Today we are sharing a great tutorial on all things having to do with darts! This method that I use makes marking super easy (no tracing wheel and tracing paper!), and does not require tying of threads. Best of all? There are never any puckers! I have seen so many dart tutorials around the web and wouldn’t be writing one if I did not have something to add. None of these tutorials use this method and I don’t know why…it is so easy! So I hope you try this…you might even like sewing darts after this
One word of caution when using this method: If you are unsure of the fit at all, baste your dart first. It is incredibly difficult to remove the stitching when using this method so be sure of your fit by basting or making a muslin first.
First step is to clip into the legs of the dart while the pattern is still on top of your fabric.
Here is how the fabric will look with the dart legs clipped.
Next, stick a pin through the tip of the dart so it goes all the way through all layers of paper and fabric.
Then you can lightly lift the paper and separate the layers so the pin is still holding the place to be marked.
Then mark where the pin is inserted on the top layer of fabric, and then turn all the way over to mark the other layer of fabric.
Now you can remove the pattern and the pin. Use a ruler to connect from the snip to the marked point and chalk a line.
Repeat for the other dart leg.
Now your dart is all marked! Super easy. Now we pin the dart. I fold it and pin directly through the chalked lines. I pin so I can remove the pins as I stitch. I also put a horizontal pin just beyond the dart tip so I know where my stitching should end/go off the edge of the fabric.
See how the pins go directly through the chalked lines? This ensures my stitching will go exactly where it is supposed to. Now it is time to stitch the dart. The photos show me using a walking foot just because I almost always stitch with one. But it is not necessary. A regular foot will work just as well. When you begin stitching at the wide end of the dart, use your normal stitch settings that you use for the rest of the garment.
Continue sewing the dart directly on your chalked lines, pulling pins as you sew. As you get towards the last third of the dart, that is when I begin changing the stitch settings. In the picture below, the horizontal pin shows where the tip of the dart is. I explain this so you have a frame of reference for how close to the tip of the dart I am in this picture. Starting at the point in the picture below, I change my stitch settings.
These stitch settings aren’t set in stone. I just sort of start making the stitches smaller as I go. I stitch for a bit on that stitch setting and as I get closer to the dart tip, I make the stitching smaller. Below you can see that I am getting closer to the tip.
As I get to the very tip, I always go below a 1.0 stitch length. I also sew directly over the tip and continue a few stitches past so I am literally stitching off the end.
When you continue stitching off the end, it will look like this as you pull it out of the machine. If you look closely, you can see a few stitches hanging off the edge. This is good…you want these.
Here is what we just did: We lowered the stitches to be so small that they won’t unravel. This means we do not need to backstitch nor do we have to manually tie off the ends of the thread. Yay! What a time saver! Also, by making the stitches this small, there will not be any puckers near the tip where the angle gets sharp when the stitches are larger. Double yay!
Here is the finished stitching.
Next we need to press. First press the dart flat as it was sewn.
Then use a pressing ham to press the dart in the direction specified in your sewing instructions.
I use my pressing ham on its side to get a nice curve when pressing a dart. First lay your dart over the ham and make sure the underside is pressed in the direction you want. I put a dotted line right underneath where the dart is since it is a little difficult to see. For this dart, I will be pressing the dart to the upper direction in the picture.
Next I press towards the upper direction using steam.
Here is the final dart! (I added the green dotted line again)
What do you think? Will you use this method in the future? It truly makes sewing darts far less tedious, which makes your sewing go faster and easier!
We hope you get some great use out of this tutorial!