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Message Board > Pattern Modifications, Design Changes & Pattern Drafting > Understanding bust darts

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Understanding bust darts
Wondering if I really understand how bust darts work
plumfan
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plumfan  Friend of PR
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Date: 1/7/14 0:29 AM

So bust darts are used to create a "pocket" in a shirt so that there is enough material in the right places. For shirts that don't have enough room you can slash and spread to add a dart and create more room for the bust.

If you sew the dart all the way to the bust apex, you would actually be sewing out the room you just created, right? The closer the end of the dart to the apex, the less room for your boobs. That's why the general rule of thumb is the larger the cup, the shorter the dart.

So if I have a shirt that has pulling between the boobs, can I fix that by shortening the darts and therefore creating more room for my bust?

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KiwiWendy
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Date: 1/7/14 2:58 AM

Quote: plumfan
So if I have a shirt that has pulling between the boobs, can I fix that by shortening the darts and therefore creating more room for my bust?

I doubt it would because you need a wider amount of fabric to get rid of the pulling, and shortening the dart doesn't do that. If you needed an extra half inch for example, shortening the dart won't make the fabric pieces you've cut out that half inch wider.

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Sydney, Australia

KathySews
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Date: 1/7/14 7:39 AM

The additional measurement you need to fix pulling in the middle is bust point to bust point. You need at least that much fabric between to avoid the pulling.

To understand bust darts imagine shaping around half a ball. If you take the dart point all the way to the bust point, you are covering a cone.

marymary86
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Date: 1/7/14 8:54 AM

Quote:

If you sew the dart all the way to the bust apex, you would actually be sewing out the room you just created, right?


Not exactly. It's not just about having more fabric. It's also about shaping a flat piece of fabric to fit a curve (the bust).

If you didn't have a dart, you'd just have a lot more fabric lying over the bust. The dart (or darts) shape the fabric.

I wear a 36E cup. If I buy a men's dress shirt by the neck/sleeve measurement, it fits me without gaping over my bust. But the look is large and shapeless. This is a good example of how a lot of flat fabric can fit over your bust.

When I try on a RTW women's shirt, it usually gapes over my bust if the shirt fits my shoulders well. Other than the gaping bust, these shirts flatter my feminine shape.

------
Mary


plumfan
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Date: 1/7/14 11:05 AM

So I'm glad I asked because while I understand the basic idea, bust darts shape the material, how they shape and fit still eluded me.

OK, so, it looks like I may not be able to salvage my latest project. Oh well, live and learn.

Besides the general rule of thumb about shortening the dart a 1/2 inch for every cup size, are there any other ways to determine the length of the dart? When I look at my latest project I think I should have ended the dart about where my breast starts to slope inward toward my apex instead of where I did end it.

Once I've sewn the dart, if it's not right how can I be sure to change it equally on both sides?

Thanks.

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2014 Items finished for me - 8
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a7yrstitch
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Date: 1/7/14 12:59 PM

Darts for Shaping, Darts for Fitting

The linked thread is all about darts and the links within the thread are well illustrated. It covers a variety of darts but should help pave the way to a better understanding of going from flat to shaped.

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I have no idea what Apple thought I was saying so be a Peach and credit anything bizarre to auto correct.

CM_Sews
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Date: 1/7/14 1:11 PM

The size of the sewn dart is only part of the equation, but you are correct that the general rule of thumb is to shorten the sewn bust dart for larger bust cup sizes. However, even for a small bust cup size, the dart should not go all the way to the bust point; it should end at least 1 or 1.5 inches from the bust point; for a larger cup size, you may choose to shorten the dart even more. Also, you can sew a dart with a slightly curved stitching line, so that it fits more naturally on the bust.

In an FBA you alter your pattern to provide MORE fabric over your bust, both from shoulder to hem AND more fabric across your chest, from side seam to side seam. You really do need both width and length added.

It sounds like your project does not have enough width, but do check for length, too. Typically, on a garment that needs and FBA, the hem on the front is higher than the hem on the back, indicating that more length is needed in the front bodice.

Bresnan Studios, Sewing Techniques, Dealing with Bust Darts; this webpage has a great photo of a muslin slashed to add width and length across the bust. It's a good visual explanation of how you need to add both length and width to adequately cover the bust.

If you want to duplicate how you've sewn a dart from one side to the other, consider making a paper template. Wax paper (from the kitchen) is easy to use because it's relatively see-through and you can just scratch a mark onto it. Place the wax paper over the folded and sewn dart, and mark the fold of the dart, the side seam allowance and the dart stitching line. Cut out your template and use that to duplicate the dart size on the other side.

CMC

caren751
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Date: 1/7/14 1:33 PM

I recommend making a little bodice front out of paper, with no darts. This is your flat starting point. Now envision that you want to add some length to the front but you want to keep the side seam the same. (Making the front longer is something you need to do if you want to have enough fabric to cover substantial breasts.) Make a slash across your pattern piece and add a horizontal strip. To keep the side seam length unchanged just fold the pattern to make a tuck at the seam. It gives you a boxy shape, not a breast like shape, but it does give you the needed fabric. The shape will be helped if the tuck is changed into a dart. That way a smaller amount of fabric is added near the seam, and rounder shape can be achieved. If you are trying to make the top fit next to the breast then you usually start needing the whole amount of fabric a few inches away from the apex of the breast, so that is where the dart stops. Shortening the dart will provide more fabric away from the Apex, but it won't increase the amount between the breasts.

If you need more fabric between the breasts you need to add fabric between the breasts. A Full Bust Adjustment allows you to do this without disrupting the neckline (Something that would happen if you just extended the pattern.) When you make a FBA you widen the front only below the armseye, the fabric stays flat because you allow a side dart.

Nancy K
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Date: 1/8/14 8:34 PM

No. You need more circumference and backing up a dart won't do that. You did not add enough width when you altered the pattern.

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