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How to smoothly sew a large bust dart
I cannot get the pointy end right
KathySews
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KathySews
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Date: 10/2/13 9:23 AM

I have walked away from my sewing project twice now. This is both a plea for help and a major rant about darts

I took a fitting class with Jennifer Stern using her new pattern Perfectly Fitted Shirt by the Cup Full. She was a huge help in helping select the correct size, shoulder and back adjustments and determining that I needed a fba on the DD cup front. The muslin was wonderful and I thought everything was fine.

Now at home I am actually sewing in the side bust dart - which is huge - and I cannot get a nice looking dart. It is so large that it comes to a sharp point and looks horrible.
I have tried adding a bit of curve to the dart stitch line
Reduced the stitch length and sewn closely to the fold
Still a large point
I even have broken it into 3 small darts as a "design feature" but it still doesn't look right.

Is it possible to ever get a huge dart to look good or should I go back to only sewing shoulder princess seamed tops?

eta: I have searched through tips and my fitting books and they are about how to draft an FBA nothing about how to make that dart look right

ETA: we enlarged a DD cup, I originally said D
-- Edited on 10/2/13 9:26 AM --
-- Edited on 10/4/13 8:42 AM --

Miss Fairchild
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Miss Fairchild
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Date: 10/2/13 9:53 AM

Might I suggest sewing the dart backwards? From the pointy end to the fuller end? I have found that this now works best for me, and I was a C cup before I lost weight. For some reason, when I sew the dart the "normal" way, I always get points because I can't always see to run off the short end. Sewing it in the opposite direction, starting to run on the short end, seems to work better for me.
-- Edited on 10/2/13 9:54 AM --

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KathySews
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Date: 10/2/13 10:58 AM

Thanks for the suggestion and I will try that, but this is an E dart, much bigger than a C dart. The angle is so sharp that I think it is impossible to do a nice dart that large on woven fabrics.

Vicsguy
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Date: 10/2/13 12:07 PM

Quote: KathySews
Thanks for the suggestion and I will try that, but this is an E dart, much bigger than a C dart. The angle is so sharp that I think it is impossible to do a nice dart that large on woven fabrics.

The size of the dart shouldn't make much difference. It's how you end the dart that creates a point. Starting at the point and working toward the seam will most likely work.
a7yrstitch
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Date: 10/2/13 12:40 PM

Have sometimes (rarely) left the small end of a dart closed but have sliced open the big end of a dart to make it behave like a seam allowance. The choice to do this is influenced by fabric and pattern but it does lend itself well to shaping by pressing.

You could try on scraps. On the portion that is sliced open, trim the newly cut seam allowance. The end of the dart can be pressed to the side or pressed with the dart centered and flattened down the middle. Use a pressing ham or a rolled bath towel to shape your scrap sample.

My grandmother wore an H cup on an otherwise petite frame. I typically used one or two side darts along with a small shoulder dart to create a pocket of space with the darts ending outside of the bust apex (think I have the right term). Grandma wasn't pointy, she was rounded - rounded and centered as opposed to rounded and separated. A harshly slashed and pointed dart would not have worked for her.

Also consider easing and spreading some of the excess in the side seam instead of relying on the dart to accomodate all of the pinched fabric. Another consideration is the addition of a small downward dart from the armhole.

Check your mirror and then check the kitchen cabinets for something you can pad to emulate your 'dressed' shape. Try tissue fitting that component for ideas on how to proceed.

Wondering if a short vertical princess dart below the bust would help grab some excess fabric so the side dart doesn't have to do all of the work. My suggestions seem to aim at getting away from a point and forming a pocket of space.
-- Edited on 10/2/13 12:42 PM --

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stirwatersblue
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In reply to a7yrstitch <<
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Date: 10/2/13 1:26 PM

Quote: a7yrstitch
Also consider easing and spreading some of the excess in the side seam instead of relying on the dart to accommodate all of the pinched fabric. Another consideration is the addition of a small downward dart from the armhole.

I'm new at this (we don't use darts in the 1500s-era clothes I normally make! ), so I was watching to see if "rotate the dart" would be one of the answers. (Because I am busty with a comparatively small frame, I have been rotating darts out of my gowns for years without even knowing that's what I was doing!)

Kathy, I found this thread when I searched the boards for "Large Darts," and there are some good tips there, specifically a couple of people who say they split the single large dart into two or three smaller darts, and then rotate the extra darts into other seams.

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JTink
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Date: 10/2/13 2:02 PM

Kathy I'm so glad you brought this up. I was working on a blouse not long ago that did the same thing. I tried everything suggested in this thread(and the one link), with the exception of starting from the point ending at the side seam. Nothing worked. I put that pattern away and tossed the blouse. I'm now finishing up a blouse using a Connie Crawford Pattern(5300). It's has the cup sizes available in the pattern. I'm a DDD, but am using the D cup with out an FBA and it fits! The dart is huge, but it works! No puckers, no pointy things. I'm beginning to think it all depends on the draft of the pattern. Have you tried any of the Connie Crawford patterns?

Catina
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Date: 10/2/13 2:36 PM

Is there any chance you can post a picture of what you currently have with it on you? This way perhaps we can evaluate if it is a sewing issue, pattern issue or both. :)

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michellep74
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Date: 10/2/13 3:25 PM

Split the dart and rotate part of it, so that you have a more normal-sized dart at the bust. a7yrstitch's suggestion to slice open part of the large dart and treat it like an SA will help, too.

Shoulder tucks/gathers have worked best for me, as far as where I've rotated excess dart.

Unfortunately, the standard rules of fitting don't apply to us who are "uberbusty". We have to get creative and think outside the box.

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KathySews
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Date: 10/2/13 4:56 PM

Thanks. I was overly enthusiastic about the class and cut the fabric using the pattern we made in class. So I think this is a wadder. I can then redraft to rotate part of the dart or add gathers. But rather than waste more time on this pattern, I think I should move on to another.

I think it would be interesting to compare this to the Connie Crawford blouse. I am curious how her pattern works. I have a Burda shoulder princess blouse that I could use with better success.

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