Sewing Darts for Shaping Fabric

  • 01 of 10

    The Use of Darts in Sewing

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

    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.

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  • 02 of 10

    The Anatomy of a Dart

    The Anatomy of a Dart
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    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.

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  • 03 of 10

    Transfer the Dart Markings to Your Fabric

    What to Transfer
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    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.  

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  • 04 of 10

    First Pinning

    First Pinning
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    Use straight pins to match the dots and hold the dart in place.

    1. Fold the dart matching the dots.
    2. Place a pin in the center of one dot marking.
    3. Fold the fabric and push the pin through the matching dot.
    4. Pin in place.
    5. Repeat for each set of dots.
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  • 05 of 10

    Final Pinning

    Final Pinning
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    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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  • 06 of 10

    Starting to Sew a Dart

    Starting to Sew a Dart
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove
    1. Starting at the raw edge or seam line of the dart, backstitch at the raw edge of the dart.
    2. Sew the stitching line using a regular stitch length, until you are near the point of the dart.
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  • 07 of 10

    Sewing the Dart Point

    Sewing the Dart Point
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove
    1. 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.
    2. Hand knot the thread at the end of the dart.
    3. Trim the threads.


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  • 08 of 10

    Press the Dart

    Trimmed and Pressed Bulky Dart
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    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.

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  • 09 of 10

    Clipping and Trimming

    Press the Darts and Trim Them
    The Spruce Crafts / Mollie Johanson

    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.

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  • 10 of 10

    Double Pointed Dart

    Sewing a Double Pointed Dart
    The Spruce Crafts / Debbie Colgrove

    Sew a double pointed dart as if it were two single-pointed darts.

    1. 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.
    2. 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.
    3. Sew to the point of the dart and repeat shortening the stitch length.
    4. Finish the points of the dart by knotting the tail threads as you would for a single-pointed dart.