Darts are 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.
The Mathilde Blouse has single, straight darts on the front bodice to help create shape at the bust. Here are some tips on sewing this very common type of darts:
2) Fold along the central line, right sides together, so the dart legs are sitting on top of one another, and pin. I like to stick the pins along the dart leg - rather than across - so I can check they are coming out the other side of the fabric on the other dart leg, meaning the legs are aligned accurately. I also like to stick in an extra pin at the tip of the dart – it gives me something to aim for when stitching! To help create a neat dart, I also press along the central line before stitching.
3) 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.
4) 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.
Et voila! Lovely, shapely darts.
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