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Teach Yourself to Sew

Three Techniques to Reach Dart Points

Dec 10, 2013
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A precisely sewn dart shapes a garment almost invisibly.

In Teach Youself to Sew, Threads #170, Sandra Miller shares some fabulous secrets for achieving great-looking darts. All the fuss over dart points is for a reason: to avoid the dreaded dimple on the garment’s right side. “I think the most common path to the dimple is to sew happily along the dart, then suddenly realize the point is close and veer dramatically to get there,” says Sandra (excerpted from “Dart Smarts”). Here are three ways to reach the dart point for smooth results.

Method 1: With a 2.5-mm stitch length, sew from the dart’s widest section toward the dart point. When the stitching is 1⁄4-inch from the dart point, shorten the stitch length to 1.5 mm. Sew to the point and continue stitching off the fabric edge. Stitch “in the air” for 3⁄4-inch, then cut the thread chain. The chain survives laundering surprisingly well. However, use care the first time you try this method. Some sewing machines don’t handle stitching off the fabric well.  Method 2: As with the first method, sew toward the dart point with a 2.5-mm stitch length, and reduce the stitch length to 1.5 mm for the last 1⁄4-inch. Stitch precisely to the fold; at the last stitch, stop and raise the needle and the presser foot. Pull the fabric about an inch away from the needle. Reposition the dart value under the needle, lower the presser foot, and stitch 1⁄4-inch in the dart value. Trim the threads. The stitching at the point will remain secure. Method 3: This is a favorite technique for light, smooth, tightly woven fabrics, such as cotton shirting, that tend to show every stitch imperfection. As before, use a 2.5-mm-long stitch to the last 1⁄4-inch from the dart point, then shorten the stitch length to 1.5 mm. Stitch to a thread away from the fabric fold at the dart point. Reduce the stitch length to 1.0 mm. Take four more stitches straight along the fold, just a thread from the fold (this can take practice). Stitch in the air or in the dart value to secure the threads and finish.

Will you try any of these methods? If you have any other techniques for reaching the dart point, please share them below in the comments section.

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  1. Starshine956 December 13th

    Hi there user-2482621, here's a visual on the "one thread dart". I'm guessing you could also find a video of this method on "You-Tube" (:
    http://www.coutureschmiede.com/2011/04/couture-technique-one-thread-dart.html

  2. user-2482621 December 13th

    Thank you, Starshine956, I have heard of this one thread technique but unfortunately, I can't visualise it at all! Perhaps I should look online for a visual description. Sounds very complicated.
    I have used the 3 methods described in article. I was taught to use method 2 in one sewing class (recently - I'm a beginner) but another swears by another method so I was getting a bit confused. Glass to know they're all correct!

  3. user-2973093 December 12th

    HiFigMint,

    Gotta tell ya, absolutely no professional editor would ever regard ending a sentence with a preposition as a fault.

    However, crazy, sloppy errors like five jillion ellipses or using single quotation marks instead of double quotation marks would get you fired first day on the job.

    Over and.....'out'!




  4. Starshine956 December 12th

    When working on Crepe Backed Satin or Silk Satin I have used the "one thread" method. You thread the bobbin thread up behind the needle and tie it to the top thread and thread your machine up backwards. Wind enough of this bobbin thread onto the spool making sure you have enough for one dart. You will sew this dart starting at the point and sewing up to the seam. This method makes the most beautiful dart for this type of fabric. I've even done fishtail darts with this method when working with those dressy types of materials.

  5. Stormee December 12th

    This is a good lesson, I sewed many years in factory and that was one of the methods that was the hardest to learn, especially when you are sew on the line and you have to do it fast. We had to eyeball it because you don't have time to deal with pins. I enjoy my home sewing because now I have time to be more precise.

  6. Miminator December 11th

    FigMint, "out" is not a preposition it is an adverb. If you are going to correct the grammar of another person please be sure to verify facts before your speak. Furthermore, unless you are teaching English to someone else it is considered rude to correct the grammar of another person unless the original statement was unclear to the listener. You clearly understood the author's intent therefore your correction was unnecessary and rude.


    My compliments to the author of this how-to segment. I'm looking forward to trying out methods two and three. These are both techniques I haven't used before today.

  7. User avater BonBon22 December 10th

    This person is giving of their time to teach others methods of sewing and you are giving her a grammar lesson. How rude.

  8. Mamato8 December 10th

    I was taught to curve the dart so it's not so pointy. It ends up being more round. I do run off the edge, then back stitch on the dart where it won't show.

  9. User avater FigMint December 10th

    Better yet....."Will you try any of these methods?" Forget the 'out', as it's redundant.

  10. User avater FigMint December 10th

    Should be: Will you try out any of these methods? Never end a sentence with a preposition!

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