Dartless Knit Top Block Take 2

As I was saying, I’ve been messing with my Knit Top Block again. I was trying to get dartless to work so I can make Breton tops and hopefully have stripes that match well across seams. Bust darts just seem like they would get in the way.

So let’s cut to the chase & show you the result. No point getting into the nitty gritty if this turns out duds right? 🙂

Mug Shots & Style Shots

 

Well I’m pretty happy with the result. The front armscye needs tweaking. But overall this muslin turned out quite wearable. So here’s how I got from A to B…

The Nitty Gritty

sps_top_2-SLPattern Voodoooing

Remember my last attempt at Dartless Knit Top by distributing the bust ease into multiple places (like I did for the woven Tunic Block)? Well, I slept on it and thought maybe the problem is that there isn’t a smooth way to hide the excess without the darts. So maybe I should go the other way: Instead of having excess length at the seams to ease in, maybe I should make the seam lines the finished lengths I want and use the fabric stretch to accommodate the girls. So how do I go about this?

Firstly I decide to use the 0-ease Stable Knit Top Block as the starting point for a couple of reasons…

  • I reckon that this process will probably result in a reduction in the front bust width. If I start with the 12% reduction of the Stretchy Knit Top Block then I might be asking the fabric to stretch too much. By starting with 0% reduction I hoped I could stay within the overall 12% reduction limit for a good fit without much unsightly distortion.
  • I decided that even for stretchy fabrics I would prefer a skimming rather than a tight silhouette. Fact is even I have Michelin Man rolls with a standard bra on, especially in the back. Until I find foundation garments that smooth the silhouette without choking me I would rather not draw attention to my rolls.

Next it took me 3 attempts to get to B.

  1. I first tried Maria Denmark’s old Knit dartless FBA approach of taping up the dart, smooching the bust mound, then attempting to trace the outline.But the method adds width at the CF hem while reducing the bust width more than my max 12% target. So I abandon this approach. (Just found out that she had updated her approach to removing the dart for a knit top. It seems simpler. But I haven’t tested it and there is no result photo, so it’s hard to tell how well it works.)
  2. My second attempt used the Seam alteration method from Fitting & Pattern Alteration. Yeah yeah it’s meant for altering ill-fitting patterns to fit, not to alter a good-fitting pattern to do something else. But nothing ventured nothing gained! I wanted to know if it’s even possible to re-shape my seam lines as I planned. It did sort of worked. But because I had used flimsy tissue paper for this exercise, the resulting pattern was a bit distorted and not usable.
  3. So my final attempt was to redo attempt 2 without all those distorted hanging chads. This time I used the Pivot/Slide alteration method from Fitting & Pattern Alteration, but pivoted at more points rather than just at corners. It worked. And I manage to get the front & back side seams to be the same length vertically as well (rather than just at the seam line) for stripe matching.

For the sleeve, I also redid the bit below the bicep so that it’s symmetrical (rather than leaving it tilting towards the front to accommodate the way my arms hang). This was necessary for stripe matching across the sleeve seam. I reckon the stretch fabric would be accommodating enough for my twisted arms.

Les Tweaks

I then muslined this with my least favorite strippy knit. This is Viscose/Cotton/5% Lycra Stripe Jersey from Tissu Fabrics with 50%H/35%V stretch. It’s OK, but not as soft as the Bamboo stripe jerseys I got from B&J Fabrics. So no tears if this experiment didn’t work out.

Much to my delight the muslin was pretty good right off the bat. The only thing needing adjustment was how the sleeve hang:

  1. the stripe in the sleeve caps were tilting up towards the back;
  2. the whole armholes were tilting towards the back as if my posture was too erect.

For A I decided to adjust the pitch and live with mis-matched seam intersection at the arm pit. I think this is the less of the two evils because it’s less visible. It does mean that I can’t sew the sleeves in the flat – I’d have to set the sleeve in after sleeve seams & side seams have been sewn.

For B since the muslin was already cut with 1/2″ seam allowance I could only increase the cross-back & decrease the cross-front by 1/4″. So the wearable muslin shown above is the result. The back armsyce seems OK now. The front I think could do with further reduction in cross-front, with the removed amount added to the corresponding area of the sleeve cap. And that is what I’m doing for my final Dartless Fitted Knit Top Block.

Caveats

Next up, deriving & testing a Raglan Sleeve version and a Semi-Fitted version. I will also need to test this pattern again in other stretch fabrics in case I was just lucky with this fabric choice. I’ve noticed that the cotton/rayon + spandex knits I’ve used for Breton Tops have generally been better at molding to my shape than the pure synthetic knits. So I’m fairly optimistic that this Block will work as master pattern for my Breton Top collection. But whether it works as a general Dartless Knit Top Block is yet to be proven.

Also, the size of my bust dart in my Darted Knit Top Block is approx. 20° in angle & I’m a pseudo-D-cup. So if you have a larger bust this approach might not work well for you – you may still be better off retaining a bust dart of some sort.

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6 comments on “Dartless Knit Top Block Take 2

  1. Interesting post, the fit looks excellent and much better to have a minor stripe mismatch at the armpit than on the sides. Personally I don’t have any issue with darts at all unless they cause a distortion of the fabric pattern. And fit trumps all!

  2. An interesting post, well done with the fit and I agree it’s definitely better to have the mismatch of stripes at that location. BTW (weighing into that topic for no good reason) I am not averse to bust darts except when they distort a print. I actually think they look quite nice sometimes as long as you can get the fabric, knit or otherwise, to cooperate. And fit is fit and trumps all!

  3. I think it looks great. My gosh, I am totally amazed at your constant quest for perfection in details. I love the Pattern & Alteration book, although I confess it sometimes makes my head swim.

    • Thanks! Outlet for closet OCD I guess 🙂 I reckon achieving a better fit is one of the better reasons to sew. Because I certainly don’t save any money sewing my own stuff. As for ethical reasons, it also doesn’t help the sweatshop workers, nor save the planet what with the inefficiency of muslins after muslins and still no guarantee of no wadders! 🙂

    • Thanks!

      BTW why do you hate bust darts in knit garments? I admit I too feel uncomfortable with darts in them. But I put it down to being brainwashed by the RTW that generally design for women with smaller bust and/or are not particularly interested in great fit on more mature / fuller figures. I’m slowly coming around to the idea that if I need darts I need darts. Unless I can work the fitting wrinkles into the design somehow I’d rather have well-positioned darts than wrinkles that don’t look intentional.

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