Maybe a new direction

Since I”m having problems with armscyes and sleeves, I purchased both Peggy Sagers’ Sleeves DVD and Suzy Furer’s Craftsy Class Pattern Making And Design: Creative Sleeves.  I don’t want to draft patterns but maybe if I understand how the are drafted, I can make better fitting and alteration decisions. I also thought maybe making slopers for each of the basic styles I wear, would provide me  a short cut to fitting new patterns. I already have a woven sloper, a knit sloper and a sleeveless sloper. How about adding a kimono sloper, dropped sleeve, dartless block etc. IOW shapes that I sew over and over but make different through the use of different necklines, embellishments and other easy details.   Finally all these murky thoughts floating through my head coalesced into working with  dartless block for woven fabrics immediately. I plan to develop a dartless block from my bodice sloper for woven fabrics and then test to see if it can be used to quickly adapt a similar pattern. You see, the CLD patterns I really love all seem to be semi-to-loosely fitting, straight sides (or minimal shaping), slightly dropped shoulders and vented hems often just above tunic length.   Invariably, they are easy wearing garments, comfortable and can be appropriate for a range of activities all the way from camping in the pines to the opera house.

For this first version, I’m targeting moving the darts without adding flare or ease else where and I want a long sleeve that is comfortable to wear.  I started by tracing my sloper and  evaluating the changes I thought would be needed.

  • The Sleeve:
    • The sleeve of my woven bodice almost fits.  In a non-stretch fabric, the sleeve is tight across my forearm.  The camp shirt sleeve is comfortable so I compared the two.  I decided to add 1/2 ease evenly to the sleeve.
    •  I sliced the pattern from hem through shoulder point; spread the two resulting pieces apart 1/2″ and taped them into place over a strip of tissue.
  • The Back:
    • I’m ignoring the vertical waist dart. Not trying to move it, rotate or anything else. There could be times I would want to stitch that dart and times that I don’t.
    •  The other dart on the back is at the shoulder. I moved it to the shoulder point and then removed it. Just sliced it off .
  • The Front
    • Also ignoring the vertical waist dart in front. Again, there are times I might want a little extra fitting at the waist.  Until that time, not stitching the dart gives me more ease.
    • I extended the fold line of the bust dart all the way to center front.  Didn’t like my first line and drew a second before slicing from side seam to center front along that line.  I overlapped the legs of the bust dart which created bunny ears at the side but more importantly the center front was no longer vertical. It was bent at an angle. Heavens! I’m using the Margolis book as my guide. It neither mentions the fact that angle must form or how to make  the CF once again vertical.
    • I opted to draw a vertical line from neck to hem and slice off the long diamond that appears.
    •  OK I’ve got my CF vertical again but I know I’ve lost valuable ease.  I measure the diamond at its widest and add that amount evenly along the side seam.
    • I’ve also removed some ease across the upper bodice and try to compensate by adding at the armscye curve before trimming all the edges evenly

I walk shoulder seams and side seams finding that my front is some how slightly longer from under arm to waist than on the back. I don’t understand why. When I stitch the dart the side seams are the same length. Why is it that when overlapped the side becomes longer?  I trim the excess length from the side seam at the underarm.

I let my new pattern sit overnight while I try to think of what else to do.


This will be a series of posts written as I work through and document my process of converting a darted block to a dartless block. IOW come back tomorrow for another installment.


5 thoughts on “Maybe a new direction

  1. Have you considered NOT slicing off the diamond on the front but, instead, drafting the CF straight down from the neck through that most angled point of the diamond. That would, in effect, transfer the side dart fullness to the hem at CF – over the abdomen. It may be too much, in which case you could take some out of the sides but it would perhaps give the ease where your body says it needs it (front as opposed to sides)? Just a thought.


      1. No, the neck, shoulders and upper chest would remain the exactly the same. You would simply continue the CF existing line right to the hem. In other words, lay your ruler along the original CF line from neck to bust point and then draw in your new CF. It may give you a bit too much flare at CF hemline but perhaps that could be taken off/darted out at the sides. It’s like Philly says below.

        The reason I suggest this alternative is that it would preserve the existing bust ease. When the diamond bit is cut off, it’s reducing the bust ease. When you add the ease back in on the side seams, you’re increasing the width of the armsyce and that, in turn, affects the fit and sleeve.


  2. If you go further in Suzy’s classes she shows how to do this. I think it is in the one on necklines. She moved all the darts into the waistline dart and then removed any extra at the bodice side.




Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s