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In Which the Commenters Chant: Bust Darts, Bust Darts, Bust Darts!

Jul 2, 2007

Me and my hot Tomato in progress

I should have known you'd want to know about the bust darts. Your comments on last Friday's blog entry were a HOOT and I just about giggled myself to pieces reading them all. By the time I got to Susan's comment ("*chanting* BUST, DARTS, BUST, DARTS, BUST, DARTS!!") and Melissa's enthusiastic "All chesty women will rise up and call you blessed!" it was clear that a bust dart tutorial was in order.

But what kind of tutorial? Knitting Daily is only two weeks old, and we do not know each other very well. I don’t know if you want to know all the ins and outs of how I figured out how to do my darts, so you can figure them out for yourself, or if you want me to just hand over my own round-by-round instructions so you can knit a Tomato exactly like mine.

That's the problem, you see: If I just give you my own bust dart instructions, you won't be knitting a Hot Tomato for you, you'll be knitting one for ME. And while I think it would be tremendously kind (albeit a bit freaky) if each of you knitted me something, I think perhaps it would be better if I could explain enough about how to do bust darts so that you could knit your own customized Hot Tomato.

After all: We want to be Hot Tomato Nation, do we not? (All in favor, say "Aye.")

So, let's do this. I'm putting together a PDF of the step-by-step numbers for how to work the bust darts exactly like I did,
The now-infamous Bust Darts
and I'm working out the Bust Dart Math for all the existing sizes given in Wendy's Original Tomato. Since I really need to have a tech editor check my numbers so you don't all end up with knee darts, the PDF will not be ready for a teensy bit.

While you're waiting, I'm going to spend this week giving you some Basic Bust Dart Info that I hope will help you take the step-by-step numbers and adjust them to fit your own glorious curves. At week's end, I'll post a little poll, asking if the instructions I gave were too hard, too easy, too vague, whatever. That way, I can start learning what works and what doesn't—and I can customize our offerings here just for you! Feel free to ask questions along the way, and on Friday, I will do a Q&A based on your input.

Without further ado, I give you: Bust Darts 101: The Overview.

I started my darts when the piece measured about 5" from the underarm—a bit past where I needed the widest part of the top to be. Makes sense, right? Knit to the widest part, then make strategic decreases to take away the "bagginess" under the bustline. Voila—darts! Keep in mind that I was continuing to work the waist decreases as instructed in the original pattern. The bust darts were additional decreases worked over several rounds, in order to provide more shaping than waist decreases alone can provide. I worked two darts on each side, because my landscape is Extra Curvy. Each dart is simply a strategically-placed line of slanted
The Hot Tomato just before the darts begin
decreases. I worked enough decreases so that the final circumference of the top under my bust would be a wee bit larger than my actual underbust—larger, because I enjoy breathing, and because I knew that the colorwork in the waist stripe would pull things in just a bit more.

Next time: I’ll show you how to find out where to put your own bust darts for maximum hot salsa effects.




Annie Modesitt is someone who has given all of us knitters so much joy over the years with her wit, her technical savvy, and her patterns (one of which I am featuring on Knitting Daily this week, the Ballet Neck Twinset, in her honor). Annie and her family are facing a medical crisis right now, and our hearts and prayers go out to them. Find out how you can help in other ways, too.




Join the Knitting Daily KnitBlog Tour! Every day this week, I’ll be dropping by a different knitblog to answer questions and chat about all things knitting and Knitting Daily. Come on by and join the fun!

Monday, July 2: Ready, Set, Knit! Podcast, hosted by Kathy and Steve Elkins of WEBS Yarn Shop. Read about Kathy's life amongst the yarn and her podcast on Kathy's blog.

Tuesday, July 3: Crazy Aunt Purl, hosted by Aunt Purl herself, a.k.a. Laurie Perry.

Wednesday, July 4: Lolly Knitting Around, hosted by Lolly, a.k.a. Lauren Weinhold.

Thursday, July 5: Dogged, hosted by DoggedKnits, a.k.a Ashley Shannon.

Friday, July 6: CRAFT Blog, hosted by Natalie Zee Drieu.

See you in the blogosphere!


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Comments

meeky wrote
on Aug 28, 2011 5:00 PM

I have just knitted bust darts into a jumper for the first time and it is a REVELATION! However, I now have a technical question: How do you account for the fact that the back of the jumper now has so many more stitches than the front? Does this matter for waist shaping etc?

