How to Sew Darts
Darts are such an important part of so many sewing and dressmaking projects. Not only do they give the garment shape they are also usually highly visible and therefore it is a good idea to strive for a professional finish. In this video I'll show you my top dart sewing tips.
First I'll start by showing you two ways to mark the darts on your fabric.
I like to mark darts using tailors chalk or something similar. Once I've cut the fabric out, keeping the pattern paper in place I insert a pin into the points marked on the pattern paper and through both layers of fabric.
I then lift the paper and mark with a little cross in tailors chalk and also turn the fabric over so I can mark the same point on the other layer of fabric.
I can use the markings to fold the dart and pin in place.
If you want to be sure of absolute accuracy you could also draw the stitching line in tailors chalk too.
If you don't want to mark your fabric you can use tailors tacks instead.
For this method you sew a little cross stitch through both layers of fabric at each of the points on the pattern paper.
It is important to leave long tails of thread so that you can separate the layers of fabric and snip the thread in between the layers with enough thread to mark the point on each layer of fabric.
In both instances think about the colour chalk and thread you want to use and whether it will mark the fabric and test on scraps if necessary to make sure you are happy with the results.
Use the markings or tailors tacks to fold the fabric right sides together and create the dart.
The two markings on the dart legs should sit on top of one another and the fabric should fold to the dart point.
We sew from the dart leg markings to the dart point marking therefore pin with the sharp end of the pins pointing towards the dart legs and away from the dart point.
You can also position a pin horizontally across the dart point to help you stay on course with your stitching as you approach it.
You can use the pins to mark the stitching line or you could mark it gently with tailors chalk if you prefer.
Start sewing from the dart leg end back tacking to secure the stitches.
Sew towards the dart point with a normal stitch length.
As you approach the dart point, about 1/4" away, shorten your stitch length to 1.
Sew to the dart point sewing the last few stitches along the fold of the fabric.
The shortened stitch length should be enough to secure the dart without tying a knot, however, if you want to be certain it is secure lift the foot of the machine, drag the fabric towards you and sew a few stitches in the seam allowance to secure it.
Sewing Darts in Bulky Fabrics
When sewing darts in bulky fabrics there are a few tips you can use to help the dart sit nice and flat and reduce any bulk.
About 1/4" away from the dart point snip the dart seam allowance horizontally to the stitching line. Take care not to snip through the stitching line.
Now snip down the fold of the dart seam allowance from the dart legs to the horizontal snip you have just made.
This will allow you to press the seam allowances flat as a single rather than a double layer reducing the bulk by half.
If the darts still won't sit flat try top stitching about 1/8" away from the dart on either side.
Pressing darts is so important for a professional finish.
I would always recommend using a tailors ham for pressing. It allows you to mould the fabric as you press and to press more precisely.
First press the dart flat to meld the stitches.
Next position the right side of the fabric on the ham and press the dart to one side using the curve of the ham to help shape the fabric if appropriate.
If you are worried pressing the dart will create shine on the right side of the fabric a useful little tip is to place a piece of card underneath the dart, between the dart and the main garment fabric, before pressing.
I hope you've enjoyed these sewing tips and techniques today, I've added a shopping list below with details of all the products I mentioned.
Have fun sewing!
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