how to alter bust dart height

Due to our varying bodyshapes, sometimes the apex of a bust dart will hit you in the wrong place. If you find the bust dart is sitting higher than your bust apex, or lower than your bust apex, then you will need make a pattern adjustment to change the height of your patterns bust dart.

(Please keep in mind that sometimes a bust dart will hit you in the wrong place, in addition to other fitting issues – which may mean that you need to do either a FBA or an SBA rather than simply changing the height placement of the dart.)

As part of our Banksia top sewalong I thought it might be helpful to show how to do this really easy adjustment. So here we go!!

Just to make things a little clearer i’ve just drawn over the bust dart, so it shows up better in the photos.

Draw a box around your dart. It doesn’t really matter where you draw the box specifically, but I find it easiest to draw a line from the dart apex straight to the side seam. This line should be perpendicular to the grainline. Next draw a line straight down from the dart apex, parallel to the grainline. Draw a line from the bottom dart leg, perpendicular to the grainline to finish off your box

Now mark where you want your new dart apex to be. In this example i am moving the dart 1″ downwards, so I made a mark 1″ below the dart apex along the vertical line drawn. If i was going to move the dart upwards, i would have marked above the original dart apex, inline with the vertical line.

Cut out the box, and shift it down until the dart apex meets the new dart apex. Tape in place, and tape more paper behind to fill in hole.

Fold along the dart legs and true the side seams.

Voila! You have moved your dart successfully!

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  1. raye215 says

    As a novice who is only considering sewing because nothing ever fits at the bust…this is really helpful along with the FBA posts. But…in this one, how do you fix the side seam after moving the dart?

  2. Val Poole says

    Hi Megan, I have an H cup measurement, and am also low busted. I wanted to change to bust dart which comes from the waist up. My bust line comes at least 2 inches lower than the apex on the pattern. I moved the dart down 2 inches, then proceeded to do a FBA also. As you can imagine there was a lot of filling in with tissue. It looked so large, and I am not sure whether or not i have done the right thing. Can you enlighten me further as to how I should have gone about it please? Also the dart at the base of the pattern was very perculiar in that it had two darts for the various sizes, but was cut out already. This has made it very awkward to visualise as to how the darts are supposed be sewn. They looked like this /\ cut out in the middle.
    I have given up so far as the pattern has so many cuts to it now that i am not sure where to go from here. Hope you can help in some way, thanks Val.