Friday, November 24, 2017

Dart Manipulation Techniques for Flat Patterns

Darts help in shaping the fabric to fit the body and thus provide comfort to the wearer. They provide fullness to natural body curves. Darts are very rarely used for decorative purposes like providing a design line. The fitting, marking, stitching and pressing of darts should be done accurately.

To create new designs for garments, it is specially used for ladies garments. It save fabric wastage and also use to remove excess fabric. Darts are needed to turn two-dimensional shapes into three-dimensional shapes and to fit clothes closely to the body.

Darts in flat patterns
Fig-1: Darts in flat patterns (Image:
Applying Dart Manipulation—Introduction to design patterns
The technique is applied when the dart of working patterns (bodice, skirt, sleeve, or any working pattern) are relocated in the process of creating design patterns. To create a design pattern, the design is analyzed first to identify the location of the dart or equivalent before manipulating the pattern.

The following design projects illustrate the beginning of pattern manipulation, and each process should be completed in the order given because each will help to prepare the pattern maker or designer for more advanced work. Both artistic and technical skills are required to successfully create design patterns.

Different dart locations:
Darts can be located in a number of different places on a bodice to alter its style.

Different dart locations
Fig-2: Different dart locations 
Dart manipulation techniques:
Dart manipulation is one of the most important techniques when it comes to pattern drafting. Fashion designer must identify the location of the dart before manipulating the pattern and how manipulate the dart. Dart manipulation mainly starts with a basic sloper, which they then convert into their stylish designs. Darts become princess seams, gathers, tucks or cowls. New style lines are added or moved, necklines are reshaped.

Their are three dart manipulating techniques in flat patterns. These are suitable for manipulate dart to any location. The slash & spread or pivot method mostly use to transfer darts to the bust, neck, armhole or anywhere you want!

  1. Pin and pivotal dart transfer technique.
  2. Slash-spread transfer and overlap technique
  3. Dart equivalent technique
1. Pin and Pivotal dart rotation technique:
Pattern designers use pivoting methods to make fashion changes. They move darts or add fullness by anchoring the basic pattern with a pin and moving the pattern in, out, and around. The pattern swings back and forth like the pendulum on a grandfather clock. Use this pivoting motion to change the pattern width.

Pin and pivotal dart transfer technique
Fig-3: Pin and pivotal dart transfer technique
In this method does not require the working be slashed in order to change its original shape into design pattern. It is a transfer method and with experience, it is preferred.

2. Slash-spread dart rotation and overlap technique:
Pattern graders use the slide motion to change pattern sizes. They slide patterns up, down, and to the side to gradually increase or decrease from one size to the next. Use this sliding motion to add or subtract length.

Slash-spread transfer and overlap technique
Fig-4: Slash-spread transfer and overlap technique
Pivot and slide techniques combine these two motions to fit a pattern simply, yet accurately. You make all of the changes on a worksheet (pattern paper or tissue paper), keeping the original pattern intact—no more cutting and taping! By changing the pattern equally on both sides of the grain, the seam and the design lines are kept in proportion to the original pattern. Best of all, each change is easy.

3. Dart equivalents technique:
Pleats or gathers in the fabric can be used as for the same purpose as a normal stitched dart. These are called dart equivalents. Darts can also be worked into style lines. The dart excess can be used to create a wide variety of other design features such as, tucks, gathers, pleats, and even cowls. Essentially, the dart or its equivalent is always present somewhere in the pattern. The dart or its equivalent will always radiate from the pivot point.

Different types of darts:
The different types of darts are discussed below:

  1. Straight dart
  2. Curved outward dart
  3. Curved inward dart
  4. Neckline dart
  5. Double pointed dart 
  6. Dart in interfacing
1. Straight dart: 
It is a straight line of stitching from the point to the seam line (Fig-5). This can be noticed in the underarm of the front bodice, back skirt, shoulder, elbow and back neckline.
Fig-5: Straight dart
2. Curved outward dart:
The stitch line curves outward along the path from the point to the seam line (Fig-6). This gives a snugger fit to the garment. This is sometimes used on a bodice front to make a mid-body fit snug.

