“Giveaway” Winners and Understanding Dart Depth

Congratulations to Kathy (from central west NSW) and Seraphinalina, your numbers came up when I did a random number generator and I’ll be drafting you a pants block.  Please email me and I will send you the details.  The first testers are going well, I hope to be able to offer this service soon but not before it’s user-friendly!

I spent a little time today playing with paper and rotating darts, then uploaded the spick and span pretty shiny new copy of the 45″ bust Blank Canvas Tee.  It’s a tidier version (still hand drawn) and better proportioned.  Thank you to everyone who has given me feedback about the tee, I think I’m close to being happy with it.

I think future “hacks” will be available as .pdfs and the posts about them will hit the high points of construction rather that going in depth.  That seems the simplest way to present the information…

While I waited for the pattern pages to scan, I took a few photos to illustrate the point that the width and depth of darts directly affects the curve of the fabric.  Fabric is flat; darts introduce depth as you work them into a garment.  It’s one of those simple concepts I found hard to grasp at first when I was learning about patterns.

When you alter a pattern in the bust area, whether an FBA or SBA, you add or remove width from the garment.  With an FBA, you add width and the darts become wider (sometimes it’s best to divide them).  With an SBA, you remove width and the darts will become narrower.

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I first drew a small dart, then medium, and a larger dart.  Then I did a second dart to illustrate that multiple darts allow a more controlled (and more pronounced) curve.

Tomorrow- More Casual Vintage, from re-watching of season 2 Mad Men…


  1. I’m loving your little dart slide show. Seeing the dart size / multiple dart division in succession like that really makes me think of darts differently. I know for an FBA the extra fabric gets taken out at the armhole and added in to the bust dart, but I didn’t think of just how much extra shaping it gives overall. Interesting – could you radiate what is taken out into a second dart coming up from the waist to create a double dart feature – quite possibly not bu I do like the look of a double dart. Enough of my ramblings – I hope you have great success with your pants testing!

    • Yes- two darts are better than one when you have a larger curve to create. Or three. Or four. Really it’s up to the sewist and the fabric.

  2. The whole of making clothing is converting a flat piece of material into a structure that covers a curved surface. Darts can be added, divided, rotated, converted into gathers or tucks or pleats or curved seams. Best puzzle ever set us by our college costume-design teacher: “How many darts does it take to fit a humped back?” (Best question I ever heard him ask, as we overheard a telephone conversation from a local t.v. advertiser, was “And how would you like your chicken to be dressed?” We never figured out if we were to make a costume that looked like a chicken, or if we were to design a costume for a barnyard fowl.)

    • I suppose it would depend on the back… It’s interesting how many physical quirks like that “disappear” when correctly fitted…

      Heh heh heh… Or maybe he was talking about the way dinner should be prepared? Dressing a chicken? That’s where my mind went first.

  3. YAY! I’ve already blathered on in email as to how excited I am. Double YAY!

    Love the dart slide show. I hadn’t read the text above when it was sliding through and I thought, hey that’s starting to look more like a breast… yeah, that’s the point. ;)

  4. This has been my 35 year dilemma. Fabric may not be as rigid a medium as paper, but boobs are curved all the way around, and darts are essentially origami adjustments to take out the pleaty bits, but the best one can get is a faceted surface. I gave up on them nearly 30 years back, in favour of princess seams, sometimes even segmented ones, as the continous curve, plus a bit of ease here and a segment there, just sits smoother. But I freely admit to two things – I tend to think of construction in the context of making a wedding dress bodice first, and then work out from there to more normal sewing, and I have recently made up a few vintage patterns that have them, and I liked them a lot more than I thought I would.
    So, as always when I read your blog, I find the trapdoors in my mind opening up! Let there be darts! :)

    • I almost gave up on darts until I learned to divide them, and sew them “rounded”… But sometimes it’s easier to convert a pattern to princess seams than to try to work around awkward curves…..

  5. Yay! A new version of the Blank Canvas Tee for me to try! I do wear the other, but only as PJs. I’ll have to see if I can get all the sewing I want to do done this weekend. I have plans! The trouser block, a skirt, a new tshirt… all rather simple, but it’s balancing studying with sewing that’s the problem.

  6. Steph – I couldn’t get the slide show to work- what am I doing wrong.

    Regards – wanda

    • Hey Wanda- It looks like it’s working fine to me, maybe your browser needs an upgrade? What program are you using to surf the internet?

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