If you’re new to sewing, darts may seem like a mysterious part of garment construction. However, these little triangular folds are actually a critical component of shaping fabric to fit the curves of the body.
Whether you’re sewing a dress, a blouse, or a pair of pants, understanding how to close a dart on a pattern is an essential skill to have in your sewing arsenal.
In this article, you’ll learn the step-by-step process for closing a dart on your fabric. From marking the dart on your pattern to pressing the finished seam, you’ll have all the tools you need to create a professional-looking garment that fits your body perfectly.
With a bit of practice and patience, you’ll be closing darts like a pro in no time!
Table of Contents
Understand the Purpose of Darts in Garment Construction
So, you’re wondering why those little triangles, or darts, are in your garment? Well, they serve a crucial purpose in creating a flattering and well-fitting piece of clothing for your unique body shape.
Darts are used to shape fabric around curves, such as the bust, waist, and hips, ensuring that the garment fits snugly without being too tight or loose in those areas. Without darts, your clothing would look awkward and ill-fitting, especially around the bust and waist.
Darts can also be used to create a more tailored look by adding structure and shape to a garment. They are often used in more formal clothing, such as suits and dresses, to create a polished and professional appearance.
So, next time you’re trying on a garment and notice those little triangles, remember that they are there for a reason. They serve an important purpose in creating a well-fitting and flattering piece of clothing for your unique body shape. And now that you understand the purpose of darts, you can appreciate the amount of thought and craftsmanship that goes into creating the perfect garment.
Mark the Dart on Your Fabric
To mark the dart on your fabric, you’ll need to use a tracing wheel or chalk. Make sure your markings are accurate, as this will affect the fit of your garment.
Take your time and double-check your work to ensure the dart is properly marked.
Use a Tracing Wheel or Chalk
First, grab a tracing wheel or some chalk. This will help you trace the line of the dart onto your fabric and ensure accuracy when closing the dart. Here’s how to use each method:
|Place the tracing wheel along the marked dart line on the fabric.
|Rub the chalk along the marked dart line on the fabric.
|Roll the tracing wheel along the line, applying pressure to create a visible indentation.
|Use a light hand to apply the chalk and ensure a clean line.
|Repeat along the entire length of the dart line.
|Make sure the line is visible but not too thick.
Whichever method you choose, be sure to trace the dart line onto the wrong side of the fabric. This will ensure that the line won’t be visible on the finished garment. Once you have traced the line with either the tracing wheel or chalk, you can move on to the next step of closing the dart.
Make Sure Your Marking is Accurate
Before you start sewing, you need to make sure your markings are accurate so that your garment will fit you perfectly. Double check that you’ve marked the dart lines correctly and that they’re the correct length and width. It’s also important to ensure that the dart points meet exactly where they should.
Small inaccuracies can result in a poorly fitting garment, so it’s worth spending the extra time to get it right. One way to check your markings is to fold the fabric along the dart line and see if the marked points meet up perfectly. If they don’t, adjust the markings until they do.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to try on the garment before sewing the darts to make sure they’re in the right place and will provide the shaping you want. Taking the time to check and recheck your markings will pay off in the end with a well-fitting garment.
Pin the Dart Together
Once you’ve aligned the dart legs, simply pin them together to secure the fabric in place. This will ensure that the dart stays in place while you sew it. Here are some tips to help you pin the dart together:
- Use long enough straight pins to go through both layers of fabric without bending or breaking.
- Pin the dart from the widest part to the point. Make sure the fabric is smooth and without any wrinkles or folds.
- Place the pins perpendicular to the dart line, with the pinhead pointing towards the point of the dart.
- Use enough pins to hold the fabric securely in place, but not so many that they get in the way when you’re sewing.
Once you’ve pinned the dart together, you’re ready to sew it. Make sure the fabric is flat and smooth, and that the dart legs are aligned with each other. You can use a ruler or a straight edge to check the alignment if needed. Sew the dart according to the pattern instructions, removing the pins as you go. Press the dart flat to set the stitches and remove any remaining wrinkles or creases. With these tips, you’ll be able to close a dart on a pattern with ease and accuracy.
Sew the Dart
Now it’s time to stitch together the fabric where you’ve pinned it, ensuring that the dart is aligned properly for a beautifully tailored finish. Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end of the thread. Begin sewing at the widest part of the dart, making sure to backstitch at the starting point to secure the thread. Follow the line of the dart and stitch all the way to the pointed end.
