Dart Manipulation

In my next post, I’ll be using my bodice block (or sloper) to draft a pleated neckline pattern such as the one I used to make Nicotine Surprise.  This won’t be a process of great complexity, but it does take quite a few steps (and then some paper).  Dart manipulation is the first of these steps and I thought it deserved a tutorial of its own since you can use the technique in other drafting projects.

But what is dart manipulation?  Is it as sinister as it sounds?

It means moving the darts around the block for a purpose.  Typically, the bodice blocks have waist and shoulder darts and look like this:

We’re going to move the shoulder darts out of the way.  Once the neck and shoulder areas are dart-free, we can add style lines here and create a design such as a pleated neckline.

You’ll need: your front and back bodice blocks, two pieces of paper slightly larger than the blocks and a pencil.  I’m using a bradawl for pivoting but the point of a pencil works just fine.

FRONT BODICE Moving the shoulder dart from the shoulder seam to the armscye using the pivot method.

a) Place the front bodice block on the target paper with a bit of space all round the block.

b) Mark the left leg of the shoulder dart on target paper.  Label Point 1.

c) Decide where on the armscye the dart will be repositioned to and mark this on the block. Label 2.  Exactly where you place the dart is up to you, but avoid putting it too close to the balance point (the sleeve attachment mark).

d) Moving anti-clockwise, draw around the block from 1 on target paper to 2 on the block.  On the way, mark the ends of the waist darts.  When you get to 2, mark it also on the target paper.

e) Prick a small hole in the bust point.  Poke your pencil into the point and pivot the block anti-clockwise until the right leg of the block dart is in line with 1 on target paper.  Moving clockwise, draw around the block from point 1 till point 2 on the block.  Remove block.

f) Mark the bust point on target paper.

g) Draw in the dart legs for armhole and waist darts.

BACK BODICE Same process as above but all movement is mirrored.

a) Place block on target paper with a bit of room all around to pivot.

b) Mark the right leg of the shoulder dart on target paper.  Label 1.

c) Decide where on the armscye the dart will be repositioned to and mark this on the block. Label 2.  Avoid putting it too close to the balance point.

d) Moving clockwise, draw around the block from 1 on target paper to 2 on the block.  Remember to mark the ends of the waist darts.  When you get to 2, mark it also on the target paper.

e) Poke a hole in the shoulder dart point.  Place pencil in the point and pivot the block clockwise till the left leg of the block dart is in line with 1 on target paper.  Going anti-clockwise, draw from 1 to point 2 on the block. Remove block.

f) Draw the dart point.  Do the same for the waist dart point.

g) Draw the legs for the armhole and waist darts.

BALANCE POINTS Draw these in by placing the original blocks on the new ones.