Sep 8, 2015

Fitting Refinement: Dealing with the Skirt Dart

    I hear this all the time - 'How can I remove the dart?' Darts in fabric help to shape the flat fabric to our body curves and actually are very special since they can give you such great fit.  When someone asks how to eliminate the darts, I often suggest ways to move them or change them into pleats, tucks or gathers, but if you're very flat in the front and still want total removal, read on.

The Sure-Fit Designs skirt darts provided on the Dress Kit Master Patterns are straight, uni-positional darts.  Both the skirt front and back darts are intended to line either a one or two-piece dress in any number of variations.

When using the skirt pattern to sew just a skirt, you may want to re-evaluate the front and back hip darts to obtain your very best fit.  What is done with the dart will depend on your body shape and the style of skirt you want.  Darts can be stitched in straight or curved lines and dealt with in a number of different ways.

The relationship between two different circumferences will determine the dart width, length and shape is best for you.  For example, if your waist is 35" (90 cm) and your hips are 45" (115 cm), this 10" (25 cm) difference will be controlled and shaped by the darts in both front and back.  The greater the difference between the two circumferences, the wider the dart will be and the greater the resulting fabric bulge. The person who has heart or diamond-shaped hips will require wider darts than the straight-shaped boyish figure. 
Your front tummy fullness, front and back hip curvature and buttock curves will affect the width of each dart.  Just always keep in mind that the given Sure-Fit Designs darts can be re-shaped to your specific needs.

The rounder, fuller heart-shaped figure may want to stitch her darts in a concave curve (inward curve).  Also she may want to shorten the dart length.  A dart should not extend beyond your fullest point or bulge.  In fact, with skirts, the dart should stop about 1/2" (1.3 cm) back from your dominant fullness.  See page 29 - Dress Kit Instruction book. 

The diamond-shaped hip figure may need to stitch the dart longer than that given on the Master Pattern.  If it stops too short or abruptly, the resulting dart tip won't give correct shaping to your fuller lower hip.  Therefore extend the dart until it best conforms to your body.

If you happen to have prominent hip bones, you can also divide the dart in two.  Usually the dart closest to the side seam is slightly shorter and aimed toward the dominant bone. The resulting two narrower darts must equal the width of the original dart.  See page 29 - Dress Kit Instruction book.

The straighter-shaped figure type may need to reduce the width of the dart since the difference between the waist and hip circumference is smaller, or you are just simply flatter in the front of your body.  To reduce the dart width in half, follow these steps.

1.  The original Sure-Fit Designs skirt front dart is 1 1/2" (3.8 cm) wide.  Redraw so that the dart is now 3.4" (1.9 cm) wide.
2.  Then to maintain similar side seam shapes from front to back skirt patterns, remove 3.8" (1 cm) from both front and back side seams beginning at the waist point and tapering to nothing at the high hip.
Now, if you have an extremely flat front and there is next to no difference between your waist and hip circumference, you may want to remove the dart completely.  This particular technique will remove some of the existing hip ease as you close the waist dart, but since the Sure-Fit Designs Skirt pattern initially gives you 3" (7.6 cm) ease at the hip level, it still should fit adequately.

1.  Draw a line parallel to CF from the tip of the dart to the hem level.

2.  Draw 2 lines from the sides of the dart to the hem level.  Cut to remove this elongated dart.

3.  Close the dart space as shown.
True/blend the waist edge curve.

This tutorial simply gives you more options of how to deal with the darts in the skirt pattern.

Glenda...the Good Stitch!

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