The Dior Dart

It is not often that you hear reference to Dior darts these days, but since a couple of dresses I’ve made recently have this design feature, let’s discuss!

A Dior dart is a short bust dart that extends from a side front panel seam on the bodice, and it often occurs in fitted tops and dresses from the sixties.  It certainly features heavily in the 1968 Burda Moden’s that I picked up a while ago:

As a sixties fashion fanatic I was a fan of this type of dart, but it wasn’t until I entered the garment industry that I heard my colleagues describing it as a ‘Dior dart’ – and I took their word for gospel as they had all trained during that era!

I haven’t heard it referred to it as such again, well until I recently picked up a book that seconds the idea.  In Basic Pattern Cutting by Maria Mori, the author claims the side panel bust dart was first used by Christian Dior – so maybe my colleagues were right after all:

I’ve always loved the look – the side panel seam slims, the short bust dart minimises – and these factors contribute to the desirable ‘youthful’ effect of that era.  It is not just for the youthful though.  In my Burda magazines there are plenty of examples in the mature/plus sizes, and they look very slimming indeed.

Perhaps the best thing about the Dior dart is that it is easy to create for yourself!  Here’s how:

From your block or pattern, swing all dart suppression into a single side bust dart:

If you are using an existing pattern, you will need to extend all darts to the bust point first.

Fold the dart just as it will be pressed in the finished garment, then draw in a side panel seam:

Add a seam allowance to the centre front panel, then cut along this line with the dart still folded:

Now trace around the side panel with the dart closed, but add double the width of the seam allowance:

Notch the dart legs on the centre front panel, and their match point on the side panel:

Reduce the dart length by 2cm so the dart apex stops short of the bust point:

Now you are ready to cut and sew!

Do you like the side panel bust dart too?  And have you ever heard it referred to as a Dior dart?

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I'm a designer/patternmaker who loves to share my sewing knowledge with others! Follow me as I sew my personal projects, sharing my favourite tricks of the trade along the way.

54 thoughts on “The Dior Dart

    1. Since I wrote this post (way back in 2012!) I have heard the term Dior dart used more often by other sources – probably because this once forgotten detail had a bit of a revival!

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