A morning of manipulating my darts

Hi everyone,

Hope your week is going well?  Mine is super busy (for someone who is technically not working). Went to the second session of my six week course: pattern drafting at Clothkits: less maths this week for me to fret about.


This week was mainly spent cutting and sticking – it reminded me of the best primary school lesson ever!


We cut out six  – I don’t know what they are called – bodice fronts?  – and manipulated the darts into one of six different positions so that we could see how it would work in practice. I actually really enjoy the theory side of things.

The one I found most baffling was where the darts are right across the middle of your chest.  I really couldn’t work out why you would ever do this but the tutor explained – with the aid of a piece of lined paper – the effect which would be created if your fabric had horizontal stripes.  I have to say  – there was a light bulb moment when it finally twigged.


You’ll have to excuse my shoddy photos – there just wasn’t enough light and I was rushing because I needed to concentrate on what the tutor was saying rather than faff around with my IPAD.

We have to start collecting ideas of what we would like our own dress to be like.  I hadn’t realised but the ultimate objective of the course is, as well as making the blocks, to have made a toile of our own design.  After having spent the morning manipulating darts, I think I am going to go for a bodice with wing darts – similar to princess seams but the darts go under the arm rather than up to the shoulder. I am thoroughly enjoying the course and am very excited to be making up my own design – at this stage I am thinking a Christmas Day dress, perhaps in a floral needlecord.


We then spent some time fitting the toiles we had made up for homework. My darts had to be lowered by a centimetre and there was also an adjustment to remove some fabric from the back shoulders and to reduce the overall length.  It was really interesting to see how you swivelled the darts around to move the fabric from one area to the other. Please excuse my mum tum on display – I am amused by the intense concentration on my face! We now have to make up a second toile incorporating all of our adjustments – precision is key apparently.

At the end of the morning the tutor, Maria Pulley, took us into her studio (which is based above Clothkits) to show us some of the beautiful couture garments she is working on.  One of her original designs for the formal robes of the High Sherriff of (?) had had its inaugural wear the previous day at a Remembrance Day service and Maria showed us her initial sketches.  It is a real privilege to be taught be someone who is clearly incredibly gifted.

Will close now with some good news – I went for a job interview yesterday and was successful.  I was really chuffed with all the lovely messages I received on my Instagram so thank you lovely sewing community – you lift my spirits.

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x


25 responses

  1. You are certainly making me want to do this course – it sounds brilliant. That ‘across the chest dart’ looks like one to try with a stripy fabric. I do know Maria and have been to a one day course with her at Clothkits. Her creations are amazing! It is such great news about your new job – I look forward to hearing about it.


  2. Looks like my sort of course! Congrats again on the job although you may get a bit too used to your sewcation to do the work thing again!


  3. Yay! Congratulations on your new job! And well done learning all these new skills. The Dimpsey T I recently made has a strange upside down T shaped dart at the front. It hangs lovely but I never thought of using it for stripy fabric, so Thankyou 😀


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