Darts are used to shape a pattern to the contours of the body.

To personalise your patterns, you may decide to move or eliminate the darts all together from where they are located. 

This tutorial will walk you through the process of re-positioning a dart using two different methods - by using the 'cut and spread' technique or pivoting the pattern - it is up to you what method you would prefer to use, as they will both give the same results.

Method One : Cut & Spread

If you choose to use this method, you will need a pencil, scissors, ruler and masking tape.

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Take the pattern you are altering.

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Decide where you would like your new dart (or darts) to be located. The dart point will need to be at the same point as the current dart (in the case of a shirt it will be at the bust point, as the dart is there to fit the shirt to the bust).

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Draw a line to indicate where you would like the new dart to be located. 

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Cut along one of your dart arms to the point of the dart.

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Cut along the line that indicates your new dart position. Cut towards the point of the dart, stopping 1-2mm from the dart point, leaving a small "hinge" to keep both parts of the pattern attached.

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You will now be able to close the original dart by moving the cut dart arm towards the other (uncut) dart arm.

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As you close the dart you will begin to see a new dart opening in the new position.

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Continue closing the dart until the cut dart arm is overlapping the other dart arm (the original dart is entirely closed).

Secure in place by taping the dart closed.

To complete the pattern you can tape a small piece of paper, behind the pattern, to fill the gap in the new dart, or retrace the whole pattern. You will need to add dart shaping before adding seam allowance to the pattern.

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Here is an example of what the pattern will look like when you relocate the dart to the armhole.

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Or to the shoulder.

Method Two : Pivot Technique

For the second method, you will need a piece of pattern paper (roughly the same size as your pattern - give yourself a bit of extra space around the edge for adding seam allowance), a pencil, ruler and stiletto.

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Take the pattern you are altering.

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Decide where you would like your new dart (or darts) to be located. The dart point will need to be at the same point as the current dart.

Draw where you would like the new dart to be located. 

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Place the pattern onto the piece of pattern paper and use a weight to hold pattern in place. Start tracing the pattern from the new dart location to the first dart arm (anti-clockwise direction).

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Mark the position of the first dart arm with a notch, extending past the seam line where it is located.

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Take the stiletto and insert the point into the dart point.

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You will be using the stiletto to keep the dart point in place while you pivot the pattern.

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Turn the pattern so that the second dart arm meets the notch that marked the original position of the first dart arm.

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Once the dart arm is in the correct position, hold the pattern in place with a weight and remove the stiletto.

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Continue tracing around the pattern.

Start at the notch where you previously finished and continue around (in an anti-clockwise direction) the pattern until you get to the line that indicates the new dart position.

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Mark the dart point onto the paper underneath with a sharp pencil.

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Remove the pattern. You will see that there is an opening where you chose to re-position your dart.

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Draw in new dart, by joining end points of opening with the dart point to create two dart arms.

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The seam where you took the original dart from (in this case, the side seam) may have slightly changed shape. Redraw as a straight line (or a curved line if it is a curved seam).

Complete the pattern by marking the grainline, shaping the new dart, adding seam allowance and adding any notches and cutting instructions.

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