Dart question

My daughter finally taped together her jumper pattern (from my pattern
drafting software) and when we made it up in some navy gabardine I got
for cheap from trimfabric.com and she tried it on, we decided that the
fabric doesn't have enough interest itself to carry the straight line
and needed some vertical darts for shaping so it doesn't look like a
navy blue paper bag. Of course, we didn't ask for darts when designing
the pattern, so I am pinning them to fit her.
Problem is, she has a "pooch" at her waistline and the narrowest part of
her waist is actually above her waistline. Do any of you more skilled
patternmakers know if it will look funny to have her waistline darts
about an inch or so above her waistline so that she can have some shape
to this jumper, or if it would look so bad that it would be better to
have notably smaller darts whose apices hit at the exact waist? We are
making this to build her a basic work wardrobe and I don't want it to
look "homemade" but rather "handmade," and I am still learning myself in
this regard (and I also don't care as much as she does, because she is
already self-conscious about her weight and all) and just don't know.
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Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply
in message news: snipped-for-privacy@TRASHsonic.net...
This is just a suggestion.......why not raise the darts even a bit higher so the shape is more of a gentle empire waist. This will give a flattering soft design line and then perhaps sew a band out of the jumper fabric, attached it around the raised waist, the darts would start under the bust, the band would lay over the top part of the darts under the bust. You could even slide a buckle to the center of the band, under the bust to have a point of interest. I think if you just raise the waist a bit to where hers starts above the 'pooch' it will draw even more attention to that. I have a short waist and I have found, for myself anyway, that just raising the waist a bit to where I actually curve in gives a somewhat "pregnant profile", which is darling if you are, unflattering if you aren't. If the garment curves in about the mid rib area or just under the bust it sort of flows over the problem area and has a more slimming effect. I know personally that if I sew anything that is straight up and down I either look like somebody is trying to dress a fire hydrant or stuff a sausage. I go for gently fitted A-line or empire style and even this I use an A-line skirt instead of straight or gathered.
When you are using your pattern program for a dress put a string around the smallest part above her natural line and call it the waist. Measure from the back of the neck down to this string to get a back measurement and around this string for the waist, forget about where her waist should be. Then when you make the pattern the curve of the waist will fall into the most flattering place. I'd forget about a shirtwaist style and stick to A-lines and empire looks.
I hope this helps a little. I remember in an interview Edith Head talking about putting peplums on most of one star's (Barbara Stanwyck) clothing because "her butt hung off the back of her knees". After that I never felt quite so bad about my body flaws ;-)
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There are other ways to add interest to a jumper. One, of course, is the blouse worn under it. Others would include appliqués, interesting patch pockets, embroidery....you may think of others. The nice thing about simple garments is that you can do so much to make them look unique.
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Yeah, but the solid color of this jumper really shows off its bagginess, and it really does need darts as well.
I am so thankful that she is finally getting over her "I hate to sew"-itis from when she insisted on making velvet, princess-line Christmas dresses for 3 years in a row when she was 10, 11, and 12. Once she got over the initial screaming meanies, she took off like a kite.
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Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply
On Sat, 27 Sep 2003 02:06:56 GMT, Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply wrote:
Hi Melinda.
Can you make the darts quite shallow, so they 'indicate' the waist, rather than define it? Balenciaga usually faked his waists - they're actually at the bottom of the ribcage, and it's a very slimming effect. It might work on a sheath - it's kind of like creating a de facto slight empire-line.
:) Trish
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On Sat, 27 Sep 2003 21:59:57 GMT, Melinda Meahan - take out TRASH to reply wrote:
I'd go for 2-4 at the front and 4 at the back - then you can take a tiny nip out of each one. The ones at the back can be on the real waistline, not raised, if you prefer. Definitely baste first and fit.
I had a look at my Balenciaga books just now, and he often combined this slightly raised waist with details creating an upside down wishbone shape. For instance, there might be a row of buttons down the front to the 'waist', then downward-sloping pockets at hip level, each with a flap and sometimes a button. The effect is that it draws your eye in, then out to the hips - makes the waist look smaller. Worth a thought? The pockets needn't be real, of course - just the flaps would do, maybe edged in something constrast, or the same colour, but satiny, for instance.
Balenciaga liked a pot belly on women, btw - he thought it looked more feminine, and he also had a lot of older clients, who didn't have tiny waists. He also liked to use very rich fabrics with a lot of body, so when he made jackets, he tried to leave the waistline ambiguous: often it's raised at the front, drops to the small of the back at the rear, and has a curved lower edge at the front - either two steep curves going up to the buttons, or one shallow curve running across the body from hipbone to hipbone. It allowed him to accommodate a mass of gathered fabric in the skirt underneath
I can't explain this very well, but I can send you pix if you like.
:) Trish
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in message news: snipped-for-privacy@TRASHsonic.net...
Do the darts HAVE to be closed? I would opt for open-ended darts or inside pleats that would retain some fullness at top and bottom. It's hard to picture in text, but:
\ / open | sewn / \ open
Sew the "pleat" dart only in the center, leaving top and bottom open about an inch or so (depending on dart length). I sometimes just do a straight box pleat, press it flat and then topstitch around the seam. It works great on girls' hand-me-down blouses and jumpers that are just a little loose.
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