Darts are folds of fabric sewn into clothing that help create shape so that the fabric lies better on the wearer. The fold is make on the wrong side of the fabric and, when completed, appears as a short seam line on the right side. Darts are most common around the waist, neckline and bust of a garment. Initially darts can seem fiddly and tricky to master so I thought I’d put together a little tutorial starting off about how to sew a straight dart. I also managed to convince my boyfriend to let me get my hands on his camera rather than having to use my iPhone – so after he gave me a brief tutorial on the basics (aperture, shutter speed and exposure!); off I went…
Step 1: Your Pattern
Your sewing pattern will be marked with the dart lines, these appear as a V shape from the edge of the pattern in a broken line with a straight unbroken line down the centre where the fold in the fabric will be . I find the easiest thing to do is punch small holes in the dots on the pattern sheet and mark through it with tailors chalk.
Step 2: Pinning the Dart
To pin the dart place a pin through the centre of one of the dots and feed through the centre of the other corresponding dot. Hold the fabric between your thumb and forefingers so the dots are together with the pin exactly through the centre. Now fold the fabric down the centre of the dart so that the end marking is on the fold line. Hold the fabric still and slip the other end of the pin into place. Now also pin the fold with a pin in line with the end dot.
Tip: Pin with your needs 90 degrees to your seam line, this allows you to machine sew over the pins without having to remove them and will prevent your needle from breaking if it hits one.
Step 3: Marking the Dart
This bit isn’t essential (neither is the Fireman Sam ruler!) but it does help keep your dates straight and even. Using a rule, join the dots in the dart with a line of tailors chalk. If there are multiple dots in the dart take care to always join darts to the dot next to them as the darts are not always one long straight line.
Step 4: Sewing the Dart
I find it easier to start from the point of the dart and sew towards the outside edge, it’s quite easy to overshoot or end up without a clean point but this ensures you dart ends exactly where it’s meant to.
The Finished Dart
Once completed darts can be barely visible but will ensure you have an item of clothing that fits perfectly to your body shape.