|adopted from a book by a Russian designer and patternmaker Galya Zlachevskaya|
What I am learning is that darts should be distributed at the hip line within dedicated areas only. Where precisely they are placed depends on the individual body and aesthetics. Let's take hip circumference of 90cm (35.4") - I will be using metric system from here on because of the ease of calculation with decimal numbers.
1/3 of the hip circumference in the front area (30cm in our example) can be used to place our front darts without hardly any effect for the fit. You can move them closer to the side seam or to the center front - it won't matter much unless you have some pronounced curves - in this case you will want the darts to place so that they help create an appropriate shape around your tummy.
Same applies to the back area: 1/3 of the hip circumference (30 cm for our example) for the back darts (there could be two, four, six, or even more darts), which should point at the most prominent part of your buttocks, or, as a less accurate solution, placed in the middle between center front and side seam
What you can't do is move your front or back darts to the side darts area (that extra intake at the side seam), which takes up approximately 1/6 of the hip circumference (15cm in our example). That also gives you a range for the side seam movement. Adding 1cm, or more, to the front or to the back is, actually, purely a design decision, not a construction necessity as it is sometimes presented. On the graph, though, the hip circumference is distributed equally since this is the easiest for the calculations for a basic straight skirt - the first project in this patternmaking course.
This whole dart placement rule makes even more sense if you are designing a pleated skirt. I am talking a pleated skirt where pleats are only pressed and start at the waist (not mid-hip). Why? If you are not curvy you may be just fine with the most common way of creating pleated skirts:
This would work great for a perfectly round ball, but our waist looks more like an ellipse from the top with slight deviations. So, if you are slightly curvier, even distribution at the waist can lead to a problem when some pleats overlap where less intake is needed (usually in the front), or spread where the intake in not sufficient (usually in the back, or on the sides).
In the past two days I have browsed internet in search of a perfect pleated skirt and realized a pleated skirt is not possible without compromises. I will continue on this subject later... Today, I would love to hear your comments about this dart placement rule! Please leave your comments and feedback about the subject.