Where The Darts Go

Photo 1: Knitters, meet Bertha

Before we get started: Would everyone please chant "SHARon, SHARon, SHARon" a few times? Sharon is the clever, funny gal who chanted "Bust! Darts! Bust! Darts!" in the comments on Friday. I inadvertently changed her name to Susan when I quoted her yesterday, and if she’s gonna be famous, she’s got a right to be famous under her real name. A Bazillion Thanks to SHARon and all you other fabulously funny commenters who made the last few days so much fun.

I would also like to take this opportunity to introduce our new Knitting Daily assistant, Bertha (in the green T-shirt, at right). Bertha has graciously agreed to help us out with Bust Darts 101: Where The Darts Go.

The original Tomato is essentially a darling little knitted T-shirt. Wendy Bernard designed this knitting pattern for women to be dartless, slighty huggy, and comfy, as all the best T-shirts traditionally are. (Wendy rocks. In fact, go visit her site and tell her how much you appreciate her designing the Tomato for all of us. Go now. I’ll wait.) But if you need darts, where do you put them? Short-row darts are out of the question here: we’re working in the round, and from the top-down, and if you want to leave the colorwork where it is in the original, the short-rows would end up being a nightmare. We can do darts without short-rows, as we discussed Monday. So how do you know where the darts ought to be placed on your own particular curves?

Time for the Virtual Bust Dart Demo. Ready? Here we go. Yes, "we." This is an audience-participation exercise. Bertha will demonstrate, and if you want to find out more about where bust darts might work for you, grab a loose-fitting T-shirt of your own, stand in front of a mirror, and follow along. (Bertha promises it won't hurt a bit, especially if you stop now and then and wave at yourself and say "Hi, Gorgeous!" Flattery will get you anywhere, remember.)

Photo 2: Holy Bust Darts, Bertha!

In Photo 1 above, Bertha is wearing a loose-fitting T-shirt over her most comfortable, best-fitting underthings (or she would be, if she were a real woman like you and me). Note how the loose-fitting T-shirt fits her. The widest part of the shirt is at her widest parts, but the shirt falls vertically down from there, creating bagginess under her bustline. Although Bertha is a nicely curvy gal, she looks about twenty pounds heavier than she really is, because of the baggy factor. (An odd-but-true corollary: Bagginess right over a round little Buddha Belly can also make you look twenty pounds heavier. Just hold onto this thought for now.)

Bertha wants to be a member of Hot Tomato Nation, so I got some of those "jaw-style" hairclips and added them to the front of the T-shirt, pinching in the fabric so that the shirt is more fitted to Bertha's womanly curves. (See Photo 2.) The black clips are slightly off to one side of each of Bertha's "bustiest points," and the pink clips are about one-third of the distance between the black clip and the the midpoint of the armhole. (Photo 3 is a closer view from the side.)

Photo 4 is the infamous Bust Dart photo of my own Tomato-in-progress, so you can see that Bertha's black clips correspond to my innermost darts, and her pink clips correspond to my outermost darts.

The steeper your curves, the closer together the two darts should be—because the majority of the baggy fabric will be under the curviest part of you. The flatter your curves, the further apart the darts should be.

Photo 3: Black clip, pink clip

One-third of the distance between the first dart and the midpoint of the armhole is a good place for us larger-cup gals (C, D, and DD) to put the second dart of each pair. Truly gifted gals may want to consider adding an extra (third) dart (towards the armhole), whereas those with more subtle charms may want to consider having only one dart on each side.

Photo 4: Hot Tomato Darts

As promised, I am working on a PDF with the actual numbers for adding bust darts to the original Tomato pattern. (It's taking longer than I thought. It will be worth the wait, right? Right.) However: You are not Bertha, and you are also not me. You are your own Hot Tomato Gal, and if you do the above exercise for yourself, in front of a mirror (or even with a trusted friend and a digital camera), you’ll find out a lot about yourself and your curves, and you'll have that much more confidence when you sit down to customize your own handknits.

As for those Buddha Belly Darts: Yes, folks, I have a Buddha Belly, and I am knitting darts into the lower half of my Tomato to skim those curves oh-so-gracefully. (And yes, I will put those instructions into the PDF as well.)

Friday: You have questions, Knitting Daily has a building full of experts whom we can pester, er, ask, in order to get you answers!

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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