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Adding Darts Pattern Tutorial - Sew & Tell Patterns

Updated: Oct 5, 2021

What's up Seamster?!

Let's Add Darts Where There are none.

A few weeks back I put out on my Instagram and Facebook asking what kind of tutorials you wanted to see from me.

You answered... I listened. And here we are with the first one! My girl, Bergen, asked

"How do you add darts where there are none?"

Follow along and I'll show you how to take a dart-less garment to dart-ed.

Where Can I Add Darts to a Garment?

This method is safe for both knitwear or woven patterns. Although, you're more likely to use it on a woven pattern because there's a higher chance of desiring more shaping in that kind of garment.

It's friendly to both, loose and fitted garments, but your dart size may change depending on fit – Don't be scared to play around with it to get the look you want.

Now, If you've ever done a Full Bust Adjustment aka FBA, then my fellow Seamster, this will look totally familiar... Let's get this party started!

Grab your front bodice, I'm using a fitted torso sloper similar to what a t-shirt would be drafted from. It's not super important what your front pattern piece looks like as long as it's dart-less the steps are the same.


Mark your Bust Point – aka the Apex

Have no bust point on your pattern?! Have no fear. Measure from your high shoulder, down to your fullest point. Then, measure between bust to bust points. Now, using the same high shoulder point on the pattern, measure down the same distance, parallel to the grain line. Adjust that point based on the 1/2 measurement of your bust to bust points and place a mark indicating your bust point.


Next your going to draw a few lines... First is a line from the Bust Point to the Armhole. This should land somewhere in the bottom half to 1/3 of the seam.


Second line is from the Bust Point to the Side Seam, again landing in the top 1/3 of the side seam. (note: this can be moved later based on how slanted or straight you want your dart considering your design desires and body shape)


Third line is going to start at the Bust Point again and go straight down to your Hem Line... This line should be parallel to your Center Front or Grain Line.


Fourth and final line is coming off the Line 3 and over to the Center Front. It's not all that important where it falls exactly, but typically somewhere in the bottom 1/3 of the line is best.


SNIP... SNIP! Let's cut these lines.

Cut up Line 3 and pivot at your Bust Point and then over into Line 1 – without cutting through the armhole.

Cut Line 2 up to (but not through!) the Bust Point.

Cut Line 4 all the way through.

Ah, Push it...

P-push it real good!

Who doesn't need a good Salt n' Peppa gif?!

Yes, that's right... you'll need to push out that side seam, which will open up Line 2 into a dart formation. How far do you push it? Well typically you would open it up 1/4" for A-B cups and an additional 1/4" per cup size increase... but this is a loose guideline because you might need more or less depending on the ease of your garment.

Make an Adjustment Based on Your Chest Size.

1/4" – A&B Cups | 1/2" – C Cups | 3/4" – D Cups | 1" – DD+ Cups

Last, that little detached bit you cut off with Line 4 can slide down to match the bottom of the Hem.


This is Looking Like a Full Bust Adjustment...

I told you! If you've ever done an FBA, then you're probably familiar with these first few steps.

Adding darts is basically the same as an FBA– you're adding fullness where there isn't any. A lot of FBA alterations have you remove the dart entirely, especially in knitwear, but we're not doing that today because we want that dart!


Ok... back to the pattern!

Time to trace around your pattern piece... Marking your original Bust Point, the Side Seam openings and the Hem openings.

Now, connect the dots!

Draw out your dart legs... Connecting your Bust Point to each Side Seam point, then your Bust Point to each Hem point.


Unless you're Madonna and you want cone boobs, you'll need to back off those dart points. Start with a 1/2" away from your original Bust Point for both your Side and Hem Dart.

Draw in those new dart legs.

Chances are, depending on where the twins rest on your body this might need to be adjusted.


Removing the Waist Dart

Don't want a waist dart? Don't sweat it... you can easily shift the hem dart closed. Closing the Hem Dart will open up your Side Seam Dart, so don't be surprised when it adds more shaping there. You could even reverse this and close your Side Seam Dart and make your Hem Dart larger... So many options.

Closing the Hem Dart

So let's take a step back... Remember when we opened everything up and things were looking a lot like an FBA?! Let's go back to that point in the tutorial.

You are still gonna open everything up like you did based on your desired cup size.

Now, instead of tracing around your pattern, shift the bottom left of your pattern until it meets up with the other side of the hem.

Finish up by tracing around your pattern. Marking your original Bust Point and your Side Seam openings.

Just like the previous method you still want to back off the dart point, starting with 1/2" and finding your happy spot.

This shifting method also curves your hemline... You are welcome to keep it curved but I typically just square it off from the Side Seam to the Center Front

That's it Seamsters, you've added darts where there were none!

Have a question?!

I just might have the answer... I love hearing from you and if I can help you solve a pattern mystery let me know. Feel free to email me your pattern making questions!


PS... I made this into a 1 min video! Check it out on my YouTube channel.

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Jenn Barron

A pattern specialist, master seamster and digital badass. Jenn establishes a place where creativity, authenticity and sewing meet, helping make all the things so that you can  be you.

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