How to knit horizontal bust darts

I have finished knitting the sleeves and body of my pink sweater and am ready to start the yoke tonight! And as a special treat for you I finally wrote down and took pictures of what I was doing when I started to knit horizontal bust darts during the last few rounds of the body. If you don’t know what I’m talking about: Horizontal bust darts help levelling out the hem of a sweater, if your sweaters are (like mine) always shorter on the front than in the back. You solve this problem by adding more length in the form of short rows to the front in the bust area. Here is what you do in pattern lingo for stockinette stitch. (If you don’t know how to work short rows, you can find my tutorial here.)

bust dart wrap and turn

Knitted to 3 sts before the wrap and ready to wrap the next stitch.

How to Knit Horizontal Bust Darts:

Row 1: Knit to _____ X sts before end of row (or side seam marker when working in the round), wrap and turn.

Row 2: Purl back to _____ X sts before end of row (or beginning of rnd marker when working in the round), wrap and turn.

Row 3: Knit to _____ X sts before wrapped st, wrap and turn.

Row 4: Purl to _____ X sts before wrapped st, wrap and turn.

Repeat the last 2 rows _____ – 2 = _____ times.

Next: Knit to end of row/round, picking up the wraps as you go. At the side seams you have now worked just one row or round. Don’t forget to pick up the rest of the wraps in the next row or round when you work over them.

short rows for bust dart finished

All turns have been made for the bust dart. You can see the side seam marker on the left.

As you see, you will need some numbers to fill in X and Y before you can knit horizontal bust darts. As these are highly individual, I will now walk you through calculating them. First you will need to determine just how much more length there should be in the front. All you need for this is taking 2 measurements. Tie a strand of yarn or a ribbon around your waist and make sure it sits paralell to the ground. Then measure from the shoulder seam of the garment you are wearing down to your waist – once over your bust point (front length) and once down your back (back length). If the garment is fitted, like the sweater I’m knitting, bring your measuring tape to your waist, if it isn’t, just let it hang loose.

Now subtract the back length from the front length. In my case it’s 48.2cm (front length) – 44.5cm (back length) = 3.7cm. This is the length I’ll have  to add so the hem of my sweater is even.

_____ (front length) – _____ (back length) = _____ (length)

Multiply this length with your row (or round) gauge and round the result to the nearest even number. This gives you the number of rows you will have to knit additionally in the front. Then divide this number by 2 to get the number of turns you will have to make on each side when you are knitting the bust darts. My gauge is 27 rnds per 10 cm or 2.7rnds/cm. 3.7cm * 2.7rnds/cm = 9.99 rnds which I then round to 10 rounds. 10rnds / 2 = 5 = Y.

_____ (length) * _____ (row gauge/cm) = _____

Rounded to nearest even number: _____ / 2 = _____ = Y

Now we are going to determine X or over how many stitches we are working the short rows for our bust dart. Take out your pattern and look up the bust width. If only the bust circumference is given, divide it by 2 to get the bust width. Then measure the distance between your bust points and add 5cm. Substract this number from the bust width and divide the result by 2 to get the dart length. In my case that’s bust circumference 99cm / 2 = 49.5cm bust width. 49.5cm bust width – 30cm = 19.5cm 19.5 / 2 = 9.75cm dart length.

_____ (distance between bust points) + 5cm = _____

_____ (bust width) – _____ (distance between bust points + 5cm) = _____ (dart length)

Multiply the dart length with your stitch gauge and divide it by Y (the number of turns we calculated earlier) and round the result down to a full number.  9.75cm * 1.7sts/cm = 16 sts  16sts / 5 = 3.2sts rounded  to 3 = X.

_____ (dart length) * _____ (stitch gauge/cm) = _____ / _____ (Y) = _____

Rounded to nearest full number: _____ = X

how to knit horizontal bust darts to have a longer front

The sweater lies on the front. You can see that it is now longer than the back facing you.

This post is part of Tami’s Amis WiP Wednesday and Ginny’s Yarn Along.

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