Dart Detail for Fit After the Fact

It is typical to find me in my closet of hand knits when I am looking for something to wear.  This past week was no different.  I pulled out my lovely tri-color tunic I finished about six months, ago.  I thought it would be the perfect layer for the weather and proceeded.  With a casual, happy feeling I put on this garment, looked into a mirror, and thought, “hey, what happened?”  I felt like I was swimming in it.  Did you ever notice that when something doesn’t fit the way you want, it becomes highly distracting?   I was uncomfortable to the point that I changed out of it knowing I needed to do some adjusting.

What was bothering me was the bottom half of this topper.  Fitting exactly the way I wanted from the waist up, it was too wide at the hips.  Uncomfortably wide.  Being unaware when I finished knitting this and also knowing that a body shape changes from time to time I thought, “Now, what?”  As I contemplated my options, I remembered it was made with remnants down to the last bit of yardage of all three yarns.  A bit worrisome but I thought of these ‘fix for fit’ options:

  • pull out the knitting from the waist down, let the yarn relax to lose some of its memory, and re-knit it with the same yarn following a new decrease pattern.
  • knit a belt of some kind.  Could be I-cord, or wider sewn to the side seams and tied or tacked to the back.  I could use a fourth coordinating color.
  • darts

There are many ways knitters can gain confidence in knitting.  I believe being flexible in thinking gains confidence.

I thought I would attempt the dart possibility, the least time consuming and the least conspicuous, if done neatly.  I did not want to introduce a new color into the garment.  If the dart idea didn’t work, re-knitting could be the next option.  I laid the garment out on the table inside out and folded it the way one might fold fabric for waist shaping.  I folded it the approximate amount I thought I would need to make a fit difference, to make the garment more snug around the waist.  The fabric folded surprisingly willingly and easily.  I pinned it at the waistline.

I tried it on adjusting to the way I wanted.  I took the folds and formed darts going up and down from the waistline.  A dart is merely decreasing the amount of fold that leads to a point.  You can adjust for a long dart or a shorter dart.  I formed longer darts above the waist and shorter ones below.

From years of sewing, I remembered how important it was to fold the fabric along the grain.  So, I did the same thing with this knitted fabric figuring the rows of knit was the grain.

Then, I basted.  Basting means taking long stitches with temporary yarn (or thread) where the permanent stitches will be.   Basting allows you to try on the garment as it will be after it is sewn and allows for easy pull out to re-adjust.  I basted from the middle (at the waist) and went up, then back to the middle and went down using the pin to mark the end point of the dart.

I went into my fingering stash, split a similar color into a ply that I felt would be thicker and more sturdy than thread, using back stitch, sewed the dart along the basting.  I took this photo, below, so you could see the difference between the basted dart on the left as opposed to the finished sewn dart on the right.  The sewn dart almost blends into the fabric.

Below, is an inside view of both darts after sewing.  You can see the one ply I used tied off at the point of the darts.

I did not, nor is it necessary to cut the fabric.  Below, you can see a ready-made blouse with the same dart detail.  The fabric is not cut.

You know if you succeeded with your garment because you will either grab to wear or you won’t.  It’s funny how you don’t even have to think about it.

shelf time = unsuccessful, grab to wear = success

Grabbed for it, I have done.  This is the same garment as photographed before (here), but now has the added darts in the back giving  me the comfort of a better fit.

2 responses to “Dart Detail for Fit After the Fact”

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