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The Use of Darts in Sewing
Darts on purchased patterns come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They take in fabric to add shape to the garment. They are usually found at bust lines, the back of a garment and waistbands on slacks or pants. Dart placement is a fitting issue and may require alterations. Learn how to transfer darts from patterns and sew darts for your projects.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
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The Anatomy of a Dart
Darts can have one or two pointed ends. Some darts have curves. The center marking may not be included in the pattern marking. If it is, it is simply the fold line. Transferring the fold will help guide you as you construct the dart but the dots on the dart are imperative to sew and accurate dart.Continue to 3 of 10 below.
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Transfer the Dart Markings to Your Fabric
Transfer the markings that are on the pattern piece on to your fabric, using dressmakers carbon. When using a multi-sized pattern be sure to mark the dart for the size you are using. Multi-sized patterns are more and more common. They are a great way to combine sizes but you have to be mindful of the size you want.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Use straight pins to match the dots and hold the dart in place.
Continue to 5 of 10 below.
- Fold the dart matching the dots.
- Place a pin in the center of one dot marking.
- Fold the fabric and push the pin through the matching dot.
- Pin in place.
- Repeat for each set of dots.
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Re-pin so the pins are not in the stitching line or hand baste the dart in place using a running stitch, just inside the marked line.
Once you are confident with handling the fabric and sewing machine, you may want to eliminate this step and just remove the pins as you come to them. Never sew over pins.
The important thing is that the markings stay aligned as they are sewn in place. Remove the stitching and start again if the stitching does not go through the dots.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Sewing the Dart Point
Continue to 8 of 10 below.
- As you approach the point of the dart, shorten the stitch length and sew off the end of the fabric. Leave a long tail of thread before cutting the thread from the machine.
- Hand knot the thread at the end of the dart.
- Trim the threads.
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Press the Dart
Press the dart as it was sewn. Press in the direction that is instructed in the pattern directions. Use a pressing ham or a rolled towel to maintain the shape the dart has added to the garment. Clip if necessary as instructed in the pattern directions.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Clipping and Trimming
A very bulky fabric may require you to trim the fold of the dart. Trim leaving a seam allowance width if trimming is needed to eliminate bulk. Grade the seam allowance of needed to prevent a bulky line on the exterior of the fabric.
A loosely woven fabric that frays easily should not be clipped at the same place on both layers of the dart. Instead, move the scissors so that you are clipping next to the first clip but not at the same fabric thread.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Double Pointed Dart
Sew a double pointed dart as if it were two single-pointed darts.
- Start sewing at the middle (center) of the dart, without backstitching, sewing to the end of the dart and shortening the stitch length as if it were a single-pointed dart.
- Return to the center of the dart and stitch over a couple of the stitches that started stitching to the second point of the dart.
- Sew to the point of the dart and repeat shortening the stitch length.
- Finish the points of the dart by knotting the tail threads as you would for a single-pointed dart.