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How to Create a Balanced Dart

Nov 22, 2012
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A dart that is sewn in heavy or dimensional fabric and pressed to one side can be unattractive and bulky, because you’ll have three layers of fabric, one from the garment and two from the dart. These multiple layers may not cause a problem with your new garment, but they will start to shadow through (imprint) on the right side after several washings, dry cleanings, or pressings. There’s no need to cut the dart open to achieve a flat, even effect on both sides of the dart stitching line. Many pattern instructions call for the dart being slit along the length of the fold and pressed open. This involves making a slit in your garment from 10-in. to -12-in. long, which weakens the garment at every double ended dart around the body. Instead, a balanced dart adds extra fabric to the opposite side of the dart seamline to act as a visual counterbalance. This is also ideal for fabric that ravels easily. In an unlined garment, the extra fabric to help balance the dart shows and the edges are raw. Cut this extra fabric on the bias, so the edges will not ravel. For each dart, cut a bias strip of self-fabric 2-in. wide and 1/2-in. longer than the length…

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  1. User avater Madame_Mooshi January 3rd

    Hello all.

    I have just found this post and have to say it does appear a little confusing but if you think of it as a seam application then it might be a little clearer to work through. I wonder if the authors would recommend cutting (grading back) the inner most layer of the dart allowance to reduce bulk? This might mean cutting the fold line of the dart though which could weaken it if it's on a straight grain? If this dart was "coutured", the edges could always be catch stitched in place, provided there is sufficient seam allowance. I wouldn't trim a dart if it is narrow.

  2. User avater LOUISE CUTTING December 3rd

    Thank you Judy for adding the step-outs for the balanced dart. As Katielynne sugested, making a sample will help you see exactly what is being sewn, pressed, and trimmed.

    Louise Cutting

  3. User avater stitchhappy November 30th

    I've added a different explanation right under the original post. I used vellum and paper because you can see through the vellum. I think that was why the original photos were confusing. See if this makes more sense.
    Enjoy!

  4. Katielynne November 29th

    Oops! Pardon my misspelling of your name Louise!

  5. Katielynne November 29th

    Seems clear enough to me. Although I think it must be stressed to take care to always use a pressing cloth and/or press the wrong side only on a garment such as this...to help delay the wear and show-through that is bound to happen over time no matter what you do. Even so, this is a definite improvement over an unbalanced dart to help prolong the inevitable outline that will eventually reveal itself. Thanks for the creative option Lousie!

    P.s., maybe folks should try this method on scrap material and play around with it a bit. I think once you get into the process, it will become clear as to what needs to happen.

  6. Alexandra November 28th

    huh? what? don't understand.

  7. User avater JanAunty November 27th

    I have to agree with the previous two posters about the balanced dart information. It seems incomplete and is quite confusing. Would you be able to break the steps down a bit farther and/or give more instruction? Thank you.

  8. user-2299872 November 27th

    Please put this in video. I've read it through a number of times and am having trouble following it. I seem to get lost at the same point MaryGwyneth did. Thanks.

  9. User avater MaryGwyneth November 20th

    I see the value in using the bias and I followed you up to the last couple pictures then got lost. I'm trying to see how you pressed this. Does it work because it essentially grades the seam from four layers to one? If so, how do you handle a deeper dart which still has four layers for up to 1"?

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