What are Darts?
What are Darts?
Darts are garment construction features used to shape fabric to the curves of the body. Darts can be straight, for an easy fit, or curved for a closer-to-the body fit. Darts are typically found in the bust, waist and hip areas, where the body is the most contoured.
How do I make a straight dart?
These bust darts are straight for an easy fit. Make them as follows:
To make darts, with the RIGHT sides of the fabric together, fold the fabric through the center of the dart, bringing broken lines and small dots together. Stitch the dart from wide end to points.
A double pointed straight dart is made exactly like a single straight dart, except that you start at the center of the dart and stitch to the tip. Repeat this procedure for both ends of the dart, overlapping a few stitches in the center when starting the second section. Clip the dart at its widest part. This clip will allow the dart to spread a bit and lie flat.
Tip - To prevent a “bubble” at the point, make the last few stitches right on the fold and leave the thread ends long enough to tie a knot. DO NOT back-stitch at the point as this can cause wrinkling or pulling.
What about curved darts?
Curved darts are handled very much like straight darts. They are also stitched from the widest part to the tip. When a curved dart is completely within the dress (that is, it does not start at the cut edge), it has to be sewn in two steps, just as you do for a double pointed straight dart. Because the dart is curved, you need to mark the entire stitching line (broken line) and any dots.
With RIGHT SIDES together fold the fabric through the center of the dart, bringing broken lines and small dots together, on the INSIDE. Place pins at RIGHT angles to the broken lines. Starting at the widest part, which will be at or near the center of the dart, stitch towards the tip, making the last few stitches right on the fold. Follow the TIP given above for straight darts.
To make the second half of the dart, start at the center, overlapping a few stitches on top of the first stitching and stitch towards the other tip end of the dart. Finish off as for the first end of the dart. Clip the dart at the widest part so that it will lie flat.
What is a “dart seam”?
A dart seam is a dart that actually forms a part of the pattern contour. When the raw edges of the dart are brought together, they form a seam. In fact, this type of dart functions like a seam in the garment, hence the name dart seam. Opening the center section makes the dart easier to sew and gives a smoother line and less bulk once the dart is sewn Follow the same marking and stitching procedures as for the straight and curved darts.
How do I press darts?
As a rule, darts are first pressed flat, then open or to one side as indicated in the pattern instructions. Normally, vertical darts are pressed towards the center and horizontal darts are pressed downward. Occasionally, your instructions will tell you to slash the dart along the foldline and press open. This is done to give a smoother appearance.
For more sewing tips, see Simplicity's Simply the Best Sewing Book.