Spring cleaning – for your patterns

- - Pattern Making

Breathe it in. The weight of the winter is lifting and spring is in the air. What better time to clean out your studio and clean up the fit of your patterns? We’ve all been there – wishing we could somehow hide the eyesore of a serger in our studio or shift a shoulder dart out of view. While the serger is a must-keep, you do have options when it comes to maintaining the proper fit around the bust through the use of dart manipulation.

In an effort to help you clean up the fit of your patterns, this week we present you with several options for shifting the darts in your bodice. Take a look at the images in the header from Lanvin’s Spring/Summer 2016 collection. Notice the variety of ways the excess fabric at the bust has been manipulated. To get you started on your own dart manipulation path this spring, take a look at the following three options for moving your shoulder dart.

First, try pivoting a front bodice shoulder dart to a side bust dart. You will find that a side dart bodice sloper will be the foundation for many of your patterns and a necessary one to keep handy as you design. We will demonstrate how to easily move the shoulder dart and then how to true the bodice front in the following video.

Next, learn how to transfer your front shoulder dart to an armhole dart. Learning the steps of how to shift darts will open up many interesting design possibilities for you to explore this spring.

Finally, try transferring your bodice with a shoulder and waist dart to a bodice with a neck and French dart. In our recently launched video, you will learn how to true your darts so that you have a perfectly executed pattern. Apply this technique to create a variety of other dart variations.

Take a fresh approach to dart manipulation this spring as you begin to clean up the fit of your patterns. And if you figure out how to hide that serger while spring cleaning your studio, let us know. Here’s to warmer weather and putting away our winter coats!


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Kara Laricks is a regular contributor to the University of Fashion. She’s also a New York based women's wear and accessories designer. As the first winner of NBC's Fashion Star, Kara has designed collections for H&M, Macy's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Her masculine meets feminine line, Kara Laricks, debuted at New York Fashion Week in 2012 and her S/S 2013 collection sold exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue. Kara's designs have been featured on the Today Show and HBO's True Blood as well as covered in Women's Wear Daily and on Style.com. Kara holds Master's degrees in both Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Kansas and in Fashion Design from the Academy of Art in San Francisco. An educator turned designer, Kara is dedicated to supporting emerging designers and inspiring others to follow where dreams lead.