Project Patterns

Pattern Cutting Fundamentals: Dart Manipulation

blocks garment construction Pattern cutting pattern drafting product development
Online course

Darts and shaping are a key part of all patterns, and learning how to work with them is a key part of pattern cutting. In Dart Manipulation you will learn how darts work and how to rotate them into new positions, using a technique called slash and spread. You will also learn how to convert darts into different forms of shaping including seams, gathers and pleats.

This course is the second course of the Pattern Cutting Fundamentals Course Series, covering essential beginner pattern cutting knowledge and techniques.

3 hours
Junior Pattern Cutters, Garment Technicians or entry level Fashion Graduates, working in brands and retailers or clothing manufacturers, or working as freelancers/independents.
Learners must have a basic understanding of garment construction, and know how to add seam allowance e.g. have some sewing experience or have completed course 1 of this bundle before taking this course.

How will you learn?

This highly practical course includes video demonstrations and instructions as well as worksheets, quizzes and discussions. This course also supplies half scale downloadables to follow along that will ease your learning journey and enhance your learning experience. An in-course glossary at the learner's fingertips facilitates the understanding of technical terms.

All participants who successfully complete the course will receive a Project Patterns Certificate of Completion.

What will you learn?

By the end of the course, learners will:

1. Understand how darts function

2. Use slash and spread to rotate single darts into new positions

3. Use slash and spread to combine multiple darts into one dart

4. Convert darts to seams, gathers and pleats

5. Combine two of the techniques that you’ve learnt into one garment

Online course Detailed outline

Module 1: Dart Rotation

We can change the visual position of our darts by using two techniques called Slash & Spread and pivoting. This Module will introduce you to simple dart rotation and gradually move through some more complex examples.

  • 1.1 How Darts Work
  • 1.2 Pivot VS. Slash & Spread
  • 1.3 Stepping the Bust Darts Back
  • 1.4 Symmetrical Bodice Rotation Examples
  • 1.5 Asymmetric Bodice Rotation Examples
  • 1.6 Skirt Rotation Examples
  • 1.7 Put Your New Skills To The Test

Module 2: Converting Darts to Gathers & Pleats

This module will teach you how to change your darts into new forms of shaping including gathers and pleats without compromising on the fit of your garment.

  • 2.1 Converting our Darts
  • 2.2 Gather Examples
  • 2.3 Combining Darts And Gathers
  • 2.4 Simple Pleats
  • 2.5 Inverted Box Pleats
  • 2.6 Complex Pleat
  • 2.7 Put Your Skills To The Test

Module 3: Converting Darts to Seams

The last form of shaping that our darts can convert into is a seam. In this module we’ll start with some simple examples and move onto more complex ones and also take a look at how we can combine the techniques you’ve learnt so far.

  • 3.1 Skirt Example
  • 3.2 Yoke Seams
  • 3.3 Princess Seams
  • 3.4 Bodice Examples
  • 3.5 Combining Two Techniques
  • 3.6 Put Your New Skills To The Test

Kathryn Roberts

Course Instructor

Kathryn is a London based pattern cutter with over 8 years of industry experience working for both luxury brands such as Peter Pilotto and Emila Wickstead as well as high street mega brands including Topshop, Ted Baker and River Island.
She is the founder and teacher of Project Patterns, an online space which she created to share her love and enthusiasm for all things pattern cutting related. She is also one half of the popular podcast Fashion Half Cut.

Project Patterns is an education platform focusing on opening up the world of pattern cutting.
Starting as a humble blog in 2018 the business has grown into a learning platform offering free pattern cutting resources, online courses, one to one tuition and in person workshops around the UK. Their mission is to demystify the art of pattern cutting for industry professionals, small business owners and sewers.

Read more about Project Patterns.


Yes, you need to feel confident with your basic sewing skills.

This course focuses on Womenswear, but the techniques like dart rotation and slash & spread can be used in menswear too.

No, I provide free half scale blocks as part of this course for you to practice with.

No, this course focuses on what to do with your blocks after you’ve bought or drafted them.

Pattern Ruler (Pattern Master, Set Square, French Curve etc are all fine)
Pattern Paper (or something similar)
Mechanical/Sharp Pencil
Paper Scissors
Scotch Tape or Masking Tape
Tape Measure
Pattern Notcher
Pattern Drill
Tracing Wheel
Half scale block (provided with the course)