I want to talk about bust darts today. Specifically about sewing darts for a mature bustline. Why? Because I noticed something on my last dress after I took pictures. Here's what I noticed:
I sewed this dress on autopilot. I was using a TNT pattern and didn't think about the darts, where they would land or how my bustline is moving further south. My dart legs are too long (photo 1) and aren't pointing at my bust apex (photo 2). I guess I could be discouraged about this but I'm in my 62nd year of life and am realizing that once again my body is changing.
I've lived through the teen years, the childbearing years, the 30s & 40s, and the post menopausal years. So I've learned that a changing body is part of life. I'm not railing against the change, I'm adjusting to it. And part of adjusting is to realize I need to check my dart placement going forward in all makes - even TNT patterns.
If breast tissue talk bothers you, time to bow out now! *LOL* Cause that's what's next. When I was younger I had high, firm breasts and like most young women I took it for granted that they wouldn't always stay that way! After childbirth, I was one of those women whose breasts increased with each birth. Yes, I lost some firmness but they were still pretty amazing...helped by the fact that I did not breastfeed. I'm of that generation. I raised three daughters on formula.
I was also pretty religious about good bra support and wore one 95% of the time. Yes, I even slept with one on. So my breast tissue was supported well into my late 40s/early 50s when perio-menopause started and then of course menopause. Menopause that not only affected my hormones but affected my breast tissue too. I lost fullness, I went down a cup size and as I gained and lost weight purchasing bras that supported well became more of a challenge.
Now to bring this back to sewing. As I stated above I neglected to think about dart placement when making those last two dresses. This will be a consideration going forward. I'm also taking the time to purchase new bras - what a journey this is turning out to be...and no bra making is not on my list of sewing things.
Finally I'm remeasuring my bustline, determining my new bust apex points and checking all of this prior to cutting out bodices. I will be doing this with even my TNT patterns going forward.
My D cup breasts have become C cup breasts so I don't need a full bust adjustment. Also my fit is looser now that I'm older, comfort is more important than it was when I was younger. I like side darts and princess seams to make adjustments for fit. Maybe it's because of the way I learned, maybe because I'm lazy, or maybe these alterations work for me.
Some of the changes I plan to make are:
o Re-examine my bust point apex and mark it on my patterns going forward even my TNT patterns.
o Lower the darts on my patterns. I've mentioned lowering darts before and my go to reference is from the Curvy Sewing Collective here.
o Checking the length of the dart legs to make sure they're not too long or look weird.
o Fit my paper pattern to insure that my darts are in the right place prior to cutting the fabric.
Anyway, I will be highlighting the changes I make to my patterns where bust darts are concerned going forward. Just wanted to start the conversation and hear any suggestions, comments, alterations you have or used in the comments. Thanks!
...as always more later!