Hope this post isn't too late to get a reply...

on Sep 21, 2009 3:44 PM

Third in Our Series on Bust Darts... For long-time Knitting Daily readers, this post might feel like

on Sep 21, 2009 3:42 PM

Photo 1: Knitters, meet Bertha Before we get started: Would everyone please chant "SHARon, SHARon

DidierjeanS wrote
on Mar 3, 2009 10:13 AM
hello, i'm working on a sweater from down to top, and wonder this : what to do wtih the extra room at armholes after increases for curves darts ? i try three decrease instead of two at each side ( it's ragan sweater) but there is pockets between armholes and cups. thanks to move this question if not the right place. have a niice day an d tthanks a lot for your answer
on Jun 9, 2008 11:06 AM

Sandi's Hot Tomato Salsa (I know you want to hear all about my adventures with the Yarn People at

on Jun 9, 2008 10:17 AM

Sandi's Hot Tomato Salsa (I know you want to hear all about my adventures with the Yarn People at

MarieH wrote
on Sep 29, 2007 1:51 PM
So, let's do this. I'm putting together a PDF of the step-by-step numbers for how to work the bust darts exactly like I did,
The now-infamous Bust Darts and I'm working out the Bust Dart Math for all the existing sizes given in Wendy's Original Tomato. Since I really need to have a tech editor check my numbers so you don't all end up with knee darts, the PDF will not be ready for a teensy bit.

While you're waiting, I'm going to spend this week giving you some Basic Bust Dart Info that I hope will help you take the step-by-step numbers and adjust them to fit your own glorious curves. At week's end, I'll post a little poll, asking if the instructions I gave were too hard, too easy, too vague, whatever. That way, I can start learning what works and what doesn't?and I can customize our offerings here just for you! Feel free to ask questions along the way, and on Friday, I will do a Q&A based on your input.

Where is this PDF or is it still not ready yet????
VivianM wrote
on Jul 14, 2007 10:36 AM
i can't tell you how much i love getting your news letter. all the years i've knitted and the things i don't know! i don't talk much, but i just had to let you know how badly i need these tips. thanks everybody!
KateP wrote
on Jul 7, 2007 9:19 AM
I have made several sweaters with short row bust darts. Two were made from the top down and in the round. You definately have to keep your wits about you and I would never attempt it with a color pattern but it is well worth the effort.
KateP wrote
on Jul 7, 2007 9:19 AM
I have made several sweaters with short row bust darts. Two were made from the top down and in the round. You definately have to keep your wits about you and I would never attempt it with a color pattern but it is well worth the effort.
Lynn G. wrote
on Jul 6, 2007 4:47 PM
I second the motion from Lydia S.: When you've wrapped up the discussion of pattern adaptations for larger women, please do a series of articles on how to alter patterns for very tiny women so that they will be flattering and fashionable. I usually take one look at appealing sweater patterns, read the bust measurements in the various sizes offered, and determine that I'm way too small for the smallest size. My Mom is more of a sweater-maker than I am, and the last couple of times she knit for me, she had to use a pattern meant for girls (she just lengthened the sleeves and back/front), but the pattern still had a boxy shape and didn't show off my hourglass shape: even short, very thin women can have curves. As I'm nearing 40, I don't want to look like a teenager. I also have chronic pain (body-wide and migraines since the age of 21), so I'm hoping for two things: that you will provide techniques that don't demand tons of visual work to alter patterns AND that you'll consider creating a place on your website that lists resources and techiques to assist those of us with various physical challenges. One of the saddest things for me is that doing my knitting and crocheting really really hurts me, no matter what I do to try to prevent that. That does dampen the joy, so usually I only make gifts rather than knitting for myself. I'd love to give myself a present but it has to be easy and size-appropriate. Thanks!
KathleenC@4 wrote
on Jul 4, 2007 8:32 PM
Wow... I don't really even remember how I came across Knitting Daily -- probably during one of my ceaseless quests for the right yarn, the right pattern... But in any event, I'm so glad I did! This is a wonderful, lively site with lots of GREAT, useful information. And inasmuch as I already subscribe to Interweave Knits (thanks to a Christmas gift from my long-suffering spouse), I can enjoy it all without guilt! As a matter of fact, my next project is going to be the Notre Dame de Grace sweater from Summer '07... just waiting for the yarn. I'm REALLY looking forward to being part of this experience.
GillianV wrote
on Jul 4, 2007 7:40 PM
I only started using short row shaping this past year. I used it to increase the length of the front versus the back, as I have a short back in comparison to a reasonably generous frontage. Therefore if it fits in the front, it wrinkles across the back. These articles non darts are a valuable addition to my thinking. Thanks.
Krista wrote
on Jul 4, 2007 2:07 PM
Short row shaping and darts are useful tools for any knitter's arsenal, no matter your size. I fall into the petite category, but I still use techniques like short row shaping or darts to eliminate embarrasing gaps where I don't want them. (Smaller folks just make fewer increases or decreases and space them further apart. Always do a swatch with your project yarn and calculate your gauge before beginning the project. It will help you calculate the changes you need to make.)For novice knitters especially, I offer this advice when making a fitted garment. Take your measurements with a tape measure. You will use those measurements to pick a size when knitting from a pattern. In terms of the bust, your bra size doesn't really indicate the actual measurement of your bust. I wear a 36A bra but my actual bust measurement is 31 inches. I don't know what kind of math bra makers are using, but it doesn't translate to hand knitted garments. If you don't have it in your knitting reference library, I highly recommend "Sweater Design in Plain English" by Maggie Righetti. She discusses how to take measurements and how to design for different body types and sizes.
KristieD wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 6:16 PM
I think the bust darts are a great idea - I currently use short row shaping to allow "the girls" to fit in a knitted top and still have something that isn't baggy. I hope the instructions will translate to other patterns.
Thanks,
drkristie
on Jul 3, 2007 2:56 PM
Are you sure that our comments were a HOOT, or were they HOOTERS?
Thank you for posting the link to Annie M's website-- I've donated already and I only wish it could be more. Please post updates on her husband's progress in KD as events unfold...
on Jul 3, 2007 1:10 PM
Thank you for letting me know about the trouble in Annie's life. I've taken some classes from her, and she's a talented and special person.

