Pencil dress with dart manipulation


Let's draft together the pattern of this pencil dress.

It has cuts that fit perfectly an hourglass silhouette, and a flattering neckline and bodice shape.

It is also perfect as an exercise on dart manipulation: one is changed into a cut, one into a stitched pleat, the skirt dart is divided into three darts.

The perfect fabric is a medium weight one with a small stretch, as crepe, crepe satin, ponte...

Start from a fitted basic block with zero or negative wearing ease, according to the fabric you are using and to the fit you like.

Step 1

Start from bodice.

On back and front draw the shoulder strap by moving the armhole 2-3cm inward, then making the strap 4-5cm wide.

On back, square across the center at armhole height. Then erase the dart and discard it half from center and half from side.

On front, reduce the waist dart and discard half of it from side (to make the side as slanted as the back one), then draw the front neckline. Then widen the bust dart by 1cm at the neckline.

Step 2

Cut through all lines to separate the pieces.

On front bodice draw the style line: it starts 4-6cm below armhole, passes through bust point, makes a right angle 3-4cm before center front and ends in the neckline 1cm before center.
Cut through the waist dart and the style lines.

Step 3

Separate the front bodice pieces:

  • close the shoulder dart on upper piece and fix the shape if necessary,
  • separate the lower pieces by 1cm to create the small pleat.

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