencil (and an eraser).
A stiletto (or a pin or sharp pencil will do).
To start, take the piece of pattern paper, and mark a grainline down the length of the sheet.
Take the front piece of your bodice block, and line up the centre front with the grainline on the sheet of paper underneath. Once in line, hold the pattern in place with a weight (or whatever you have lying around, that will do the job - if you are like me and don't own weights).
The example will guide you through moving the shoulder dart, down to the waist (to create one larger dart, or just a looser waist), but you can use the technique, no matter where the original dart is located, and where you want to move it to.
Focus on the dart arms closest to the centre front of the pattern (or the centre back, if you are working on the back piece of the pattern).
Take your pencil and trace around the pattern piece in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from the waist dart arm closest to the centre front. Continue tracing around the pattern until you reach the shoulder dart arm closest to the centre front.
Mark the location of both dart arms, with a small line... You will see why in the following step!
Insert the point of the stiletto into the drill hole that marks the end of the shoulder dart.
Remove the weight from the pattern. With the point of the stiletto securely in the drill hole, pivot the pattern so that the shoulder dart arm furthest from the centre front now lines up with the point where you finished tracing the pattern in the previous step (marked with a line).
Once your pattern is in the right position, put your weight back on the pattern to keep it in place.
Continue tracing around the pattern, starting where you left off (which is now the shoulder dart arm furthest from the centre front), along the shoulder, around the armhole, and then down the side seam and along the waistline until you reach the waist dart arm furthest from the centre front.
If you will be creating a new waist dart (as opposed to a looser waist), make sure you transfer the dart point at this stage.
At this point, you can remove the pattern you have been tracing. You will see that you have removed the dart from the shoulder seam, and now just have a larger opening in the waistline.
There are two options now.
The first option, is to create a new larger waist dart. To do this, join up both sides of the opening at the waist with the original waist dart point. This will not be appropriate for all designs and fabric types, as the larger dart may add too much bulk.
The other option is to complete the waistline with a smooth line across the gap in the pattern. Then you will have a pattern without a dart (just a little extra ease around the waist).
Now you know the technique, you can relocate any dart you like!