If you are going to be sewing women’s clothing, you will most likely run into darts. Darts are a way to create a 3D form to fit body curves better. They take a shapeless flat piece and turn them into form fitting garments! Darts are very common around the bust and waist area. Knowing how to sew a dart correctly makes a difference in how good they look in the end.
Darts can come in a variety of forms, but for this post we will talk about a very common one. A straight dart is probably the most common. It looks like a simple triangle.
You will need to transfer the marking of the dart from your pattern piece to your fabric. When I first started sewing, I wasn’t sure what the best way to do this was. I have since tried a few things and found my favorite way. I previously talked about using tracing paper to transfer your patterns to your fabric, and you could easily do that to mark your darts.
If you do not have tracing paper, here is how I like to do it:
Lay your pattern piece over your fabric’s wrong side. Mark the bottom of both legs. Now fold your fabric so the legs markings match up. Now lay the pattern piece over the folded fabric and mark the point of the dart. Next take a ruler and draw a line from each of the legs to the point. Now you have your dart drawn in!
It is important to line the legs up really good before sewing the dart. You will want to fold the fabric right sides together, then line up the legs. To do this I poke a pin through the top leg line, on through the bottom leg. If the pin is not on the bottom leg, I take the pin out and adjust the legs again. Then repeat until you have the dart pinned. Or another way to get the legs linned up is to make a central line between the two. Press your dart on that line, then pin. Once you have your dart pinned, start stitching at the BOTTOM of the dart. You can back stitch at the bottom, but when you get near the top you will want to decrease your stitch length to around 1-1.5. Then gradually stitch right off the point. You don’t want to backstitch here, it will create bulk and make your dart pucker. Leave a tail when trimming the thread and double knot it by hand. Since your stitching was so short at the end, you may be able to get away with just leaving a tail. Up to you!
If you have a Tailor’s Ham press it on that. If not press on a rolled up towel to give it a nice curved shape. If it is a bust dart, you will want to press the dart down, if it is a waist dart, you will press toward the center.
There you have it, perfectly un-puckered darts!
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