Monday, February 13, 2012

Design-a-long - The Paper Pattern Part 4 Dart Placement

There are a few ways you can introduce a little waist shaping to your garment. Often patterns have you work some decreases below the waist and then some increases above at the side edges. It works well in knitting that has pattern work that would be interrupted by stitch count changes. The drawback is that if too many decreases are worked to close to the hem it can result in a pointy center front. (Ask me how I know that)! This is more of a problem in shorter garments. About 2 inches decrease of total stitches seems to flatter most figures. Remember when you work out your decreases that you have either 2 or 4 darts so you need to divide your number of stitches to decrease by the number of darts to calculate the decreases for each dart. Directions vary due to gauge but normally you work the decreases over several rows, then work even for 1-2 inches and then start the increases. In my case I'm using black yarn which means the detail is not very visible so I'm working a center decrease that removes 2 stitches at a time over 2 right side rows, working straight and then I'm doing increases on either side of the same central stitch to replace the stitches. Like any other dart or in knitting terms, short rows at the bust this shaping will provide extra roundness over the bust area.

Most knitting patterns that have true vertical darts place them in the vicinity of one third to one half of the way between the side seam and center front or back, measuring in from the side seam.This placement is due to the fact that a generic pattern has to accommodate a number of body shapes within a single size. However in a customized pattern, should you choose to use vertical darts you can place them correctly by measuring the bust span. The bust span is the distance between the bust apexes or in other words the summit of the points, often but not always where your nipples are. As always with bust measurements you should take this measurement while wearing a bra. The measurement is what you use for placement of the vertical dart line. If you are putting vertical darts in the back of your garment, you can use the same measurement. Alternatively for even more accurate customization you can take a span measurement from the points of your shoulder blades to place those darts correctly. The closer you get to zero or negative ease the more accurate you need to be with these measurements. If your garment has positive ease and is body skimming or looser you have a wider margin for error that will not negatively impact your results.

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