Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pivoting a Dart

Hey, do you all know how to pivot a dart? It's super easy and fun. Remember my stripey dress, where I pivoted the dart to the center front seam to create a chevron effect?

Here's the bodice with arrows to indicate the dart placement. These are the only darts on the front bodice.

I got this effect by moving the original dart (which was at the waist) to the center front seam, radiating diagonally to the bust apex.

Here's a miniature of the original pattern piece. (It's actually just a hand drawn piece, so don't look at it for accuracy!) It's best to do this with the seam allowances removed. This way the seam allowance will not interfere with your drafting.

See how the waist dart closes to form a three dimensional shape?

Darts on a bodice can be anywhere, as long as they are radiating from the bust apex. Got that? An easy way to move the dart to another point is to pivot the dart.

Start by putting your pattern piece on top of a new, clean piece of paper. Make sure you have your apex marked. Update: the bust apex isn't necessarily the end point of the dart, since darts usually stop short of the apex of the bust. In patternmaking, you usually work with a dart that ends at the apex and then, once the dart pivoting is complete, shorten the legs by about 1/2" to 1" so the dart doesn't end right on top of the bust, creating a pointy effect. Check your pattern (fold the darts and hold it up to your body) to make sure that you're working from the apex, which is the fullest point of the bust.

Now, mark your new dart placement. The red arrow indicates where I want my new dart to be. It will radiate diagonally to the bust apex.

Start tracing at the left leg of your old dart. I'm using a green Sharpie here. Continue in a clockwise direction, until you get to your new dart placement point.

Now, place a pin or awl (something pointy) into the dart apex so that it doesn't shift.

Pivot the pattern piece to the left so that the right leg of the original dart reaches the point where you started tracing. You've essentially closed up the original dart.

Now you can continue tracing where you left off on the original pattern piece. My new tracing line is in purple. End when you meet up where you started (in green marker here).

Remove the pattern piece. See that open space on the center front seam? That's your new dart!

Use a ruler to draw new dart legs, connecting them to the apex point.
 

There you have it! Next you should add seam allowances back. Update: you will also need to shorten the dart by about 1/2" to 1" so the endpoint isn't right on top of the bust. Close up the dart and trace over it with a spiky wheel to get the shape of the seam allowance on the dart body. Straighten up any lines that might have gotten wonky, like the waistline (where the old dart used to be).

Make sense? You can move your dart anywhere: neckline, shoulder seam, French dart. As long as it radiates toward the apex, you're good.

If this is hard to visualize, I would suggest having a go of it with a bit of paper shaped like a pattern piece. It will make sense once you've tried it, I promise.

Let me know if you have questions!

44 comments:

  1. Wow! I would never have thought of doing something like that but you make it seem so easy and I love how your striped bodice looks so I might give it a try myself!

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  2. Thank you so much for this Gertie! I'm currently taking a pattern-cutting course at college and last week we were shown how to move darts. For some reason it didn't sink into my brain though and I was so confused...your method seems so simple! Must give it a go ;o)

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  3. That is amazing. So clear, practical and easy to understand. I have so many draping books where I read the instructions and my brain just shuts down... This however makes me want to try it out right now!

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  4. This was a superwonderul instruction. Thanks for making it so easy to follow!

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  5. Isn't it important to move the point of the dart about an inch away from the apex to avoid the pointy nipple effect?

    Maybe you didn't do that in the construction of this dress? It may not be necessary when the dart is coming from the center front seam?

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  6. Thanks! I love the way that dress looks and I never thought I'd be so simple to do that to an existing pattern. I'm sure it'll take some finagling the first go round but this tutorial is great!

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  7. This. Is. FABULOUS. And way easier to do than what I was imagining when I thought "Move a dart? You can't move a dart!"

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  8. This is why I love the Social Media, exchange of ideas. Really helpful to see it in 3D. It works well for me as a visual person. I've been reading a lot of you early blogging and it is a wealth of knowledge. Thank you for sharing.

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  9. does your grain line move too? or stay as the original does?

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  10. ~ * ♥ * ~

    This looks like a great technique ~ thanks for sharing Gertie! I am definitely book marking this for future reference. ^ w ^

    xox,
    bonita of Depict This!
    ~ * ♥ * ~

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  11. Very cool, thank you for this Gertie! I can't wait to try it out. :)

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  12. Ooh, good catch, Emelie! I'm going to update the post.

    The grainline would typically stay the same; you might need to move it over so it doesn't get broken up by the dart. In the case of the stripes, though, the stripe placement determines the grainline.

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  13. Hi, Gertie - Long-time reader, first-time commenter here. I just wanted to say thank you. I am a novice at best, but your descriptions and tutorials are so clear and the results so beautiful I'm inspired to continue improving my skills. Thanks!

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  14. This is just plain craziness! heh Thanks so much for the tutorial.

    The little mini bodice is so cute too. :)

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  15. CRAZY!!! I've never understood rotating darts until RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!!! Thank you so much.

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  16. I've looked to you for inspiration. To give me the nerve to even practice sewing simple things. but this post totally scared me away. I don't think I can ever be this detailed. sigh...

