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The Aesthetics of the Extended Front Dart


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#19 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 01:51 PM

That is the complete reason of the dart, to be read in Muellerbook, page 93.


How dare they do that! It is in bad taste.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#20 jukes

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:39 PM

I am no master tailor. And I have much to learn. However, I learned under a master tailor who in turn learned under another Master tailor. I was taught to draft patterns with an extended front dart. I was told that this helps with a full chest and a trimmed hip. It is not only for a real "bespoke" look but rather for me it is tradition. Luigi Gallo who learned under Angelo Litrico and who cuts 300 plus garments a year still uses the extended front dart. I know plenty of great tailors who use one and plenty who do not. I also, see no logical need for a side body but I would never put down those who use it as being illogical. In fact I have seen great work done with the use of side bodies. I think it is just poor taste to post a thread in this manner. I will cut my next coat with an extended dart tomorrow in keeping with the tradition my maestro set before me. But that is my aesthetic want.


Exactly, and the more the trade is "dumbed down" by cutting a garment exactly the same way every time for every figure, the worse off the trade will be. Looking at the fit of some of today,s
garments that are cut in this fashion, i would say the trade is moving backwards, not forward.
The more knowledge you USE the better the craftsman.



#21 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 04:49 PM

Here's more for those fans of decorative seams that run to the front base of the coat. Here it is with the dart extended upwards to the armhole as well, a technique borrowed from ladies' tailoring. It has also been heavily underlined by fancy topstitching:

Posted Image

In this example, the horizontal stripes mean that you can maintain pattern matching even when the front dart runs all the way to the bottom of the hem:

Posted Image

BTW did I mention that the extended front dart appears in women's coat patterns in the Victorian era, several decades before it appeared on men's coats. So I think this technique was also borrowed from ladies' tailoring. Oh yes, I did mention it before!
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#22 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:05 PM

Exactly, and the more the trade is "dumbed down" by cutting a garment exactly the same way every time for every figure, the worse off the trade will be. Looking at the fit of some of today,s
garments that are cut in this fashion, i would say the trade is moving backwards, not forward.
The more knowledge you USE the better the craftsman.


Is this comment directed at me, A.A. Whife or the editors of OSZ? Everything said in this thread is just a simplified layperson's version of what Whife and OSZ published in 1949 - were you even born then?

As for me, I test out all of these cutting techniques, often for garments to be made up in the shop. Fortunately, the owner of the shop is someone very critical of tailors who just do things they way they were taught as an apprentice 50 years without any attempt to experiment with new cutting methods or adapt to fashion. Over many decade he has seen many tailors from Italy have their business fail because they were stuck cutting the same old boxy cut from the 1950s over and over.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#23 jukes

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 05:39 PM

Is this comment directed at me, A.A. Whife or the editors of OSZ? Everything said in this thread is just a simplified version of what Whife and OSZ published in 1949 - were you even born then?

As for me, I test out all of these cutting techniques, often for garments to be made up in the shop. Fortunately, the owner of the shop is someone very critical of tailors who just do things they way they were taught as an apprentice 50 years without any attempt to experiment with new cutting methods or adapt to fashion. Over many decade he has seen many tailors from Italy have their business fail because they were stuck cutting the same old boxy cut from the 1950s over and over.


Why would it be directed at you, Whife or anyone else, its my opinion and no i was not born then. The extended front dart is still in use today, why are you making it
sound that is a historical cut. As for Italian cuts being boxy, i dont think so. That remark should be for other certain European countries. The Italians cut with more
shape than most.
Why get personal when someone disagrees with your opinion.

#24 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:03 PM

^The shop owner I am talking about is Italian.

The problem is that I am not seeing a defence of the extended front that goes "the extended front dart has a role in modern tailoring because x,y,z". I've shown photographs pointing out problems with the front dart and I have citations to two highly authoritative 1949 articles from two countries that supports it. The only defence I see here is that it is inappropriate to critique the extended front dart because both Whife I are "in poor taste" to do so: an opinion you chose to second. :Black Eye:

As for whether it is better not to have an extended dart (displaced to the side or straight down the front, it does exactly the same thing - just as Whife says) that's a totally different question that should go into a separate thread (this thread is already getting confusing enough for non-tailors). Others may even argue against having ANY front dart whatsoever - also a separate topic.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#25 jukes

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:22 PM

I gathered the shop owner was Italian. This is just another thread on moving darts around the hip area, why not put them in the back waist like the ladies, to control the widest part of the hip girth, ie the backside and also more room over the blades ? - because it would not look right, too feminine. Also the reason why many male customers would not have back shoulder darts.

