Darts Darts Darts - Making Sense of Changing and Re-sizing Patterns
1. Fitted Fashions are Always in Fashion
I make test patterns from inexpensive check gingham so when I put it on, I can easily see vertical and horizontal lines where adjustments need to be made. Don't expect this project to look like a dinner dress. We are laying the groundwork for proper fitting procedures so your fashion projects turn out correct every time. Take your measurements accurately. If you fudge, nothing will turn out properly. It does not matter if your tag reads size 6 or 16 if it doesn't fit! Get into your pattern library and choose a simple line shell or bodice pattern. This is the basis of your new pattern. Get your tracing paper out. Take your measurements and adjust the pattern accordingly.
area total front-right side back-left side
bust measurement -  enter your numbers - -
bust point to bust point - - -
shoulder to bust point - - -
back neckline to waistline - - -
front neckline to waistline - - -
shoulder length - - -
sleeve length - - -
neckline - - -
armhole - - -
top arm - - -
wrist - - -
In my fitting patterns, I typically taper out wider in the armscye as well as the side seam. If the garment will have shoulder pads, taper up higher at shoulder's edge to allow that space.

Once the size alterations are finished and you have a pattern corrected to fit beautifully, the fun of designing is ready to be done.
taper out wider
1/4 size pattern Your basic pattern has two darts - at the side and the waist. We'll first combine the two into one dart just to grasp the concept. Darts never come all the way to the bust apex. They are 3/4" to 1" short of the bust point generally. For this manipulation, clip all the way to the point. The dart points could be shortened later. Let's see how simple it is to move this dart to any position for design reasons, maintaining the same shape no matter where it is. standard darts
Imagine how darts located at different points would look and with what garment style they would look best. A common dart is a sleeveless shell to wear under a suit jacket. Extra width has been added to the sides for a loose casual fit. The neckline was lowered a little, length added to tuck in a skirt. Isn't this easy? Like playing paper dolls. bodice dart
vest dart Move this dart all around clockwise and design others. In the armscye is a good place to put the dart because it's a little short one this way and really doesn't even show. This is good in a which which so often gaps at the armscye. This move happens by cutting a slash to the apex. Tape together the old dart and the new one automatically opens up. cut new, tape old dart
It could also go up to the shoulder corner. Sometimes this shows up as a flange only stitched in the shoulder seam. Could it be topstitched part way down? Does something here look not quite right? Are you wondering why the split at the dart here looks so big in the shoulder while it's so small in the armscye? Despite the big difference in their size, the shape is identical. Here's why: shoulder dart
Think of a 12" pie, cut in eighths. That would be a pretty hefty slice right? Think of a 6" pie cut the same way. You might be a little hungry as there's not as much in this little slice. But look at the angle at the point, it's identical. That means the shape in a bodice would also be the same even though the armscye dart is small because it's closer to the bust. The shoulder dart is so large because it's farther away from the bust.
check out these series reference projects 412, 504, 602, 1103, 1503, 1702
2. Increasing Cup Size and Adding Darts
There is no shape in the pattern front making it like a knit tee shirt. In woven fabrics and for a more shapely bust, this shape is easily added. Measure the length from your neck-shoulder point down to your bust point. Measure the same location on pattern front and mark the bust level (start at shoulder 5/8" stitching line, not at paper edge).
Cut a horizontal line from center front (CF) over to the bust point, then angle slightly downward out to the side seam. Drop the lower front 1" for a B bra cup. For a C cup drop it 1 1/2", 2" for a D cup, etc. In other words, add 1/2" increase in length for every cup size beyond the initial B. Keeping the center front line straight, tape the top and bottom to a mounting paper.

At 1" to the left of the bust point will be the dart point widening out at the side seam to the provided space.

Draw this with a ruler.

Fold the lower dart line up to the upper dart line. This is made easier on a table, dart point at table corner. Cut along the side seam in this folded position to eliminate excess mounting paper. When opened flat the side seam shape will jut out at the correct angle. You may choose to do this shaping on a duplicate pattern front paper to use for woven fabrics, keeping the original for knits.
If your bust shape requires more front width, then from the bust point up to the shoulder, slash a line and spread open 1/2 the amount of the length you added. This is because you work with 1/2 a pattern front. The right and left width added total would then equal the length. Repeat from bust to lower edge.
The 6 pattern sizes included here, extra small to 2X large, can be cut still smaller or larger. Note the difference between the lines and adjust accordingly. It is not unusual to be a combination of sizes. Feel free to blend lines by going larger in one area, smaller in another, as is appropriate for your personal measurements.
Depending on the weight and drape of the fabric, you may elect to cut some garments larger or with a closer fit as is appropriate for the look you are trying to achieve.
3. Simple Pattern Size Adjustment
Enlarge Pattern To determine your size, measure your high chest above your bust. Use this measurement to compare with the bust measurement on the pattern size chart. This will be measuring your bone structure and choosing the pattern size closest to this.

Take a look at that multi-sized pattern and, using your ruler, measure between the size lines at hash marks on bodice diagrammed left. This amount you need to adjust per size. Need it one size larger? Just add that amount outward. Two sizes? Multiply the difference by 2 and mark lines that far out. Use a straight edge ruler or a curve stick located so curves blend perfectly for the new size. Do this slowly and accurately or your pattern pieces will not match.
Make Pattern Smaller Do you need that pattern smaller? Reverse the process. It is that simple.
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