Skip to main content
Submitted by Darametmoe on 23 April 2024

2.2.7 Flat Pattern Technique

The flat pattern technique is a method of manipulating the pattern while the pattern is laid flat on the table (Aldrich 1999). Pattern manipulation is a common word applied to the act of slashing and spreading or pivoting a pattern section to alter its original shape. Darts play an important role in the flat pattern technique (Chen-Yoon and Jasper 1993; Cooklin 1999; Crawford 2005). The darts can be shifted to any location around the pattern’s outline from the pivot point without affecting the size and fit of the garment. There are three methods of flat pattern technique, which are as follows:

• Pivot method: By this method, darts can be moved from one point to another. For this, thick cardboard, which is firm and sturdy, is required. Seam allowance is not added.
• Slash and spread method: In this method, darts are shifted by cutting and spreading the pattern along with the dart to the desired position. This is a relatively easy method provided the slashes are made correctly. Care is taken to see that the cuts are not made through the pivot point.
• Measurement method: This method is commonly used when the darts have to remain in the same seam line and the width of the darts can be divided into two or three darts.
In all three methods, the darts on the bodice play an important role in creating different patterns. Types of Darts

A dart is a wedge-shaped cut out in a pattern used as a means of controlling the fit of the garment. A dart is a fold of a fabric stitched to taper gradually to a point (Eberle et al. 2002; Sumathi 2002; Fairhurst 2008). The location, length, and width at the base vary according to the style. Wider darts provide better shape to the garment. These are used as the basic pattern in all positions where a bulge or hollow occurs in the figure. Darts can be single pointed or double pointed (Figure 2.8). Single pointed darts are mostly used for saree blouses and plain skirts to give shape and fit. Double pointed darts are mostly used for tops and long blouses, cholies and kameezes to give shape at the waist (Jacob 1988; Cooklin 1999; Crawford 2005).

There are two terms that are used in relation to darts – fitting darts and decorative darts. Decorative darts do not have any functional purpose in a garment and are used only for decorative purposes. Fitting darts are functional darts, which are triangular folds in a cloth making the flat fabric fit to the curves of the body (Pheasant 1986; Cooklin 1999; Crawford 2005). Locating the Dart Point

The basic of the flat pattern work is locating the pivotal or the dart point. The dart point, also called pivotal or apex point of the front bodice, is a place on the pattern from which the darts radiate. Two darts – one near the shoulder and another at the waistline – could be found in the back bodice. Each of these darts has its own pivot point (Taylor and Shoben 1990; Fan 2004; Glock and Kunz 2004).



Types of dart Method of Locating the Dart Point in the Back Bodice

n the back bodice there is no well-defined location for the common pivot point to be located. The pivot point is at about 11/2″ away from the tip of the dart. Figure 2.9 shows the position of the pivot point in the back bodice. Method of Locating the Dart Point in the Front Bodice This method is used for the pattern having two darts in the front bodice. The two darts are the bust fitting dart and the waist fitting dart. The bust fitting dart originates from the side seam and moves toward the bust point. The waist fitting dart originates from the waistline and moves toward the bust point (Gillian Holman 1997; Gupta and Gangadhar 2004).

For locating the dart point, a line has to be drawn from the middle of both bust and waist fitting darts and it is extended until they intersect. The point of juncture of these lines is the dart point in the front bodice. In Figure 2.10, point A and B are the centre line of the waist fitting dart and bust fitting dart, respectively. The lines are extended and the intersecting point C is labelled as the pivot point. The other vital aspect is the drawing of bust circle, which encloses the bust area in the pattern. The bust circle is generally drawn around the bust point with varying radius, which depends upon different sizes. For instance, 1 1/2″ of radius is used to draw the bust circle for sizes 8, 10 and 12, and 2″ radius is used to draw the bust circle for the sizes above 12.

Pivot points in the back bodice.


Pivot points in the back bodice.


Pivot point in the front bodice.


Pivot point in the front bodice.

Figure 2.11 shows the pattern with the bust circle (Cooklin 1999; Natalie Bray 2004; Crawford 2005; Gupta et al. 2006). Rules for Dart Location

1. Minimum length of the darts – The fitting darts of the front bodice must extend to the bust circle. This is the minimum length.

2. Maximum length of the darts – All the fitting darts must extend to the bust circle but should not lengthen outside the bust point. This is considered the maximum length of the darts. In some of the patterns, there would be one larger dart that would be extended until the bust point for proper fitting.

3. If both fitting darts are equal in size, both darts will end at the bust circle.

4. Darts may point away from the bust point for certain design effects but they must not point outside the bust circle.

5. A decorative dart, which does not help in fitting, does not point toward the bust circle. It should be kept small in angle so it does not create a ‘bulge’.