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When To Use A Bust Dart For Teenagers

Sometimes it's difficult to get people to look honestly at the way they do things. People don't like change. Even if they know what they're doing isn't technically correct they'll argue until they're blue in the face as to why the technically incorrect way is working just fine.

In my role as an academic in pattern making, not just a teacher and sub-contractor, I'm frequently researching and re-assessing my well trusted ways of doing things ... and even I resist change.

My recent epiphany on grading paths for different shapes is probably the clearest example of something we all know needs addressing ... it's not hard to see from the numbers that these shapes exist from the smallest adult right through to the largest adult sizes. The smallest adult size, even though the variance in shape is slight, still benefits from changing the blocks slightly ... no one questions that and many of you have even mentioned this has been something you've had to deal with since you were in your teens ... can I say that again ... since you were in your teens ... you've been there yourselves and now forgotten it.

Indeed there is a great deal of overlap between my adults and teens blocks and many use the adult blocks for the older teens who've "gotten there" sooner. But not everyone with breasts is ready for adult blocks as yet.

Why is everyone so resistant to believing the same shape principle applies to teens? Because it does. So many have told me it isn't needed over the last few years that I've just let it go ... but by the same token I keep getting asked how to do full bust adjustments to the teens blocks so often that I really need to add it in just so I'm not answering the same question repeatedly. Which gets me back to this concept of change.

I'll go back a little ... I've long thought that tweens/teens only really had a little bit of bust growth and that darting wasn't entirely needed, even though it might be beneficial. When bust growth was faster it usually came side by side with everything else so the girl could be accommodated with the adult blocks ... but I'm finding more and more as I do this website that there's many younger girls that are developing earlier these days ... even though it's not showing up in my numbers. Maybe it's just a small few or maybe I've just got my data from sources that aren't comfortable working with bust darts or fuller figured teens ... who knows? But these girls do exist so I want to accommodate the full range of shapes ... if nothing more than being genuine about inclusivity.

But I haven't really been able to get past why the answer is always so negative, and that makers are getting great results without them ... and that simply doesn't gel with my intuition. So I spent a few hours watching dance and skating videos on YouTube and well it's glaringly obvious I wasn't wrong. Garments look awesome when posed, but as soon as the girls start their routines the rippling shows up and gets worse with each arm movement ... in a few videos you watch the girls adjusting themselves as they walk off at the end. The more layers of applique you have, the more mesh filled cutaways there are, the most asymmetric you get, the worse the rippling is ... and it's all due to a lack of even tension because few are accommodating the bust correctly. This is also made worse by the use of negative ease on the vertical ... I can see it where there's zips (I can literally see tension trying to stabilise itself every time someone moves) ... more so when there's diagonal applique on the back of the leo.

I hear the argument about people liking compression on the bust but a lack of darting isn't the answer. The answer to that one is darting and using more negative ease, evenly!

Sorry guys but you're doing it wrong ... just don't be upset with me for bringing it up.

So here I am doing the full bust adjustments ... there's one in the image below (B, C and D cup options) ... and there should be something that's clearly obvious. A full bust adjustment doesn't just accommodate a larger chest/bust measurement ... it accommodates a fuller bust ... both horizontally AND vertically. So when you deny that D cup chest a dart, you aren't just increasing the tension around the bust but you're pulling everything on vertical towards the bust points ... shoulder seams, for example, can't really go anywhere as they're locked by the neck and arm ... so the centre of the seam tries to move. How much? Well what about some numbers? The height of the front panel below that's undarted is 40.3cm ... the darted D cup front is 44.2cm high ... so if you don't dart that D cup then you just added 10% vertical negative ease to your front top pattern ... 10%!!! Intentionally!!! Try and argue your way out of that little dose of reality!

Darted Block

In the C cup it's still 43.2cm or 7%. Where's that going to go? Well from the shoulder seams all the way down to the crotch and out the other side as best as it can ... but as there's so many other anchoring points all it can really do is ripple up from the shear ... and that's what's happening ... that's what I'm seeing ... and so are you, but you're usually blaming armholes for it.

Come on people ... you really need to use darting where there is shape that requires it.


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