Mrs Bowden’s top tip – constructing a dart Part 1

Constructing a dart Part 1

 

Scrumptious neckline and fitting achieved by darts.

Scrumptious neckline and fitting achieved by darts.

Constructing a dart is a wonderful, useful and dare I say, essential, technique to master.  Many garments will feature some form of fitting and darts, as well as pleats, tucks, seam shaping and gathering are used to create shapes.  There are a few tricks I can impart to make sure you achieve smooth and lovely lines on your garments but it will be a three part story.  Part 1 deals with the preparation of the dart, part 2 the sewing and finishing of threads and Part 3 the pressing.

Dart anatomy

Dart anatomy

Part 1 – Dart anatomy.  A dart is a v shaped amount of fabric which is sewn to cause a shape. They control fullness and achieve fitting and shaping.  In dressmaking, the most usual positions for darts are at the shoulders, neckline, waistline, the elbows and sometimes at the top of sleeves. The greater the shape required, the larger the dart.  You can have single pointed or double pointed darts.  The marking on patterns indicates the sides of the dart (legs) and the end point or APEX also referred to as the head of the dart.

Dart position marked on pattern

Dart position marked on pattern

 

Dart position marked with tailor's tacks

Dart position marked with tailor’s tacks

Firstly, transfer the dart position from your pattern to the fabric.  The position of the dart is indicated by small circles and usually the stitching lines for the ‘legs’ are shown.  You can employ a number of techniques here; tailor’s chalk, vanishing fabric pen (only useful if you are stitching immediately!) or tailor’s tacks.

Dart legs marked

Dart legs marked

It is also useful when you first start constructing garments to draw in the ‘legs’ of the dart so you can make sure you are stitching accurately and evenly.

Dart legs pinned together on the wrong side of the fabric

Dart legs pinned together on the wrong side of the fabric

Working on the wrong side of the fabric, pin the legs of the dart at the widest point (normally on the edge of the garment or in the middle on a double pointed dart).  Check the pin has been plunged through both legs.  If you give the fabric a little shake you should see the fabric starting to settle with a fold pointing to the head or apex of the dart (smallest point).  Continue to pin the legs together.

Dart tacked for stitching

Dart tacked for stitching

You may want to tack (running stitch) the legs together a smidge inside the stitching line (easier to remove when the final stitching has been done) for additional accuracy and security.    Now you are ready to stitch.

Please refer to the blog on www.felixstowesewingschool.co.uk for support information on creating tailor’s tacks and removing them.

In stitches,

Amanda  xx

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