If you're going to the trouble of making a garment it's worth taking the time to achieve a good fit from your sewing pattern. One of the key areas of focus is the bust and by learning a few simple sewing pattern adjustments it is easier than you might think. In this week's video I show you how to raise or lower a bust dart and explain why you might want to do this.
I thought I'd start by explaining the anatomy of a dart. I apologise if I'm teaching my granny to suck eggs, but someone asked about how a dart works recently so I thought I'd use a brilliant explanation I saw recently.
Here I have a circle of card, which I've cut to the centre from one side. Before I overlap the edges the card is completely flat. If I overlap the edges, as we do with a dart, it creates fullness and a dome in the card circle. If I overlap the card more the dome gets bigger, if I overlap it less it is smaller.
This is how darts work to create fullness and room in your garments where you need them. Therefore it is important to position the fullness in the right place, over the fullness on your body, to get a good fit.
Where should darts be positioned
The point of a dart should point to your bust apex. This is the centre of the fullest part of your bust. A general rule of thumb is that the point should end about 1" away from the bust apex for someone with a smaller bust and up to 2 and a half inches away from the apex for a fuller bust.
Sometimes darts will need lengthening or shortening and that is another technique to learn, but today we're going to look at how to raise or lower them. You may find that they are at the wrong height, either too high or too low and the point is pointing to the wrong place on your body. In this case raising or lowering them will massively improve the fit.
How to raise or lower a bust dart
Here I have my sewing pattern bodice piece. I have marked my bust apex on the pattern piece and need to raise or lower the bust dart to point to it.
I'm going to start by simply drawing a box around the dart. I'm using the grid on my cutting board to make sure the lines are true and perpendicular to one another.
Then I'm going to cut the box out and reposition it so the dart point is pointing to the bust apex. You can either raise or lower it.
Once you have it in the correct position, fill the gap with tissue paper.
You might need to true up the side seams, just make sure you don't change the position of the dart legs.
It really is that simple!
I hope you found this tutorial useful and it has shown you that sewing pattern alterations are often much easier than you might think. For a little bit of effort you'll get a much better fit.
Have fun sewing!
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