Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Drafting: Moving Darts

This tutorial picks up where my midriff yoke tutorial leaves off: In the images you see here, I've already removed the lower portion of the bodice to form the yoke.  The next step, before we actually create the surplice neckline, will be to combine and eliminate some of the darts in the bodice.  So in this tutorial, I'll show you how to move a dart using the slash-and-spread method.  Although I'm working on my brunch dress bodice here, the steps I'll describe apply to many other situations where you would move or combine darts.

Combining Two Darts into One
For a bodice of this style, it doesn't make much sense to have a bust dart, so we need to combine the bust dart with the waist-fitting dart.  When we're done, the bodice front will have one single dart that accomplishes the same fitting as the two darts we started with.

First, cut through the center of the bust dart, cutting almost to but not through the bust point.  Do the same for the waist dart.  The bottom corner of the bodice piece will now be connected only by a tiny paper hinge at the bust point, and should be able to pivot freely.  (If it doesn't, you need to cut further.)

Pivot the piece so that the edges of the bust dart meet at the side seam, and tape it closed, making sure your paper lies flat with no wrinkles or hitches.

The edges of your remaining dart will be slightly uneven, so trace straight lines from the bottom corners to the bust point to form new, straight dart legs.  (As a rule of thumb, when a bodice has only one dart, it extends all the way to the bust point.  When it has two darts, the points of those darts fall somewhere in the outer third of the bust circle.)

Moving a Dart

Although slopers have a shoulder dart on the bodice back, few garments do.  So what do we do with the shoulder dart?  Often, the solution is to move it to a place, like the neckline, where it will eventually be cut off.  That's what I'll do here.  But you can use this same basic technique to move any dart, for construction or design reasons.

Again, we'll be using the slash-and-spread method, which means we'll be pivoting a piece of our pattern around a tiny paper hinge.  On the bodice front, you use the bust point as your pivot point, but there's no equally obvious point on the bodice back.  So before we can slash and spread, we need to establish and mark the pivot point, 1 1/2 inches below the end of the shoulder dart.

Then, draw a line where you would like your new dart to form.  In this situation, the location of the new dart doesn't much matter, since I'll eventually cut it off when I lower the back neckline.  But if you're creating a design element, you'll want to put some thought into the placement and direction of your relocated dart.

This is the bodice back.  (The CB is on the right side of the picture.)  I've drawn a line down from the neckline edge, which will be my relocated dart, and I've connected that line to the pivot point I just established.  I've also drawn a line connecting the original dart to the pivot point.

Next, cut along those lines, to but not through the pivot point, leaving a paper hinge as before.  Pivot the loose section of your pattern to close the orignial dart, keeping the pattern flat.  This will open a dart in the new location.

This is what the pattern should look like after closing the original shoulder dart.  I've taped a piece of paper behind the pattern to stabilize it.

If you intended to use this dart, you would refine it now.  But since this area of my pattern will just be cut away, I'm not going to the effort to do that here.

That's all for now on moving darts!  In the next post, I'll show you how to create the surplice neckline and make adjustments to the armscye for a sleeveless bodice.

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