To make sure your dart is sewn properly, consider using a dart guide. A dart guide is a small piece of cardboard or plastic that you can place on the fabric to help you sew a straight line. You can also use the guide to ensure that the dart is the same width all the way down. Simply line up the guide with the edge of the fabric and sew along the edge.
After you’ve finished sewing the dart, remove the pins and press the dart flat. Use a pressing cloth to protect the fabric from getting scorched by the iron. Gently press the dart from the widest part to the tip using an up and down motion. You should end up with a beautifully tailored dart that will give your garment a professional finish.
Press the Dart
When pressing the dart, it’s important to use an iron on the correct heat setting to avoid damaging the fabric.
Make sure to also avoid stretching the fabric while pressing the dart, as this can result in distortion and an uneven fit.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure a professional and polished finish for your garment.
Use an Iron on the Correct Heat Setting
Using the iron on the appropriate heat setting is crucial for achieving a professional finish when closing a dart on a pattern. It can be tempting to just quickly iron over the dart without much thought, but taking the time to use the correct heat setting will ensure that the dart is properly closed and that the fabric remains in good condition.
To determine the appropriate heat setting for your iron, refer to the care label on your fabric. The label should provide guidance on the maximum temperature that the fabric can withstand. Use the table below as a guide for selecting the appropriate iron setting based on the fabric type:
Remember to always test the heat on a small inconspicuous area of the fabric before ironing over the dart. Once you have determined the appropriate heat setting, place a pressing cloth over the dart and press down firmly with the iron for several seconds. This will help ensure that the dart is properly closed and that the fabric remains in good condition.
Avoid Stretching the Fabric
To achieve a flawless finish, it’s crucial to be mindful of the fabric’s elasticity and avoid stretching it when pressing. Stretching the fabric can distort the pattern, making it difficult to close the dart accurately.
Here are some tips to avoid stretching the fabric while pressing:
Use a pressing cloth: Place a pressing cloth made of lightweight cotton or muslin over the fabric before ironing. This will help distribute the heat evenly and prevent the fabric from stretching.
Press, don’t iron: To avoid stretching the fabric, use a pressing motion instead of an ironing motion. Pressing involves placing the iron on the fabric and holding it in place for a few seconds before lifting it off. Ironing involves moving the iron back and forth, which can stretch the fabric.
Start from the center: When pressing the fabric, start from the center and work your way outward. This will help distribute the heat evenly and prevent the fabric from stretching in one direction.
By following these simple tips, you can avoid stretching the fabric and achieve a perfect finish when closing a dart on a pattern. Remember to always be gentle with the fabric and handle it with care to achieve the best results.
Check the Fit
Make sure you check the fit of the dart before proceeding with closing it on the pattern. This is a crucial step that will ensure the garment fits perfectly.
To check the fit, simply fold the dart along its stitching line and pin it in place. Then, try on the garment to see how it sits on your body. If the fit is not right, make the necessary adjustments before closing the dart permanently.
When checking the fit of the dart, pay attention to how it affects the overall shape of the garment. A dart that’s too small or too large can distort the fabric and ruin the look of the garment. It’s important to make sure the dart is the right size and shape for your body before moving on to the next step. Don’t be afraid to make adjustments as needed to get the perfect fit.
Once you’re satisfied with the fit of the dart, it’s time to close it on the pattern. Use a sewing machine or hand-stitch the dart closed, being careful to follow the stitching line precisely. Take your time and make sure the dart is closed cleanly and evenly.
With the dart closed, the garment will now have the proper shape to fit your body perfectly.
Finish the Seam
Now that you’ve ensured the perfect fit of the dart, it’s time to give a professional finish to the seam. This step is crucial in making your garment look polished and well-made.
Here are some tips on how to finish the seam of a dart on a pattern:
Trim the seam allowance: After sewing the dart, trim the seam allowance to about 1/4 inch. This’ll help reduce bulk and prevent any unsightly bulges on the fabric.
Press the seam: Use a hot iron to press the seam flat, making sure to press both sides of the fabric. This’ll help set the seam and give it a crisp, professional look.
Finish the raw edges: If you don’t have a serger, you can use a zigzag stitch or pinking shears to finish the raw edges of the seam allowance. This’ll help prevent fraying and make your garment look more polished.
Secure the end of the dart: To prevent the dart from coming undone, tie a knot at the end of the stitching line or backstitch a few times to secure the thread. This’ll ensure that your dart stays in place and your garment maintains its shape.
By following these simple steps, you can finish the seam of a dart on a pattern like a pro. Remember to take your time and be patient, as this step can make all the difference in the final look of your garment.
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