When I first learned about dart rotation, my mind was blown.
I distinctly remember my thoughts were something along the lines of…
“…wait- I can change the pattern like that?! What?! How? THIS IS GOING TO BE HARD!”
I’ve lived through it- survived it- and let me tell you: it’s a piece of cake.
Dart rotation is a reminder that a pattern piece can be anything you want it to be, so change those darts how you see fit.
The “standard” sloper usually has one dart, with most patterns rocking two darts on a basic bodice.
Of course, the amount of darts in fashion design are plenty.
- Regular plain darts
- French darts
- Shoulder darts
- Shoulder gathers
- Dart tucks
- Waist tucks
- Princess seams
- Aaaaand more!
Full disclosure: there are still quite a lot of darts/gathers/tucks that I haven’t tried sewing yet– the concept is generally the same for all.
You can rotate a dart anywhere on your pattern that makes sense for you and for your design.
There is one general “rule” to keep in mind though. However, the more you practice dart rotation, the more you may be comfortable to break the rule down the road.
The main rule is…
The bust point should/must/has to end about 1in away (A, B cup)/2in+ (C cup and above) from your bust point. The larger the cup size, the further the distance your bust point should end.
For example, if you move your dart to the shoulder, as long as the dart ends the designated distance from your bust point, you’ll be good to go.
Note that this is less of a concern if you have to change your dart to a gather, just as I did for my vintage-style slip.
After completing an FBA, the bust dart was too much of a point and wasn’t flattering. I changed the dart to a gather, “softening” the dart which made much more sense for the design and for my body. (Read more about the process over my vintage slip blog post.)
Other examples of dart rotation and dart manipulation include…
For this piece, after doing a full bust adjustment, I rotated my dart to a single waist dart to keep the design intact. The waist dart now included enough fullness for my full bust.
In this vintage piece, I completed a full bust adjustment and then rotated my darts out to the shoulder and waist, to keep the integrity of the gathered 1940s style.
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Dart rotation and dart placement for fuller chested people requires some additional care
As much as I wish this weren’t the case, further considerations must be taken with dart rotation if you’re rocking a C-cup or above.
Questions to consider include…
- Does the dart accurately point to the bust point?
- Does the angle or shape of the dart actually cup the breast in a way that makes sense?
- Does the placement of the new dart highlight or detract from the chest area? (Depends on how much attention you want there.)
- Does the dart make sense as a gather?
- Do the ladies have ample space to breathe?
Not all darts are created equal and not all darts will work with your body shape.
Don’t be intimidated by changing up the garment design to make the dart work for you and your body! I know it can be intimidating to change a design, but remember you’re (usually) working from a pattern that is made to be altered to work for you.
As long as you’re mindful of having a nice distance between dart end point and your full bust, move your dart around as you see fit.
Have you tried rotating a dart? What was the hardest part? Is there a specific dart you’re stumbling with right now?