How To: Dart Manipulation

When I made my recent blue and white Sorbetto top, I altered the pattern by converting the bust darts into neckline pleats.  I mentioned I’d do a post showing how I used dart manipulation to do it.  And look, I’ve finally gotten around to it!  🙂

Blue Sorbetto

I added two little pleats on each side of the neck line.  I also removed the center pleat.

Since it’s easier to photograph, I made a miniature version of the pattern to illustrate the steps.**

1. Start with pattern piece.
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2. Mark the bust point.  Here I marked it in red.  (It’s about 1/2 away from the tip of the dart.)  This is really important.  The trick to successful dart manipulation is to always use the bust point and not the end of the dart (or dart point) when moving darts around.
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3. Redraw dart legs, so they reach the bust point. (Redrawn in red.)
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4. Draw a line where you want the pleats to be.  Here, I drew it in green.
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5. “Cut away the old, and cut on the new.”  This is what my pattern making teacher repeated over and over in class.  Cut the old dart away first, along the red lines.  Then, cut on the new green line, but stop just shy of the bust point so you have a hinge.
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6. Close up the old dart and tape together.
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7. Even out any excess at the side.  Here I cut off that bit extending from the green line under the armhole.
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8. Now you have opened a space at the neckline for the pleats.  (This could also be made into a new dart, or even gathers.)  Here, I wanted to have two pleats, so I drew another green line.  (I also could have done this at step 4.)
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9. Cut on the second green line.
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10. Spread out the pieces, and tape in some more paper.
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11. Smooth out the line across the top, and cut off the excess paper.
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12. Mark the new pleat lines. (Marked here in purple)
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13. When your pleats are folded and sewn they will look something like this.
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Here’s a picture of what my actual pattern looked like before and after.

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Before.

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After.

Here’s a closer shot.  The pencil is pointing at the closed up bust dart.
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**Disclaimer: I really have no idea what I am doing. My experience and knowledge of pattern drafting is fairly limited. But this did work for me. Remember, whenever in doubt, make a muslin to test out any pattern changes. 🙂

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10 thoughts on “How To: Dart Manipulation

  1. Pingback: Me Made May – Final Wrap Up | Purls and Pleats

  2. Just found this post and love it. Just wondering if you had any problem with cutting off that armhole piece when evening out the pattern after moving the dart to the neck.

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