Rotate Bust Dart To neck

Sarah (the One Pattern Many Looks Blouses instructor) urges you to follow the lessons in the order given. Which I do agree with. Each lesson is meant to add new knowledge and skill  preparing you for the next lesson. But I’ve done a lot of these things on my own. I haven’t done them in this order. A great value to me is seeing how each idea is connected with the next. How it all hangs together. So I didn’t skip lessons but I haven’t made samples of the yokes or moving the bust dart down.  My imagination was piqued  when she rotated the bust dart to the neckline. Ah, I said, this is part of what I need for that pattern.  I purchased a pattern this spring which is quite trendy and alas likely to be untrendy next spring. I really need to make it now or forget it. But I have problems understanding how it should fit which means I don’t know what to do to make it fit me. The gathered neckline is part of my issue.  So I eagerly set about rotating the bust dart to a V-neckline.

I traced off my basic block and set the back aside.  I decided I wanted a more summery neckline and opted to make the neckline 1″ wider. I started by making a tick mark on the front shoulder  1″ away from the neck. I know that I’m comfortable in a neckline that is about 7″ deep when measured from the shoulder-neck junction down my chest. So I made a tick mark 7″ down from the shoulder/neckline on the center front .  I aligned my curve between the two tick marks and sliced  with my rotary cutter.

I redrew the legs of the bust dart to intersect with the apex before proceeding to  divide the neckline edge  into  5 roughly-equal sections and drawing a line from each division to the bust apex.  I slashed from the ticks along the neck edge to the apex bust dart and again from side seam to apex along one of the bust dart legs. I overlapped the bust dart legs which caused the neckline slashes to open.  Tissue was placed beneath the neckline slashes and those wedges taped into place.  I returned my curve back to the neckline. Heeding Sarah’s instructions, I trimmed away rather than adding a bow to the neckline.

I turned my attention to the back. First I made the back neckline match the front. Along the shoulder line, I made a tick mark 1″ from the neckline and trimmed that amount evenly away from the neckline.   I think I’m going to always need to address the excess ease/circumference at the back waist.  I know this is a circumference and not a length/swayback issue. Swayback occurs when length along the back is longer than the sides. That’s not my issue because slashing and overlapping at the center back doesn’t help. It creates a new issue. Yep on me it does.  On me shortening the center back seam which is what a swayback alteration does, causes the back hem to bow and curve upwards at the center back AND I  will still have masses of extra fabric in my mid-back.  What works for me is deepening the center back darts as done here.  If I don’t want to stitch the back darts for style reasons (or because I’m lazy) then I need to do something else. I think the something else is a center back seam which can be tweaked to fit my back. To add a center back seam (#1 in the pic below) I added a seam allowance (1/4″ the amount my serger makes).  Since I have a center back seam, I don’t need the shoulder dart. I could keep it for stylistic reasons but I removed it for this version.  I slashed the dart open from shoulder to dart tip and then angled towards the back.  I was aiming for about 3″ down from the neckline. I didn’t slash through the neckline but created a hinge. I overlapped the dart legs, smoothed the pattern as well as possible and then taped into place. I think it’s interesting how that immediately creates (2 in the pic below) a curve in the upper back:

The #3 in the pic? I’m still working on a sleeveless solution. First I aligned my curve on the existing armscye and made note of the numbers. Then I made a tick mark on the armscye 1″ in from the side seam.  I used my curve sliding it up and down on the side seam until I matched the side-seam curve of my sloper. Then I rotated the curve to match the 1″ tick and the side seam. I slashed along my curve removing a wedge. From the last attempt, I know that the armscye is too low.   I added tissue beneath the pattern and made a mark 3/8″ above the armscye. Then I aligned my curve using the numbers noted at the beginning of this paragraph and cut a new armscye.  That’s what you see above. The front needs to match, so I repeated the same armscye procedure on the front.  I took a deep breath and selected my fabric for cutting.

I’ve run out of yard-cuts of woven fabric. My fault entirely. About 3 years ago I realized I was buying wovens but sewing knits.  At the time I had a shortage of knits. As in I couldn’t find any in my stash.  I made an effort to sew a woven every 3rd garment. Not that I had to sew two knits and then a woven but just constantly checking to see if I the last two garment sewn were knits then deliberately chose a woven fabric project; AND when I was shopping to buy knits and delete wovens. I also changed my habit to buying 2 and 2.5 yard cuts because most of my projects seem to need 2 yards or a little more. Not only was I not buying wovens, but I wasn’t creating any large left-overs. Took 3 years but I decimated the stack of “Under 2’s”  (less than 2 yards of fabric). Now I have no choice but to dig into the large 2+ cuts for sleeveless projects which will create large left overs. Sigh 6 of one of half-dozen of the other. There is no perfect solution. Since this is a learner exercise I chose a peach and read rayon print.  I certainly would not have used peach and red in my art work but this fabric is pretty.  I laid out my pieces and cut my fabric.  I stitched the shoulders together and started on the neckline where I discovered a BIG FAT OMISSION.  I knew I wanted to finish my neckline with a facing.  I should have created a facing for the V neckline before I divided and spread along the neckline. I didn’t.  I replicated my neckline tracing from the sloper and measuring as done for the full front piece. But error somehow crept in and while I could gather the neckline to the facing, the result stood proud.

Yes instead of hugging my neck, the neckline stood away and slithered over to the arm.  I used a time-tested fix. No I didn’t rip, I added a casing and inserted 1/8″ elastic; pulling it tight and securing it by stitching to the facing:

It was a bit of twiddling, but worked beautifully; imperceptibly with this style.

I anticipated adding extra curve in the center back at the waist. This particular fabric likes to cooperate and it was unnecessary

or maybe I really need a dart at the back neckline? eh?

End result? I’m pleased.  I have not only rotated the bust dart to a V Neckline successfully, I’ve created a very nice sleeveless armscye. That armscye is finished with commercial bias tape which is folded to the inside. Best of all I’ve got a good idea how to work with that spring purchased pattern.


One thought on “Rotate Bust Dart To neck

  1. Thank you for the wonderful tutorial on rotating the bust dart to the neck! Oh my, I love this type of top on you. The “V” neck is so slimming!!! The center back seam gives a very good fit. The center back seam seems a perfect solution for a non-sway back, too. The olive pants and orange-rust top suit your coloring. Winner! 🙂



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