Making a sheath or shift dress like the one Georgene is doing now see the previous post can become a staple wardrobe piece. A sheath dress is a timeless design and if you have a good pattern it is a waste to not use it again and again.
But we woman want some more variations and making the same dress over and over is hardly an option we use without any design changes, except for some knit tops where we use a different fabric like prints or plain fabrics.
So if you have a good sheath dress pattern (vintage or new one) you can change the bust dart placement and have a new dress with the same good fit.
Playing with darts is a trick to use the same pattern again.
There are less sheath/shift dress patterns available these days but I found an example New Look 6643 which I used as an example to show you how to replace the bust dart into a new design feature.
I do not have this pattern but I think it mimics my self drafted example with a side bust dart and waist darts.
I made a black sheath dress in a silk cotton fabric about 10 years ago but I have no picture of the finished dress to show you. See an example of the dress I made with a diagonal bust dart.
I drafted a pattern to show you what to do if you have a sheath dress with a side bust dart and waist dart and want a new placement for the darts like this one,
My pattern draft example has no seam allowances added so if you want to change your pattern remove the seam allowances first, you can add them on later.
Step 1: Start with tracing your 1/2 front pattern on a double piece of paper since this new dress can not be cut on the fabric fold.
Step 2 : make the pattern as a one piece and mark the center front line .
Step 3: draw a diagonal line from the shoulder towards the bust point, I measured 2 inches (5 cm) from the end of the shoulder, draw another diagonal line from the other shoulder crossing the line at center front.
Step 4 : Cut the right side new diagonal line open towards the bust point and fold the original side bust darts closed. Voila a new bust dart placement.
Step 1 Step 2 Step 3 Step 4
Step 5: Since the bust side darts are now closed you can true the side seams in a smooth line , the waist darts do not get used in this dress so you can remove the wide of the waist darts from the waistline of the side seams from the original bust dart towards the hip line.
You can peg the side seams for a more slimming look, but please remember that your dress needs enough wide for a sanitary stop ( use of bathroom)
To sew the new dart start with sewing the bust dart maked with 1 and then sew the diagonal shoulder seam marked as 2
The best way to mark the new bust dart in your fabric is thread tracing.
I would suggest to use a a plain fabric for this new bust dart design.
If you want to use a print or plaid fabric just remember that the upper right bodice is not on grain.
If you want to make this pattern in a print or stripe fabric I would suggest cutting off the upper bodice by cutting the left shoulder line towards the bust and voila another pattern design.
Using a stripe fabric and placing the upper part at the bias or cross grain ( crosswise) will give your dress another view. The possibilities are endless, you also can cut the center front line from the upper bodice and put both sides at the bias which will result in a chevron if you use a stripe fabric.
Enjoy sewing a new sheath /shift dress design.
You can of course use this new bust dart placement for any blouse or top too.