I hope you're going to include a visit with Grumperina in your upcoming tour schedule. She's designed some great patterns and is a terrific person.
Clmd wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 11:54 AM
Love the site. Not sure if you are allowed to mention other knitting publications. But perhaps you can mention it in terms of a "Bust Darts" historical perspective. There was an article published by Cindy Potter? (not sure of the name)in another well known knitting magazine in 1989 entitled "Knitting Bust Darts". The article can now be found in a new book that was recently released celebrating the magazine's 25th anniversary. However, you provide additional information that is very helpful and updated.
PegMorrow wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 11:05 AM
I've got a wild and crazy idea for Fall -- how about extending the sleeves to 3/4 length??
Passioknits wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 10:11 AM
Breathing is good! So is being able to pull the top over your chest.
BethM@2 wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 9:52 AM
Your modifications have turned this sweater into something I would actually consider making/wearing. Because a tight sweater with a decorative band SMACK over my bust is just utterly silly on my ample bust. Why call attention to what's already too much.

But putting the decoration *below* the bust is a lovely effect, and really a much better sweater design, IMHO. Thanks again, for your great ideas!
CarmenD wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 9:37 AM
Gosh, so quickly you are responding to many of us who need dart instruction! Gee, it's great to see I'm not the only one... Thanks a lot!!!
on Jul 3, 2007 7:33 AM
Finally I can make sweaters that fit! I usually am swimming in the extra fabric. I have been loving Knitting Daily!
SharonR wrote
on Jul 3, 2007 5:59 AM
Pride goeth before the fall! I was all excited, telling my Loved Ones I was famous because you quoted my comment in your headline... and then you called me Susan. *laugh* Not SO famous yet!
Beth@3 wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 11:38 PM
I think those instructions were just fine, but I've been knitting for a few years (and I'm also self-taught, so I've kinda figured some things out as I've gone along). Newer knitters may need more specific instructions.
JulieT wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 11:23 PM
Thank you for this site! You are such a joy to read, so open and cheerful, not to mention full of good ideas.

I agree with another comment - Please include the weight and yardage of the yarn used so we can substitute when necessary. That would be so helpful.

Also, wondering if the bust dart tutorial will include info on how to reduce back size when bust is over-ample? (eg. back is 16" from arm to arm, while bust is 26" measured from same points under arms.)Also, please tell us how to choose the correct bust measurement on the pattern, and then whether to add inches in front or subtract in back to make it fit? I have not been able to find this info anywhere!

Thanks for being so sunny and helpful!
KateG wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 11:09 PM
"Our cups runneth over" (heeheehee that's brilliant). Thanks for taking us to the next level,Sandi. This is so timely now that fitted knits are coming into fashion. I have my yarn (eggplant and chartreuse) and I'll be swatching tonight!
DoloresB wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 9:30 PM
Two weeks is nothing, you do know us well, we are knitters, we are you! You are a great sport!
D.
NicoletteS wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:50 PM
Am I the only one wondering if you are done? Are you going to knit down further below the stripe or are you going for a crop top look?
DanielleT wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:41 PM
Thank you for sharing the Annie Modesitt pattern. Her family has been in my thoughts.

