April 17, 2012

How to: Create Armscye Princess Seams

For my upcoming wrap dress, I decided to draft armscye princess seams for the back bodice (in plain old english, this means that the princess seam originates from the armhole). Formerly, I've never really been fond of princess seams mostly because I just never really gave them a chance I think. But times change and I'll be....darned if I were to say that I'm one of those people who get stuck in fashion ruts. I mean, princess seams are timeless, so its only apropos that I give them a fightin chance. This really isn't a hard technique, so I thought I would put together a little tutorial on how to do it. Before you jump into this tutorial, make sure you've gone over How to: Move a Dart as this is a bit of a follow up from that. So now, are you ready to give your favorite TNT (tried'n'true - believe me, I had no idea what this term meant until a few weeks ago) pattern a facelift?

Back Bodice

Step 1 ♥ Let's start with the back bodice first, because its the easiest - which is not to say this is hard, so don't be scared. First thing to do is draw in some grainlines in the areas I've given you above. Keep the grainlines parallel to the center back. Now, I've got a confession to make. I didn't do this first step, so the next few photos are going to be grainline-less, but please don't miss this first step like I did. It's important that you don't get all grainline confused.

Step 2 ♥ Now we need to draw in the princess seam. From the tip of the dart (the top, pointy end) to the middle-ish section of the armscye draw in a line. Then add some notches which will help you when sewing this bad boy up later on.

Step 3 ♥ Now you're going to take your paper scissors and cut out the dart and cut from the tip of the dart to the armscye where you just marked your new seam line.

Step 4 ♥ Take your french curve and curve out the pointy parts (this happens to be at the top of the dart) of the new princess seam. You'll be cutting a sliver from the Side Back and you'll be adding just a little paper to the Upper Back.

Step 5 ♥ Add seam allowances to your freshly drafted back bodices. See, not so bad right? PPPSSsshawwww! You could do this in your sleep!

Front Bodice

Step 1 ♥ OK, the front bodice is a little different than the back. Not by much, but if you'll notice, you have more curves on your front than your back - Ladies, I'm referring to you here. Now this particular piece will look familiar from yesterday's Move a Dart tute. I'm just continuing on, so unless you have both darts in these particular places (armscye and waist), go move your dart. First you'll draw in your grainlines making sure they are parallel to the center front.

Step 2 ♥ Now you need to extend the waist dart to the apex. Remember what the apex is? if you don't, I'll refresh your memory. It's the pivoting point of the dart and for our front bodice that's right plumb over the middle of your breast. You should already have this marked if you moved a dart. Next you're going to sketch in some notches and then sketch in another notch for the apex - making sure that it spills over into the side front area. In the photo above my hand is holding together that armscye dart so I can notch it. And no, this was not an easy photo to take.

Step 3 ♥ Now doesn't this look familiar. Cut out your waist dart and from there you should have two separate pieces. I've labeled them Side Front and Upper Front and you can too.

Step 4 ♥ Round out those points, still keeping track of the apex. This is just like Step 4 for the Back Bodice.

Step 5  For the Front Bodice only we've got to add in a little bit of ease that we just took out when we rounded those sharp points. You'll notice that we didn't do that for the Back Bodice because to be blunt we don't have breasts back there. We've got them up front. So you'll need to slash from the apex almost to the side seam and spread (add paper and tape here) by 1/2". This will give you back that little bit of ease. Mind you this is only for the Side Front Bodice.

Step 6 ♥ Last but not least, add seam allowances. Yay!

Not bad, eh? Go ye forth and move some darts, make some princess seams and slash and spread. It's fun! Enjoy!

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