A Simple Dart Throw

1 Skirt back

1 Back on dummyIf you’re playing around with your basic skirt block and thinking of moving the back dart from the waist seam where it’s typically found, there aren’t that many places it can go.  This is why so often we make the dart just disappear into figure-hugging princess seams!  In making this pencil skirt, I moved the dart onto the centre back, halfway between the lapped zip and the kick pleat.  It’s very long and the angle is sharp: not a particularly attractive feature.  So why did I bother?

The answer is: this is a muslin and the first step towards something more difficult.

1 fishtailA couple of posts ago, I asked for your ideas on skirts and Ruth suggested I make a close-fitting pencil with a fish tail.  I went straight to Pinterest to look for mermaidy images and found one particular design that appealed, which you see on the left. Unfortunately I haven’t the original source for the picture.  My version will, I hope, be subtler with less fabric involved: more like what you see here in fact.  But first I needed to be satisfied that the simple elements work and give a good fit.

1 Pencil skirt1 Front darts

Hm, I might need to make it longer and more narrow at the knees but that’s easy enough.

This makes a useful addition to the wardrobe and cost nothing.  The zip was salvaged; the fabric a leftover (from Vogue 1247) and the lining fabric just appeared as I was trying to stuff some drawers shut!

Check this out: something weird happens when I put the skirt front down on the table. See how it refuses to lie flat? It’s like this skirt wants to turn into a wok!

1 Skirt back on tableI suspect this dart placement is  good choice if you want to hug a fashionably big bottom.

It’s all about that bass, I’m told.

How to:

If you’re not familiar with moving darts using the slash n’ spread method, you might benefit from this crude tutorial.  The process is really easy.  You do need 2 large lots of paper.

Step 1.  Make a copy of the skirt back.  Extend the waist dart so the dart point is at the base of your bottom.




Step 2. Draw a line from the dart point to the centre back seam.  Cut along the new line, then cut along one of the original dart legs.



Step 3. Close the waist dart.  The new dart will open.  To complete the pattern, pin in this position onto another paper layer.  Draw around.  Remove original.  On the new layer, fold the dart closed and pin in this position (I like to pin darts down).  Draw seam and hem allowances all around and cut out pattern.  Unpin dart.



1 Got it

Links:  Excellent Lapped Zip Tutorial: Part 1 and Part 2.

12 thoughts on “A Simple Dart Throw

  1. Yes! Well I think it does look pretty cool even before you attatch your tail. And an expertly done tutorial. It makes me want to play with my skirt. Can’t wait for the next installment.

  2. Marianna,
    For a second there I thought that you were going crazy, but that will be a striking skirt! I think that you are correct about this type of dart suiting a round bottom – usually the back waist darts are short and hide the curviness of the bottom, not to mention being off-centre, and more suitable for hip curves. But I’m sure that Adele Margolis didn’t mention this one in her book….

  3. Hey, I’m not not taking the blame or the credit for this – I had a glass of wine (or 2) when I commented! But hey, I’m really glad I did, what an ingenious idea. Thanks for the tut and the idea too.

  4. Looks on track so far! Will you make the inset as the example in the photo? It looks as though that one either has two darts each side or a dart and a seam.

    • Hi Pella, nice to hear from you! The plan is to have one dart – as in illustration – then the inset as in photo. If it isn’t possible, then I might have to investigate the two darts/dart and seam that you detected. But so far, option 1 looks feasible. Give me a month!

  5. I’ve been moving the yoke pieces on my jeans pattern around, to curve up where they angle down. Or, to the point, to frame my finest feature. I do think it is sort of a shame that the world has come around to my point of view regarding booty when I am so old and married. But perhaps, just as well. And I am not a skirt maker, but I will use this dart you have made. I will use the power for good, not evil.

    Bootypower to the people!

  6. Sadly my booty, such as it was, has almost disappeared. I need something to accentuate what little I’ve got – any dart manipulation tricks for that?
    I think this skirt is going to look amazing with the fishtail feature. I must make a skirt block – I’ve been meaning to for ages but, well, you know how it is.
    I wish useful things like lining would appear when I try to stuff drawers closed – all I get is old mobile phone charger leads which have seemingly intermarried during their time in the drawer and produced numerous and unwanted offspring.

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