French Dart, Mais Oui
I have loved the idea of French darts for a long time. They start at the side seam near the waistline and extend to the bust, combining a waist dart and a bust dart into one. Two simple French darts create a magically flattering silhouette in an effortless, oh-so-French manner.
None of our pattern companies had a French-darted dress, however, so I had been dreaming of how great the dress would be without the chance to actually make one. Except for the Flat-Bottom Flo pants pattern from Style Arc, I limit my garment-making to patterns we sell at The Confident Stitch (I am very strict with myself!).
Maven Patterns to the rescue!
When we asked our customers which pattern companies they wished we carried, and many mentioned the English company, Maven Patterns. A quick internet search revealed that Maven Patterns carried a French Dart Shift pattern. Woo-hoo! Finally!
As soon as the patterns arrived from England, I used our Designer Geo Leaf Cotton Shirting in Black to whip up a shift. I made a muslin in size 18 (based on my bust measurement), and discovered the pattern was already adjusted for a high round back (yay). Although the French darts ended almost two inches above my bust apex, the dress fit well.
I lowered the dart by drawing a box around it, and shifting the entire box down 1 ½ inches. The box I drew had lines perpendicular and parallel to the grainline, and enclosed the entire dart. I carefully slid the box down, staying parallel to the grainline, and I filled in the gap with tissue (colored blue in the picture below). The dart-lowering also lowered the pocket, which was fine. I made sure to lower the pocket notches on the back side seams as well.
Je Suis Tres Chic!
I’m happy to report that the drafting and instructions were good! I have also made a Maven Good Times Skirt and loved it! You can watch my video tutorial here, and read Elizabeth’s blog post here. Now I’m going to make some of our other Maven Patterns (for research purposes only, of course!)