Dart Manipulation

So we come to Chapter 4: Dart Manipulation. Now, I’m not just jumping to the lessons. The point isn’t JUST to learn the hows of making the patterns, but to understand the why behind the how. So I am actually reading the chapters, not just the lessons. The the first couple of pages don’t contain lessons at all, rather more explanations on why the flat pattern method. Understand, author Helen Joseph-Armstrong also has a book on Draping for Apparel Design, which I fully intend to get to next. But as I started my sewing with patterns, and have never draped before EVER, I felt like I should start my learning with what I was familiar with. So here we are.

Flat Patterning allows for easy manipulation of a design. I’m sure draping does too, but Joseph-Armstrong specifies that flat patternmaking is based on three principles:

  1. Dart Manipulation

  2. Added Fullness

  3. Contouring

And each of these principles is explored in depth, starting with Dart Manipulation in Chapter 4. In addition to these three principles, Joseph-Armstrong says there are two techniques particularly useful in adjusting the principles during pattern creation. First is slash method: slash open a pattern to create more space, or overlap the slash for a closer fit. Second is Pivotal/Transfer method: Basically, trace and transfer elements until you have the design you want.

What I am most excited to learn is the specific design analysis. I can look at a pattern or garment and know what I like, what I think flows well and what is not working as well. But the design analysis will hopefully take me from passionate amateur to pattern artist (ok…that may be a bit pompous. But I did just read a book called The Artist’s Way, so art is still on the brain).

Basic terms outlined in this first section of Chapter 4 (p. 72):

  1. Pattern Plot: Placing lines on working pattern that are directly related to a design feature. I do not know what that means, but I’m willing to learn.

  2. Pivotal Point: Designated point on the pattern that the pattern is slashed to and pivoted from. This allows the pattern designer to later the pattern shape without changing size or fit. Apparently.

  3. Pattern Manipulation: Here is where slash and spread comes in to play. The slash and spread creates design features. I think.

  4. Design Pattern: Finished pattern contains all features related to the design.

Joseph-Armstrong reiterates the importance of testing the fit at each stage, and of course this makes sense. You don’t want to make dramatic alterations all at once, sew up what would be a finished garment, only to find that the garment is way too big or worse, way too small.

Finally, we get to what I am hoping to learn from all this. I’m hoping to learn how to analyze differences between drafts and finished designs. I’m hoping by the end of this who journey I will be able to visualize what the two dimensional pattern will look like in three dimensional design. And I’m hoping to learn how to finalize that visualization using the three principles highlighted above.