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  17. I don't really understand this and here's why. The original dart points toward the bust point and the apex lies on that line about 1" distal to it. The rotated dart, created by pivoting at the dart apex, changes where the bust point would be (and the bust point should be stationary). I would argue that the dart apex should be located by drawing a line from the point on your FC (front center) seamline where you want your dart legs to end, to the bust point and then locate the dart apex 1" from the bust point on that line. Then the dart legs could be drawn to either side of that line to the desired depth. In your picture, the red arrows indicate a dart pointing above your bust point. I guess this is just a long way of saying the rotation should occur at the bust point, not at the bust apex. I think.

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  18. An excellent vintage book that covers this is on my wish list, Designing Dress Patterns by Helen Nicol Tanous. Check out the review and some scans here.

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  19. Well this is bloody brilliant! Thank you!

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  20. This is SUPER helpful! Thanks, Gertie!

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  21. Wendybee, I've always learned that you should pivot from the apex. The apex is a fixed point. I'm not really sure I understand the distinction you're making between the bust point and apex. As far as I understand it, there's the apex (which is always the same) and then the dart ends about 1" away from there. That 1" point will change depending on where your dart comes from (shoulder, center seam, etc).

    bettytor, don't be frustrated! Everyone is at different levels and I try to provide something for everyone. Maybe in a year or so you'll be ready to come back to this post. :)

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  22. Ooh, this is perfect timing! I'm making a similar dress in a stripe and I might just try this technique. I have another question about grain lines and the front stripes. When cutting the front pieces, it looks like you position the slope of the neckline such that it runs parallel with the stripes? Is that correct?

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  23. Yay pivoting darts is super fun! Since you're showing some flat pattern fun, you should show everyone how to also combine a side dart to a waist dart, since that would be the starting point from a sloper too! My absolute favorite part of this tutorial is seeing that the pattern is miniature when compared to your hands. It

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  24. I've pivoted a dart once, but this method looks marvelously easy compared to how I did it. I need to practice again! Really lovely tutorial!

    xoxo,
    Sunni

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  25. Will never be able to look at a dart in the same way again...thanks for opening up the possibilities...learnt a lot
    Warm regards from sunny south Africa
    Shann
    http://incomparablebuttons.blogspot.com

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  26. Ha! Its funny because I have just spent two days of class (so far) pivoting darts etc. We were also discussing how we had never seen a front dart like the one used in your dress. A great excuse to show photos of your dress to everyone to prove otherwise! Great dress, I love how you used the dart to shape the dress.

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  27. Wow! Thanks so much for such a great tutorial. I finally got a basic bodice pattern to a perfect fit (it has one dart at the waist) and now I can use your tutorial to create different designs with the same pattern. Thank you!

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  28. Well, this is the clearest explanation I have seen in all the years I have been trying to master pattern drafting. Well done, Gertie, you are an excellent teacher.

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  29. Wow, Gertie! I think this is the best illustration of the pivot-method of dart manipulation I've ever seen! :) Thank you so much for sharing it with us! :) (And once again: that striped dress is sooo cute!)

    ♥ Casey

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  30. Wow, Gertie! I think this is the best illustration of the pivot-method of dart manipulation I've ever seen! :) Thank you so much for sharing it with us! :) (And once again: that striped dress is sooo cute!)

    ♥ Casey

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  31. this is great, but I was wondering if you can also do this on a dress with the typical 2 darts (at the side and at the waist)?

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  32. I learned this waaay back in high school but I think we only spent a few classes on pattern drafting. Didn't learn much. Now I am in pattern drafting classes and the instructor has only been using the "slash open and glue" method. That method is really fun as well! But I can see why sometimes you might need to use the pivoting method.

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  33. wow! I am in awe. that was so cool! thanks for the information!

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  34. love it! Can you do a post about the back darts?

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  35. You absolutely look stunning in your blue dress! It's great to know that you've posted some tips on how to create a chevron effect on a beautiful dress! Oh by the way, your hair looks gorgeous too! You're such an inspiration! :)

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  36. Hi Gertie.

    In reading your tutorial I was wondering why you don't use the slash-and-rotate method of moving darts around?

    I usually just make a cut in my pattern from the place where I want my new dart to start and to the bust apex. Then it's a simple matter to just close the old dart, and voila - dart moved over :-)

    Are you going to take this subject to the next level? Changing bust darts to gathers/pleats? Looking forward to that :-)

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  37. Lene, the benefit to this method over slashing is that it keeps your original pattern intact. But they both achieve the same goal.

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  38. Hi Gertie. Just wanted to say a massive thanks for this tutorial. I'm making my Momma a regency dress and needed to do an FBA on it which created a dart I didn't want. I used your tutoria to rotate it into the gathered section at the bottom and it worked perfectly. Thank you so very much!!!!

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  39. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I always had SUCH a hard time to understand this!!

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  40. Im in a pattern making class right now and that's exactly how we learned dart manipulation.

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  41. i am really impressed by this. the creativity to get the chevron effect. you also explained the pivoting really well. will definitely check out more of this blog as i am totally clueless about sewing but want to make my own patterns, or at least adjust.
    xx

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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