In today's short article, I would like to show you how to easily remove waist darts from a skirt or pants pattern. This method is useful if you want to remove the waist darts but keep the waist and hips circumference unchanged. This pattern modification will come in handy in three cases.
The first case is that you have a pattern designed for woven fabrics (so classic pants or skirts) and you are sewing for a person with flatter buttocks and more pronounced hips. If you don’t remove waist darts in this situation, there could be an excess of fabric in the back part of the garment - above the buttocks.
The second case is when you want to modify a pattern designed for woven fabrics so that it works for knits too. During this process, you need to make several minor modifications, and removing the waist darts may be one of them.
But the waist darts also appear on patterns that are designed for knits. The third case is a situation where you work with some extremely elastic material (for example with a viscose knit). Waist darts aren’t usually present on clothing made of similar fabrics - the fabric itself is elastic enough, so the garment does not need to be shaped in any special way. Besides, waist darts on a very flexible fabric often deform it.
Another (not very common) reason to remove waist darts may be the fact that your hip circumference is smaller (and your waist circumference larger) and you want to use the pattern without adjusting the side seams. Normally, you would solve this problem by choosing the pattern size based on the circumference of the hips (smaller than the pattern size based on the circumference of the waist) and adjusting the side seams so that the garment widens towards the waistline. But if you are also dealing with the situation from the first case (flatter buttocks), then removing waist darts may be a better solution. In this case, simply don’t sew the waist darts (the waist circumference will increase) and leave the side seams in their original form. It is, of course, necessary to find out by how much you need to increase the waist circumference and by how much will it increase by simply not sewing the waist darts…
I used this method when sewing women's skirt TO THE CITY. This pattern is designed for elastic woven fabrics and it has two waist darts on the back piece. I used this pattern to sew a classic skirt (dark blue skirt) and then I decided to also sew a skirt made of a thicker double-faced knit (white skirt), which is why I had to remove waist darts from the pattern.
So if you are dealing with one of the above situations and you are looking for instructions on how to remove waist darts from your pattern, read on…
First, measure the size of the waist dart - that is by how much waist dart reduces the waist circumference.
It’s 2.5 cm in my case.
Extend the waistline beyond the side seam by the same distance.
Draw a horizontal line (perpendicular to the grainline mark - large arrow) so that it passes exactly through the top of the waist dart.
Mark the point where the line intersects the side seam.
Connect both marks using the French curve (ideally :) to create a new side seam.
Flatten the small spike above the waist dart and draw your new waistline.
Finally, it is necessary to measure your new side seam. It is a bit longer than the original one, and you may not be able to properly connect the modified piece to other pieces. If the difference between the new and old seam is only 0 - 0.5 cm, then I don’t adjust the other pieces. I just stretch the other piece a little when sewing the side seam. If the difference is greater than 0.5 cm, I usually shorten the new side seam by moving the waistline downwards…
And that's all. Just a simple pattern manipulation that might sometimes come in handy… You can find other tips & tricks here:
If you want to know how to remove bust darts from a pattern, click here:
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Have a nice day, Petra
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