Peony Guest Post by Lauren

October 24, 2012

I have Lauren here today sharing some great tips for getting a better fit with your Peony. Lauren has made some AMAZING versions of this dress that you can oogle on her flickr page (this one happens to be my favorite!). If you don’t already read Lauren’s blog, you’re seriously missing out. Not only is she a very talented seamstress, but she’s absolutely hilarious! Her blog makes me “LOL” for real.

Also be sure to check out the recent Peony guest post by Christine Haynes on Erin’s blog!

Okay, so without further adieu, here are Lauren’s helpful hints for a great fitting Peony…


A Word About The Bust Darts

The Peony pattern is a little trickster when it comes to getting a good fit – and I’m going to go ahead and blame this on the dart placement. There are two sets of darts in the bodice – vertical waist darts, and horizontal bust darts. When executed properly, they provide a wonderfully flattering fit. They will also make you want to rip your hair out in frustration, because they depend on a very delicate balance to compliment each other and being off in the slightest will put your entire bodice out of whack. Fun!

Sorry ’bout the boob close-up, y’all! This is a good example of the bodice & the beautiful marriage between both sets of darts. For illustration purposes, I have highlighted them in red (and now I’m thinking that my bodice kind of looks like a face, haha!). The vertical waist darts should sit right in the middle of each breast,and end about an inch below the apex. The horizontal bust darts should also sit in the middle, and end at the same distance.

I’ve noticed that most muslin struggles appear to be because the darts are in the wrong place. The waist darts will likely need to shift out toward the side seams, and the bust darts will need to be moved up toward the neckline. This is an easy fix! After you have made your muslin & assessed just how far the darts need to be moved, simply cut the entire dart out of the pattern piece (I’d strongly recommend a tracing at this point, just to be safe!) and tape it down where it belongs. You can fill in the gaps with paper – see my ruled paper sections? Yep, I had to move ’em pretty far over!

Remember that if you move one set of darts, you *must* move the other set as well! This is extremely important; otherwise the dart points won’t match up properly and you will absolutely have a hot mess on your hands. See where I have circled the points? Note their relationship to each other, and mimic that same relationship balance when the darts are moved. Say you move the waist darts over by 1/2″, you will need to move the bust darts up 1/2″ (and possibly shorten them) as well.

Look again at the first picture for an example of this. The darts on my left side haven’t been properly calibrated – the bust dart is too long, and it’s hovering over the waist dart. As a result, there isn’t enough room for the bust apex to sit and if this was a real bodice (aka not a paint drawing), the fit would be off. Since the bust dart is in the right place, it’s just a matter of shortening it a bit to allow for that extra space.

Hopefully this helps some of y’all with your bust-fitting issues. As a side note, this information can be applied to any bodice that has these sorts of bust darts – not just the Peony. Now go forth and give those girls the beautiful fit they deserve! 🙂


You heard the woman 😉 Get to sewing!

Thanks again for your help, Lauren!