MN2102 Banksia / Pattern Alterations & Adjustments / Sewalongs / Tips & Tutorials

How To Alter Bust Dart Height

Megan Nielsen Patterns | How To: Altering Bust Dart Height On The Banksia Blouse

Due to our varying body shapes, 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!!

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 vertical line at the tip of the dart, parallel to the grainline. Next, draw two perpendicular lines between the vertical line and the side seam, one above the dart and one below, that align with the ends of the dart legs.

Now it’s time to mark the amount that you are adjusting the dart height by. In this example I am moving the dart 1″ downwards, so I made a mark 1″ below the top of the box along the vertical line I drew. If I was going to move the dart upwards, I would have measured and marked the adjustment amount up from the bottom of the box, inline with the vertical line.

If you are making a very large adjustment that is larger than the vertical line of the dart box, you may need to extend the line further to be able to make your mark along and to act as a guide to keep the box aligned when you go to shift it up or down.

With the box and adjustment marked, you can now cut out your dart.

Next, shift your dart down until the top of the box is aligned with your adjustment marking. If we were raising the dart, we would shift it upwards until the bottom of the box was in line with our marking.

Tape in place and tape more paper behind to fill in the gap.

And finally it’s time to fold along the dart legs, true the side seams and trim away any excess paper.

And voila! You have moved your dart successfully, how easy was that? If you’ve got any questions about what we’ve covered today, don’t forget to post them in the comments section below.

Happy sewing!

About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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11 years ago

Great tutorial! Super easy, thanks for sharing. :)

Rachel W.
11 years ago

Aah, that’s so clever, but so easy! Thanks for this excellent little trick.

11 years ago

Another great tutorial from Megan! There is nothing more awkward looking than a bust dart that is out of place!

Cirque Du Bebe
11 years ago

Thankyou, that’s so helpful. I’m glad I waited to see how did it because my idea for moving it was really crazy now I think about it.

11 years ago

This is one of the most comprehensive illustrations for a bust dart adjustment that I have ever seen. Great job.


[…] I knew I would need to shorten the dress and lower the darts by an inch.  Megan Nielsen’s tutorial on altering the height of a bust dart was very helpful (thanks for the link Sew Busy […]

10 years ago

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?

Val Poole
Val Poole
10 years ago

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.

10 years ago

This is awesome!


[…] Alter dart height […]


[…] top were a little too high I lowered the bust darts by about an inch using Megan Nielsen’s tutorial.  This worked perfectly and they are exactly where they should be.  The second alteration I made […]


[…] Her er en fin tutorial som viser hvordan det kan gjøres. […]


[…] for the pattern. As always, unfortunately, I don’t know how to fix it. Is the issue the bust dart height? Or is it the length of the dart? Should I have chosen a different cup size from the pattern […]


[…] ever made to a pattern have been length alterations, so I had to do a bit of research. This post on Megan Nielsen’s blog was particularly helpful, but with lowered bust darts and a couple of inches added, my pattern is […]


[…] time around, I lowered the bust darts by 1.5″ (using this tutorial by Megan Nielsen) and lengthened the front and back  bodice pieces by 2″ before adding the waistband and […]