Technique:

How to Sew Darts

Sewing darts into a woven fabric is a great way to add shaping and fit to a garment.  They can flatter and shape and are easy to sew well if you know how.
how to sew darts

how to sew dartsDart lines need to be marked on the fabric in order to be sewn correctly.  There are a variety of ways to mark the darts including tracing wheels/tracing paper or disappearing ink pens.  I love my Clover chalk markers so that is what I use.

Dart lines should be marked on the wrong side (back side) of the fabric so they do not show on the front of the finished garment.

marking darts to sew

Lay the fabric out on a smooth flat surface.  The edges of the pattern piece should align with the edges of the fabric.  To mark the dart with chalk, pin through the dart point and where the dart legs touch the sewing line. I have pinned into cork panels but I’ve had success with this in the past pinning into some folded fabric (behind the piece you are marking).

marking darts to sew

Carefully lift the pattern off the fabric leaving the pins in place.  You may need to hold the pin between the fabric and pattern paper while pulling the pattern off to ensure the pins stay in place.

marking darts to sew

Lay a ruler up to two pins and add a chalk line between the pins to mark each dart leg.

marking darts to sew

Sewing Single Point Darts

sewing a single point dart

The dart legs need to be pinbasted together and aligned for sewing.  A pin at the very point of the dart helps ensure the dart ends in the correct place. Fold the fabric with right sides together. Pin into the dart leg on one side and out of the dart leg on the other side of the fabric.

sewing a single point dart

Here is a view of the other side of the dart showing how the pins go through the dart legs on the other side of the fold.

sewing a single point dart

Begin sewing at the widest point of the dart.  End your threads as you normally would.

sewing a single point dart

Sew the dart in place by running a line of stitching directly over the marked dart legs.

sewing a single point dart

When you are about 1″/2.5cm from the tip of the dart. Change your stitch length so you are making shorter, closer together stitches.  This will reinforce the dart point in an area that will be under more stress.

how to handle point of dart

Sew to the point of the dart which will have you basically sew off the edge of the fabric. Remove the fabric from your sewing machine and leave thread tails of 3-4″/ 7-10cm.

how to handle dart point

Untangle the threads at the end of the dart.  It works quite well to use a straight pin to separate the strands.

how to handle dart point

Tie a square knot at the point of the dart with the thread ends.  Once the ends are tied securely the threads can be trimmed short. Optional: add a dot of fray check to the knot.

Sewing a Double Point Dart

sewing a double point dart

Sewing a double point dart is very similar to sewing a single point dart.  Begin by marking the dart legs.

sewing a double point dart

Fold the fabric and pinbaste the dart matching the dart legs on both sides of the fabric.

sewing a double point dart

Begin sewing at the widest area of the dart and sew to the point as you would if this were a single point dart. Leave thread tails of about 3-4″/7-10cm for tying the threads at the point of the dart.

sewing a double point dart

After one end of the dart is sewn, pinbaste the other end.  Sew the other end of the dart starting again from the widest part of the dart and finishing at the point.  Tie off the thread ends at the point of the dart.

Pressing Darts

pressing darts

After your darts are sewn and the ends tied off and trimmed, it is time to press the darts.

The rule for pressing darts is to press the fullness Down or Toward the Center.

pressing darts

Before pressing.

pressing darts

After pressing.

Begin by pressing a crease into the dart itself.  Do not press a fold into the fabric outside the point of the dart.

pressing darts

Press the double pointed dart inside the sewn area and not past the dart points.

pressing darts

If you have a pressing ham, place it under the fabric to help shape the dart.  If you do not have a pressing ham, carefully press the dart while watching all the fabric around the dart so you don’t press wrinkles into the fabric.

pressing darts

Again, press the fullness of the dart down and toward the center.  This is the wrong side of a shirt front with the darts pressed.

pressing darts

Press the front side of the fabric as well to make sure the right side looks smooth and finished also.

This is a great way to add beautiful shaping to your garments.

-Carly | Antibromide