How to Sew & Press Darts

Hey, you!

If you’re a woman, then listen up, girlfriend, because darts are our best friend. And this is especially true the curvier you are!

Because darts live to do one thing…

Shape fabric to the delicious curves of the female form!

With that said, let’s start with the rules…

NOTE: If you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies, please click HERE!

The Rules of Darts

Rule #1: Darts must end about ½ to 1 inch from the bust point (apex or nipple).

Rule #2: For a beautiful fit, accurately transfer dart markings from tissue pattern to fabric.

Rule #3: ALWAYS press darts over a pressing ham to avoid flattening out the depth created beyond the dart point.

Alright. So now that you know the rules, let’s talk about…

The Anatomy of a Dart

There are four parts to a dart: (1) the base, (2) the central line (or fold), (3)  the dart legs, and (4) a dart point.

anatomy of a dart

2 Most Common Dart Types

Darts have a beginning and an ending. They must begin at a seam and they must end the right distance from the highest point of the curve that they are shaping.

For example, let’s talk about the horizontal bust dart: It begins in the side seam and its dart point ends about ½ to 1 inch from the bust point (apex or nipple).

The two most common dart types are the…

  • Single or V-shape (horizontal) dart
  • Contour, Diamond, or Fisheye (vertical) dart

common dart types: single and contour or diamond darts

Horizontal darts shape the bust while vertical darts shape the waist of bodices and skirts.

And here’s another thing…

Did you know that the dart legs can be straight or curved?!

I didn’t. Apparently, when you curve the dart legs outward, you get a closer fit.

Sew easy tip: Princess seams are darts too.

So now its time to learn how to sew darts accurately for a gorgeous fit…

How to Sew Single or V-Shape Darts

I need to say this again, darts are so important for achieving a good fit!

So it is of the utmost importance that you sew darts precisely.  So I recommend that you use a marking tool and mark your dart legs!

And once you’ve marked your darts, here’s what you do…

pinning dart legs accurately

  1. Pin your dart legs together, making sure they are aligned on both sides of the dart!
  2. Then, start at either the dart legs or the dart point. Try each and see which you prefer. I like starting at the base and stitching to the point.
  3. Next, Shorten your stitch length to 1.0mm and sew for about a ½ inch. This will secure the start of your stitching line without any fugly bulk.
  4. Stop with your needle DOWN and increase stitch length to 2.5mm.
  5. Now, Stitch just until you’re about a ½ inch from the dart point.
  6. Stop with your needle DOWN again and decrease your stitch length to 1.0mm and stitch towards the dart point and off the fabric.
  7. Finally, snip threads close to the fold; there is no need to tie a knot but you can if you want to.

sewn dart

Sew easy tip: Sewing darts is usually the second step in the construction of a garment; the first step is staystitching.

How to Sew Contour Darts

Contour darts are really just two single darts sitting on top of each other vertically.

the center point of a contour or diamond dart

And you sew then in two steps:

  1. Pin your dart legs together.
  2. Start at the center of the dart (the waistline), shorten your stitch length to 1.0mm and sew for about a ½ inch. This will secure the start of your stitching line. Click HERE to learn how to change your stitch length!
  3. Stop with your needle DOWN and increase stitch length to 2.5mm; stitch just until you about ½ inch from the dart point.
  4. Stop with your needle DOWN again and decrease your stitch length to 1.0mm and stitch towards the dart point and off the fabric.
  5. Snip threads close to the fold; there is no need to tie a knot but you can if you want to.

Now, overlapping by a few stitches at the center, repeat the instructions above to the other dart point. In other words, you’re essentially sewing two darts.

How to Press a Dart

Traditionally, horizontal darts are pressed with the bulk facing downward towards the waistline (as shown in the image above). But some say it is more uplifting to press with bulk upward. Personally, I like the idea of lifting my girls upward!

And for vertical darts, press those to the center front (CF) or center back (CB).

To press a dart, place the dart over the curved edge of a tailor’s ham. And press with the tip or nose of your iron.

As always, do NOT over press!

pressing a dart

The End

Now you know the anatomy of a dart; the most common dart types; how to sew them; and how to press them.

This is the least you need to know about darts to sew garments that fit your curves perfectly!

And remember…

Life is the ultimate red carpet event. Dress for it!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn the basic sewing skills you need to sew insanely fabulous garments!

RELATED: Click HERE to learn how to press like a pro!

RELATED: Click HERE if you’re ready to begin this journey and would like to buy my recommended tools and supplies!

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