They're called BUST DARTS, not short rows!

bust dart swatch

Well. yesterday I tweeted that I was working on a little short row tutorial for my Fit Your Knits class. Honeybee33 RTd with comment: “short rows or bust darts, because they are not the same thing.”

Oh, Snap!

In doing my research for this tutorial, Deborah N-Sanders (AKA Honeybee33) is one of the people who was most often recommended to me as a resource for bust dart information. My friend Kathryn is a bust-darter, and she converted my friend Cindy. Kathryn can bust dart any fabric…cables, ribbing, lace, you name it. Kathryn is one of those knitters who has taken charge of her knitting (I find this infinitely refreshing!) Weeks ago, I g-chatted Kathryn and asked her some questions, and, who did she recommend that I search out? Honeybee33 and the tutorial in Big Girl Knits.

Deborah is absolutely famous on Ravelry for her knowledge about bust darts. Vertical bust darts, horizontal bust darts, using more than one dart in a garment…I’m a recent member / longtime lurker of The Bust Line group, but hadn’t really taken the time to sit down and read everything, let alone swatch.

When the students in my class started asking about short row bust darts, I put together a list of resources. But in my heart, I knew that this just wasn’t good enough. So I started seriously reading the information that my busty friends and designer colleagues have recommended and working out a video tutorial.

Bust dart resources

And now I want to recommend these resources to you:

Debora wrote and published what she called a “Titorial” which was later published in Yarn Forward Magazine in two installments. Here are the links to purchase both issues of the magazine. (It’s WELL worth the roughly $10 total for both issues.) Issue 15 & Issue 16. Now we just have to pressure her to write the follow-up with more advanced techniques!

And, for a written-out, customize-able formula (don’t worry, the math is easy!) definitely buy a copy of Big Girl Knits if you don’t already have one!

For me, and I’m a “math girl”, it took actually working through the steps in the Big Girl Knits book for this to make sense to me. I had to see it in stitch counts (I also worked out a few swatches) before I convinced the “It’s too hard!” part of my brain to shut the heck up and let me work my bust darts!

You may be thinking things like, “You’re supposedly a designer, how did you not know this already?” Well, I’m asking myself that, too, and I think I’ve come up with a few reasons:

1) This was me before we had kids: IMG_2213

When I was working on Fitted Knits, that was my body type…the willowy, no need for bust darts shape. (Deborah recommends bust darts for C-cup or larger, and that was not me.) This is also why I got so much flack for my designs not taking “real” shapes into account. At the time, I took a lot of offense to that statement because this was actually the curviest / heaviest I’d ever been and really FELT big myself. Because I’m so tall, even at this weight I wore a 12. SO…reason # 1 boils down to the fact that I’ve never had to work bust darts for myself.

2) When I knit samples for publication, I have to knit to the publisher’s standard (usually a 34″ bust).

3) I just didn’t realize the number of people who do need to do this shaping in everything they knit. Now that I’m among that group…I’m dedicated to educating myself about the various bust dart techniques so that I can be more sensitive to those people who have to alter my patterns…and more aware of the different body shapes that also need pretty designs. Why not add in easily-alterable shaping to begin with? Why not position lace panels and cables so that extra sts could be worked between them if necessary?

So, don’t take those as excuses, just REASONS. And, as Deborah pointed out that I needed to do…I’m educating myself. Now that I’m getting back into designing at roughly 2 years since my last book came out, I’m taking shaping much more seriously. I’ve also been rethinking my raglan shaping techniques and everything that goes into my designs. Working on the book that I’ve alluded to over the winter really helped me to align my thoughts and to hone my process.

You’ll start seeing more from me again soon!

9 thoughts on “They're called BUST DARTS, not short rows!

  1. Good timing. I’m also going through I need to learn bust darts at the moment.

    It’s good to see more people taking the full spectrum of women’s shapes into account in their designs.

  2. Love your commentary/rationale on the bust darts (and giggled at the OH SNAP.) I’m not willowy but I’m smaller than a C so I’ve never needed bust darts and wouldn’t know either! So don’t beat yourself up!

  3. Abigail, never Fear…I think that the “skinny girl w/o cleavage” has been my default audience in terms of design, so I’m trying to expand my knowledge and design skills to better include more body types.

  4. I’m really glad to hear that you’re looking at a wider range of sizes – I love love LOVE your style (found a copy of Glam Knits half off and you could have sworn it was my birthday), but some of the earlier stuff made me sad. Fitted Knits in particular – I knew the focus was on customization, but the fact that all the base sizes were all at least several inches too small for my bust/waist etc. left me looking elsewhere. It’s one thing to modify from something that’s close, but rewriting the entire pattern makes me wonder why I don’t just go find a sweater calculator (for free) and toss in design details myself. Not that that’s an unworthy pursuit, but I love your patterns (and those of a lot of other designers who historically don’t cater to my 48″ bustline), and I want to support you rather than just snagging neat details from your designs. Glam Knits made me swoon. Really gorgeous projects that I could tweak, rather than rewrite wholesale.

    By the by, I think you’re absolutely gorgeous, and I love the orange glasses on you. (Favorite color!)

  5. Glam Knits was my response to all of the comments like yours about Fitted Knits. I wanted to show that I could design with a womanly figure in mind, and include a larger range of sizes. (Though a number of the patterns in Fitted Knits do go up to size 54.) The projects in the book I’m currently working on all go up to 52.

    Not to just use this as a plug, but my How to Fit Your Knits class might be something useful for you, if you continually find yourself having to alter patterns.

  6. Thank you so much for taking the need for bust darts into account! When I knit my first garment, a sweater vest (it wasn’t your pattern), and tried it on, I was appalled to see that it rode up in front to show my belly button. I knit it according to my bust measurement, not realizing that my G cup size meant that I’d need a few extra inches of length in the front. Luckily I was able to get fix-it advice from a well-endowed LYS employee, but it was a very frustrating experience for me, to have to rip out the top half of the front of my vest and re-knit it with 3 inches of short row bust darts, figuring out how to work them without completely messing up the ribbed pattern. It was the sort of thing that made me want to forsake garment knitting and just knit socks forever. I haven’t, and agree that Big Girl Knits and Deborah’s Yarn Forward tutorial are good resources. I’ve been disappointed that several resources for designing your own knits, like Design It, Knit It, and Knitwear Design Studio didn’t mention bust darts at all (the omission is almost criminal to me). I cannot thank you enough for educating yourself about bust darts and taking them into account during your design process. It makes me really excited to see what you come out with next! Again, thank you!

  7. When working a short row on tunic top, is the short row 1 or 2 rows ie the knit 25 wrap and turn and purl back to the start.
    In either case row 21 is a short hip row and 22 a short neck row. This would mean that the short knit, short purl and the a long knit is 1 row. Please help!
    Thank you.

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