Updated 1.1.2021: The Upton Dress & Skirt plus Mix & Match Expansion Pack includes a princess seamed bodice–no need to pattern hack if you don’t want to!
Once you have a bodice that fits you really well, it’s tempting to make it over and over again. So, when I wanted to make a princess seamed dirndl, instead of trying to hack a traditional princess seam bodice drafted for a B cup, I used the Cashmerette Upton Dress in a G/H and adapted it. Today, I’m showing you how to change a bodice with darts to princess seams!
I’m demonstrating on the Upton Dress, but this technique will work on any two-darted bodice. If your bodice only has a bust dart, you can also use it – just draw a vertical line down from the apex where a waist dart would be.
- Start with your darted bodice
2. Draw a line horizontally through the bust dart, and a line vertically through the waist dart. Where they cross over is the bust apex.
3. Draw a curved line from the armhole notch to the bust apex, making it a smooth curve that ends at a vertical line by the apex. Using a French Curve ruler will help you get a nice shape. Then, continue the line down to the waist, ending at the right hand side leg of the waist dart.
Make three marks across this new line, twice at the curve, and once at the bust apex (these will be your notches later).
4. Cut along the curved line, creating a side pattern piece and a center pattern piece.
5. Add seam allowance to the curve on the center pattern piece (in the case of the Upton, that’s 1/2″).
6. Now we need to get rid of the dart on the side piece. Draw a line from the bottom leg of the dart to the bust apex (it won’t totally line up with the dart, that’s OK!).
7. Cut along the line you just drew, and then swing the bottom piece up to close the dart. Tape closed.
8. Re-draw the curve to smooth it out, also removing the remaining waist dart. Draw the seam allowance onto the curved side of the side bodice piece. Re-draw on the grain line.
And that’s it. Sew the side to the center bodice piece, matching the notches. And voila: you’ve change a bodice with darts to princess seams!