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Why have just one when you can have two?

2012 May 31
by elizabeth_admin

Since I am going to do the unthinkable (put darts into a knit pattern), why not go whole hog?  I am nothing if not an all or nothing kind of gal.  Just ask Cayce, my best friend. 

So, on Lauriana’s recommendation, I am going to divide my 3- inch darts which are still too large for a dart into two 1.5 inch darts about 1 inch apart on each skirt pattern piece.  That makes a total of 8 darts to sew.  Phew!  I’m getting tired just writing about it.  Gathering is starting to sound slightly more palatable now.  😉  


The original 3-inch dart is the dark blue dart.  The altered darts are the turquoise lines.  I should note that Lauriana mentioned that the wider the dart, the longer the legs necessary for the dart, and that my 3-inch dart if I were to go ahead with such a large dart would require much more length.  So for the 1.5 inch darts, I kept the original length of the pleat marking.  We’ll see how it works out.  The border print knit I am using after I muslin these changes is a very stable knit and will most likely tolerate darts very well. 

And no, I have not cut into my fabric yet.  I must have “known” that I would change the alterations again, because I have procrastinated waited to cut out my dress until I worked out the final alterations I wanted to make.  The clincher for me was seeing Mary Nanna’s triple bust dart action on her latest creation.  And I must admit that Jeanette’s dress with its multiple waist, bust and elbow darts which she wore to the PR Weekend dinner has had a huge influence on me too. 

Interesting sidenote: As I continue on my sewing learning curve, I realize more and more how much I don’t know.  It’s kind of paradoxical.  Now that I am figuring out what my fit issues are (hello FBA, I’m looking at you!!!), my pattern alteration skills really need some work.  I think I may need to call my teacher Thea up again for some classes.  Or maybe, now here’s a good idea, I could open up some of the sewing reference books I’ve collected.  I’m ashamed to admit I’m just not a sewing reference book learner kind of person.  I like to see things demonstrated, but I have all the information at my fingertips.  I just need to look at it.   

What kind of method do you like to learn from?  Are you a just-wing-it-and-see-if-it-turns-out kind of seamstress?  Do you read reference books on tailoring and alterations?  Or do you pester your sewing friends on Facebook (um, that would be me) or email them at all hours of the night?  Do you take classes with acknowledged experts?  Are you a visual, tactile, or a book learner?

Happy sewing!

12 Responses leave one →
  1. misscoleen permalink
    May 31, 2012

    Hi Elizabeth, I am a visual learner also and I get my “fix” with Peggy Sagers bi-weekly webcasts. You don’t even need to watch them live since she keeps all the past webcasts on her site. . I enjoy your blog. Thanks

  2. May 31, 2012

    I’m in a very similar place: wishing I knew more about how to alter and draft my own patterns. I think I generally like to learn by playing around with things myself until I figure out what’s going on. But right now I’m feeling like some books or classes would be really helpful. Good luck with your alterations. Do you have a knit muslin to try them out on?

  3. May 31, 2012

    I am excited to see the dress, especially after all the work you are putting into the alterations.

    As far as learning about sewing goes – I would say I have learned most of my pattern alteration from reading books and the internet, but I have to look at the pictures to understand what is going on. So in that sense I would say I am a visual learner? Also a bit tactile because I have to test things out for myself too.

  4. May 31, 2012

    you know, it is hard for me to remember that you haven’t been sewing very long. I always think of you as quite good!

    What’s my favorite learning method? I like to try and wing it first. Then, when I read the instructions they make sense. If I try to read first, and then do it, well… that method is just more confusing for me.

  5. May 31, 2012

    I like the pretty pictures. I can follow along quite well with the pictures…that and an actual demonstration. Which I got from the sewing shows that use to be on HGTV and PBS, it’s sad that those shows no longer exist because this next generation of sewists would love them!

  6. May 31, 2012

    I prefer learning from someone/classroom because I like being able to see and ask questions. But I do crack open my reference books and test things out on my own, too. I think the problem with reference books is that they don’t have enough photos or illustrations, whereas with a class or as a blog tutorial you can “publish” unlimited photos.

  7. May 31, 2012

    Elizabeth, I’d love for you to take part in Sewing Spaces, but I’m not finding your address. If you’re game. e-me. Please.

  8. May 31, 2012

    Triple darts are a great idea. I haven’t needed them, but I do use double darts from the armscye to make my knit tops fit better.
    Here’s a tip I learned from Marcy Tilton: When sewing darts in knits, pin a piece of stablizer under the fabric, so it rides between the fabric and the needle plate. That will keep the fabric from stretching as you sew. I use Sulky Totally Stable, a heavy tear-away. (Marcy recommends it, too.) I keep several 1″ wide strips at my sewing machine, When tearing it away, I hold the dart stitches with my left hand, and tear with the right. Otherwise, the stitches can get pulled at out of shape.
    Good luck with your skirt, and welcome to the world of FBAs!

  9. June 1, 2012

    I am a visual and a book learner.

  10. June 1, 2012

    I love books, videos and pictures. I’m not so good at following without a visual though so all my reference sites/texts have images with them. I do love to be shown too. Have you tried online courses where apparently you can pause wherever and whenever you like? I’ve gotta give that a go.

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