Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Converting a Skirt Dart to Hemline Flare

A while back, we looked at using the pivot method to move a dart around on a bodice. I thought I'd show you another easy dart technique--this one eliminates a waistline dart on a skirt and turns it into flare at the hemline. It's like magic! Here's what you do, as illustrated on a tiny, not-to-scale front skirt pattern.

You have your basic straight skirt, right?


Draw a line up from the hem to the bottom of the dart.

Cut out the dart, and then slash up the line to the dart, leaving a little hinge.

Open out the slash until the waistline dart closes up.

Ta da! A flared skirt with no dart. Tape the pattern down to a new piece of paper to secure. True the lines at the waistline and the hemline, as shown in red below.

This technique just came in handy when I wanted to eliminate the dart on a skirt for a clean waistline look, while simultaneously adding more flare to the hem.

Slashing and closing a dart will work on a bodice too, to convert the dart to gathers or a dart in a new location. Try it and see!

36 comments:

  1. I love your teeny-tiny pattern pieces! That's such a simple adjustment. Easy when you have someone to show you how.

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  2. Interesting possibilities! Thanks for reminding me about moving darts.

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  3. wow that's so cool! can't wait to try it.

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  4. Aah interesting I must try this!

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  5. That is brilliant. I should also be able to use the reverse process (i.e. starting from the flared version) to work out the right amount of waist dart on straighter skirts. My hips being 2 sizes bigger than my waist, I often struggle to get the waist to fit and not be too loose...

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  6. why are you so fabulous.

    (word verification: fessa. as in fess up.)

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  7. That's so cool! totally obvious once you point it out, but I wouldn't have thought of it myself!

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  8. Neat trick! I'm going to have to try that :)

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  9. Thank you for this! So excited because I want a flared skirt for fall to go with my new boots. Fun!

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  10. How easy! I will have to try it.

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  11. Just a grainline note that was not mentioned: To make the grainline on this pattern, fold the pattern in half length-wise and draw a line on the crease. That's your grainline! :)

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  12. This is great and looks so easy. I never thought about why straight skirts have darts and flared skirts do not, but now it all makes sense.

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  13. Wow, such a simple trick! And the perfect solution for the blouse-drafting questions that have been floating round my head. You just saved my potential hours of head-scratching on that one.

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  14. Anon, that would usually work to find the grainline, but not in this case. You wouldn't change anything, just leave the bracket that tells you to lay the pattern piece on the fold. That way, the grainline still runs vertically at center front, which is what you want. Same thing for the back, even though it's not laid on a fold. You want to retain the grainline at center back. I hope that makes sense!

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  15. According to what I learned in my flat pattern class way back in aught-two, this actually is the "slash and spread" method. The "pivot method" involves tracing around your sloper, pinning throught the dart apex, pivoting the sloper and retracing the altered portion of the sloper. The pivot method does not require scissors and tape, just paper and pencil. I love patterning posts! I have been recently mulling over a dartless gored skirt pattern.

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  16. Brilliant simplicity! It's posts & illustrations like this that are SO helpful in de-mystifying pattern alterations - thank you! :)

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  17. Grace, that's exactly right! If you look at the beginning of my post, I link to a post where I show the trace and pivot method.

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  18. Oh Gertie,

    How I love you :)

    Thank you for sharing your mad sewist/patternist (new word for you right there. You're welcome.) skills.

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  19. Thanks for the little review. Pattern manipulation is a skill that I love to experiment with. I have done this with a shoulder dart and a bust dart in the past, however, not with a skirt. Something new to try, I will add it to my ever expanding list! Love the mini's!

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  20. Awesome explanation.... thankyou, just pinned it for future reference :)

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  21. Great post, Gretchen! Can't wait to try this out. Thanks for making it so easy to understand!

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  22. I never even thought about moving darts - great tutorial, thanks!

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  23. Fabulous! Just the thing as I head into summer and stock up on skirts.

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  24. This is so cool, thanks for sharing! I saw this before in Adele Margolis' book.

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  25. Hi Gretchen, I don't see the link you mentioned... perhaps my eyes aren't working, again. I'd love to check out that post about the pivot method.

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  26. Never mind, I found the pivot dart post link! You do a great job illustrating the principle. Keep it up. :)

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  27. Grace: whoops! Your eyes are working fine, my brain is not. I went back and added the link to the first line of this post. Thanks for letting me know! :)

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  28. Wow, thats amazing! Thanks for the info. x

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  29. Question... what did you use as your patterning material? It looks like some kind of mid-weight, non-woven material (as opposed to paper or muslin, etc).

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  30. Kat, I made that on a scrape of Swedish Tracing Paper from NearSea Naturals. I would use it all the time if I could afford to!

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  31. When I was at school and we drafted patterns we made miniatures like you have. Thank you for reminding me about them. They're a great idea for working out the 'bugs' in a pattern.

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  32. I love you for this. Thank you so much for posting it!

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

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