It wasn't too long ago that I believed that waist shaping was the extent of the tailoring I would need to know for a good fit in knitting. Boy, was I wrong. I have learned many times over that just a few increases and decreases along the side seams is not going to give me the tailored, fine fit that I need. Fitting knitted garments well is especially important for woman no matter what your size because we are not all created equal. While some may have a bigger chest, smaller waist or well rounded hips, others may be the opposite or just share one of these attributes. That means darts; or increases or decrease in a centralized area to give one the extra fabric or less fabric to create a flattering shape. Like sewing it is important to place your darts in the correct area and to use the correct shape of dart. Here are 2 dart patterns that can be modified to fit your shape and added into any pattern.
Vertical Dart: While not completely vertical, this dart does
the job the same way. This dart is best used for targeted waist shaping, light
bust shaping and in the hip area. You can add several of these darts with just
a few increases/decreases each for dramatic shaping (i.e. if your waist is
significantly smaller than your hips) or just a few with more increases/decrease
for a gradual shaping.
R1: Work to your dart marker, slip the marker (SM) and increase with either M1 (make 1) or Kf&b (knit front and back)
R2: Work in pattern
R3: Work to dart marker, SM, k1, increase (here you are increasing on the stitch added from the previous increase)
R4: Work in pattern
R5: Work to dart marker, SM, k2, increase
Continue adding increases on the previous increase your dart resembles the picture or the diagram until you have added the desired number of increase. For a reverse dart, trade the increases for decreases.
Side dart: This is an excellent dart for bust lines (it is similar to short rows). This dart can also be used for collars. It is built with a number of increases followed by an equal number of decreases in a dart shape.
Mark your dart location with a marker
R1: work to marker, SM, increase (Kf&b or M1)
R2: work in pattern
R3: work to 1 st before M, increase, work in pattern
R4: Work in pattern
R5: Work to 2 st before M, increase work in pattern
Continue until you have increase the desired amount then on the next increase row, K2tog directly above the last increase. Continue moving your decrease out back to your marker every other row until you are back to your original stitch count. You will have added an amount of fabric in a very targeted area for better drape and fit.