#26 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 06:53 PM

This is just another thread on moving darts around the hip area, why not put them in the back waist like the ladies, to control the widest part of the hip girth, ie the backside and also more room over the blades ? - because it would not look right, too feminine. Also the reason why many male customers would not have back shoulder darts.


Yes, these are all separate topics on their own in a similar vein. I do appreciate that having no extended darts at all (whether straight down the front of displaced under the arm - these just being the same thing anyway) achieves even better pattern matching. As for having no front dart at all, that achieves the best pattern matching of all:

Posted Image

The trouble is that when you talk about all these things in the one thread, not only does it start to go over the head of the non-tailors, the tailors get confused as well.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#27 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:49 PM

It's possible it should be regarded as part of the post war aesthetic of the honest open display of modernist construction. Don't hide the supporting steel I beams*, don't hide the concrete slabs. Let the people see what holds the building up and don't distract them with non-functional decoration.


The extended front dart first makes it appearance in British and German publications around the 1930s. It is a pre-war phenomenon. Italian texts of this era don't have this in them yet (except for women's tailoring). The Italians imported this from abroad, maybe to try to make their coats look more English. Or to put it another way: the extended front dart is definitely NOT Italian.

Overall the lounge coat has gained more seams since the Victorian era when it was called a three-seamer because it only had three seams to suppress the waist. It had no front dart in those days. As they stopped wearing the lounge coat for lounging and it became more formal (the American dumped the term "sack coat"), it slowly gained more seams to the point it can have as many seams as a body coat. That is, the lounge coat has become a replacement for body coats as a form of formal wear. The extra seams are to make it sharply fitted and dressier.

In Victorian times some coats were a nought and crosses game of in-your-face visible seams! Even though modern coats have gained seams, they are more cleverly concealed to give it a minimalistic clean look. I think that is more a Bauhaus type of clean and simple look devoid of artifice. It's only in the 1970s that you see these coats with really Baroque seams on them again:

Posted Image

BTW don't get me wrong, I think that coat by Engelbert Ott is just amazing in many ways, and while I think the modern minimalist aesthetic of hiding seams is good, so is the 1970s trend to showing off decorative seams and panels.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#28 Youngsarto

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:58 PM

Wow! Had no idea the moderator of this forum was such a child. This may be my last visit to this site. Good day all and good luck keeping the trade alive.

#29 Sator

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 11:26 PM

You're the one that is doing all the name calling. I am just repeating what has been in the literature for the last 60 years.

Why can't you just present a good counter argument like: the extended front dart has a place in modern tailoring because x,y,z.

For example:

1. The seam is not that visible and not a problem
2. On most cloths it doesn't cause a pattern matching problem
3. It is superior to displacing the seam off to the side because when you displace the seam to the side it causes problems x, y, z
4. I like it because it is different, and seams can be decorative

If you just name call with phrases like "you are wrong because you are childish" or "you are wrong because it is bad taste to critique a seam placement", it is an admission of defeat and time to run away.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#30 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 11:51 PM

BTW I should mention that the objection to having a front dart extending down the front is something that A.A. Whife states in the 1950s (A First Course, T&C):

Obviously, Whife is in "poor taste" to demonstrate that you can get around this issue by hiding the extended front dart off at the side. It is odd that he mentions that customers object to the extended front dart only with plain cloth design. You will get more distortion of pattern matching on a patterned design.

The equally "poor taste" Viennese article (in OSZ, 1949) states that you should only leave the extended front dart going down the front if you have patch pockets:


Why is this poor taste? That's way they do it. (But I would always move the dart to the Sidearm)

The OSZ authors say (and I agree with them) that if your coat doesn't have patch pockets, you should move the extended seam off to the side to hide it, which becomes doubly important if the cloth is a large check.


I agree with this as well.

Schneidern heisst, viel Wissen, viel Arbeit und keine Kohle im Sack, dafuer aber viele Kunden, die alles besser wissen.  :Big Grin:


#31 Der Zuschneider

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:00 AM

How dare they do that! It is in bad taste.


