Mrs Bowden’s top tip – constructing a dart Part 3 – pressing

Mrs Bowden’s top tip – constructing a dart Part 3 – pressing

This is the third part of the dart construction story and this deals with pressing of the dart once it has been sewn and the end tied off.

Quite often in commercial patterns you will be told which direction to press the dart.  When the pattern is being cut a certain amount of compensation is built into the pattern to account for the ‘peak’ of the dart and when pressed this should match the line of the main part of the pattern. Follow the advice given in the your commercial pattern regarding the direction you press the dart.

Double bust dart on Butterick 5880

Double bust dart on Butterick 5880

You can see on the bodice of Butterick 5880 there is a charming double dart on the bust.

Double bust dart

Double bust dart

The pattern piece peaks out so that when the dart is sewn and pressed there will be a continuous line of fabric (including the dart edges). The instructions advise to press down to create  a smooth side seam.

Pressing the dart is hugely important as it can be a deal breaker in terms of avoiding a ‘hood’ at the apex of the dart and achieving a sleek and smooth construction line on the outside of the garment.

You will find a tailor’s ham (see top tip from 28th January) is a really helpful piece of equipment but if you haven’t got one you can fold up a towel to give a rounded surface to press again.

Be mindful of setting the iron to the appropriate heat level – you may want to use a pressing cloth (an old lawn handkerchief or piece of silk organza is great for this) to proect the fashion fabric and avoid ‘shining’ the surface.

Working on the wrong side and pressing the dart over

Working on the wrong side and pressing the dart over

First, work on the WRONG side of the fabric and check which direction you need to press your dart. Use the side of the iron to encourage the dart over.  I find that lifting the fabric slightly will also help avoid creating a fold of fabric on the right side of the garment. Use the tip of the iron to nudge the apex out to create a smooth surface.

Pressing from the right side to set the dart in place.

Pressing from the right side to set the dart in place.

Turn the fabric over and press on the RIGHT side to set the dart in place.

In stitches,  Amanda xxx

 

 

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