Thursday, November 4, 2010

Darts in Knits are Evil, Aren't They?

As a full-b usted woman, I need darts. But I don't like them in my knitted tops - they pull, they get little holes (yes, I'm using proper needles). They look odd (it's not my technique). I just don't think they look good.

Look what I was able to accomplish this week on a knitted shell. I DID alter the pattern to accommodate my figure, but did not perform my customary Y shaped slash and spread.

Look: a nice fitting garment without a dart and no pull across the front.

First the photos:

And look at that armhole: no gaping!

I even managed to get the same effect on the matching cardigan.

Here are the three FBA adjustments I performed after my other alterations were done (broad back and petite):

1. I lengthened the center front by about 3/4 to 1 inch. I simply drew in a triangular shaped wedge, lengthening the CF seam grading to nothing at the side seam. I did not curve the grading line.

2. I drew a curved "bump" at the side bust area on the front bodice only. I curved it out about an inch (to the next size on this particular pattern). I graded back to the seam line above the waist shaping. This bump is just for the bust area. I pinned and carefully eased the excess which was quite easy on this particular knit.

3. I used Loes Hinse's FBA technique at the neckline: Working on the front bodice piece only, I inserted a triangular shaped wedge on the shoulder, increasing at the neckline. This seems counter-intuitive but has worked splendidly for me! Loes explained that this reduces the arm gaping, and as you can see from my photo, it works! You would THINK you need to pinch out the excess at the outer shoulder, right? Not so. Doing the opposite has allowed extra bust room in the garment. Here's how:

First, extend the neckline at the shoulder seam about an inch. To do this, I marked an inch above the neckline on the front shoulder seam at the neckline and extended the neckline. Note: do this on the front bodice ONLY and not on the back.
Second, I simply used a ruler to draw a line from this new raised point to the outer shoulder seam, grading down to size.

Pamela's Pattern's have the forward shoulder built into her patterns, so I did not need to perform that adjustment. I actually think it may be a bit too much forward and I might adjust it next time. I did have to petite the pattern at the armhole 3 inches!!!!!!! That's huge - but it worked. I'm learning to follow my body and not so much the pattern.

Three simple adjustments and no FBA dart!

I wonder how well this will work with other knits.


Gail said...

The best advice for sewing with knits is to buy really good quality fabric and use a very fine needles (70).

Kay said...

I was looking for FBA for the full-b usted at stitcher's guild and found your post a couple of years ago..I have a very similar body shape / petite / et al and read your post and replies with curiosity.

I've been reading your blog since then... Wow!! How far you have come from that post. I'm amazed.. you inspire me to persevere... maybe I'll end up with a no-dart knit top like you too..

Can you explain more about the Loes Hinse FBA at the neckline.. please??

Remnant said...

Hi Kay. I keep chugging along and finding that things are getting easier. Just this week I found that handling fabric under the needle was more controlled. And that pressing was more refined (learning to use a press cloth). Things like that do take experience and time is the only way to gain that experience.

As for the FBA (I've since had a reduction and no longer need to perform such large FBA's, though, truth be told, I still need to add 3/4 inch spread on an FBA which is much less than the 1 3/4 needed before). To do the FBA without darts, I found the fabric matters. The fabric must be spongy - really stretchy in both directions - to be successful. I added quite a curve at the bust on the front piece only. The curve was the same as when I cup my hand - it was that deep. To sew it to the back, I stretched out the back piece as if I were stretching elastic, just at that curved area. If the fabric is spongy enough, the puckering won't be highly evident. Even if there is some evident gathering, it may look like a design feature. In addition to that curvature, I added an inch to the INNER neckline on the front only. That extra inch allows for the fabric to lay over the bust area. The third thing was adding an inch to the bottom center, front only. As a matter of fact, I have a diagram I made awhile ago - I will make a new post for you to show you the diagram. Let me go do that now. Look for it in a few minutes.

Kay said...

Thank you Remnant! So much to learn, eh!

I started a sewing blog last month but didn't know how to link from wordpress when I posted that comment. just figured it out.

Off to look at the diagram.