I'm Erin. I love to sew pretty things for my children. I haven't bought an actual pattern in over ten years now. Read more...

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sewing a shaped dart

A shaped, or double, dart is two darts stuck together, end to end.  On a pattern, it's going to look like this:   

What it wants to do is take a pinch of fabric out at the widest point there, and taper out to nothing at both ends.  Usually these are for nipping a shirt or dress in at the waist.

Now, the dart I've sewn over on the left there is kind of ridiculously deep for the child's bodice I've sewn it in, but I do it for the sake of education. (Places hand self-denyingly on chest, pauses to absorb inevitable adulation.)

The sewing of a shaped dart doesn't really differ a lot from the sewing of a regular dart, but the differences are important to get it right, so let's look at them, shall we?


 Here's our dart, marked on the fabric:

Now we'll pin it, matching the legs of both darts and the points where they meet:

Start sewing above the center point, so that when you finish, having turned it around and done the same thing with the other side, the ends of your stitching overlap.  Backstitch at the beginning.

As you get close to the point, shorten your stitch length and turn the dart, so that the last few stitches are riiiight along the fold, within about a thread of the edge.  Then sew right off the edge without backstitching.

Lift up the presser foot, pull the fabric toward you, and lower the foot again, in the fold of the dart, about an inch behind the point.  Sew several very very tiny stitches to knot the fabric.

Make sure that the threads going from the point to your knot aren't tight.  Clip the threads close to the knot. 

Do the same for the other half of the dart, then clip the dart fold at the middle, and halfway to each point:

Press the dart, making sure not to press in the fold beyond the end points.  Press the dart to one side.  Turn it to the right side and press it there (a tailor's ham, I'm told, can help greatly here) and you're done.

Yet again, we've shown fabric who's boss.  Until next time, when fabric forgets again...














Is this the way you sew shaped darts?  Do you have more tips to share?  

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