Sewing · Troublesome Sewing Terms Untangled

Troublesome Sewing Terms Untangled: Deciphering Darts

This is the fourth post in my Troublesome Sewing Terms Untangled blog series! I’ve already looked at basting, stay-stitching and grommets! This week I’ll be delving into darts.

I first came across darts when I started looking at the pattern for the Colette Sorbetto shirt that I talked about on Monday! It was the first proper garment pattern I’ve looked at…and it had these weird triangle shapes on it. The instructions told me to sew the darts and I was nonplussed. Research was then undertaken!

Dart: noun (via Oxford English Dictionary) A tapered tuck stitched in a garment in order to shape it.

The Main Points:

  • V-shaped / wedge shaped adjustment consisting of a dart point (marked on pattern with a dot) and dart legs (reach the pattern edge)
  • Dart legs are sewn together, running off the fabric at the dart point
  • Always sewn from the broad end to the point of the dart
  • Used to give shape to flat fabric when making a garment (also can be used for design elements)
  • Often used around areas such as bust, waistline and shoulderblades
  • Can be horizontal or vertical
  • Can also be double-pointed
This is how darts are represented on a pattern

Why Sew Darts?:
Although they are also used as design features only, darts are sewn primarily to give shape to flat fabric in order for it to smoothly fit the body better, for example to allow for more fullness in the bust area and less fullness in the waist region. To show this in simple terms, think of the difference between male- and female-oriented shirts:

Men and women's shirt
See the shape difference the long darts make in the ladies shirt?

Until I started properly looking at darts I didn’t realise that they are everywhere! I looked through my wardrobe in amazement that I’m now in on a little secret of how they’re made, and you don’t really notice they’re there! From this bag (which is next on my to-make list!) to all different sorts of clothes.They can appear in both the front and back of garments, typically (but not limited to) the bust and waist areas. Here are some examples:bust-darts

image3xxl (1)
This dress has both horizontal and vertical darts!

Try having a look at some of the things in your wardrobes and see if you can see any darts! It’s very interesting! If you would like more information on darts or instructions on how to sew them I recommend this video here!

Happy Sewing!



6 thoughts on “Troublesome Sewing Terms Untangled: Deciphering Darts

    1. Thank you so much! So lovely to hear that! I love doing these research posts, it’s nice to share these things with everyone else, plus I learn something new about sewing every week! If you ever fancy trying I’d be excited to hear about it! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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