Curved outward dart
Fig-6: Curved outward dart
3. Curved inward dart:
The stitch line curves inward from the point to the seam line. This facilitates a better fit along the body curve (Fig-7). It is frequently used in pant and skirt fronts.

Curved inward dart
Fig-7: Curved inward dart
4. Neckline dart:
This is usually a solid line marking on the back neckline indicating a straight dart of 1/8″ (Fig-8).

Neckline dart
Fig-8: Neckline dart
5. Double pointed dart:
This dart is unique as it tapers in a straight line from the middle to both the ends (Fig-9) and is clipped at the widest part. It is usually made from the waistline (widest point). It finds application in princess and A-line dresses, over blouses and jackets.

Double pointed dart
Fig-9: Double pointed dart
6. Dart in interfacing:
In this case, a slash is made on the fold line. Then the cut ends are lapped along the line of stitching and zigzagged to keep in place (Fig-10).

Dart in interfacing
Fig-10: Dart in interfacing
Basic dart manipulation process:
The diagram above shows different dart locations. You can practice these dart manipulations as an exercise using either full size or half-scale blocks. By moving these darts around the bust point, you will begin to understand the method.
Women’s shirt with dart
Fig-11: Women’s shirt with dart
Follow the step-by-step basic dart manipulation exercise below:
The basic bodice has two darts. Start by consolidating the two darts into one side seam dart.

1. Trace off the front bodice; here the bodice block is made from card, making tracing easier and more accurate.

Fig-12: Basic dart step-1
2. Cut up the front waist dart and the side seam dart.
Fig-13: Basic dart step-2
3. Close the waist dart, and the side seam dart opens. (Remember not to cut right through; keep a small amount of paper attached to act as a hinge.)
Basic dart step-3
Fig-14: Basic dart step-3
To continue this exercise, trace off the front bodice block onto paper. Draw in the lines to the bust point as shown on the diagram. To manipulate the darts, simply slash to the apex each time, and then close and open the darts in different locations.

Asymmetric darts manipulation:

Fig-15: Asymmetric darts
1. To create asymmetric darts, trace off the bodice block fronts, joining the right and left sides at the CF(center front). The full bodice is traced off because the right and left sides are to be different.
 Fig-16: Asymmetric darts step-1
2. Cut up both waist and side darts to the apexes. Close the bust dart until its edges meet. The waist darts will open. 
Fig-17: Asymmetric darts step-2
3. Draw in the new dart lines. 
Fig-18: Asymmetric darts step-3
4. First cut along the long line that passes from left to right. 
Fig-19: Asymmetric darts step-4
5. Close the right-hand waist dart, and the long dart opens. 
Asymmetric darts step-5
Fig-20: Asymmetric darts step-5
6. Cut up the shorter dart and close the left-hand waist dart. The short dart opens. 
Asymmetric darts step-6
Fig-21: Asymmetric darts step-6
7. The pattern development is complete. Trace in new darts and back away from the apex by 4cm (11⁄2in). This is now your pattern plan. Trace this off onto a clean sheet of pattern tracing paper. Now you can add your seam allowance, notches and grain lines. 
Asymmetric darts step-7
Fig-22: Asymmetric darts step-7
Changing darts into gathers:
Gather dart
Fig-23: Gather dart
Measure the right-hand dart from A to B. Including the dart, the measurement will be longer from A to C; gather the excess fullness between the notches to match the shorter side as shown.
Gather dart
Fig-24: Gather dart
This style has gathering located under the bust instead of the dart. First, repeat the first six steps from ‘Asymmetric darts’, above.


  1. Pattern Fitting with Confidence by Nancy Zieman
  2. Patternmaking for Fashion Design, Fifth Edition by Helen Joseph-Armstrong
  3. Pattern Cutting and Making UP-The Professional Approach by Martin Shoben and Janet Ward
  4. Apparel Manufacturing Technology by T. Karthik, P. Ganesan, D. Gopalakrishnan
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  3. Uses of Pattern in Garment Industry
  4. Marking and Tracing Techniques Used in Garment Making
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  7. Important Fashion Design Tools for Beginners
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