I wonder if you can help with a problem I've been having in the knit world with designers. Every pattern has a lovely yarn, but unless one knows exactly what that yarn is, it can be nearly impossible to substitute. For instance, the ballet neck twinset feature Tahki Willow, which I can't find anywhere. If designers could include gauge and/or possible substitutions, or even a little more about the particular yarn, it would be SO helpful to those of us who can't automatically determine those substitutions in our heads.
Anonymous wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:40 PM
Any chance of a bottom-up version? Obviously the spacing etc is trickyer. I'm in the process of rebuilding a pattern I like to fit ME (so sick of spending hours knitting something that fits like it's off the rack) and I think bust darts would work - or would you recommend short row shaping? I like the idea of darts, though. Much more seamstresslike.
Camilla WV wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:13 PM
Might also try a double central chain decrease ...
ShellieB wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:11 PM
really silly question of the day, and I apologize to those who know better, what ARE the different ways to do a decrease? What makes them slant one way or another? I just always follow the pattern as written, and never really thought about it.... is there a way to do one w/out a slant?
StephanieW wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 8:02 PM
Willa took the words right out of my mouth. I never, repeat never read blogs. I sit w/ baited breath for each new chapter on the Tomato! What a hoot! First seeing that sweater I thought it was cute but sure not for my roly poly figure! Thanks for giving me insight and the courage to break of of the pattern box and make it my own!
WillaJ wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 7:53 PM
When I signed up for Knitting Daily I thought it would me, maybe, nice to read once in a while. You have just bowled me over! I've never had a LYS, and I can't find a knitting group, either. (Quilting - lots of quilting) So now YOU are my LYS! I can't wait to see exactly how you modified that pattern. Maybe I'll make it, after all. Thanks!
LydiaS wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 7:01 PM
I love how you've customize this pattern. However, for those of us who are 32A, and have narrow shoulders, it would also be helpful to know how to make a pattern for petites. I usually avoid sweaters because they look like sacks on me. I am not experienced enough to re-write patterns to fit. I feel like I'm missing out because I prefer fitted sweaters as opposed to shapeless items. Help in this would be greatly appreciated.
LuanneR wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:48 PM
I am really enjoying Knitting Daily. You are giving great tips as well as feeding my inner-knitting soul!! Keep up the great writing!
KathleenW wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:45 PM
Thank you, Thank you. I love what you are doing.
Diane wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:30 PM
Hot Tomato Club becomes Hot Tomato KAL! Just think of all the varieties we could knit - Green Zebra, Robeson (the beautiful BLACK tomato!), Mortgage Lifter ... such an idea!

Come on, Sandi! Let's make a big tomato salad!
WendyG wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:29 PM
Bless you! I've been searching far and wide for instructions and even some clues on how to do bust darts!!! I am a 36DD (my feet are getting wider too, but that's a different problem, and I just don't even look at those skimpy fitted items to knit cause I know they will turn out baggy. If you break down the concepts of how to do it, I think we can figure how to apply them. But are there any formulas to correspond to cup sizes?

Wendy Gilmore, San Francisco 7/2/07
FaithH wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:28 PM
You are the highlight of my day. I loved "and on the third day, I ripped" In my quest to make perfect baby hats, I have ripped one hat 3 times. I could have knitted 3 hats in that time. Keep up your blog for those of us just beginning to relearn this craft.
RebeccaW wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 6:16 PM
A little larger than the chest measurement, even though it's a stretchy fabric? Really? I ask because I often use negative ease through the bust and then more ease from there on... I'm so small in the shoulders and whatnot that even though my chest is ample, extra fabric just looks baggy there. Of course, with DDs, and a preference for waists to be 34 inches, I am very sensitive to the impossibility of decreasing fast enough for anything to not look shapeless... which is probably where the darts get in. I get that. But extra ease in a sweater fabric for the chest surprises me.
DebJ wrote
on Jul 2, 2007 5:52 PM
Sandi, I believe you've made our cups runneth over!!!! But of course thanks to you there will be such throngs of us that perhaps we should form a Hot Tomato Club--price of membership is submission of a photo in our Tomatoes!!!! Of course since we can't do a real group shot, I'm sure one of your photo editors would happily morph us all into one! :) Love your posts...always a highlight of my day! The line about enjoying breathing was spot on! We hefty chesties know too well about garments that bind!!! I'm off to buy my yarn!