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MN2009 Protea / Pattern Alterations & Adjustments / Sewalongs / Tips & Tutorials

How to remove Bust Darts and do a Flat Bust Adjustment

how to remove bust darts and do a flat bust adjustment

Hi everyone! Today I’m going to go over a pattern alteration that isn’t going to apply to everyone, but I hope will be helpful to those who need it. We often see instructions for both FBAs and SBAs, but what about if you want to completely and properly remove bust darts and do a flat bust adjustment? This is something I actually do all the time with patterns as someone with a super small, “barely-there” bust, especially patterns that are not super close fitting to the body. And I know there are a few other reasons someone might need this adjustment. So I hope this post finds you!

There are some quick and dirty ways to accomplish this adjustment (and I do them sometimes), but I want to show you how to properly remove the dart from a pattern. And yes, this tutorial applies to ANY pattern with a side seam bust dart. But since we are on the topic of Protea these days, it’s actually the perfect pattern to demonstrate it with.

Let’s dive in.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Ok, to start, I like to mark the dart legs for my size in a color (pink here), so I can easily distinguish them.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Also, mark the dart point.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Now draw a vertical line from the bust point to the hem, perpendicular to the grainline and centre front (seen here in orange)

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Cut along this line from the hemline, right up to the dart point, but not through it.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Also cut along the bottom dart leg (pink) from the side seam to the dart point. Again, not through the dart point. And you don’t want to cut the fabric off completely. The goal is to be able to pivot the paper while everything is still attached.

how to remove a side seam bust dart
how to remove a side seam bust dart

Now take that lower piece, and overlap at the dart, bringing the two (pink) dart legs together.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Tape in place.

This now creates a waistline dart that we need to get rid of.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Draw in the seam allowance (5/8″ for Protea) along the armscye. It doesn’t have to be all the way around, just the lower half.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Make a mark 1″ or so in from the side seam along the seam allowance line.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Place some paper underneath the open new waist dart and tape in place.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Mark the waist dart leg opening at the hemline for easy visibility (blue here).

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Now draw two straight lines from the waist dart legs at the hemline, up to the mark you made at the armscye seam allowance (these lines are seen in blue here).

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Make a small slash from the armscye up to that dot on the seam allowance.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

And now cut along one of the waist dart legs (blue) from the hemline up to the armscye seam allowance dot. Leaving another pivot point at the dot. I went with the right dart leg here.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Overlap, bringing the two dart legs, the two blue lines, together. Tape in place.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Now we just need to even out the hemline. Keeping the side seam length as is, connect to the centre front with a slightly curved line.

This will mean you lose a bit of length at the centre front of the pattern (but not the side seam). Just something to be aware of.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Trim off any excess from the side seam.

how to remove a side seam bust dart

Double check that your new front side seam matches up with the back side seam (It should!).

And that’s it! Now you have a bodice with no dart! If you have any questions be sure to leave a comment below!

About Author

Holly writes part time for the Megan Nielsen blog– sewing like crazy, creating tutorials and sewalongs. She has been sewing since she was a little girl, and has her degree in apparel design. Now she’s a stay at home mama, and spends all her free nap times at her sewing machine.

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Kate Willoughby
Kate Willoughby
1 year ago

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!! I have been trying to figure this out for YEARS!!!

Meg
Admin
Meg
1 year ago

You are so welcome!! I’m so glad you found it useful :)

Moira
Moira
1 year ago

Does anything need to be done to the little gap in the armscye seam?

Meg
Admin
Meg
1 year ago
Reply to  Moira

Hi Moira!
That little gap just needs too be filled in with paper, and then the armscye curve drawn in to match the edges.

Mikhayla
Mikhayla
1 year ago

Thank you for this tutorial! I have a feeling that I will be referring to it often. I’m curious, though– how can one tell whether it would be better to do a traditional SBA or this full dart removal instead? How would the finished garments vary from one another?

Meg
Admin
Meg
1 year ago
Reply to  Mikhayla

Hi Mikhayla,

I’m so glad you found this tutorial helpful! This tutorial is essentially an SBA where the bust intake has been reduce so much that it is eliminated. I think whether you have a 0 SBA like this tutorial, or leave some dart intake is really determined by the size of your bust. The finished garment will have less ease in the bust – however that shouldn’t be an issue if it’s being used in the situation where bust ease isn’t needed.

Happy sewing!

Joanna
Joanna
10 months ago

If I lose length in the front body when cleaning up the hemline, will I need to readjust the length on the back? And can I lengthen the piece again ( I am long bodied and worry this adjustment would leave me with a too-short shirt)

Meg
Admin
Meg
9 months ago
Reply to  Joanna

Hi Joanna! That’s a great question – the answer is yes and also no :) If you lose length on the front body and are happy with that length, then you will need to adjust the back to be shorter. If however you lose length on the front, and are unhappy with the shorter length and would prefer it to be same length as the back – then instead of removing length from the back hem, you would add it to the front to make it match the back. I hope that helps!

Wikky
Wikky
9 months ago

Hi Holly, I sort of stumbled upon this tutorial looking for quite the opposite; adding a dart to a oversized shirt with no dart in the pattern. I want to avoid standing out at the seamline of the front due to a D plus sewing cup. The pattern has lots of room for my bust but I hate it when the front stands out. Any ideas or suggestions for this issue? I find lots of how-to’s on fba or sba, but not how to add a dart to a non darted pattern. Hoping for your help, thanks in advance !

Meg
Admin
Meg
9 months ago
Reply to  Wikky

Hi Wikky!

This is a really great question. Often when a pattern is oversized or dartless, that means that the dart intake has actually be rotated to a different area of the pattern (such as the waist/hemline). That results in room for the best remaining, but the appearance of no dart near the bust. With the side seams unsewn, I would try pinching out a dart the side seam to test out what looks nice. This will naturally flatten out the front of the garment a bit, and will also make your side seam shorter. Just ignore that for now, and figure out how larger your dart needs to be. Once you have figure out the dart intake that works for your desired look and fit. Then you can mark the dart point on your pattern, measure the size of the dart. If your pattern is oversized or wide at the waistline, it’s likely the dart ease exists at the waist, so i would recommend drawing a slash line through the dart you just made, as well as vertically down from the dart point to the waist. Once you have done this you can cut through those lines, and overlap the pattern at the waistline by the amount of the dart. This will open up a dart at the side seam, and will maintain your side seam finished length. You will likely need to reshape the hemline a bit :) I hope that helps! This post explains dart a rotation a bit more: https://blog.megannielsen.com/2013/01/tutorial-how-to-transfer-bust-dart-location/ and this one is about doing an FBA on a dartless pattern which I know isn’t what you want to do, but will show you the general idea of the slash lines and marking the dart point https://blog.megannielsen.com/2020/07/how-to-do-a-full-bust-adjustment-on-a-dartless-pattern/ Good luck!!

Jensina
Jensina
7 months ago

Thank you so much for the help!