Dart Width

How To Calculate The Width Of The Bust Dart

Dart width is the distance the dart needs to be opened at the seam (the shoulder seam in this case) to allow for the correct shaping at the bust. It's an arbitrary amount you'll find in my Women's Sizing Table for ready-to-wear sizing, but for custom made garments you'll need a formula.

Simply explained, the bigger the bust compared to the waist, obviously the more dart angle required for a good fit. So it's a mathematical function of angle and distance, where angle is based on bust/waist ratio and width is based on dart length ... and seeing as we can easily measure all these it's reasonably straight forward to create a formula for dart width.

Dart Width = [(Bust - Waist) x Dart Length]  /  (4 x Waist to Bust Point)

For example, taking the measurements for the standard size 10 with the dart positioned at the shoulder we can use the mid shoulder to bust point measurement as dart length and get...

Dart Width = [(84 - 65) x 22.8]  /  (4 x 15.7) = 6.9cm 

Now reduce that for 10% negative ease (I ease the darts back a little from 12% but that's up to you) and you get a dart width of 6.2cm. Remember this is a proportional exercise and the whole block is scaled down so the dart is also scaled down in order to maintain the constant angle.

Now I know there are going to be people jumping up and down saying the result doesn't match the table ... and that's correct, but the table sizes are ready to wear sizes, and are based on a mix of my measurements, the ISO measurements and a requirement for the dart width to increase in a linear fashion. So as a standardized table (OK there really isn't such thing as a standard) it's not going to reflect a custom formula result. Moral of the story is, if you want a made to measure fit then use the formula ... if you're creating ready to wear size groups you are going to need a commercial incremental overlap so use the table!


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