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Article: Do you need bust darts? A case study with Sara Sanders.

Do you need bust darts? A case study with Sara Sanders.

Welcome for a special tester feature! If you've ever looked at patterns like our Phoebe top and wondered what the heck bust darts are and how they make a difference, this is the post for you.

What are Bust Darts

All body tissue takes up space, and all garment grading is is getting fabric to hang on our bodies, and ways that the fabric drapes and covers it.

Bust darts in knitting are short rows that create a wedge in the front of the garment to specifically address bust tissue that protrude out. We use them frequently in sewing, but they are rarer in knitting, which I think it's terribly unfair. 

Working darts can really improve the fit of garments, so here is a lovely case study for you. 

Two Phoebe Tops

Superstar tester Sara @saraxrs knit two whole Phoebe Tops and made adjustments in her second one for a different fit. She has a 42" full bust.

This pattern is a no ease pattern, and comes with a "curvy" version and a "straight" version. The curvy version features a slightly wider front, and a variety of bust dart options for those with more tissue in the bust. Sara originally knit the first version with a 9" body length, and worked the straight front version. She used Wooldreamers Saona in Sarichef (available in shop!).

What is the difference?

In the "straight front" version, she gets exactly 0 ease, but she definitely needed a little extra length in the front for the bust! For the second version, she decided to knit it to 9.75" (or 1/4 inch longer than pattern), and worked the curvy front and 2" darts. The yarn here is @camelliafiberco Flax Fingering.

In the "curvy" version, it also gave her a little more ease in the chest also, about 1.25". That, combined with the bust darts, gave her front a fit more similar to how it looks on my sample! Notice how the hem lays absolutely straight rather than with a frown where bust tissue lifts it up in the first version.

Sara has this to say: 

"I definitely recommend knitters consider including the bust darts if they have a fuller bust. They make a big difference on a garment that fits this closely to the body-- it surprised me! After this experience, I want to add bust darts to all my handknit garments."

This is such a great example of how the different fit features of the pattern work and we hope that it is helpful!

Shop the Phoebe Top pattern

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