Sewing Successful Darts
I love sewing my own clothes, but admittedly, I tend to shy away from projects that require a lot of shaping. I’m a bit intimidated by projects that require an exact fit because I’m not confident I have the skills to tailor something so precisely, but this leaves my wardrobe feeling a bit shapeless and droopy. One of my sewing resolutions this year is to work on my technical sewing skills, so I’ve been trying to take on projects that require me to practice shaping techniques.
Darts are one easy way to add shaping, and when sewn correctly they are a quick, clean way to customize the fit of a garment. They can quickly nip in a waistline or add definition to the bustline of a project. But when darts go bad, they go very, very bad. Awkward dart folds, puckered points-bad darts are just no fun.
In the quest to understand what makes a good dart, I turned to the new instructional workshop video from Stitch, Sewing Tips + Tricks with Tricia Waddell. I watched Tricia and Stitch Project Editor Katrina Loving demonstrate how to sew a good dart, and now I’m ready to try them out on my next project.
Here are their handy steps for stress-free dart sewing:
1. Transfer all dart markings to your fabric. Be sure to mark both dart legs, as well as the dart point (figure 1).
2. Fold the fabric in half, right sides together, matching up the edges of the dart legs. Using a pin, pierce the fabric through the dart-leg marking on one side of the fabric and adjust the other side of the fabric until the pin goes through the second dart-leg marking. This means the dart legs are properly aligned (figure 2).
3. Continue using pins to line up and secure the dart. Once the dart is secure, make sure that the dart point lies right on the fold.
4. Begin sewing your dart, backtacking at the beginning and following along the dart line. Sew slowly, removing the pins as you go. Begin with a 2-2.5mm stitch length and decrease your stitch length to about 1mm as you approach the dart point. When you reach the dart point, sew straight off the fabric-do not backtack.
5. Tie the thread ends together at the dart point to secure the dart (figure 3).
6. Press the dart toward the side seam of your garment (press toward the waist for bust darts) using the curved surface of a tailor’s ham (figure 4).
These few simple tips will help you create cleaner and more professional-looking darts. Try them on your next garment project and check out the Sewing Tips+ Tricks workshop video for more great hints and techniques!