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Moving the dart down on basic top
McCall's M4342 Stitch 'n Save Misses' Shirts and Top
aprilla
aprilla
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Date: 8/9/13 7:39 AM

Needing to approach tops now I went through my patterns to find a basic top to begin with. I came up with McCall's M4342 Stitch 'n Save Misses' Shirts and Top. While not inspiring at first glance I found myself looking at it again and yet again as being the pattern I could learn tops with. (I am not buying any more patterns, I'm not!) It's quite basic, not too many pieces and has a load of suggested fabrics so I can 'play' with it for a while, I hope. I'm beginning to see possibilities in it...
Photo of pattern

The top pattern is cut out at size 10 and the bust dart is too high for me (call it an inch). I've played with moving the dart point (apex) down but feel it isn't as nice as the original dart shape on the pattern. What to do?! I think this is something I'll have to do quite a bit, I am long there (neck/shoulder/bust what to call the area?) so need to figure the best way for future use too... Help!

Should I cut the pattern piece above the dart and lengthen the pattern there (there is a place lower on the pattern to shorten overall length but no lengthen/shorten above the dart.)

Or should I trace the side dart shape and use to extend the side seam thereby moving the dart about an inch lower?

>> or are these the same thing?

I'll be ironing the paper pattern and looking through fabrics while I think, I'll need something easy to sew on that takes ripping out well, could look nice but is potentially disposable LOL..... I think I have an orphaned pillowcase somewhere....


-- Edited on 8/9/13 7:41 AM --

AnneM
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Date: 8/9/13 8:38 AM

Hi aprilla. You are looking at the tank top, correct? I can't see a dart on the shirt-jacket, so I'm thinking you must be.

Do you know if you actually want the length longer, or simply want the dart lower? Here are some thoughts for you, depending:

Option 1: you want it longer, & the armhole is too tight.
In this case, you want to lengthen above the bust. You would cut the pattern in the armscye section and add some length there. This will both lower the dart and make the arm opening longer. Of course, this is bad if the opening is large enough already because then you would have gaping. Since this to is sleeveless, it is easy adjustment. If you had sleeves you would have to lengthen the top of the sleeve slightly as well.

Option 2: you want the length longer & the bust dart lower, but the arm hole is a good size already.
In this case, you would cut the pattern between the bust dart & the armscye, & lengthen it there. Don't forget that you need to lengthen the back pattern piece by the same amount. For the back, you would likely simply lengthen it straight across the entire width.

Option 3: The length of the top is fine, it's just that the bust dart is too high.
In this case, I think you would simply want to trace the dart out lower - shifting it, & then filling in the side seam where you moved it from. Your overall length will stay the same, it will simply move the dart. Or, as you already played with, you change the angle of the dart so the tip is more appropriately placed.

If you do not want to lengthen the top but just want to move the dart down, then trace the shape of the dart & copy it further down the pattern

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

aprilla
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Date: 8/9/13 8:51 AM

Thanks AnnM :)
It's the sleeveless top I'm attempting, yes. At this moment it is just the dart I wonder about mostly because I can see myself needing to do this in future tops also.
From the paper piece I believe the armhole should be fine and I think that Option 3 will be my first step.

I can see myself referring back to this, in fact I hope you don't mind I'm going to make a stickie of your options for myself. Tops scare me, but your advice is having a calming effect already. Much appreciated :)

ps - I never thought about the back at all, thanks for that reminder!

-- Edited on 8/9/13 8:51 AM --

JTink
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Date: 8/9/13 9:06 AM

Aprilla, if you have a copy of Fit For Real People, look on page 144. It shows you how to raise or lower a dart. It think it was what Annie was saying in option 3. Draw a box around the dart, cut out the box and simply move the dart down where you need it, filling in the empty spot with paper. This way you don't have to redraw anything.

mssewcrazy
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Date: 8/9/13 9:25 AM

I am so glad you linked to the photo. I have made several shirts from this pattern. I may have made an fba and added a dart to the shirt -don't remember if it has one. I was using another shell pattern to wear it as a sort of twin set. I will have to try the shell included. I always have to move darts down as gravity with age has taken its toll. I trace my front pattern and use the box method to move the dart down most of the time. I trace as I don't like to destroy my original pattern in case I don't like my changes or start over if I do to much. I don't really worry about mistakes since it is a copy I am working on and the first try is just humble fabric. I think I am going to redo this shirt pattern (go back to a new trace) and rework from smaller shoulders. I have learned a lot more about altering since I first did this pattern. It is probably too boxy for the younger set but I like the easy fit of the shirt. I think I will try the shell when I redo the shirt. I am at the stage in life where a shirt jacket and shell is an easy wear so I am going to work on this pattern some more though I have the shirt very wearable already. I can't ever leave well enough alone.

