removing bust darts

How to: Removing bust darts from a pattern

Sometimes you just want to find a good way of removing bust darts from a pattern.

Maybe you have been doing a full bust alteration and end up with a dart, you really don’t want in a t-shirt pattern. Or maybe you have a dress pattern for woven fabric that you want to sew up in a plaid, and the darts will ruin the lines.

No matter what, here is a great way for removing bust darts from your pattern.

Some years ago, I wrote an article on how to do an FBA in a t-shirt, and I dealt with how to go about removing the bust dart in a less than accurate matter, to say the least. I’ve since done another article on a simpler method (which doesn’t add bust darts) for a t-shirt FBA, but for me personally, I prefer the shaping the traditional FBA gives me, and mostly I use that method. But it still gives me a dart I don’t want.

But luckily since I wrote that article I’ve discovered a different way of removing bust darts from the t-shirt pattern. It’s a little bit complicated but it creates great results! And it’s accurate.


How to: Removing bust darts from a pattern:

Here is the front piece of the altered pattern. It has a bust dart. I start of by drawing a line parallel to the centre front from the hem to tip of the bust dart (line 1 from the FBA). Then I cut along that line.

Removing bust darts

Cutting along the vertical line from hem to tip of bust dart


The next step is closing the bust dart. This makes the dart move into the cut I just did – which creates a new waist dart  and swings out the side seam. I am showing you both an actual pattern and a sketch for clarity. Click images to enlarge.

Removing the bust darts - closing the dart

Closing the bust dart opens up a waist dart


Now to continue removing the bust darts and finishing the job, we need to move that waist dart completely out of the pattern:

Insert tissue under the dart opening and draw a new dart going from each of the dart legs until a point in the armcye seam very close to the side seam. Draw to, but not through the seam line.


Drawing new dart

Draw a new dart from the legs of the old waist dart until a point in the underarm area



Close that dart by either folding it or simply cutting it away.

Removing bust darts - The End.

The final step for removing bust darts is to clean up the hemline by redrawing it



Put some tape on your pattern to keep it together. Now the hem line looks a little wonky, so we need to redraw it.

And that’s it! We are finished removing bust darts from the pattern!


P.S. This method can also be used for removing other darts – for example, if you’ve created a front dart in a dress or a skirt when doing the full tummy alteration, and want to get rid of that dart again..


NB! Bust darts are there for a reason. They shape the curve of your bust. Therefore, when you are removing bust darts, you will see a little excess fabric around the bust area, usually in small ripples from the side seam towards the bust. This especially when sewing a close fitting garment.


10 replies
  1. Kimber says:

    Is there an ideal amount this works with? Or an amount of dart being removed where it does not work well? I.e. Darts less than an inch are easy to remove, but three inch darts will not work??

    Thanks for this tutorial!

    • Kimber says:

      Hi Maria,

      I am adding a 1″ FBA to McCalls 6983 cowl top, knit fabric. Measurement of pattern is 39″ across the bust, I am 41″ full bust. It is a almost perfect fit, but pulls slightly across the bust, so I want to add a FBA. And it might be that a full inch FBA (on each side) is too much. Won’t know until I muslin it.

      In adding a 1″ FBA, I end up with a 1″ dart (1″ at the very edge of the pattern). When I try and rotate the bust dart out, I end up loosing about 3/8″ of the adjusted FBA width on the apex line. This is taking the side seam almost back to where it originally was.

      I tried a bigger FBA/dart/rotation and lost quite a bit in rotating the bust dart out…

      All of my chest is in my chest and not all the way around. I am a 34FF/G.

      Am I doing the adjustment correctly?



  2. Kimber says:

    If I take the side seam back to the orig waist point, I gain only 1/4″ tops from the waist up to the arm scye.

  3. Susie says:

    I understand everything until you close the dart at the waist. If you close that how does it add to the bust area?

    Thank you

  4. AnnTerry says:

    Thank you for sharing this dart elimination method…I just tried it and it works wonderfully well. I’d been searching for a way to get rid of the dart as the dart I get with a 3 inch FBA is very long and large! With this method, my problem is solved.

  5. Samie A. says:

    Hello! What if the darts that i want to remove ia a top without armhole seams like it’s exposed on the side


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] the dart once I had altered the sleeve. So, I took a deep breath, and removed the bust dart! I used this tutorial, which is brilliant. (pic: the amended pattern piece, and a good view of that kimono […]

  2. […] UPDATE: I’ve changed my ways around getting rid of the bust dart and now I do it like I explain in this article: How to: Removing the bust darts. […]

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