10 February 2013

Stitching Darts

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Darts are one of the methods used in garment sewing for shaping the fabric around the curves of the body, such as at the bust and waist. When stitching a dart, essentially what you're doing is folding and removing a triangle shape in order to give a flat piece of fabric a 3D form. Clever, non? Darts can be straight triangle shapes or slightly curved, single or double-ended.

I'm going to show you how to sew the most common darts - single and straight (don't read too much into that!) - using the Mathilde blouse as an example. Here we go...

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Mark the dart lines - or "legs" - onto the wrong side of the fabric when cutting out the pattern (read more about marking and cutting fabric). As well as marking the legs, I also like to draw in the central line of the dart to make the next step easier...

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Fold the fabric right sides together along the central line, so the dart legs are sitting on top of one another. Pin the dart legs together - if you stick the pins along the dart leg, rather than across it, you can check they are coming out the other side of the fabric exactly on the other dart leg, meaning the legs are aligned accurately. You'll be sewing from the raw edge of the fabric towards the tip, so place the pins the way I have in the photo above - this way you can pull them out by the head just before the needle reaches them.

Press the fold to neaten it.

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Stitch the dart legs together, starting from the edge of the fabric moving towards the tip of the dart. It's tempting to go the other way, but if you do so there’s a good chance your thread will get all tangled up at the beginning.

You can back tack the stitching when starting from the edge, but don’t back tack the stitching at the tip or the thread will cause an unsightly lump! Instead, stitch off the edge of the fabric and cut the threads leaving enough so you can tie them together by hand into a tight double knot.

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Press well! A bust dart should be pressed downwards, or if you’re working on a waistline dart press it towards the centre. If your fabric can handle it, you can use the steam in your iron to shape the point and create a nice, smoothly curved dart. A tailor’s ham - or substitute such as a rolled up towel - will help with shaping.

How to sew darts - Tilly and the Buttons

Et voila! Lovely, shapely darts.

Want more tips on sewing darts? Check out this post on five or six different ways of sewing darts.

8 comments:

  1. I can't wait to start.. but looking for the perfect fabric:)

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    1. So many options! I've said it before and I'll say it again - don't be tempted by anything too slippery unless you're a pro at tucks!

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  2. Have you ever done a one-thread dart? I learned how to do one about a year ago, and I basically use them on everything now (well, not knits as they don't seem to work so well with zigzag stitch...I do sew darts in knits with a zigzag, right?)

    They're a bit annoying because you have to re-thread your machine for every dart, but they make the points look perfectly smooth and invisible, no knot, no backstitching!

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    1. Ooh no - never heard of that technique! Intriguing, I'll have to look it up...

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  3. This looks so simple, I love the way to explain it! Thank you!

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    1. Great - glad it's understandable :)

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  4. I'm trying to sew a straight skirt but adding darts to the front makes my tummy bulge! :| I've read I can eliminate the darts and sew a straight stitch across the waistline. Won't that add more bulk? Any suggestions? Thanks!
    Shannonsews.blogspot.com

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  5. Shannon you could go for a style of skirt with more sections so that the seams give the shape rather than relying on darts. Hope this helps.

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