aprilla
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Date: 8/9/13 11:05 AM

I cut across the pattern and moved the pieces so the dart is lower and the dart placement now does fit better. Yippee! I cut across front and back at the same place and added the same amount to both. I didn't bother taking any length off the bottom as I found a willing tablecloth (nothing is safe haha!) as I went in search of fabric and .... it beckoned. There's a hemmed border so I put that at the bottom and will leave the lower side seam open, stitched for a tunic shape. Tops are beginning to be fun LOL
However I have not approached the armhole or neck facings yet, this is where I get the heebie-jeebies....

I don't have any proper books, none that explain fitting. In the beginning I decided not to purchase much in case sewing wasn't going to interest me... but I'm finding myself more and more interested so perhaps I'll put a few selections on my Christmas list.

I do see the reasoning behind the 'box dart'... I think I will try that also and compare how each fits me.

@mssewcrazy - perhaps it is your reviews I saw? I read all three, but the FBA is something I don't know that I need so I was just pleased to find someone who had tried and liked the pattern. No, there's no dart in the shirt included. The top is a bit boxy maybe but I like the basic shape of it, with no openings! (buttonhole avoidance??) And can see a lot of opportunity to play with it, if I can manage to do the dreaded facings nicely.
The top and shirt over (I also call it twin set) is something I like too, very useful in a wardrobe. I have a couple of knit ones but they are coming to end of life so it's a good time for me to get practising.

Progress! It feels good .... thanks

JTink
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Date: 8/9/13 1:12 PM

I also have this pattern and made the shirt a few months ago. The shirt is very roomy and forgiving. I still had to make an FBA, as I do in all my clothes(I'm a DDD). I haven't tried the shell yet, but you have inspired me to go back and alter that as well.

aprilla
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Date: 8/9/13 3:00 PM

Haha! Good fun :)
I'd be interested in your opinion too, if you make it... it's my first such top so I have no way of comparison, especially as to how it might compare with a more recent/modern pattern.
:)

AnneM
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In reply to aprilla <<
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Date: 8/9/13 4:31 PM

Quote: aprilla
... I found a willing tablecloth (nothing is safe haha!)

Great idea!

Quote: aprilla
However I have not approached the armhole or neck facings yet, this is where I get the heebie-jeebies....

I'm not a huge facing fan, although I have plenty of RTW shirts with facings so it isn't that it is not a proper technique and is only used in home sewing. I just think I'm just not that good at understitching, so the facings tend to want to roll over to the right side on me. Don't let my lack of skill stop you from trying it. But if you don't like how it turns out, know that there are other options.

I tend to use bias bindings instead. Someone recently pointed out link to a great bias binding overview. It is a slightly different technique than what I've used, but a good one. ... which of course I can't find. Hmmm. But I did find this thread that has some nice links on how to do bindings.


Also, for books, there are a TON of them out there. Your choices are almost endless. I really liked Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book as having good information & being approachable. I pretty much read it cover to cover. But there are a lot of other books available, some with broader & some with narrower focuses.

------
With a great wardrobe that's still in the flat-fabric stage.

aprilla
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Date: 8/9/13 5:53 PM

The top is done - thank you all so much helping me get past this bump!!

Verdict...
The tablecloth was an excellent choice, the top is 'pretty' :)
The bust darts are in a good spot.
Yes, the top is boxy but very wearable, a bit long but the 'tunic' style slits at the bottom side seams make it look intended. So quick and easy to make!

However... there's always a but LOL
The facings (bias cut strips, folded) were longer than the neck and armholes so while I did adjust this for the neck (which came out well) the armhole finish is a little wonky.... not too bad though, and I could certainly wear this as my arms quite hide the wobbly bits.
Next time I'll try the box method for moving the darts, and instead of folding the bias strips just in half I will measure to fit and also fold and apply them to make them more like the 'bought' bias binding for a cleaner finish.

@ AnneM the pattern calls them facings but I think it's actually a bias binding finish. I did facings on trousers and this was quite different, also I know what bias binding looks like and this would have been like that except it was only folded once.
It *is* labelled an EASY pattern. For me, I found it a good one for starting with and can already see little changes that will make it a useful one, like the dart moving and the binding. I'm really chuffed with it!!


Books are a whole new area to explore but I think I would go with something quite technical, in the fitting/drafting area (way above my ability but to grow into)... or maybe when I think about it more, perhaps DVDs. I'll have to do some homework on this... more fun LOL

WooHoo!

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