Sewing Darts: Anatomy of Darts and How to Sew Darts

Making darts in dress fabric and lining and pressing towards the centre of the garment (making a sleeveless shift dress)
Deepak Aggarwal / Getty Images
  • 01 of 07

    What is a Dart

    Sample Dart Markings
    Sample Dart Markings. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Darts on purchased patterns come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They take in fabric to add shape to the garment. The are usually found at bust lines, the back of a garment and at waistbands on slacks or pants. Dart placement is a fitting issue and may require alterations. Find more information about alterations here.

    Darts can have one or two pointed ends. Some darts have curves. Transfer the markings that are on the pattern piece on to your fabric, using dressmakers carbon. (Learn more about marking fabric). The center marking may not be included on the pattern marking. If it is, it is simply the fold line. Transferring the fold will help guide you as your construct the dart but the dots on the dart are imperative to sew and accurate dart.

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  • 02 of 07

    What to Transfer

    What to Transfer
    What to Transfer. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    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 need or want.  When using a multi-sized pattern be sure to mark the dart for the size you are using. (Learn more about marking fabric)

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  • 03 of 07

    First Pinning

    First Pinning
    First Pinning. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Fold the dart matching the dots. Place a pin in the center of one dot marking, fold the fabric and through the matching dot. Pin in place. Repeat for each set of dots. Use straight pins to match the dots and hold the dart in place.

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  • 04 of 07

    Final Pinning

    Final Pinning
    Final Pinning. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    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.

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  • 05 of 07

    Starting to Sew a Dart

    Starting to Sew a Dart
    Starting to Sew a Dart. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Starting at the raw edge or seam line of the dart, back stitching at the raw edge of the dart.
    Sew the stitching line using a regular stitch length, until you are near the point of the dart.

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  • 06 of 07

    Sewing the Dart Point

    Sewing the Dart Point
    Sewing the Dart Point. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    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.
    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. How to Press a Seam Open Tutorial

    Some fabrics require a variation in clipping and trimming.

    • 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.
    • 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.
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  • 07 of 07

    Double Pointed Dart

    Sewing a Double Pointed Dart
    Sewing a Double Pointed Dart. Debbie Colgrove, Licensed to

    Sew a double pointed dart as if it were two single pointed darts. Start sewing at the middle (center) of the dart, without back stitching, 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.