The book is from 1951. But they say the same like you mentioned. When having patch pockets you could use the extended dart.

It is probably better even not to use the extended dart to the hem even with patch pocket.
But then inside the patch pockets you need to intelligent cover the stomach dart.

Czujewizc and modern master tailors from Germany didn't use the extended dart anymore.
At least I saw constructions how to hide the stomach dart in the patch pockets somewhere in the books.
I have never made a patch pocket, so I don't know. But I don't like the pattern disturbance underneath the patch pocket like shown in Sators pictures.

Edited by Der Zuschneider, 21 September 2011 - 12:02 AM.

Schneidern heisst, viel Wissen, viel Arbeit und keine Kohle im Sack, dafuer aber viele Kunden, die alles besser wissen.  :Big Grin:


#32 hymo

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:06 AM

I think the extended front dart has a role in modern tailoring because it is a feature than can single out a coat as bespoke. Bespoke garments are luxury products, and a major reason luxury products get bought is to signal status. Lounge suits are no longer everyday garments. They are ceremonial clothes.

Anachronism is never acceptable in a premium product but in a luxury product all that is old and exotic can serve to intensify the dream-like character of the product.

Look at this Lange movement:
Posted Image

There is precisely zero technical reason to build a timepiece like this in our age. The flame-blued screws holding down the gold chatons that house the jewel bearings are not needed. The gold chaton is not needed. An chronometer-grade ETA 2824-2 uses a press fit for the jewel bearings. But at least the function is not inferior because of the gold and the superfluous screws.

An area where the function is, in fact, made worse because of an anachronistic construction is in the balance wheel. The screws in the balance wheel are bad in all sorts of technical ways. Though technically inferior to a laser-poised balance wheel, it is in keeping with the watch's attempt at evoking the traditional. It is technically inferior but aesthethically superior.

The swan-neck regulator is also something that makes no sense as is the three quarter plate. The only reason they are made (and at what extravagant cost!) is because of their exoticism.

#33 Sator

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:12 AM

Why is this poor taste?


I don't really understand either. I have said (with photographic proof):

1. The extended front dart is too visible (unless there are patch pockets)
2. The extended front dart causes pattern mismatching
3. The extended front dart is unnecessary because it can be hidden by displacing it to the side where it is hidden

I was told that points 1-3 were wrong because I had "poor taste". I asked for an explanation and I was told that no explanation would be given because I was "childish". :unknw:
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#34 Sator

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 12:25 AM

There is precisely zero technical reason to build a timepiece like this in our age.


A bit like there is zero technical reason to have all of this fancy panelling:

Posted Image

The more jewels the better, right?

I think the extended front dart has a role in modern tailoring because it is a feature than can single out a coat as bespoke. Bespoke garments are luxury products, and a major reason luxury products get bought is to signal status.


If you are going to have decorative seams, I would prefer them to much more obviously decorative and not so half-hearted myself:

Posted Image

If you form a fully separate panel, it improves pattern matching - always the mark of a high-end garment. Nor do I regard old non-water resistant mechanical watches to be desirable. Even the design of mechanical watches has been improved over time eg automatic watch movements developed in the 1970s (long after the literature stopped publishing patterns with the extended front dart, other than on panel jackets ie it became obsolete).
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"

#35 jukes

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:06 AM

At the end of the day, the cutter will draft the garment the way he sees fit for cloth, style, figure and purpose, if that means including an extended front dart, so be it. That should be the case for
every cutter. Otherwise, as mentioned before, we would end up with the same boring garments and might as well work in a factory churning out the same.

#36 Sator

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 01:17 AM

I've already said in the first post that if you feel that the extended front seam is a nice decorative touch (seams can be decorative) then that is all fine and dandy. I've also said that the extended front seam is fairly well hidden on patch pockets. Some feel that hiding seams eg hiding the forearm seam of the sleeve, is a waste of time anyway. The only scenario that remains problematic is when you get pattern mismatching on a large check. But some people don't really care about pattern matching, and think that it is a total waste of time - others are obsessed with it;

Posted Image

However, what I am saying comes from the published literature which has always regarded pattern matching to be important. Coats are traditionally marked on this sort of thing at competitions.
Gustav Mahler (1860-1911): "Tradition ist die Weitergabe des Feuers und nicht die Anbetung der Asche."

"Tradition is about passing on the flame, and not the worshipping of ashes"




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