How To Alter Darts On Store Bought Patterns (Tutorial) – NEW


One of the most exasperating problems with darts is to finally get the dress or blouse to fit right, but the dart ends up above the bust line or below the bust line. We know it looks funny, with the dart not pointing TO the bust line, but rarely does the home sewer know what to do about it.

Before we get started talking about adding darts to patterns that have no dart, or moving the existing dart to various new positions, let’s get the dart that comes on the pattern to fit right! Correcting the angle of the original dart so that it will point to the bust point, and not “above” or “below” the bust is really very easy once you know the simple steps.


Try on a few dresses or blouses that you’ve made or have bought to check out what the dart line really looks like – once you’ve noticed how it actually looks, you’ll be determined to never have the side bust dart in the wrong position again!   The following diagrams and instructions will help you get the dart position right on every future garment you make!



A.  To find the correct position of your dart, measure from the shoulder to the bust point and mark that distance on your pattern. If this mark is above or below the dart on the pattern, you’ll have to move the dart.


B.  The easiest way to lower a dart is to measure the necessary distance and make a mark at the dart point and along the side seams. Connect the new marks and the dart is moved – shown by dashed lines.


C.  In order to restore the shape of the side seam to its original position, tape tissue paper under the dart so it extends past the side seam as shown. Fold and pin the dart as if it were sewn and cut the tissue paper that extends past the seam line, following the original seam line. Remove the pins and you have your new seam line.


D.  The same method is used for raising a dart. However, if you have to raise it quite a bit, you’ll need to angle the dart (E) so that the top line of the dart doesn’t come too close to the armhole. When you angle the dart, you need to use the same dart width at the side seam as it previously had. Fold and pin the dart and redraw your side seam (C ).

Raising and lowering an existing dart on a commercial pattern is an excerpt from the full length class “Darts That Fit and Flatter”.  This class teaches you how to ADD darts when a pattern doesn’t have dart, how to take the dart out of patterns, as well as giving step by step instructions on how to MOVE the dart to different positions (turn it into an “armhole” dart, “below the waist” dart, “curved dart”, etc).  With all the new dart positions and designs, you can turn one basic pattern into a variety of styles and be assured that every dart will be pointing to the bust point for perfect fit.  We also have the “Darts That Fit and Flatter” class designed for full figure and plus size women.

Check out our other “mini” classes (free tutorials) to see how easily you can make changes to your basic pattern.  Once you’ve made the first change, you’ll want to “jump in” and start doing all kinds of make-overs to your pattern!  Now you can use that ONE basic blouse/dress pattern that finally fits and literally have dozens and dozens of new styles!

How To Change Neckline Styles On a Commercial Pattern (Tutorial)

How To Change Sleeve Styles On A Commercial Pattern (Tutorial)

How To Convert Store Bought Patterns Into Maternity Styles (Tutorial)









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